Systemic Integration of Freedom and Respect for Blockchains and Other Crypto Projects
by Wes Bertrand, MA counseling psychology
The company Blockchains in Sparks, NV has been seeking to change the world. Their office displays the “To the crazy ones” poem from Apple’s famous “Think Different” ad campaign. Change in how humans accomplish things and relate to each other (and to the planet) remains the greatest challenge. This treatise examines personal, interpersonal, organizational, and societal processes and systems, and it advocates ones with optimal functioning that can hold everyone’s needs with equal care. Win/win, free market interactions honor needs, such as enrichment, respect, freedom, and fun. An integrated vision of human freedom and interpersonal respect accords with intrinsic motivation and openness to change. Humans thrive within an adaptive and dynamic range involving Balance, Resilience, Insight, and Empathy (Dr. Dan Siegel’s BRIE acronym). Neither rigidity nor chaos works well for us for any length of time. Largely due to our present culture of domination and punishment-oriented systems, fixed-oriented mindsets tend to be the norm. Yet, fear of change or, rather, of the uncertainty and vulnerability that might accompany it, can be relieved via compassionate understanding. We can finally make a holistic transition that honors ourselves as precious and resourceful beings, thinking and feeling organisms psychologically adapted to a future of flourishing.
Blockchains’ Mission Statement
Organizational Stages and Systemic Influences
The Unjust Nature of Politics
Reflections on the Origins of Obedience
Reality Mimicking Dystopian Fiction
Expounding on Contentions and Realizations
Blockchains for Community, Instead of Dysfunctional Political Systems
Inner and Systemic Change
Blockchains’ Mission Statement (Sparks, NV, Summer 2019—now outdated)
Promote and demonstrate the ethical use and innovation of technologies and ideas that empower the individual, improve social coordination, and provide sustainable infrastructure.
As noted on the github DCE repository, under conditions of collaborative projects.md:
Individuals should have input in the development and design of systems, technological or otherwise, that affect them…
…Individuals unsatisfied with the systems affecting them have the right to exit them.
Furthermore, in this promotional video – Blockchains | Sandbox City https://youtu.be/sr1lch2Pbh4 – a girl protagonist articulates a societal problem:
You attached yourself to the corporations, the rule-makers, and the status quo.
Attaching ourselves to these things unfortunately seems rather effortless in our modern social and political worlds. Some effort is typically needed to think in new ways and do new things. Yet the payoffs can be more than commensurate. By changing patterns of the past, we can then consistently promote our lives and well-being. The systemic processes that hinder the above mission reflect our dysfunctional and oftentimes dissociated culture. In this treatise we’ll explore how these processes can be overcome and, further, what particular insights and strategies promote healed systems, on psychological, interpersonal, organizational, and political levels. Let’s investigate.
Organizational Stages and Systemic Influences
For nearly all of our species’ history—over 95% of it—humans lived in small groups and tribes, which favored various magical and mythical worldviews involving animism along with superstitious thinking. Survival and belonging were the orders of the day. Various rituals, routines, and rules reflected word-of-mouth wisdom, which was passed on for thousands of generations. While these processes offered minimal scientific understanding of both nature and persons, they still enabled perpetuation of our species, replication of our genes through time.
Of course, countless individuals never made it to reproductive age—up to half dying before puberty—but the knowledge and practices of each group helped them survive and adapt to differing and changing environments. This included during harsh glacial periods, when only a small population of humans made it through such tough times. Even in better times, childhood mortality rates continued to be abysmal by today’s standards, yet the surviving genes continued their phenotypic manifestations in new persons who reproduced.
Many cultures naturally arose prior to formal civilization and afterwards, reflecting particular developmental stages. Fashioning tools from wood, stone, and bone enabled hunting, fishing, and gathering for sustenance, living from season to season. Though hard to fathom now in our age of relatively astounding technological advances, these primitive tools enabled highly similar cycles of life and death to continue for a couple thousand centuries, roughly ten thousand generations of humans. Yet, in such a survival orientation, not much long-term thinking and forecasting (let alone innovating) were done. Again, the main focus was on surviving, as well as belonging (strength in numbers).
Then, with the Neolithic period (and a changed climate) came the advent of domestication and agricultural methods, as well as a new, monumental method to transform society and pass on knowledge and technology: written language. As more permanent shelters and larger structures were formed and goods were stockpiled, more values were traded from the wealth that was produced. Essentially, new aspects of reality were discovered and utilized, which led to many advances in civilization, which enabled the possibility of humans taking better care of themselves and each other.
