Recently I found myself in a Facebook “discussion” with someone, regarding the image shown above. My argument went something along the lines of pointing out that if the birds in the image were acting of their own self-accord, without force from some other entity then this was not communism, or even socialism, but rather voluntarism.
The original poster laughed at this assertion, giving me the proverbial pat on the head at my innocence. “How could this possibly be voluntarism?” She cried. “In a voluntaristic society the brown bird would be left behind unless he could pay the blue birds!” She then proceeded to spout off a bunch of terms such as anarcho-communism among others, which apparently explained this comic better than voluntarism; at least to her.
Since I was unfamiliar with many of the terms she used, I figured perhaps she was unfamiliar with the true definition of the term voluntarism, so I thoughtfully provided the Merriam-Webster definition of the word, it is: “the principle or system of doing something by or relying on voluntary action or volunteers“. Seemed like a pretty good fit to me, but she still wasn’t buying it and insisted that I was not seeing the image correctly. Apparently I was too focused on the hammer and sickle, and not focused enough on the color black in the background. Well, this was getting truly confusing to me now as I had no idea which parts of the comic strip were supposed to have meaning and which weren’t, so I decided to leave the conversation at that point.
My question now is, was this person seeing something in the image that I’m missing that makes it not voluntarism, or was she arguing with the dictionary?