L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 340, October 9, 2005
Tenth Anniversary Edition, Part 2
Your Destiny Is to Make a Better World
Special to TLE
The following essay arose out of a discussion on the fabulous GoldMoney "dgc chat" list in September 2005. Subscribers have access to a more thorough essay on this topic.
Please allow me to offer some thoughts on this topic, which I've spent rather a lot of time studying since first encountering the term "slave rebellions" in a book by Michael Flynn. Yes, there are generational minor peaks in the slave rebellion cycle, and there are inter-generational major peaks. We happen to be approaching a major peak, which may become a very major peak.
You write, "the slave rebellion" as if to anticipate only one. That idea is mistaken, I believe. Rather, we have already seen some clear signs of rebellion in Louisiana, where people roaming the streets of New Orleans rebelled against authority, taking potshots at helicopters. The rebels gained control of the Convention Center and parts of the SuperDome. To an extent, the police force of New Orleans rebelled, with some 200 officers leaving the force to care for their homes and families during the devastation. Obviously, pigs in New York City are more inured to the suffering and hardship of Wall Street investment bankers in the World Trade Center, and were not threatened in their homes with flooding and misery.
The Free State Project and the Free State Wyoming project are signs of rebellion. They are indications of people forming into defensive sub-cultures able to come to each other's aid in the event of further gun seizures and more brutal repression. To some extent, these are formations of Warsaw Ghetto style enclaves which are more than likely going to be the targets for some really vicious behavior on the part of government.
It seems to me that the FSP and FSW represent people who are clear that they cannot tolerate the existing trends toward authoritarian brutality, and don't see much prospect for resisting alone. So, they are forming ranks, moving to be near each other. Doing so makes the work of the authoritarians easier, to an extent, and more likely.
There are two events which might be characterized by an historian as "the slave rebellion." One was the Spartacus revolt of the gladiators. Much has been written about this event in novels and in glamorous histories, but the key thing to remember is: Spartacus lost. ("I am Spartacus!") The gladiators were defeated, they surrendered, and the Romans tortured tens of thousands of them to death by crucifying men, women, and children from Naples to Rome along every roadway, so that the stench of their rotting bodies was terrible. When your friends celebrate Roman culture, as ABC and HBO have done recently, remind them of this Roman habit of torturing to death enthusiasts for individual liberty.
The other single slave rebellion of consequence happened about 200 years ago in Haiti. The plantation slaves in Haiti overthrew the French and became an independent country. Since that time, the French government, the British government, the USA government, the banking cartel, and the United Nations have spent nearly every year taking actions to create hardship for the people of Haiti, to make them suffer for their successful revolution. Haiti has been ostracized, embargoed, demonized, vilified, blockaded, boycotted, invaded, and occupied. Their economy has been IMF'd time and again.
So, the case for rebellion isn't really a good one. If you are expecting people to rise up in the next decade or so and overthrow brutal, repressive, authoritarian, evil governments, you should please understand that I am not expecting anything of the sort. I'm expecting the slave rebellions in this major peak to be brutally repressed in the name of fighting terrorism, in the name of fighting the war on drugs, in the name of fighting the war on money laundering, and in the name of "civilization" in the decadent, ostentatious, Roman "pan et circenses" meaning of the term. "Civilization" in that people live in cities, worship icons of animal gods by cheering for squads of steroidally abused athletes, and clamor for the sacrifice of more wealth producers on the altar of the least capable.
Or, more candidly, a civilization that is tantamount to cannibalism, accompanied by the beating drums and the maddened crowds of blood thirsty primitives dedicated to laziness and incontinence.
Take a cold hard look at the people who rebelled in New Orleans earlier this month. Take a look at one of the minor peaks, the 1992 Los Angeles riots, or the last major peak, the 1964-1969 race riots, including the infamous Watts riot. Try to imagine these people forming a culture of freedom, private property, individual liberty, free enterprise, and free markets. What you saw were people looting, killing, raping, mugging, vandalizing, and burning. These people wouldn't likely mind becoming the next Papa Doc Duvalier rulers of some fiefdom wherever they could gain and keep power, propped up by distant puppeteers in the banking cartel. But, these are not the sort of people one should look to for equating taxation with theft. Rather, they are more likely to seek the color of law and take up station with the bureau-rats and politicos who see "nothing wrong" with theft in the name of the state.