However, civilization also brought much discontent and disease among higher population densities. Needless to say, things still weren’t figured out on a collective level. In many interpersonal ways, humans continue to think in terms of win/lose dynamics, based on emotions of fear, distrust, and animosity. So, they devised and maintained hierarchical organizations to direct, control, and even enslave people, while trying to provide stability with fixed roles and scalable procedures. Central-planning mentalities came to the fore, attempting to get more done amidst large and complex operations, from constructing huge pyramids to chartering vast ocean voyages.
Commerce began flowing in all directions too, as did bows and arrows, swords and shields, and blood. Expansive realms of authoritarian rule, such as the Achaemenid dynasty and Roman Empires, have continued in various forms into our modern, highly technological times. The list of big empires is lengthy, to say the least, just like the list of current nation-states. Throughout the history of civilization, humans have been subjected to a myriad of dominions and reigns, such as empires, dynasties, kingdoms, and nations, both arising from and resulting in multitudes of wars and conquests.
YouTuber Bill Wurtz offers an eccentric portrayal of these often brutal processes and the many human geographical changes over the centuries, which starts at about the following time-stamp, four minutes into his nineteen-minute video.
history of the world, i guess
Unfortunately, coercive strategies have been used in appalling amounts throughout our species’ existence and, as we’ll investigate, humans are still using them. Below is a quite informative graphic by author Frederick Laloux from his profound 2014 book, Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage of Human Consciousness, and his summary article “The Future of Management Is Teal,” which shows stages of cultural (and psychological) evolution in human organizations:
We can be very thankful for the noncoercive aspects of our cultural evolution in relation to cooperation and value-exchange throughout these developmental stages. And as they progress, coercion tends to become less flagrantly used and less appealing, assuming that more integration occurs. The stage descriptions and colors in the chart are from the Integral Theory work of Ken Wilber as well as (with different colors) the Spiral Dynamics Integral work of Clare Graves, Don Beck, and others. Different levels, or stages, were given different colors mostly to facilitate ease of remembering. Within Integral Theory Red, impulsiveness-oriented organizations use division of labor along with command authority (e.g., tribal militias). Amber, conformity-oriented organizations use more stable roles and long-term replicable processes, along with familiar top-down, command-and-control methods, which we’ll be investigating (e.g., governments and their “public” schools).
Orange represents more recent, achievement-oriented organizations, which value innovation, accountability, and meritocracy to a much greater degree than Amber ones. However, they still use pyramidal, goal-oriented management to compete in the marketplace (e.g., Fortune 500 corporations). Nevertheless, Orange stage emerged from Enlightenment ideas, involving the methodology of science, reason, and rights of the individual. All persons (at least in principle, though often not in practice) had more opportunities for achievement and progress in life, instead of being mired in traditional thinking and age-old ethnocentric biases and divisiveness. Notice that much of humanity has yet to transcend those problematic aspects, since stages of Amber, Red, and Magenta (involving magical and mythological thinking) are still holding sway.
Green stage is much more recent, and it represents empowerment-oriented organizations. While they still maintain a hierarchical (corporate) model, they beneficially embrace more egalitarian forms of management, delegate more authority to people in the workplace, and take into account more than the corporation itself (i.e., its explicit goal to “maximize shareholder wealth”) in order to honor multiple stakeholders. Green also highly values pluralism and equality, along with sensitivity and inclusion, which further honors individuals, though it can give rise to strategies that fail to factor in different levels of knowledge, skills, and abilities in human interaction.
In contrast to Orange’s rationality and scientific thinking, Green ventures into postmodernist thinking, which strives to deconstruct and challenge dogmatic claims, power imbalances, and hierarchical structures, though oftentimes forwarding contradictory notions of its own. For example, truth and objectivity are declared impossible and everything is declared relative, overlooking the fallacy of self-exclusion, or what Ayn Rand called the fallacy of stolen concept. Such claims reveal that this stage has broken aspects. The broken aspects of Orange tend to stem from distrust and win/lose thinking, which are carried over from Amber. Wilber has noted that when broken Green and broken Orange stages remain in conflict, humanity continues to get Amber.
