Pemes: Max More & Deep Anarchy

Freespeak (
Thu, 12 Mar 1998 12:02:44 -0700

[Note: Earlier parts of this peme debate -- including the "peme
rules" -- can be found at <>,
which will be periodically updated.]

In 1990, Max More, cofounder of the Extropy movement
(see <>), wrote the article
-- see <>.

This article includes, in my opinion, some of the steps
one might take in the early stages of clearing deep
pemes from one's mind.

To me, "Deep Anarchists" are Anarchists who have cleared
all or most deep pemes from their minds. They're always
alert to the possibility that there might be more statist
baggage at the deepest intellectual or conceptual levels
that needs to be eliminated.

In 'The Ego & Its Own' Max Stirner wrote: "The decision
having once been made not to let oneself be imposed on any
longer by the extant and palpable, little scruple was felt
about revolting against the existing State or overturning
the existing laws; but to sin against the *idea* of the
State, not to submit to the *idea* of law, who would have
dared that?"

Stirner pointed the way to becoming a Deep Anarchist.

At 01:08 PM 3/9/98 -0400, George Sherwood <steppen@LIGHTSPEED.NET>
wrote (responding to the "god module"):
>Intersting stuff, and something I've long known. Another book that
>is relevant is _The Axmaker's Gift: Technology's Capture and
>Control of Our Minds and Culture_ by James Burke and Robert Ornstein.

At 01:46 AM 3/8/98 +0200,
(Nico MYOWNA) wrote:
>Hi Freespeak,
>> >>I speculate that the power, survival, and expansion of
>> >>coercive political systems depend on "subjects" acting
>> >>more or less in blind obedience to their peme programs.
>> >>To the extent that individuals free themselves from their
>> >>peme programs, coercive political systems lose their
>> >>power over these individuals.
>> >I agree --
>And I can't agree: if individuals free themselves from their 'peme'
>programs, they receive their power to reject political systems. The
>political systems don't lose their power over these individuals,
>because the other individuals don't free themselves from their 'peme'
>programs. 'Let the king alone, and his power will leave him!' by
>La Boethie mean: if *all* individuals free themselves from their
>'peme'programs, coercive political systems lose their power over
>these individuals.
The notion of being "personally powerless compared
to the overwhelming power of "the state" or "the
government"" is a near-surface peme many subject
themselves to needlessly.

Also relevant here is the theme expressed by Davidson
& Rees-Mogg in their excellent 'The Sovereign Individual':
As a result of technological advance, the returns on
violence by bureaucrats diminishes, reducing their
power. Politicians and bureaucrats apply violence to
earn returns in the forms of obedience, money ("taxes"),

In my personal case, through the application of Freedom
Technology, the returns politicians and bureaucrats get
from me are negligible. The power they have over me is
extremely limited, largely because of my understaning of
their thinking and behavior, my ability to operate outside
their systems, the advance of technology, and because I've
cleared all the harmful pemes I've been able to find from
my mind.

However, because of deeply-entrenched pemes, inertia,
and tradition, many freedom lovers still grossly
underestimate their own power while also grossly
overestimating the power of politicians and bureaucrats.

Centuries after the so-called "Roman Empire" collapsed,
many people continued to behave as if "it" still existed
and continued to obey "it." Because of "belief inertia"
and pemes, we can expect a similar phenomenon in our era.

At 09:39 AM 3/8/98 -0500, Alan Koontz <> wrote:
>Actually just a core of individuals freed of 'peme' programs would be
>sufficient to effect an unraveling of political power, at least
>according to most theories of nonresistance and civil disobedience.
>There is a problem attending massive withdrawal of tacit consent and
>that is the phenomenon of group-think which is part of the basis of
>political power. The larger the group the greater the
>potential power which by a few could be used against the rest--as
>before the unraveling.
>It's a bit of a conundrum, this!
If the "withdrawing group" is largely unorganized,
they maximize their power as individuals. Most of
us need only relatively small support groups to
live free to a considerable degree.

As far as I know, there are only about a dozen Deep
Anarchists in the world. Most of them are subscribers
to the Advanced Freedom Solutions list. To subscribe:
in the message body. One of the best ways to increase
the number of Deep Anarchists might be to publish a
series of science-fiction books on the topic.

