Govern Locally, Not Globally
Introducing: Lexicon of a Libertarian
If you want to replace an established system, be it religious, cultural, scientific or political an equally comprehensive system must be introduced to take its place. Specifically, the new system must solve the failures and embrace the success and often the routines of the former.
Take Christianity for example. Within 300 years it grew from an obscure Jewish cult to a multinational religion, larger than Judaism had ever been or wished to be. Christmas and Easter take place on the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox, not of mere coincidence, but of prudence. By superimposing Christianity over the dominant pagan religion of Rome and by respecting the same holy days it was ensured a smooth transition.
This series begins without a predetermined end, as a musing on how the Lexicon of a Libertarian might provide our current national and geopolitical model with a similar thorough transition to an emphasis on individual liberty.
When God was Killed Technocrats Just Took His Place
The video below is of Michael Shermer, founder and publisher of Skeptic Magazine. Beginning at 13:30 (I would highly suggest watching the entire video) he provides a deft analysis of modern religion after anamism, polytheism and monotheism proved insufficient to answer and solve mankind’s problems or its propensity to create new ones.
Shermer begins with a self-reliant hominid on the plains of Africa. According to Shermer the hominid and successive generations of humans struggling to survive and therefore operating from a position of advanced insecurity saw patterns everywhere.
The attempt to explain and predict these patterns and the world around them gave way to the idea that there was something larger than oneself. After the epiphany, mankind established dogma and superstition to cope with what we could not immediately understand. This is the broad stroke that seems to paint much of our existence.
According to Shermer’s dialectic, after monotheism (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) proved an illusion big government became the new world order. The idea that “government can rescue us” is pervasive and is based on the dogmatic belief that mankind, through scientific experts, can somehow provide all the answers.
This from Friedrich Nietzche’s The Gay Science (1882).
“God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?”
Understand that there is no fundamental change in the human condition when God is killed and the mantel of science is assumed. If the science of psychology has taught us anything it is that we are still as insecure as our hominid forebears. Because we are insecure we look to each other, but most importantly to our state and our leaders for answers.
Since the turn of the 20th century we thought by rejecting the false gods of the supernatural realm for the real gods of secular and by embracing the redemptive qualities of democracy that people, through science and its technology, would bring us closer to utopia – a new stage in human existence, what Nietzche called the Übermensch or Superman.
The problem is that science, like democracy is essentially a utilitarian device. While science may lead us to knowledge and democracy may safeguard internal peace and individual freedom, humans are behind both and therefore both are by no means infallible. What happens when science or its Supermen are wrong? I’ll put it this way; propaganda was not perfected by monarchs.
This intoxicating prospect of Übermensch wrought disastrous consequences in the 20th century. We found democracy and authoritarianism were not mutually exclusive as the state became superior and jealous of the individuals whom had built it. Over and over again in Nazi Germany, Stalin’s Soviet Union, Mao’s China, Imperial Japan, Communist Cambodia, Islamic Indonesia, etc. there was avalanche after avalanche of tyranny.
Government in its last analysis is force, even when ostensibly governed by science or Nietzhe’s Overmen. The methodology of science in its purest form may in time unlock a universe of puzzles, but its Supermen cannot as Nietzche and others wished, establish a new and comprehensive hierarchy of values for mankind. Ironically, Nietzche and his progeny never understood that man as a being of nature operates under similar laws, which cannot simply be repealed and replaced by decree. Equally ironic was that the Crown and the Church before them had already tried and failed.
F.A. Hayek from Road to Serfdom on Hitler’s attempt:
“Where the precise effects of government policy on particular people are known, where the government aims directly at such particular effects, it cannot help knowing these efforts, and therefore it cannot be impartial. It must, of necessity, take sides, impose valuations upon people and instead of assisting them in the advancement of their own ends, choose the ends for them. As soon as the particular effects are foreseen at the time a law is made, it ceases to be a mere instrument to be used by the people and becomes instead an instrument used by the lawgiver upon the people and for his ends.
The state ceases to be a piece of utilitarian machinery intended to help individuals in their fullest development of their individual personality and becomes a “moral” institution – where “moral” is not used in contrast to immoral, but describes an institution which imposes on its members its views on all moral questions, whether these views be moral or highly immoral. In this sense the Nazi or any other collectivist state is “moral,” while the [classical] liberal state is not.”
“Govern Locally, Not Globally” – An Emphasis on You
While Shermer claims “the idea that government can rescue us is no longer the wave of the future” current trends do not favor this sentiment. Big government has never been bigger and its technocrats have already overrun the planet, look no further than the European Union, the U.S., China, the African Union and ultimately the United Nations. Only a few free and prosperous citadels remain. The rest are struggling to tread water amidst a sea of debt and conflict while the U.N. and powerful internationalists try to consolidate and retool our entire global economy.
There are approximately 196 “independent” countries throughout the world (I use independent carefully because it most definitely is up to debate) all of which like businesses compete for the nearly 7 billion residents of this planet. Seems like a pretty small number of competitors right? That is why many including myself have advocated “Let a 1000 nations bloom!” If we can’t decentralize power within our own countries lets just create new ones.
Nietzche was right about one thing, his emphasis on secular man. We are the only ones, not angels or aliens, who can and should be held responsible for our fate. “Either we died because of our religion or our religion dies because of us” Nietzche proclaimed.
We are understandably insecure beings and the natural inclination, the path of least resistance, has always been to rely on superstition, God, the state, empire, supermen and even skepticism itself for consolation. But if we must kill anything it is the predilection of consistent deference to central government, organized religion, ephemeral movements or ethereal beings. There have only been a few instances in human history when we have chosen the difficult path, to respect each other’s unalienable rights and liberties. In this world of bigger is better it may be best to remind ourselves small is beautiful.
The ancient Israelis and Anglo-Saxons respected the fundamental unit of society – the individual. Both cultures retained a constitution of sorts whether oral or ensconced in the Arc of the Covenant and both favored a decentralized familial organization of governance. In fact Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin originally proposed the seal for the United States to honor these two rare civilizations:
The culture of a society is dictated by the individuals that make it up. In a free society we are individually empowered to seek our own value system and through free association may enter or exit relationships with those who share a similar disposition or freely confront and debate those who do not. When this model is reversed and ever-larger groups try to impose by force arbitrary relationships and values upon us calamity has been sure to follow.
Although the world has become smaller due to science’s technology it does not follow that there should be a larger worldwide government. Contrary to what is claimed a one world government regardless of design will assuredly result in despotism. The infrastructure needed to maintain a world government will beckon for a leader strong enough to wield the vast array of public policy tools and charismatic enough to ameliorate its disparate parts. Such a leader is no doubt to arrive, but as history has shown us he will most likely not offer us more power over our own lives. We know this because, in the words James Michner:
“A man can read 10,000 pages of history and find only the corruption of power and the defeat of hope.”
It was said that all politics is local, but our politics today are plagued by foreign policy, national politics and very little about events in our hometown or district. Actions like the Repeal of 1913 or Seasteading will return power to the local level where it serves more intimately and efficiently and where it will ultimately empower free humanity to resist this new world order. Historically while countries may fall to tyrants and cataclysm exodus was still possible, in a one world government there is nowhere to run.