State of Civilization
Science and Technology
Civilization in Space
Civilization and Cosmos
Changing our civilization
2015 Nov 28
Laws of Injustice
Laws are the primary sources of injustice. They are the output of corrupt and incompetent politicians and dictators. They are arbitrary because they do not follow principle, but arise from whim or, more commonly, from pressure groups and lobbyists with narrow agendas, typically adverse to the largest part of people who become the subjects.
The reformation needed to achieve freedom, justice, and peace is simple: change from laws to principles.
Change has a continuous presence in society and civilization, but there is no mechanism that assures changes are beneficial and constitute progress by some measure. Some of the changes happen on the scales of centuries and millennia, which makes ignoring them easy since we do not usually notice them within our lifetimes. The changes that are momentous and rapid are rare: ones like massive tsunamis and supervolcanos. At any given time, the normal condition is that no living person has experienced these rapid, civilization-changing events. It is therefore easy to ignore the effects of such changes on civilization, easier to focus on the human-driven changes of technical progress, entertainment, and fashion, which are the more trivial.
Between the changes of the catastrophic and the trivial are major ones associated with ascendence and decline of civilization. Effects of such changes can be noticed within a life span, while the changes can run on across centuries. It seems that little thought is directed toward those processes as to their consequences, even though they are typically human driven.
Survival of sapient species and civilization is most effectively done with rational thought and freedom of action, where consequences are recognized and included in thoughts and actions. Within our contemporary civilization, societal change is controlled by institutions with irrational world-views, which use coercion and fraud to further their own ends. These institutions control or otherwise manipulate rational thought patterns and actions of people. Societies and civilizations that are dominated by such institutions are bound to fail, and could become extinct.
Societies and civilizations that enable rational thought and freedom of actions are the most adaptable, with the greatest ability to accommodate changes and crises. These can survive and prosper on time scales never before experienced by humans.
Long-term survival requires manipulating the environment around us and building infrastructure that meets the needs of life and civilization. On its own, life without civilization will eventually perish as Sol and Earth evolve into states that will cease to support life. Only civilization can survive beyond those times. Those civilizations following rational thought and freedom of action will have the best probabilities of prosperous survival into the remote future.
Albert Jay Nock wrote in 1935 in Our Enemy, the State:
What we and our more nearly immediate descendants shall see is a steady progress in collectivism running off into a military despotism of a severe type. Closer centralization; a steadily growing bureaucracy; State power and faith in State power increasing, social power and faith in social power diminishing; the State absorbing a continually larger proportion of the national income; production languishing, the State in consequence taking over one "essential industry" after another, managing them with ever-increasing corruption, inefficiency and prodigality, and finally resorting to a system of forced labour. Then at some point in this progress, a collision of State interests, at least as general as that which occurred in 1914, will result in an industrial and financial dislocation too severe for the asthenic social structure to bear; and from this the State will be left to "the rusty death of machinery," and the casual anonymous forces of dissolution will be supreme.
One can look at the contemporary times of the early 21st Century and see how essentially every major government on Earth has progressed along the path of unsustainable financial extravagance, where every major currency is now without intrinsic value, unstably balanced on unconditional faith of people to continue accepting the intrinsically worthless as though it has some actual value.
So far in the current crisis, the agents of the States have demonstrated their incompetence to cope with the economic monsters they themselves created and unleashed upon the populace, yet they continue on in their arrogance and disregard, and too many of the populace accept the actions of those agents as acts of virtue and wisdom.
End of intellectual constraint will come with the end of the Church. Churches, as institutions that control societies, are apparently at their weakest over the past two millennia. States, in contrast, are at their strongest in their control of people through pervasive surveillance and monitoring, and in terms of their abilities to engage in armed conflict.
The people of the Church have the audacity to believe that they can understand a god capable of creating this vast Universe, and, worse, that they have the authority to speak in his name and to control and punish any who would disagree with them. Could there be any greater hubris and degree of self deception? In Western Civilization, the Church has lost most of its coercive authority, but much of the world remains under authoritarian religious control. In the west, rationality remains impaired because of willing submission to religious authoritarians.
Freedom can exist only in the absence of systemic coercion and fraud. Freedom can be established and secured only in societies that rigorously protect freedom. Those societies cannot have institutions of coercion and fraud exerting control of people and properties.
The objective of the endeavor for freedom must be nothing less than a reformation of civilization–otherwise it will fall short of what is essential. The entire political and religious institutional infrastructure must be removed or rendered ineffective. Friends of freedom need to focus not just on freedom for themselves, but freedom as it would change civilization and improve the probability of survival of humanity.
Humanity has at present what should be an unacceptably high probability of losing its civilization, and perhaps its existence as well.
Civilization does not require central political or religious authority. Being unnecessary, the existence of central authorities is not a valid criteria for defining civilization. Central authorities can be removed without damage to civilization–in fact, the opposite, since the central authorities are the sources of damage to civilization.
Many civilizations, nearly all in fact, have failed in the course of human history. None implemented the Principle of Equal Freedom; none had the protection of citizens as a social imperative. Empires of violence and exploitation were the norm. Most civilizations perished with violence as a major factor in their demise.
The principle gives civilizations their greatest probability of survival. It disallows organized violence and exploitation against citizens. It allows the citizens to protect their self-interests, to express their creativity, and to prosper from doing so.
This is a unique time in the course of history, a critical time perhaps for humanity and civilization. Such times are often not easy to live through. With multiple crises coalescing and no one able to foresee the complete pattern nor its consequences, it is a time fraught with risk.
However, humanity now has something it never before had: knowledge of how to live without the State and its coercion–knowledge of how to live in freedom in modern, stable societies.
From Locke's unnamed system of people equally enjoying the freedom of natural law and Spencer's "First Principle", or "Principle of Equal Freedom", we have progressed to the specific technologies that have been developed that would enable the functioning of free societies.
Rationality and freedom are better understood now than ever before, but the threats to both are increasing. People who champion both are more visible and outspoken than before, with unparalleled opportunities to educate and motivate others.
Those who would improve and strengthen civilization have an enormous task ahead of them.