When changing minds, precise language can be superior to simple

April 1, 2016
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Is fraud a form of initiated force? Can “government” do anything about it? Retweet.
Why does the Zero Aggression Project use the words “initiated force” in our definition of the Zero Aggression Principle? Why don’t we instead say something like this…

Don’t hurt people, or ask politicians to do it for you.

That would be simpler right? Yes, the word “hurt” is much simpler than the phrase “initiated force.” But using the word “hurt” will teach people nothing. Here’s why…
Some people think you’re hurting others when you do NOT steal from the rich to give to the poor. Still others simply assume that they never harm people, even if their politics do cause harm. So…
We need words that will help people focus on what’s actually happening. When someone uses force against another person it can be either legitimate or illegitimate.

  • Force can be legitimate if it’s used defensively (including, criminal due process).
  • Force is illegitimate if you initiate it — if you strike first.

The best way to make these points clear is to talk about two forms of force…

  • Defensive force can be good.
  • Initiated force is bad.

But language has defects. It’s not always possible for simple words to fully illuminate complex ideas. This is certainly true of the words “initiated force,” because something seems to be missing. What about fraud?
The term “initiated force” doesn’t seem to cover fraud. Or does it? Our new Mental Lever shows how (and when) the idea of fraud is buried inside the concept of “initiated force.” Check it out. Then share it with others…
What about fraud?
By Perry Willis & Jim Babka
Reading and sharing Mental Levers are not random acts.
Have you ever wanted to lend someone a book to explain your views, but then you started thinking that…

  • You didn’t know what book to loan? Which was the ideal one?
  • You didn’t suspect they’d actually read it? …perhaps because it was too long?

Mental Levers = a lending library.

  1. It’s free! You don’t have to buy a book or worry about getting it back. Simply SHARE the link in email, text, or social media.
  2. Since our Mental Levers are short, the odds go up that they’ll be read. Lend only the “chapters” you want to lend. Interested readers can read more, if they wish.
  3. These mini-articles are quite innovative. Even people who have been libertarians for years discover lost and brand new concepts about voluntaryism. In fact, some of these concepts are so new that we’ve invented the label “post-statist” to describe our approach.

So, please take full advantage of this tool…

  • While reading What about fraud?, locate the gold box (on the right on your PC, below the comments on your phone). Use the social networking tools, found in that gold box, to share this Mental Lever with others.
  • Like & Share this newsletter message from Facebook.
  • Forward this email to two friends who are libertarians or libertarian-leaning, encouraging them to join you in subscribing to this newsletter. The more libertarians we have joining us, the wider the sharing will be — the more people will see, use, and understand voluntaryist values.

A final important note…
Since the launch of the Zero Aggression Project, June 1, we’ve published 47 of these mini-articles. Hosting this website and publishing this material requires resources. The Zero Aggression Project needed to raise merely $4,500 in March to cover its monthly budget. However…

  • As of March 30, we were still $2,883 shy of that goal, and a new month has already begun.
  • To make up the gap, we need new contributions. In fact, we’re hoping there’s someone on this list who is capable of putting a real dent in that number. Remember, contributions can be tax-deductible, if you itemize.
  • But going forward, we’ll be more likely to make our goal with an increase in monthly pledges. We’d actually make progress with merely five (5) people making a pledge today. Really! Just five. Can you be one of them?

You can make your contribution or pledge using the secure web form. There you’ll find a way to mail cash or checks, contribute using MasterCard, Visa, Discover, or American Express, or make a PayPal contribution. We also accept Bitcoin. If you write a check make it out to Downsize DC Foundation. That’s what will show up on your statement, because the Zero Aggression Project is an initiative of the Downsize DC Foundation.


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