At 05:34 PM 3/8/98 -0500, "Kevin McLauchlan"
<> wrote:
>Cali-Fast said:
>> >>>Is anyone out there interested in writing an SF novel
>> >>>on pemes. I would be happy to collaborate and ensure
>> >>>publication, if we can produce a worthwhile product.
>> We ought to continue _that_ part of the discussion
>> on the LibFic list.
>I can do dialogue, backgournd description, mood and action,
>and I can brainstorm "where could this go next" with the
>best of 'em, but I'm not much at end-to-end plotting...
>i.e. the actual "story".
>What is LibFic? Who owns it?
I guess it's "Libertarian Fiction." Does anyone have
subscribe info?

At 04:27 AM 3/9/98 -0500, Dan Fabulich <> wrote:
>Your articles are memetic... and they're certainly political... but
>somehow you seem to think that you're clearing away pemes rather than
>replacing them with your own.
>Your meme, which happens to be political, has several traits which make it
>fairly adaptable. It appeals to other deep memes, notably freedom (in this
>case, from pemes), self-ownership, and levels of development. It
>circumvents serious criticism with Peme Rule 12: "Any human who attempts
>to question, attack, or expose any deep peme shall be ignored, ridiculed,
>or vilified by other humans." It emphasizes the malicious nature of pemes,
>thus harnessing the very deep meme of self-preservation.
>Consider this: if you were to erase all political memes from your mind
>tomorrow, you would have no political opinion, because you would have no
>ideas about politics. No freedom thoughts, no authoritarian thoughts, no
>thoughts at all about government and/or its value to society (if any).
>That's what it means to have no memes: you have no ideas.
>Freedom is a peme, too, ya know. It's especially adaptable because its
>meaning is so ambiguous, yet it seems to appeal to everyone. We get
>freedom of speech, freedom of choice, freedom from choice, peme-freedom,
>meme-freedom, free-markets, economic freedom (a term sadly appropriated by
>communists), degrees of freedom, and free energy... all from the same word.
>So I put it to you again: you're selling a meme, and it's political. I
>conclude that you're selling me a peme. You're not crazy... or even wrong,
>per se. But you aren't eliminating pemes... you're just replacing them
>with deeper ones which aren't open to criticism.
>(If you now go on to tell me that I operate at peme freedom level 1, you
>will have missed the point of this post.)
As "Who Is John Galt?" <> indicated earlier,
there is a tongue-in-cheek element in my "peme rules!"

Earlier I provided some definitions:

>Pemes are political memes. They consist of ideas, concepts,
>phrases, and terms, the use of which increases the power of
>the "masters" who operate coercive political systems; while
>their use reduces the power of the "subjects" of coercive
>political systems.
>There are surface pemes and deep pemes. Surface pemes are
>relatively easy to identify and invalidate. An example of
>a surface peme is "mandate from the people." This is used
>by politicians and bureaucrats to "justify" their coercive
>actions. It increases their power. "Subjects" who accept
>the "mandate from the people" peme, effectively reduce their
>own power because they "authorize" politicians and bureaucrats
>to take coercive actions against "subjects."
>Deep pemes are much more difficult to identify as such and
>to invalidate. Deep pemes are generally accepted as valid
>by practically all people, including freedom lovers. If you
>try to question, attack, or invalidate a deep peme, most
>people will think you're crazy.


>Two questions may help us identify the pemes:
>(1) Which words/concepts -- if I accept and use
>them the way most people habitually do -- place
>me at a disadvantage in relation to the political
>"masters?" (Which words tend to increase the power
>of politicians and bureaucrats, while reducing the
>power of their victims?)
>(2) Which words, if the political "masters" didn't
>have them nor any equivalents for them, would
>dramatically reduce the power of politicians and
So it's not all political memes that need to be
eliminated. It's those that satisfy the above
definitions and questions. It's a matter of
replacing pemes harmful to you with pemes more
useful to you -- pemes that increase your personal
power, while decreasing the power of "political
systems" over you.