Fortunately, a way out of contradictions and conflicts is actually attainable. Humanity’s next developmental stage is given the color Teal. While Teal organizations may include various useful and non-harmful aspects of prior stages—thus achieving unbroken integration—they finally move beyond, or transcend, the pyramidal models. Such organizations tend to function like a living organism, as they honor self-management, wholeness, and evolutionary purpose.
We can glean a lot from the aspects of stages leading up to Teal. Humans reared in an obedience-to-authority paradigm are prone to trying to control people, or keeping them under control (including themselves). Since time immemorial, these top-down, centralized stages have been extensively modeled for children as they mature in society, and they often involve emotions of fear, insecurity, distrust, anger, disgust, resentment, along with antagonistic thoughts and judgments, giving rise to and reflecting enemy images. To understand and empathize with these disturbing elements can enable us to liberate ourselves and others, so we can stop repeating such costly cycles of the past.
One big reason that modern, domination-oriented institutions persist is because nearly all of us experienced distrustful injunctions as children, such as: “Speak only when spoken to.” “You’re to be seen and not heard.” “You should be ashamed of yourself!” Children are typically judged implicitly or explicitly as being thoughtless, careless, clumsy, slobbish, disrespectful, out of control, rough, loud, exhausting, depleting, ungrateful, selfish, needy, and so on. These judgments tend to flow habitually from past cycles of costly actions and costly reactions; they are the self-fulfilling prophecies of previously sacrificed needs (when adults were themselves children). Is there a more tragic form of learning happening on the planet?
Of course, in our culture both children and adults are accused of being selfish, which can be used as a catch-all term for anything related to self-interest whether or not it sacrifice the needs of others. This accusation often comes with a desire for a world in which everyone strives to be selfless, or focused mainly on helping others instead of oneself.
Notice how this contrasts with a desire for a world in which everyone strives for self-understanding and self-actualization, thereby allowing everyone’s needs to be considered and held with equal care. After all, a respectful understanding of the self tends to naturally generate consideration and thoughtfulness, which are qualities that serve humanity far more than selflessness. Problems with self-esteem and self-integration cannot be remedied by vilifying or rejecting the self. Yet, self-abandonment is the take-away for children when they’re admonished for being “selfish.”
When compassionate understanding of the self is sacrificed, developmental wounds of the “ego” continue to be shame-ridden and guilt-ridden, forming protector parts that can lead to further experiences of depression and anger. These parts tend to practice the traditional arts of manipulation and sacrifice among fellow victims of dissociation, or self-disconnection. When scaled up to coercive systems, we witness and experience both dictatorial attitudes and mythical ones, each demanding more sacrifices of body and mind.
Novelist/philosopher Ayn Rand considered mythology to be a subset of mysticism, which she described as an irrational philosophical notion. However, Wilber’s Integral Theory considers mysticism differently as a state of consciousness relating to the nature of existence, which involves degrees or kinds of “waking up” to the ultimate nature of mind and reality. Despite these conceptual differences, Rand explained the grave problems with mysticism (and thus, mythology) when it supplants rationality. Here’s an excerpt from her 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged, in the words of protagonist John Galt:
A mystic is driven by the urge to impress, to cheat, to flatter, to deceive, to force that omnipotent consciousness of others. ‘They’ are his only key to reality, he feels that he cannot exist save by harnessing their mysterious power and extorting their unaccountable consent. ‘They’ are his only means of perception and, like a blind man who depends on the sight of a dog, he feels he must leash them in order to live. To control the consciousness of others becomes his only passion; power-lust is a weed that grows only in the vacant lots of an abandoned mind.
Every dictator is a mystic, and every mystic is a potential dictator. A mystic craves obedience from men, not their agreement. He wants them to surrender their consciousness to his assertions, his edicts, his wishes, his whims—as his consciousness is surrendered to theirs. He wants to deal with men by means of faith and force—he finds no satisfaction in their consent if he must earn it by means of facts and reason. Reason is the enemy he dreads and, simultaneously, considers precarious; reason, to him, is a means of deception; he feels that men possess some power more potent than reason—and only their causeless belief or their forced obedience can give him a sense of security, a proof that he has gained control of the mystic endowment he lacked. His lust is to command, not to convince: conviction requires an act of independence and rests on the absolute of an objective reality. What he seeks is power over reality and over men’s means of perceiving it, their mind, the power to interpose his will between existence and consciousness, as if, by agreeing to fake the reality he orders them to fake, men would, in fact, create it.
