Language of Liberation

in voluntaryism •  3 years ago 

An Effective Way to Spread Voluntaryism

Have you ever wished you could demonstrate your Libertarian, Anarchist, or Agorist (hereinafter, Voluntaryist) ideals more in everyday life; be able to act in a way that actually influences everyone around you to better understand how valuable individual liberty is - every time you speak?

Is it not ironic that people striving for a system that is based on non-coercion would use language full of coercion? Notice how often you hear attempts to motivate people via guilt, shame, demands, punishment, or reward. See how this can be ironic for people to use those tactics when they espouse liberty as their favorite principle? My belief is that if we want real change, we need to focus on the foundations of interaction and one of those is language.

Our language is full of moral judgement and evaluation that can make it easier to dominate individuals. I propose a shift to value judgement. NVC (Nonviolent Communication) is one tool that make this process easy and clear. Here is an article that explains the shift from moral judgement and evaluation to value judgement:

NVC is a methodological approach that shines a light of truth on ways of communicating that support coercion and dodging of responsibility, and that tend to stimulate a defensive or aggressive response. NVC provides a structure to:
(a) Separate the objective "what happened (what we saw/heard/etc)" from our subjective evaluation.
(b) Identify the feelings of ourselves and others.
(c) Attempt to understand the met and unmet needs/values that are being expressed.
(d) Ask a question to determine if our guess at their needs/values is correct. "Did you want more consideration for your perspective?" or "Did you want more respect?" or "Where you doing [that thing] because fairness is important to you?"
(e) If applicable, make a positive do-able request. This part of NVC is very clearly in favor of our interactions being voluntary in nature. We make sure to be clear on the distinction between request and demand because we want people to do a thing only when it is something they want to do.

Listening that goes deeper than the feelings and straight to the underlying needs/values.

Now if you are a Voluntaryist like I am, warning signs might come up when you hear about "needs". No need to worry. NVC draws a clear line between recognizing a person's needs and any obligation to fulfill those needs. NVC teaches the only obligation we have is obligation we choose. My personal take on NVC needs is that they are more like "wants" than actual live or die "needs". More here on needs/values:

NVC is a language of empowerment. A person who understands NVC will be less likely to treat another person like a door mat or allow themselves to be treated so. It is a language of choice and responsibility. NVC teaches us that we always have choices and we hold ourselves responsible for our choices and our feelings. So it discourages anything akin to slavery.

Example: Instead of saying, "I have to...", we say, "I choose to..."

Another principle NVC shares with Voluntaryists is that we want people to do things for intrinsic (their own) reasons rather than to appease or protect the feelings of others. Notice the parallels in this chart to Voluntaryist ideals?

If you really want to spread Voluntaryism, I have a suggestion that will improve all your relationships as well as make it easier to show people how and why freedom is the choice that serves them best. If you want to help people understand why Voluntaryism leads to prosperity for all, it is much easier for people to see first how NVC works because it is "closer to home". It is much easier to understand the principles of freedom when applied on a personal level. Then, from there it is natural to expand: "I see how it is impractical for me to be responsible for other peoples' feelings or have expectations of other people other than that they do not attack me..." a next logical step is to understand how those exact same principles can be applied on a larger scale for positive effect.

When you are talking with Statists about Mises, Bastiat, Hayek, Rothbard, Jeffrey Tucker, Larken Rose, Stefan Molyneux, Adam Kokesh, Derrick Broze, or Ron Paul, showing respect (not agreement) for their ideas is the only way you are going to get respect for your ideas. NVC is a tool that fits this purpose very well. Notice how the Ron Paul supporter in this skit uses NVC to empathize with the woman being critical?

This site,, has tons of NVC resources. Please feel free to look around. I recommend the many animations I've made that show characters resolving conflicts using NVC. Notice the freedom-respecting language used by the characters. Notice how, when using NVC, they are comfortable asking for what they want and standing their ground when faced with attempts at guilt- or blame-induction? In conflict, if the traditional paths are attack and defend, NVC offers a third path and it leads to liberation.

Here is another example of NVC in action:

Did they hesitate to abolish slavery for fear that slavery might start up again?

"Hey! It's counter-productive and even destructive to force people to work and then steal the bounty of their labor, so let's work toward an end to slavery!"

Response: "But if we get it outlawed, what's to stop those damn slavers from bribing future politicians and just starting it back up again?"

"Really? You won't support ending this obviously unproductive and unfair practice because you are afraid it might start back up again later?"

Response: "If you are going to be rude I won't talk to you."

NOW WITH NVC: "Ok. Are you worried that your effort would be wasted because the corruption runs so deep?"

Response: "Exactly! And also: I am just one person against all those who support slavery and make money from it."

MORE NVC: "When you think about the number and power of those who benefit from slavery, do you feel hopeless and discouraged about how much affect you can have?"

Response: "Yeah! And speaking of that, what about all the people in the slave trade whose families will starve because they lose their jobs?"

MORE NVC: "Do you worry about the innocent people who might be affected if we were to suddenly end slavery?"

Response: "Yeah. Uhm. But-"


Response: "I do see the irony. Hesitating to end a thing that takes advantage of innocent people for fear that those living off of their blood & sweat might suffer."

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