Not long ago I was struck by a Revelation. While considering the Dire State of Affairs our world currently resides in, and why it is that things have reached such strange proportions of mass insanity, I realized that most people don’t truly want freedom. They are comfortable in the slave/master relationship. This is why it has proven to be so difficult throughout the ages to form a society based on individual rights and responsibilities. The majority of people are sheep-like creatures, content to be herded, whether out in the fields to graze, or into the pens to be slaughtered. They want to be dominated. They want to be led around on a leash. They want to serve a hierarchical power structure that provides their every need for them. They want to be fleeced. They want to be taxed. They want Big Brother watching over their shoulder. They want pie-in-the-sky promises from politicians. They want spoon fed mass media. They want corporate advertising. They want pop culture. They want these things, they have them, and they aren’t going to give them up without a fight.
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Anyone who has ever watched wildlife videos has probably seen the magnificent creatures that inhabit the wilds of Alaska, the northern parts of Canada, or even the most remote parts of Africa. Sadly, you have also probably noticed that these beautiful creatures are plagued by swarms of mosquitoes, gnats and flies. These animals mind their own business (grazing, mating, rearing young, running, hiding, and whatever else wild animals do), but the swarms never leave them alone. Their flesh quivers and shakes quite often as a method of making the parasites get off of them – if only for a second or two.
I am proposing “high tension system” as a descriptive term, as well as a generative theory behind it. I am mostly speaking in general terms, because although the application to government should be obvious, the concept can also be applied very widely to non-government systems. All systems exist to achieve certain stated goals, and by extension all systems have ways to be diverted from the intended, or desired goals. These systems can be usefully distinguished by whether they are dominated by positive feedback with respect to corrupting influences, such as government, or negative feedback, such as free markets and open source development.
The twentieth century was defined by the nation state, and the wars, which resulted from the clash of these leviathans as they competed for power and influence. The British, Soviet, American, German, Russian, Japanese, and Chinese empires all controlled nearly every square inch of the Earth at one time or another in the last century. There is one notable bastion of freedom that survived unscathed during this clash of empires, and it did so with no military. That country is Liechtenstein.
When I share critiques of anarchist/voluntarist philosophy nearly every reply I get from its adherents is the same parroted, “that’s a sweeping generalization!” almost as if they are reading from the same script. To clarify, I have been chatting with anarchists for over two years now. I have fought alongside of them, argued with them, and heard their arguments. I didn’t talk to three anarchists, and then start making generalizations. I have interacted with hundreds of anarchists, representing a pretty good cross section of what they think and how they behave. I side very heavily with anarchist/voluntarist philosophy, but I see some pretty big chinks in their armor that they refuse to even acknowledge.
If you have never visited the tropical, Central American paradise that is Costa Rica than I highly recommend that you make it your next vacation stop. I have been twice, once with my wife, and again with my wife and infant child. I felt completely safe the entire time I was in the country, and was treated with kindness by the locals. The landscape is beautiful, the people are peaceful, and there has been no standing army since 1948.
One of the most common objections to a stateless society is “Who will provide the defense?” Doesn’t any nation with a weak military or no military suffer the same fate as Poland in WWII, subjection to a larger force bent on looting wealth, and enslaving the native population? It turns out the answer is “no.” There are a number of examples of states (just to be clear I am talking about sovereign nations) with no military. These are places that exist today in the 21st century, and many have been around for quite a while. They happily go about their lives with no standing army.
As a species we have arrived at the crux point. There are two parallel paths before us that will soon veer off in totally different directions. One leads toward Heaven on Earth, the other toward Armageddon. We stand at the cusp of either apotheosis or extinction, and we each have a choice to make. I do not speak specifically on behalf of any particular race, creed or ethnicity, nor any political, social or religious sect. I’m speaking on behalf of all humanity and feel no presumptuousness in doing so.
In my day to day contact with people I tend to trust those that are decent, honest, upright and pure, while I do my best to shun the creeps, murderers and thieves. Psychopaths, sociopaths, pathological liars, and narcissists aren’t on the list of people I’d like to sit down and have a drink with. So why would I let such Evil people assume positions of power that influence the society I live in? It would be absolutely ridiculous, completely contemptible, absurd and asinine!
The best agreements leave two happy participants. Good agreements leave one or more participants feeling that they have made an honest effort at fulfilling wants or needs. But far too many agreements leave one or more participant holding the bag, unhappy about the exchange, and not knowing how to remedy it.
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