Saturday, January 2, 2016

Walter Block Responds on Anarchy

Dr. Walter Block has responded to my comment,A Note on the Definition of Anarchy). See below. As per our general agreement, I will wait 24 hours before responding to Dr Block's latest comment:

Dear Bob:

I half agree with you. The part I agree with is that most people view anarchy as "chaos." Also, your point about "football" "vanilla" etc., is well taken.  Therefore it is counterproductive, as you say, to use this word. It just turns people off. However, on the other hand, I think it is important that we hold on to words, and not let them be taken away from us. For example, we have lost the description "liberal." People like Noam Chomsky (and thick "libertarians" too), are trying to steal the word "libertarian" from us. Consider Bernie Sanders' attempt to keep the word "socialist." He could have jettisoned this, but, doesn't want to lose this word for his side of the ideological divide. I'm a Sandersite on this question.
Best regards,


Walter E. Block, Ph.D.
Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics
Joseph A. Butt, S.J. College of Business
Loyola University New Orleans


  1. Other people's word definitions are not your property.

  2. I see and respect both sides. It would advance the debate if Dr. Block would get specific about what he sees as the advantages to the movement for investing in fighting to retain/reclaim word meanings vs. not doing so.

    On one hand, if the return on investment in correcting false impressions and stolen definitions is there, then let's plow into those battles. Large corporations like Coca-Cola and Proctor & Gamble go to any length to craft and defend brand names for “Coke” and for “Tide” recognizing that decades of mindshare compounding pays huge dividends long term. I appreciate the inherent power and appeal of a strong identity carefully and clearly defined, anchored to a permanent name.

    On the other hand, if the benefits aren’t greater than the costs, we should not dig-in out of pride. Our time and energies, material resources, and media reach are orders of magnitude smaller than our opponents’. When vastly outnumbered and outgunned, a policy of running away to conserve scant resources can win a war (see George Washington). If continuously fleeing usurpation by repeatedly abandoning corrupted or confusing labels in favor of new ones ends up converting more people to the ideals of anarcho-libertarianism, then so be it.