Notice Rand’s portrayal of a sort of sinister intent of minds engaged in mysticism. Unfortunately, she did not know a lot about the psychological nature of protector parts arising from childhood trauma, so she didn’t consider such wounds from a compassionate perspective, which is needed for healing.
In such a difficult psychological and societal context, fear of doing things differently can give rise to the thought that systemic change is impractical and has uncertain outcomes (or certainly chaotic ones), making them scary propositions. Believing that things will probably go quite badly if transformative alterations are attempted keeps the status quo preferable. Status-quo bias thus remains, despite its many seen and unseen costs. Identifying these costs can certainly help us understand more of what we’re truly missing, though fears along with rationalizations can impede full recognition of many serious downsides of the status quo. More awareness and compassionate understanding are needed.
Distrust of oneself and of fellow human beings tends to be coupled to fears. Being guarded and protected instead of open and vulnerable runs parallel with the aggressive elements of human history. Violent clashes between persons and groups represent the fight-for-survival stage of Red (in tooth and claw), and with Amber-stage we witness further institutionalized, coercive survival strategies. These stages tragically persist regardless of all the vibrant, creative, and friendly commerce happening today, which represent authentic, win/win survival strategies. The military/industrial and prison/industrial complexes stand as ominous testaments to sacrificing stages of Orange and Green to Amber.
Despite the pervasive distrust throughout society that’s reflected in command-and-control organizations, we humans continue to voluntarily assist each other in countless ways for our survival and flourishing. This represents the soulful life-force of respect, equality of rights, compassion, and love residing in the depths of our minds and hearts, which yearns to be recognized, cherished, and reciprocated.
Given the advent of computerization and the Internet, most of us now have the world’s knowledge and virtual communication possibilities at our fingertips. No doubt, there can be drawbacks to virtual rather than real-life interactions, as the realm of social media tends to demonstrate on a daily basis. Problems with “walled gardens” and echo chambers of beliefs and attitudes continue. A culture of trust, empathy, and understanding can be harder to foster online when persons don’t really know each other and don’t meet face-to-face, and this can be compounded when they remain anonymous online or have identities divergent from real life. Unheeded emotions and moralistic judgment can transform discussions into hostile arguments. Few judgments are as definitive as “bad” and “wrong,” in opposition to “good” and “right.” These labels commonly serve as shortcuts to expressing dislikes and likes, or describing persons and circumstances as either life-diminishing or life-enriching.
Coercive organizations and systems basically uphold and foster demand-oriented thinking. When humans are viewed fundamentally as untrustworthy, demands become coercive substitutes for requests. A purported request with an implicit threat behind it is still a demand. Requests come with the option to say “No, thanks” without a reaction of hostility or punishment. Requests meet our need for respect and, just as importantly, our need to respect others.
People who’ve been immersed in Red and Amber stages (along with broken Orange and Green) have been trained to value power-over strategies and to view requests as hindrances to command-and-control systems, since requests might not be fulfilled, while demands must be fulfilled—or else! These win/lose systems have been devised and used in an attempt to aid in survival and safety; historically, the in-group must make sacrifices to “authority” and prevent out-groups from intruding on them or harming them.
So, demands (backed by threats) tend to reflect fears about one’s welfare or survival being jeopardized, irrespective of the steep costs of the win/lose paradigm. This paradigm of course contains an ethical and political contradiction—that some people’s needs matter more (the supposed winners) than other people’s needs, thus rationalizing power-over strategies. It also begets more of itself, as self-fulfilling prophecies do.
History has shown that humans are exceedingly capable of generating and perpetuating in-group/out-group dynamics, whereby “the other” is deemed untrustworthy (and “they wouldn’t trust us, even if we trusted them”) and, thus, unworthy of equal rights and respect. This destructive capability seems to emerge directly from imbalances in needs-fulfillment within child/adult relationships, which are reflected in insecure-attachment patterns, be they anxious/preoccupied/ambivalent, dismissive/avoidant, or disorganized/disoriented. We learn many things as impressionable children, in need of love and security.
Insecurity about one’s capacity to interact in win/win ways, or insecurity about the benefits of such interaction, also gives rise to domination thinking. As psychologist Marshall Rosenberg (founder of Nonviolent Communication, or NVC) noted, age-old “right/wrong” and “good/bad” judgments can be viewed as tragic ways of expressing feelings and needs. Since the central matter as mortal beings remains our feelings and needs, moralistic judgment tends to be a less direct and less accurate way to express them, which can decrease the likelihood of win/win interactions and mutually helpful solutions. When domination systems become viewed as “necessary and proper” to meet needs (implicitly or explicitly) for safety, security, order, and stability, the huge costs to human well-being and flourishing tend to go unnoticed—as if there were no other way.
