That’ll teach you!
I made mention of Doolittle last week, and he’s been doing his best to prove me right about his ugly character ever since:
The actual purpose of NAP is to rationalize precisely the kind of crimes it purports to prevent: Pre-emptive agression brought against people who, at that moment at least, present no peril to the on-going peace. That is, NAP exists to “license” coercive post hoc “retaliatory” “justice” – even though the proponents of NAP know this cannot be justified under any conception of either equal rights or voluntaryism.
People who live in fear cannot conceive of any means of resolving disputes except force, so they will contort their minds in whatever bizarre shapes they think necessary to avoid admitting that they are the bad guys.
Which of these words did he object to? None of them. What got his easily-gotten goat was my observation that he is “aggressively unreadable.” This is obviously so. His purpose in writing is to overawe, overwhelm and intimidate. This is the entire “debate” strategy of the Cautious/Incandescent – baffle ’em with bullshit – but Doolittle’s online pugilism illuminates the path Cautious tyranny must always take: Dominance by relentless vindictive retribution.
In name-checking him, I equated him with “Rand, Rothbard or Nozick,” but decidedly not in a nice way. It seemed fair to me at the time – not being not-nice, but simply acknowledging that my (to-me redundant) entry into this particular fray had been brought about by Doolittle, to whose Facebook post I linked.
He brought nothing new to my end of this discussion, so I easily could have left him out. At first, I wished I had, since Curt Doolittle’s sole objective in writing so aggressively unreadably seems to be to coerce anyone he can latch onto into kneeling before his ornately-imagined manifest greatness.
I wish I were making this up. His first comment to me, and every one thereafter, has consisted of self-aggrandizing bluster buttressed with logical fallacies – especially the fallacy ad hominem. Honest people link and quote. The other kind preen and emote.
That last paragraph may not be entirely fair. I have not read any of the massive comments he has posted here, nor will I. The objective of his aggressive unreadability is to dominate other people, and why would I volunteer to be dominated? Rule #2: I am not arguing with you. Once I know you’re wrong, I need no further demonstrations of that fact, and I’m here to talk about my ideas, not yours. And: Rule #5: Never play the other man’s game.
Not submitting to Cautious dominance puts the Cautious on tilt, of course. If you don’t believe me, take it up with Robespierre or any of his many Cautious/Incandescent successors. In any case, I wasn’t trying to put Doolittle on tilt. I was just reacting as I normally would to a dominance game I’ve see thousands of time: You cannot punish me by wasting my time if I won’t let you.
I came into this by way of Luke Williams – by which I mean to implicate him in no way. I have no idea what he thinks about anything I have to say, but he is gracious enough to let me have my say, asking me good questions from time to time. But because Luke had pointed me to this dumbass Non-Aggression Principle “debate,” I maintained a back-channel conversation with him as Doolittle imploded all over the comments section here.
And that private conversation, ultimately, got me interested in watching this skeezy little Polonius self-destruct. Why? Because I was able to show Luke my theories on empathy strategies in action: The Cautious abhor chaos. The Incandescent abhor humiliation. And everything I have seen of Curt Doolittle consists of Curt Doolittle insisting he is entitled to strict compliance and boundless fascination – or else, dagnabit!
Accordingly, and despite all appearances, this is not an internet pissing contest. I knew Doolittle was wrong in the first few (hundred) words I had read of him. Not wrong as to those particulars, about which no one cares, but wrong in sum – wrong about everything. This is not rare. He is wrong in the exact same way that virtually everyone else on earth is wrong: He believes that his mind ought to be able to bend other people’s will, that they must do as he dictates, rather than as their own fully-sovereign autonomy prefers.
So how did I fight him? By not submitting to him. That’s all. And the man went repeatedly nuts by the numbers, just as every other thoughtless Cautious/Incandescent would do in the same circumstances. At first I felt guilty about knowingly provoking a mindless belligerent, this since my best strategy for dealing with aggressive displays is to ignore them altogether. But Doolittle’s rancor increased with my every refusal to be punished by him, to the point that he betrayed, repeatedly, what I had known about him from the very first:
He’s the bad guy.
He and all of post-Romantic Western law, that is, including all of libertarianism-writ-large. Where do they all go wrong? With the idea of “retaliation.”
That notion is at the heart of the misleadingly-named Non-Agression Principle (NAP). Its purpose in libertarian theory is not to eliminate aggression, as the words seem to imply, but, rather, to sanction allegedly-just aggression while delegitimating allegedly-unjust responses to that aggression. Its purpose is to “license” super-men whose task it is to coercively police sub-men.
Just that much is viciously wrong, if you think it through. Murray Rothbard heard the words “monopoly on force” and thought the problem was the monopoly, not the force. But in fact, any system of dispute resolution based in actual consent must jettison the idea of post-hoc “retaliation,” since NO ONE would consent to the kinds of pre-emptive aggression the police routinely visit upon their presumed-to-be-innocent victims.
In fact, what Western law has meant all along by “retaliation” is not a like-for-like response to aggression while it is happening, but, instead, simple retribution: Self-righteous putative-vindication effected by actual cold-blooded vengeance.
And this goes to the heart of Curt Doolittle, and of all the anti-liberty “libertarian” “philosophers” – Rand, Rothbard, Nozick, etc. He not only believes he can shout me down – a proposition I never tire of disproving – but that the proper functioning of the only universe he feels safe in requires that he shout me down – even though he can’t.
Doolittle and Rand, Rothbard, Nozick, etc., are at war with existential reality, with the actual facts of human sovereignty. He believes that he can punish people with his aggressive unreadability, even though he obviously cannot. And he believes that other people must bend to his will, even though they obviously do not.
Every Cautious temperament is a tyrant-in-training, since strict compliance with the perfect order of everything matters more than anything. And every Incandescent personality is a dictator-waiting-to-happen, since failed fascination is so easy to spotlight. Put the two together and you get exactly what Doolittle brings: The irrational insistence that rancor (in sufficient quantity) cannot fail to rule the world.
All of which is to say what I said at the very beginning of all this:
He’s the bad guy.
So long as so-called libertarians cling to the idea of retributive “justice” they will be anti-liberty, and they will always fall to tyrannical claims. The folks who want to knock some heads to whip people into line are always aghast to discover that it is they who are to be knocked and whipped.
Sticks and stones, and, yes, I agree: Curt Doolittle is comically harmless, since his entire arsenal consists of putting other people in fear of being put in the wrong by his aggressive unreadability. The way to battle petty tyrants is the way I did it: By refusing to play the other man’s game while goading him into exposing his weaknesses.
The problem is not the particular bad behavior but the insistence that bad behavior is both justifiable and efficacious. The first is palpably false, contrary to obvious objective fact, and the second is only made possible by what Ayn Rand called “the sanction of the victim.” I denied Curt Doolittle my sanction and it drove him repeatedly and persistently nuts. What would a Doolittle-with-nukes have done to me by now?
The aboriginal error is apprehending realty from fear – as both the Cautious and Incandescent do – as compared with hope – as the Driven and Sociable do. Curt Doolittle can’t stand it that anyone should not be afraid of him, and he can’t stand it that he can’t shout fearlessness down.
In the end this is nothing – except for what you can learn from it, which is why I bothered to go through this. Mainstream libertarianism (!) from Rand to Rothbard is simply authoritarianism-in-camouflage, and this little dust-up with the pathetic, posturing, preening Curt Doolittle serves as a real-life exposition in practical indomitability.
You say you want to be an anarchist? This is how it’s done.