Re: META: What did I do wrong?
Thu, 20 May 1999 10:32:26 -0600

Jocelyn Brown has been very helpful in her feedback, although I believe some of my statements and questions have been interpreted differently than I intended them. As a writer, it is in my best interest to be clear in my meaning, so I will clarify.

At some point, I asked:

"Is it absolutely essential that people believe in the fictional concept
of "property rights" in order to interact productively and peacefully?"

Jocelyn and others believe that "This is diametrically opposed to libertarian politics and objectivist philosophy."

I don't see how questioning assumptions is diametrically opposed to libertarianism or objectivism. All I did was ask whether it was
"absolutely essential" for people to believe in property rights.
I was
thinking that whoever said that property rights were *absolutely* essential for people to interace peacefully and productively was being a bit extreme in the position. I understand very well the benefits of property rights, but I also understand that it is POSSIBLE for people to be productive and peaceful even if they don't have a formal concept of property rights. I believe there are certain kinds of people who would do just fine without that concept. However, me questioning whether property rights are absolutely essential cannot logically be interpreted as me advocating the abolition of property rights. I was just asking a simple question; no need to get upset about it. Extremest thinking tends to warp one's interpretation of others' statements and questions.

I mentioned at some point that I like to "push people's buttons"

Jocelyn feels that "Intentially pushing people's buttons is not an act of respect."

I will strive to push your buttons unintentionally from now on. Just kidding. Although, maintaining psychological weaknesses and then demanding that others avoid "pushing your buttons" is also disrespectful of others. I don't believe I was being unnecessarily rude to anyone. Button pushing has always been a form of playfulness in my family, so I do not consider moderate amounts of it to be disrespectful, but rather an act of affection.

At some point, I wrote, "Because you are so full of hostility, you do not realize that we actually agree on pretty much everything."

Jocelyn wrote, in response, "Your 'I am angry' diatribe was full of hostility, yet you use that concept to dismiss others."

I do not see how reassuring someone that we "agree on pretty much everything" could be interpreted as dismissing them. Please explain.

At some point, I wrote, "Because I am intelligent, I would use your own deepest desires to change whatever behaviors I wanted to."

Jocelyn believes, "this statement is about as condescending as one can get."

When you buy a product at the store isn't whoever you bought the product from using your desires to modify your behavior? If someone uses a persuasive argument, aren't they taking advantage of your desires to modify your behavior? Since I have decided to refrain from using force to change your behavior, my remaining options include mainly offering you something you desire in exchange for you modifying your behavior. A classic example is paying someone money to have them do work for you. Isn't using people's desires to get what you want from them a basic part of the free market system we advocate? Yet you see it as condescending when stated baldly.

Jocelyn wrote, "I don't that this feedback will help, but please don't respond unless it's a point-by-point response that directly addresses my comments."

Your feedback was quite helpful, as it gave me the opportunity to clarify my meaning to the list.

Thank you.

how others respond to me reveals much about them

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