Despite what we probably initially learned in family and school systems (and then later in governmental systems), needs-fulfillment doesn’t have to be win/lose. Yet, politics always spells win/lose processes and outcomes for everyone, and some lose more thoroughly than others who know how to use the system for attaining short-term advantages. When a society has political rulers, their rules (aka, laws and regulations) are imposed on everyone, sacrificing needs for freedom, autonomy, choice, independence (and chosen interdependence), justice, respect, and respect for others. Massive amounts of unnecessary suffering and diminishment of people’s lives are the direct outcomes.
The following sentiment expressed in this document brings us to our present technological circumstances amidst the politics of Amber stage:
Building The Hyperconnected Future On Blockchains
New technology allows government to extend its services in new ways. The original conception inside of Bitcoin and Ethereum (two leading blockchain projects) was that many goverment-type services could be provided without strong reliance on state support. However, as our understanding of the blockchain has matured, it becomes increasingly apparent that the blockchain is a natural fit for the needs of the state.
Notice how an alleged maturation of understanding in blockchain technology is viewed through the unquestioned lens of governmental involvement. This reasoning assumes that technological innovation can be beneficially coupled with government, because it’s an institution that’s assumed to be necessary and proper.
Though cryptocurrencies and blockchains can disrupt coercive and monopolized governmental “services” (first and foremost in personal banking and commerce), a quite non-disruptive conclusion is being drawn by most people in both sectors presently. So-called jurisdiction, regulation, and control by governments remain the not-to-be-questioned-or-challenged assumptions. Here again, we encounter a major fear of change—change that can result in a paradigm shift, one that promotes a future of human respect and flourishing.
Essentially, when emotions aren’t fully understood and premises aren’t thoroughly checked, contradictions and costs tend to go unnoticed or dismissed. In contrast, when feelings are acknowledged and empathized with, inconsistencies and harms can be recognized and remedied; the status quo then can be disrupted in favor of principles that enable life-giving processes.
The Unjust Nature of Politics
“Language creates spooks that get into our heads and hypnotize us.”
—Robert Anton Wilson, Introduction to The Tree of Lies (by Christopher S. Hyatt. Ph.D.)
As individuals, we can immensely value win/win interactions, which come with no demands or threats. Nearly all of us seek to foster enriching experiences, no matter the size of our society.
However, as noted, human culture has also been immersed in another, non-enriching process that involves compliance with demands, threats, and punishments. Conformity to demands and expectations of the family and community is typically part of our early development, since as children we need to survive in these systems. Then, as we continue to deal with similar demands and expectations by organizations called governments, we tend to have rationalizations for pragmatic strategies. We might find ourselves tacitly accepting or actively endorsing aspects of taxation, regulation, and centralized control of money (“legal tender” currency), which assists in steering clear of being considered a “criminal” under statist law as well as by its many supporters.
For supporters of systemic coercion, the provision of such valuable things as roads, education, health care, and even the Internet, is deemed intractable or impossible without government. Persons comprising the private sector, or marketplace, are considered incapable of providing such values on their own. So, the belief goes, aspects of their wealth must be expropriated, and their various activities must be regulated by “government” (i.e., other persons choosing to comprise this blatantly coercive institution).
After all, this reasoning goes, people are “selfish and greedy,” so they would be unwilling to voluntarily pay for various services that would bestow positive externalities on society, such as safe, peaceful, and educated communities. Nonetheless, some people already pay both taxes that fund “public” services as well as additional fees for alternative marketplace services, such as private schools and security services.
Forcing people to provide for the “public sector” has been the mainstay of “government,” a domination system of legalized coercion that ironically is considered necessary to ensure everyone’s well-being and safety. This amounts to the fallacy of assuming the conclusion: Government exists; therefore, we must have government (and further circular beliefs). Even though this system’s rights-violating strategies thwart countless choices and desires of people—creating a quite distorted version of a marketplace—they are still viewed as normal, the supposed price we must pay for an institution that allegedly protects us and provides for us.
