THEY WANT US TO
How to Fix Things
by Jim Davidson
Special to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise
“We are called to be architects of the future, not its
— Buckminster Fuller
Let me be very brief. Things are falling apart, are not well designed, and their swift demise would be less harmful than their long slow dissipation. Nothing we do within the existing political system is sufficient to resolve its inter-tangled problems. Hastening its end isn’t possible either. Lacking resilience, the natural disasters which can be readily anticipated won’t be overcome effectively. In order to build a better world, we can only begin in certain ways. To fix things we have to survive what is happening and what is coming and be here to build well in the aftermath.
“Let me explain. No, there is no time. Let me sum up.”
— The Princess Bride
Things Are Falling Apart
It isn’t hard to see infrastructure falling apart, the unfunded liabilities and "national" debt rise into the hundreds of trillions, the market volatility, the signs that the Federal Reserve is raising interest into a downturn, the leading indicator of collapsing oil prices, the growing activity of the Ring of Fire, the apparent inability of anyone, even Trump, to end the wars in Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, the ongoing slave trade in Hollywood, DC, New York, Libya, the extensive violence of Venezuela, the increasing violence in Europe, the clear inability of so-called leadership to fulfil Brexit, and other indicators. It is less easy to see but search for "Two Davids Against Goliath" and you’ll get a sense of how many tens of millions of Fulan Gong have been genotyped for organ sales and carved up for medical tourism. Issues like the rape of children by priests, by politicians, by Hollywood and Broadway moguls, and by prominent members of the deep state are detailed extensively in leaked documents. Less documented is the evidence for human cannibalism by politicians and the apparent intention of some moguls to prolong their lives using blood products taken from small herds of teenagers.
Pick a characteristic of civilisation: moral, legal, political, artistic, commercial, scientific, and tell me whether you see much more going wrong in that arena or much more going right. I’ve a nearly infinite supply of reasons to believe that things are falling apart.
Not Well Designed
My great aunt Dori says, "It’s okay for things to fall apart if they were not very well designed to start." And, given that I believe in reincarnation and the immortality of the human soul, I get the point. As above in "falling apart," I think there is abundant evidence that things like: public schools, drug prohibition, immigration policy, border policy, gun laws, medical licences, pharmaceutical development, infrastructure policy, military policy, war policy, and a long list of other policies and procedures are not very well put together.
Simple example: healthcare used to be cheap in the United States. Then during the 1910s and 1920s the medical profession, the arch-enemy of healthcare the American Medical Association, and state legislatures criminalised and squeezed out private doctors hired by mutual aid societies, except for universities. The published intention was to make healthcare more scarce, raise prices, and keep committees of working men from being able to interview and pass judgement on the effectiveness of medical doctors. The current healthcare crisis is a direct result of evil medical doctors conspiring to impose a violent system of coercion to prevent competition, feather their nests, and hurt others. To see these men and women taking the Hippocratic oath to do no harm is to witness betrayal.
Swift Demise vs Long Slow Dissipation
Isaac Asimov wrote a lot of really interesting novels. He had some strange quirks, like preferring trains to aeroplanes. In his "Foundation" series, he pointed out that a galactic empire was thoroughly corrupt. I strongly suspect that he had in mind, and I certainly see the applicability, of a metaphor or allegorical comparison with what Asimov certainly would have seen as a growing USA-NATO empire and what was already widely called a Soviet empire. In these books, the protagonists are seeking to bring down the galactic empire quickly because that way a shorter dark age would follow, and the recovering civilisation would be starting from a higher level. To be clear, the long slow dissipation of a thoroughly corrupt empire stagnates everything and makes things much, much, much worse.
I could cite historical examples. Consider the fall of the Byzantine empire after the sack of Constantinople as compared to the fall of the Western Roman empire after the sack of Rome. Feel free to read up on these two events and get a sense of how many hundreds of years it took for recovery after Rome fell to be evident in London, say, versus how many decades for recovery to be evident in Venice in the case of Byzantium.
The longer those with power hold onto it, the more likely they are to destroy decentralised groups seeking to preserve knowledge and information. The more they are encouraged to believe their vindictive evil behaviour can persist, the worse they will be in using that power.
Politics Designed to Thwart Change
If you think politics is something besides a great cul-de-sac where lots of activity happens but no one ever gets anywhere, please feel free to explain. You are increasingly in the minority. Somewhere around 220 million Americans did not vote in November 2018. About 114 million votes were cast, and there are about 335 million in the country. Of these about 75 million are under 18, so around 146 million who were eligible to vote did not do so.
The political system seems determined to thwart Trump’s efforts to, say, end the war in Syria, or the war in Afghanistan. Even ending prohibition of marijuana was deeply opposed by former attorney general Sessions. In the UK, Brexit has made no headway against endless political wrangling. In Europe, the gilets jaunes are revolting against a system which clearly represents no one but the politicians in power. One could go on at length.
