I have some questions as well as some objections to TZM and its visions/end-goals. I'm coming from a Libertarian Socialist perspective and more specifically a Libertarian Communist one, as I see communism as the vision/end-goal to strive for. It should be noted, as most zeitgeisters I come across are apparently unaware, that Libertarian Communism is distinct from the authoritarian ideas proposed by Marx and uniquely implemented in places like the Soviet Union and elsewhere under the influence of leaders such as Lenin and so on. The Soviet Union was not a communist society and is more correctly called a state capitalist or state socialist society, with the state playing a substantial role in decision-making (An Anarchist FAQ - H.3 What are the myths of state socialism? | Infoshop.org). It was not a state-less, class-less, or money-less society, which is the gist of communism. As opposed to Marx's "dictatorship of the proletariat," a state with the workers interests supposedly in mind and that is eventually supposed to transition into communism, Libertarian Communists seek to obtain a communist society immediately and not re-create any kind of state once the existing one has been dismantled. Most anarchists don't fully agree with Marx, and many more are hostile toward state capitalist or state socialist societies like the Soviet Union.
Here's a few quotes to help clarify the position of Libertarian Communists:
"Once it has taken over the State, it should, as we see it, destroy it immediately for it is the age-old Prison of the proletarian masses: now, according to Mr. Marx's theory, the people not only should not destroy the State but should instead reinforce it, make it even mightier and place it, in this new form at the disposal of its benefactors, tutors and educators, the leaders of the Communist Party - in short, at the disposal of Mr. Marx and his friends who will promptly set about liberating it after their fashion." Bakunin (Marx contemporary and Collectivist Anarchist), No Gods No Masters
"The great difference between the Anarchists and the Bolsheviki was that the Anarchists wanted the masses to decide and manage their affairs for themselves, through their own organizations, without orders from any political party. They wanted real liberty and voluntary cooperation in joint ownership. The Anarchists therefore called themselves free Communists, or Communist Anarchists, while the Bolsheviki were compulsory, governmental or State Communists. The Anarchists didn't want any State to dictate to the people, because such dictation, they argued, always means tyranny and oppression. The Bolsheviki, on the other hand, while repudiating the capitalist State and bourgeois dictatorship, wanted the State and the dictatorship to be theirs, of their Party." Berkman, What is Anarchist Communism
For some reason TZM, overwhelmingly, mentions Marx and the interpretations of his ideas, in the form of the Soviet Union and so on, more so than Libertarian Socialist thinkers and ideas. I can find very little discussion of where TZM stands on Libertarian Socialist ideas.
Here's an example (and also a small critique),
"With that understood, which dismisses the common notion that property is a result of some kind of empirical "human nature", the notion of "no property" is also today often blindly associated with "Communism" and the works of Karl Marx. It is important to point out the TZM advocation of no property is derived from logical inference, based almost explicitly upon strategic resource management and efficiency, not any surface influence by these supposed "Communist" ideals. There is no relation between the two, for communism was not derived from the needs to preserve and manage resources efficiently. Communism, in theory and practice, was based on a social/moral relativism which was culturally specific - not environmentally specific - which is the case with a RBE." TZM FAQ
I find it strange Marx is mentioned here, but not Proudhon who famously declared "Property is theft!" This means that no single person should own or have a monopoly over the means of production or resources, enabling them to force other people to rent themselves just to survive. All consistent anarchists agree with this and are against private property, or the idea that someone should own something that other people must frequently use. It's a basic ethical objection to private property because of the exploitation it entails, ethics which TZM has problems with apparently. Now I find it contradictory saying that "their" (Marx and Proudhon) objections to private property were based on "communist ideals" and "social/moral relativism," while TZM's objection is based on "logic and efficiency." The very fact that TZM thinks that "logical inference, based almost explicitly upon strategic resource management and efficiency" is something that people want in the first place concerns the same kind of question of ethics or "social/moral relativism." You're saying, in essence, this is good for people and something they want, and that is a statement of ethics. "Logic and efficiency" just seems like an attempt at distancing TZM's objection to private property with the ones that came before it (i.e. distancing itself from Marx); both are basically the same ethical objection. It can be expected that workplaces should produce and distribute efficiently and with regard to environmental factors once private ownership of the means of production is gone; that's rational and nothing worth getting hung up on. The degree to which people want "logic and efficiency" and what that entails is a different matter, and should be decided in some democratic fashion in my anarchist opinion (depending on the issue at hand).This of course excludes non-doctors from having a say in how best to perform a surgery or build a bridge, and so on (there's a difference between irrational and rational authority). Let's not forget science can't be applied to all aspects of life due to similar ethical objections, as well as the impossibility of that ever happening (we know very little about ourselves or the universe).
Given this distinction between Marx and Libertarian Communism, one of my arguments would be that TZM is basically a repackaging of Libertarian Communism, albeit a more technocratic and authoritarian version, depending on what role democracy would play in TZM's envisioned society and just how much power these "experts" have. Feel free to help me differentiate Libertarian Communism and TZM's vision/end-goal. A lot of my thinking and criticisms of TZM coincide with this anonymously posted anarchist-perspective essay (https://theanarchistlibrary.org/libr...with-zeitgeist). I read a previous post that addressed this essay, but it's a bit dated and I don't think the people responding to it had a clue, frankly.
I think it's important to bear in mind TZM's history and earlier involvement in irrelevant conspiracies and other unsubstantiated views; the 07-08 films come to mind specifically, in which Right-Libertarians like Ron Paul were featured along with conspiracy theories from people like Alex Jones. Today TZM aligns more with traditional Libertarians (Libertarian Socialists), after abandoning and now regularly ridiculing all the conspiracists and Right-Libertarians, though I don't think a lot of zeitgeisters are aware of this or want to admit it. I read in TZM FAQ that the films have no bearing on the tenets of the movement, but I'd say the 11 film is mostly up-to-date with TZM's current views. I often hear people claim that TZM is "not a political movement." I think this just shows a misunderstanding of the word "political," or that they're wanting to separate themselves from more conventional politics. Anything concerning how people should organize is political, so TZM is a political movement. I think it's worth considering that conspiracy-thinking, which TZM undeniably was involved to begin with until it decided to embrace science, is often rooted in a reluctance to do any actual research, whatever those reasons may be. Do many of you think you would have been Libertarian Socialists had you actually studied any of the appropriate literature (assuming you haven't) and Joseph and Jacque weren't around to make documentaries? I just think it's foolish, no offense, to think that Joseph and Fresco came up with all the best ideas and ways of organizing life.
I could continue with some of my other problems with TZM, but I'll stop here for the sake of not making this too long.