How tragic that such a spell can be so effectively cast on mature and capable people for untold generations. Most people don’t work directly in the “public sector,” after all, although a sizable minority do. But everyone has experienced indoctrination during childhood in a confused culture, which is traditionally filled with power-over (instead of power-with) strategies. As children, we are instructed to pledge allegiance to both a flag and a form of government that allegedly upholds “liberty and justice for all.” Our so-called “citizenship” is thought to be granted in exchange for the government supposedly protecting us and providing for us. What’s commonly not pointed out is that this purported “social contract” (as forwarded by theorists in the 17th and 18th centuries such as Grotius, Pufendorf, Locke, and Rousseau) has no validity—and, further, that it comes at our major expense, with great sacrifice in a plethora of ways, both seen and unseen.
Few if any of us were taught in schools (especially governmental, or “public,” schools) about the 19th century legal scholar Lysander Spooner and his trenchant writings. He threw off the mental shackles of indoctrination and refuted the assumed validity of a social contract (alleged by the U.S. Constitution) in his treatise No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority. He published the following in 1867-70:
The number who actually consented to the Constitution of the United States, at the first, was very small. Considered as the act of the whole people, the adoption of the Constitution was the merest farce and imposture, binding upon nobody.
The women, children, and blacks, of course, were not asked to give their consent. In addition to this, there were, in nearly or quite all the States, property qualifications that excluded probable one half, two thirds, or perhaps even three fourths, of the white male adults from the right of suffrage. And of those who were allowed that right, we know not how many exercised it.
Furthermore, those who originally agreed to the Constitution, could thereby bind nobody that should come after them. They could contract for nobody but themselves. They had no more natural right or power to make political contracts, binding upon succeeding generations, than they had to make marriage or business contracts binding upon them.
Inasmuch as the Constitution was never signed, nor agreed to, by anybody, as a contract, and therefore never bound anybody, and is now binding upon nobody; and is, moreover, such an one as no people can ever hereafter be expected to consent to, except as they may be forced to do so at the point of the bayonet, it is perhaps of no importance what its true legal meaning, as a contract, is. Nevertheless, the writer thinks it proper to say that, in his opinion, the Constitution is no such instrument as it has generally been assumed to be; but that by false interpretations, and naked usurpations, the government has been made in practice a very widely, and almost wholly, different thing from what the Constitution itself purports to authorize. He has heretofore written much, and could write much more, to prove that such is the truth. But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.
No doubt, these statements tend to come across as shocking to the average American today—and of course, most shocking if you’ve attended law school. Nearly all of us were instructed in school to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, which tended to shape our sensibilities and beliefs before we could critically examine its meaning. Such indoctrination makes institutions such as law school seem normal and even needed.
While the Constitution was not a valid and legally binding contract for those in society, including anyone today, abiding by it is commonly taken for granted. From the voices in media, in universities, and seemingly everywhere in between, Americans typically do not question most political processes and their underlying assumptions. Even though America is typically lauded or criticized for being a bastion of individualism, we Americans have been taught mostly to conform, to believe and do what we’re told by teachers, professors, and various other “authority” figures.
While every child naturally has intrinsic motivation to learn new things and explore uncharted mental terrain, this inquisitiveness is gradually replaced by extrinsic motivators, fears, and obedience to the societal and political status quo. Needless to say, we cannot change the world for the better by following these well-worn paths.
Presently, humanity’s philosophical unenlightenment and seemingly ideological entrenchment rest on many unchallenged assumptions. These factors do more than hinder progress, or technological achievement of Earthly bliss, as a species (e.g., sustainability in sectors of energy, agriculture, waste disposal, and healthy population growth). They also hinder our spiritual—psychological—evolution and comprehension of our amazing potential, both personally and interpersonally. In order to successfully make a cultural transition from a fixed-oriented mindset, which doesn’t challenge assumptions concerning the unsustainable status-quo, to a growth-oriented mindset, which has no loyalty to status-quo assumptions, our curiosity and intrinsic motivation need to be renewed. This means exploring much more of our inner world, the psychological realm that affects our motivations and intentions.
To put this in essential terms, humanity has been suffering from an intergenerational, unprocessed, developmental-trauma problem and, thus, a self-perpetuating, domination-system thinking problem. These problems manifest in widespread, institutionalized use of power-over strategies, along with people habitually yielding to them and even vociferously advocating for them. Since threats and punishments have been, and continue to be, mainstays in our culture, we witness widespread capitulation to and ideological support of them, which persist across the common spectrum of political beliefs.