Politics seems to have been designed to cause difficulties. The problems caused by the excesses of politics seem unlikely to be resolved through the application of yet more politics.
A large number of extremely bad policies were implemented under the Woodrow Wilson administration with the enthusiastic glee of Republican and Democrat "progressives." These policies are designed to create a "managed society" and keep certain people in power. J. Edgar Hoover grasped the essentials very quickly: gather information, extort everyone in sight, and cling to power. Policies like the Federal Reserve Act, the National Firearms Acts (1934, 1968, etc.), regulatory control of industries (SEC, FAA, FCC, etc.), an interventionist war policy (Central America, Mexico, South America, Europe), Prohibition of alcohol and later of narcotics, income taxes, eliminating state legislature appointment of senators, and segregation of the civil service, were all designed and implemented to create vast federal agencies with standing armies of bureau-rats whose policies are beyond all poltiical influence.
These policies were extended under Herbert Hoover, FDR, Truman, Eisenhower (who at least felt bad about doing so), JFK, LBJ, Nixon, Reagan, the Bushes, Clinton, and Obama. Carter deregulated four major industries and his zero baseline budgeting was an attempt to balance the budget. Trump seems at least interested in changing fundamentals such as whether to have war in Syria. Trump decriminalised industrial hemp growing with the 2018 farm act.
Agencies with really damaging powers: the FBI, the Black Chamber which became the NSA, the CIA. Given their willingness to use extortion to keep power, the men and women running these agencies are extremely dangerous to all freedom, especially individual liberty.
No Hastening the End
I don’t think it rational to attempt to hasten the end because any actions in this regard which can be traced to an individual are going to be used to defend the system. The system looks like a martyr when it is "attacked." Lots of fools seem to fall for that idea every time. The experiences of Manning, Snowden, Assange, Cody Wilson, and the evident search for Satoshi Nakamoto are all indicative of how hard it is to hasten the end of a system that is determined to hunt and hurt anyone who challenges any aspect of it.
The system is in a word: rigid. Rigidity is not a good thing. A rigid mechanical system lacks flexibility so small perturbations have major consequences. If you think about a car engine without any lubricating fluid, you are thinking about a mechanical system becoming increasingly rigid. It either reaches a point where it cannot remain in motion and seizes up entirely (very rigid), or it reaches a critical rigidity in some component or components that break and so it flies apart. Either way it stops working.
Gerard O’Neill pointed out that NASA was, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, increasingly rigid. He pointed out that rigidity leads to failure. And he was correct. NASA cannot be reformed. I didn’t know that in 1987 when I began working very hard on reforming it, but I have learned.
We Can Begin in Certain Ways
There are some things we can do to begin making a better civilisation. It is possible to create trade networks. My friend Sonora Jack has been building one he calls Caledonia. Others exist.
It is possible to create small communities. I’ve seen this done on four continents, and I have a sense of how open source designs can be helpful.
It is possible to develop new businesses (Uber, Lyft) and new technologies (Bitcoin, Ethereum) which dramatically change or disrupt existing industries. I believe social networking apps with extensive tools for users to control their content and interactions can be beneficial in striking at the root of corruption and sexual violence in, say, the entertainment industry.
Surviving is a good idea. Living people are able to implement changes through their actions. In order to survive coming natural and political disasters, including wars, famines, volcanoes, tsunamis, comet impacts, and other events, I think preparation is in order. I’ve been preparing for several years, and learning skills in areas like gardening, recognising edible wild plants, hunting, fishing, sewing, building tools and structures, and repairing vehicles. I don’t think of myself as expert in any of these. I also know a great deal about technologies like computers and cryptography and I’ve been widely identified in some of these areas as expert.
Many people are going to survive the coming collapse of mainstream "civilisation."
In order to build a future, it is necessary to generate design ideas, and it is necessary to exist. Many people are going to have a lot of trouble getting through the next ten years. I’m happy to help those who can be helped.
Ultimately, I think we who survive have the opportunity to build in more resilient ways. That is my intention. I’m delighted to see many thousands of people working on Startup Societies, Seasteading, crypto-currencies, dark web commerce, 3D printed guns, Wikileaks, open source technologies, and all kinds of disruptive activities. I believe there is a huge enthusiasm for change, for doing things better, and that the era of complacency is finally behind us.
Jim Davidson is vision director for HoustonSpaceSociety.net and founder of Individual Sovereign University and the Resilient Ways Foundation. He is currently chief financial officer for a start-up social networking and talent agency company and chief executive officer for a self-storage structure start-up. Don’t send him PayPal he won’t accept their terms.
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