At 09:24 PM 3/10/98 GMT, Rick.Rabbit@ELMOS.COM wrote:
>Posted by:
>I would suggest that the question of "pemes" be reframed. We have no
>"political genes" as such --- until approximately 10,000 years ago,
>our ancestors lived in VERY small groups -- 50 was probably a huge
>group until quite recently. And 10,000 years is a VERY short time
>for the process of evolution, and accounts for less than 2% of the
>time Homo Sapiens has been around. This means that any genetic basis
>for political manipulation must have evolved in the pre-history period
>and been designed for navigation in VERY small groups.
>Look to your own experiences in small family, etc. groups for clues
>to what these genetic tendancies might be.
>I would suggest that what has happened is that the political sub-groups,
>political cliques, and those individuals with "hierarchical tendancies,"
>easily kept under control in small groups, have hijacked these small-group
>tendancies and learned to manipulate the rest of us networkers using them.
>The most obious example is the constant excuse for everything from
>government agents killing kids at Waco to protect them from alleged
>molestation to FBI agents posing as 13 year-old girls in chat rooms:
> "Bob Dole says that if you listen to President Bill Clinton speak
> for five minutes, you will hear him use the word "children" at
> least fifteen times." -Nadine Strossen, President ACLU, July 5,
> 1996, addressing the Libertarian Party Presidential Nominating
> Convention, CSPAN I, ~12:30 EST A
>There are many other examples of the government cliques learning to
>hijack our small-group instincts to manipulate us. To the extent that
>the general population buys the con, we freedom lovers are going up
>against human hard-wired programming -- and that's usually a losing
>When you expose the deepest cons, not easy since they are intertwined
>with our deepest group instincts, people often recognize government
>cliques as the enemies and parasites they are.
>One reason we freedom oriented folks get so frustrated is that we believe
>the version of the "common man" presented in the media, and toward which
>the media must, for economic reasons, direct their programming. I've rarely
>met such a "common man!" People are much better than that.
>At any rate, if you redefine "pemes" as mostly hijacked small-group
>I would suggest you will be more likely to be able to map what's really
>happening, and deal with it much more effectively.
Pemes are not "political genes." They are political
*memes*. See the definitions and the two questions
above. Another term for the combination of harmful
pemes and the peme rules is NSPIC = Neuro-Semantic
Political Illusion Complex -- see

Deep pemes are the most fundamental political enemies
and mind parasites. As long as freedom lovers continue
to perpetuate and spread pemes, they help to reinforce
and perpetuate "political systems" at the deepest and
most powerful level. Hence I formulated peme rule 19:
"Whenever pro-freedom humans (secondary
peme purveyors) communicate -- although
they may question, attack, and expose a
few surface pemes -- they shall make a
special effort to use deep pemes in their
language -- in order to maximize peme
survival and propagation."

Robert Ringer, in 'Restoring the American Dream,' in
Chapter 8 -- "Keeping It All in Place" -- indicates
how "political systems" are kept in place primarily
by pemes. He exposes many surface pemes and a few
deep pemes. But he doesn't go all the way to Deep
Anarchy. He still communicates according to peme
rule 19, above. Nevertheless, he does open the door
to Deep Anarchy. 'Restoring the American Dream' --
which I highly recommend -- is available from

At 04:54 PM 3/10/98 +0000, "Svein Olav G. Nyberg"
<> wrote:
>At 9:28 AM -0700 3/10/98, Freespeak wrote:
>>Three levels of freedom are relevant to
>>this article:
>>1. The freedom philosophy level;
>>2. The practical living-free level;
>>3. The complete peme-free level.
>>(Other freedom levels are beyond the
>>scope of this article.)
>Does this also include liberation from the illusions
>of morality and the constraints imposed by believing
>concepts can prescribe as well as describe?
In order to clear harmful pemes from your mind,
it helps not only to clear from your mind the
notion that concepts prescribe, but also the
notion that they describe. This is related to
the illusion that "words have meanings," as
opposed to "people have meanings for words."

In themselves, concepts don't describe. However,
people can use concepts to describe to others,
provided they have similar meanings for the same

How much power to coerce and control would politicians
and bureaucrats have, if a few more people realized
that meanings reside in themselves, rather than in

Frederick Mann
"The [one] who knows what freedom is will find a way to be free."
-- Robert LeFevre
"We are free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it."
-- William Faulkner
"The most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed."
-- Steve Biko
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