Respectful requests and win/win interactions need to replace this tragic dynamic called “politics.” Of course, a myriad of our behaviors are designed to avoid costly interactions in the political realm. As noted, most of us obey “the law” in order to continue living without much interruption within the status quo, so we don’t find ourselves sitting in courtrooms and cages (i.e., jails and prisons) or even shot by overwhelmed cops who are consumed by fear, confusion, or anger.
As a result, the injustice of coercion remains the unspoken elephant in the room in political and legal discussions in particular and societal discussions in general. As it’s hardly ever a fundamental topic of discussion, it has little or no chance of being productively and compassionately addressed and remedied. Humanity doesn’t have to continue to wear its all-too-familiar mental blinders, which have led to the creation of “developed nation-states,” involving astonishing advances in technological and material well-being (for most, certainly not all) along with archaic models of hierarchical organization, authoritarian patterns of thinking and interacting, and weapons of mass destruction.
Given that many so-called nation-states now possess hundreds, even thousands, of nuclear warheads, experts deem the potential for destruction of our species and the biosphere to be approximately two minutes to catastrophic midnight.
It’s the understatement of understatements to say that this is so evidently not a healthy condition for humanity. The worldwide experiences with the SARS CoV-2 pandemic reflects this as well, both in terms of how it began and how it’s been dealt with by governmental organizations and their cohorts of followers. We can ensure our safety vastly more by integrating a profound change in perspective, one that authentically can resolve the tragic cycles of the past, both personal and systemic.
Reflections on the Origins of Obedience
The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.
As noted, the concept of “authority” is rooted in our developmental experiences, when parents and guardians use power-over strategies. Rewards and punishments are presented as useful ways to enforce and influence various desires and values. In turn, the role of “authority” comes with lots of frustration, distrust, and overwhelm. Such emotions are commonly thought to be caused by the behavior of others, which is deemed unacceptable—so, demands are made to fix these perceived problems. The psychological price tends to be steep for everyone involved, because the process of authentic relating and connecting has been short-circuited, and the needs underlying the emotions don’t get identified and clarified.
Psychological disconnection might be the most detrimental of all the effects of domination systems. Everyone tends to experience what psychological researcher and author Alfie Kohn calls “love withdrawal.” Typically, our mind and worth are called into question at a very early age, when we are just learning how to esteem ourselves. Repeated patterns of doubting our mental efficacy and worth can lead to anxiety and depression (even suicide) and/or trying to “prove” ourselves with various ego defenses (what psychologist Nathaniel Branden called “pseudo self-esteem”) and a win/lose orientation of competitiveness and even destructiveness. When love and self-love wane, less nurturing experiences fill the void.
During childhood, we discover that standing up for ourselves or rebelling against those using domination strategies can have unfavorable, even unbearable, consequences. As we come to notice the presumed “bosses” in our lives, we tend to devise ways to protect ourselves. In the face of perceived authority, both deception and appeasement can seem practical; not revealing the whole story to those more powerful, and currying favor with them, might cause less trouble.
Meanwhile, as mentioned, from an early age we are informed in both implicit and explicit ways that we ought not be “selfish” and “needy,” lest we be further criticized and disparaged. This arises from the age-old ethical system of self-sacrifice. Even though this system tragically subverts the wonderful, win/win processes of human interaction, very few in our culture attempt to reconcile its contradictory messages and behaviors. Instead, most lend credence to the belief that certain people and institutions declared to be authorities have legitimate power over everyone; so, we must give in to their demands and structures.
Hence, we may come to believe that sitting on our needs is oftentimes more useful than realizing and asserting them. The universal nature of needs—that they are alive in everyone—can become obscured. As we reflect on the nature of these strategies, we can see how they tend to fit perfectly with the governmental schooling system (and various private schools modeling it). After all, it was made with the same tragic processes. Laloux wrote the following in Reinventing Organizations on this vital topic:
Our schools today are probably further away from self-management than most other types of organizations. We have turned schools, almost everywhere, into soulless factories that process students in batches of 25 per class, one year at a time. Children are viewed essentially as interchangeable units that need to be channeled through a pre-defined curriculum. At the end of the cycle, those that fit the mold are graduated; castoffs are discarded along the way. Learning happens best, this system seems to believe, when students sit quietly for hours in front of all-knowing teachers who fill their heads with information. Children can’t be trusted to define their own learning plans and set their own goals; that must be done by the teachers. But, really, teachers cannot be trusted either; they must be tightly supervised by principals and superintendents and school districts and expert commissions and standardized tests and mandatory school programs, to make sure they do at least a somewhat decent job.
