It occurs to me that part of the reason that anarchists/libertarians are woefully unproductive in winning people over to anarchism en masse is because they (I’m fairly sure I’ve been guilty of this as well) see themselves as being above using strategies and arguments that the general public actually respond well to.
This is, for the most part, because a good many of the most effective strategies and arguments rely fundamentally on means that anarchists reject and mostly for reasons pertaining to morality and rational integrity and so forth..
For example, it may be a fact that appeals to emotion are irrational, however it is also a fact that the general public respond well to such arguments because, ultimately, a good percentage of people are irrational and fail to critically analyze arguments, instead being motivated by the underlying emotional charge and so forth.
Despite the obvious irrationality displayed by such arguments, they are tried and tested weapons that the ruling elites use to manipulate the public in a variety of ways and indeed, they do work very well in motivating the masses towards specific ends and causes (as the mainstream media and mainstream political discourse proves).
I identify as a moral nihilist, however, I do also recognize that moralistic language retains utility even if we recognize that morality does not exist because fools still allow themselves to be manipulated by the underlying emotional value of statements pertaining to “good” and “evil” and so on and so forth. I certainly would not shrink from abusing such concepts if it helped me get my own way and I don’t really think anarchists should do so either.
We may hate our intellectual opposition for being rationally inconsistent and indeed, we may despise the ruling elites for manipulating the herd in order to shape society towards their own ends all we like. However, attempting to take the moral or intellectual high ground on this issue merely inhibits our abilities to rise to the challenges that face anyone who might try to enhance their own practical liberty in the here and now or indeed, anyone who considers that a popular challenge to the ruling elites is necessary.
There is no point in neglecting a potentially successful strategy purely because we consider the means of that strategy to be a little bit naughty because, in the grand scheme of things, winning is all that matters. There can be no victory as a de facto loser.
That is our choice as captives of the herd and as a subculture of people living under the neoliberal democratic state. We should not be afraid to employ the strategies of the ruling elite in order to attempt to destroy or displace or enhance our own freedom from them. On the contrary, as people who are essentially captives of the herd, I would argue that we should consider that the only practical way of conclusively winning our liberty is to aspire towards becoming the de facto elite by whatever means necessary since it is debatable whether manifesting large-scale anarchist society is even possible within our lifetimes due to the fact that we are a minority and the herd, for the most part, lacks the intellectual ability to comprehend anarchist ideas and the physical capacity to function without the state.
Ultimately, the ends will always justify the means.