Please do not misunderstand me. I've been to the 9th Ward in New Orleans. I've walked those mean streets. I've been to the South Bronx. I've driven through South Central LA. I know how people in Harlem and Watts were living when they began rioting, I understand their sense that they have been subjugated and made to suffer injustice and outrages, and I sympathize. I am not surprised that people rebel. But, I don't expect them to become philosopher kings overnight, either.
One of the observed difficulties of rebellion is that it frequently fails due to lack of outside support. If you look at Haiti, it is a very special case of successful revolution in the midst of nearly total isolation.
The American Revolution was supported by the French navy, French military advisors, German military advisors like von Steuben, and other outside support. I suspect that many a Dutch merchant captain was delighted to smuggle arms, ammunition, powder, and tools to the revolutionaries in revenge for a hundred years of British haughtiness and oppression. (Navigation Acts be cursed!)
One of the reasons that many science fiction writers of a quasi-military turn of mind (Heinlein, Niven, Pournelle come immediately to mind) have postulated a brutally repressive world government is this difficulty of having a successful revolution with nothing outside. The hydraulic empire of Egypt became extremely corrupt and decadent, but lasted thousands of years before anything came along to topple it. The Greeks came along and liked it so much, they married into it. Only the Romans were shortsighted enough to smash it and burn its libraries and temples.
One of the opportunities we now have is to create entire sets of economies outside the mainstream. The financial crypto systems of Digi Cash, Digi Gold, J. Orlin Grabbe's Digital Monetary Trust - all these were premature and often poorly concealed variants of systems that are now in operation or development. Economic systems of trade and commerce that are properly secured should afford the opportunity to create and accumulate wealth outside the reach of the unproductive bureau-rats and politicos who seek to feast on herds of humans like vampires. (Seen as allegory, Bram Stoker's _Dracula_ is more about the thieving ways of decadent European aristocracy than it is about a mythological creature.)
Such systems would be part of the fabric of a new system of the world. You and I have the opportunity now to lay a few cornerstones. We can find places that are flat and level, tie down into the bedrock of sound ethics, and build. But, don't imagine that you can build a stairway to the heavens in a few days or years. There is no royal road to geometry. Buildings set up in a few hours are knocked down by windstorms all the time. The sort of storm forces we have to contend against are able to wreak havoc with "buildings" decades in the making.
The successful revolution to overthrow millennia of deceit, taxation, and slavery is coming. But, it is not based on the success, nor is it thwarted by the failure of some slave rebellions. Done right, it may be possible to build up a better system of the world which actively prevents theft and looting without the great effusion of blood that normally attends world changing events.
Like the success of the Allies in World War Two, indeed, like FDR's deceit which attended the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, it all depends on good crypto. Eisenhower tried to make this point in his farewell address. The best minds had been recruited to make available the best crypto for the UK-USA alliance, the ECHELON databases, the machinery of global espionage and control. The military industrial complex built up a system of control, and we are today subjugated by that very system. But, they made two very important mistakes.
First, they established an incredibly robust system for inter-networking computers, which is now a global system of communication and commerce. Second, they failed, utterly, to keep a lid on public key cryptography, which is the basis for essential information security.
If we are successful in developing, implementing, and setting in motion a new system of the world based on individual liberty, private property secured with strong crypto, and free enterprise, if we are not betrayed in the early going, it should be possible to so organize the world that it becomes impossible for anyone to rule it with force, and to so secure property that it becomes impossible for anyone to steal very much of it.
The nature of knowledge is such that it matters a great deal who wields it, so that much of it is only valuable in the mind of someone capable of using it. More tangible forms of wealth need to be secured in more tangible ways.
I feel confident that these things are coming, that these possibilities are going to be realized. I do what I can to write about these ideas in my newsletter.
We stand at a threshold, with many doors along a vast hallway. In the Twentieth Century, we've seen where many of those doors lead: to torture, oppression, brutality, war, suffering, famine, plague, genocide, and conflict. But, we've also seen that some of the choices arrayed before us lead on to better things, to prosperity, to access to the universe, to the great cornucopia set before us.
Don't wish for a slave rebellion to rise up and solve all your difficulties. It won't. Grasp your difficulties with both hands and wrestle them to the ground. Overcome them, and gain entry into the vast cavernous space where the treasure of prosperity is all about. That is your challenge, that is your opportunity, that is your destiny.
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