Sunday, September 23, 2012

How do we get a voluntary society?

In my previous post, I put the word "let's" in the title, as if the achievement of anarchy were something that we could do in any of our lifetimes.  However, when I think of the two routes for our future, the outlook is grim:
  • If we have a quick collapse, I imagine people are going to want to set up local governments and gather armies to preemptively "defend" their homeland and rights (eg. to water) because they're afraid for their future.  (In contrast, members of a voluntary society will depend on persuasion rather than force to get what they want.)
  • If we have a gradual decline in central authority, the outlook could be better because people will slowly have to get used to working out their own solutions, but as I look at the trend in America (and other nations) it seems that people are choosing more authoritarianism the more they feel uncertain, so they spiral down the whirlpool of feeding the beast.

Basically, people's biggest argument to me is that "people cannot handle it," and I think they're not far off, but not for the reasons they think: people would do better than we suppose, but most are afraid of the idea that someone's not "in charge" or "doing something" and so they'll try to put up another government... even the ones that are self-sufficient would join the gang -- not because people wouldn't handle it but because of their fear that other people wouldn't handle it.

So maybe we'll never get there.  But I've gotta try.

Basically, it'll be a lot of work to show examples and change the majority mindset over time.  (Hm... I wonder if society will stay stable enough for these ideas to propagate!  Well, I've got to act as if they will.)  Seems I've got company in this opinion: here are calls for "gradualism" and for "methodology (not creeds)".  (Although I, like Rothbard, would gladly jump to the final goal if given the chance.)

So let's get pragmatic: let's spread around the activities that'll help us get there.  Join me there, and I'll join with you.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Let's Achieve Anarchy. (Seriously!)

OK, I'm just going to come out and say that I'm an anarchist.  I don't know that we'll be able to get to a stateless (ie. governmentless) society in my lifetime, but I'm now convinced that it's not only possible but actually desirable: I believe that a world of anarchy -- meaning a world where there is no hierarchy of government force and all associations are voluntary -- will be overall a better world for us.  This conclusion has been a long time coming; many of you know that I've been pretty libertarian for many years now... I didn't seriously think that a society was possible without a government... but the more I study and look around the more I see that most everyone would benefit.  It may require smart people with good plans to pave the way, plus a lot of dedication and attention to the cause and a ton of luck... so I'm going to do all I can to help everyone see the benefits of voluntarism and the evils of "the state".

Let me reiterate something: anarchy doesn't mean chaos or no social order; political anarchy just means no enforced political hierarchy.  We'll still have police, courts, roads, welfare and all kinds of other things that government currently does... they just won't be owned by government and backed by aggression... they'll be done they way they've always evolved: naturally, and appropriate to the societal conditions.  I know, you may be worried that those with the biggest guns will own everything and the environment will be trashed, so read on.

Let me give the best argument I have for anarchy: "look around."

In addition to the philosophy (and there's to plenty to study), I will continually gather arguments:
Just a quick note to my friends who may lean toward one side or other of the major US political parties:
  • Republicans: I believe most of you value liberty, so keep your eyes open for evidence that the large corporations and large bureaucracies have the most access and favors from our politicians, so they are creating a system that weakens individual and small-scale power.
  • Democrats: Since you value civil liberties, watch for how government force and policy can be changed at a whim; and since you value social good, watch for how the big corporate, political, and military players are always getting their own policies injected into the process.
Government is actually our enemy.  My hope is to kindly but directly demonstrate it to everyone, with philosophy, with real solutions, and by living it more and more in my life.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Saturday, June 23, 2012

I'm outraged at Turing's treatment, but it seems many haven't learned from it.

Most everyone agrees that the persecution of Alan Turing (for homosexual activity) was wrong.  However, I want to point out a mindset that I consider dangerous, and which will lead to more of this kind of oppression.  In explaining the House of Lords' rejection of a posthumous pardon, Lord McNally stated on Feb 2 that:

Alan Turing was properly convicted of what at the time was a criminal offence. He would have known that his offence was against the law and that he would be prosecuted.

Improper laws should not be supported.  We should not only abolish them, but also decry their creators and enforcers and declare that it was never right to support them in the first place.  Lord McNally's statement shows an opinion I see all too often: the support for laws just for the reason that they're laws.  I'm sorry, but I reject the idea that it is good to uphold oppression just to maintain order or just because it was decided by a group of so-called representatives; there is no virtue in unquestioning support of government rules.

Let's make it more popular to disobey bad laws (especially when done openly!).

Friday, February 3, 2012

RootsTech Presentation: Collaborating with Mom via P2P

Well, my presentation is done.  I'm happy to say that I finished enough of my tools to show off the essential parts:
  • A tool where users can watch their shared file-system folders for changes from others
  • ... which (diffs) can be reviewed and then accepted or rejected
  • ... and where users can record their identity (from IDs in GEDCOM files and HTML files with microformat markup) and be notified when items of interest in their own ancestry get updated in their shared data files.
However, I'm sorry to say that my whole presentation was misguided:
  • The user stories were too broad and ambitious to really fit the simple thesis implied by my title (where I originally aimed to make it a very simple, easy-to-use tool).
  • The technical elements I reviewed and combined were more suited toward more advanced developers (and not the audience I attracted... which was small, by the way).
Basically, I still have a lot to learn about giving an effective presentation.  Well, it's been a good learning experience.  I've put online the syllabus and the final presentation, for what they're worth.  Let's hope I get a chance to refactor/reformulate/resurrect this again.