Clearly, this old system is ready for significant change. Perhaps the covid-19 pandemic will induce a fundamental shift in the way learning happens and, especially, instill trust in young persons to manage their own learning processes. After all, various educational researchers and social psychologists over the years have revealed many problems that stem from the assumption that humans can’t be trusted and need to be directed, managed, and evaluated by “authorities.” These are tragically enacted in most schools, businesses (especially corporations), and of course all governments, similar to orthodox religious institutions. And even though a recent pedagogical trend encourages teachers to be less “sages on the stage,” in order for children to have more leeway in their learning, it still takes place within top-down systems.
Self-management entails sensing and responding according to internal and environmental conditions, including interpersonal ones. In fact this is an enduring theme throughout biological systems, in which no centralized control or centralized planning occurs. But human systems with traditionally domination-oriented thinking and moralistic judgment deprive us of this nourishing and enriching process. When people “in charge” of educational institutions don’t trust learners to naturally sense and respond, to think and feel, nearly everyone tends to grow up assuming that their authentic processes aren’t allowed; freedom of choice and interpersonal harmony suffer immensely.
We can operate naturally and beneficially without top-down control and planning. Any society that doesn’t nurture individuals’ decision-making ability simply reflects past generations experiencing the same thing. This is the cycle of intergenerational transfer of distrust in our minds, our capabilities, and our worth. Very few of us have been taught and shown that we can flourish in voluntary ways without coercive systems (composed of other individuals also in need of free choice) designed to command and control us, or “guide” us without our request. As a consequence, age-old hierarchies continue to devise and enforce seemingly endless rules, procedures, and policies, along with threats of fines and punishments for noncompliance. Basically, we find ourselves in the midst of a confusing, disconnected, and self-perpetuating systems that maintain unquestioned assumptions of distrust about human functioning. It’s a race to the bottom that needlessly sacrifices people’s happiness and amazing capacity to make their lives more and more wonderful.
Hell on Earth in this context entails doing things that you don’t really want to do, due to being under duress with threats of punishment. Perhaps this familiar environment explains why most people believe that a heavenly experience is only realizable, perversely, after one dies. Death finally brings relief from taxes, after all (though the so-called “death tax” may be imposed on one’s estate). Humans have indeed been immersed in many kinds of sacrificial systems that are supposed to maintain order and security throughout society—irrespective of the costs to actual order and security. These tragic impediments to a society-wide experience of heaven on Earth also discourage people from taking responsibility for their freedom and happiness. They beget more of the same, more detrimental psychological disconnection, until either something catastrophic happens or a paradigm shift emerges. Clearly, we need to bring about the latter.
Reality Mimicking Dystopian Fiction
In his classic book Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell coined the terms “thoughtcrime” and “crimestop.” According to current culture, the ideas presented herein about enacting fully distributed and integrated freedom of choice can be considered thoughtcrimes, i.e., views that run counter to accepted ideas and norms. Challenging the very basis of common legal concepts and their harmful effects can be seen as the ultimate thoughtcrime.
Growing up in a society surrounded by issues of fear and control makes it much more difficult to thoroughly ponder and effectively deal with extremely important philosophical ideas, especially ethical and political ones. Orwell wrote:
Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought…crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity…orthodoxy in the full sense demands a control over one’s own mental processes as complete as that of a contortionist over his body.
Such control is indeed considered protective for both the controllers and the controlled, since dissent through incisive reasoning in the realm of philosophical ideas can be heavily frowned upon, not welcomed by upholders of present systems. Consequently, the status quo tends to remain so, and the various horrors of Orwell’s story continue to be lived by actual humans. Despite all sorts of warning signs and costly effects, most people unquestioningly support the ideas taught and behaviors modeled by various “authorities” during development. The waking-up process has barely begun for humanity, and it’s really needed now more than ever.
A significant conceptual part of this process involves recognizing and comprehending “The Anatomy of Slavespeak,” an article written years ago by late freedom advocate Frederick Mann:
Understanding slavespeak can allow us to more clearly see the statist matrix of ideas and behaviors and, more importantly, to foster a world that no longer demands human sacrifices, which is what Mann desired as he authored his lengthy article and many similar ones. Within it, he wrote the following:
What Nietzsche Said
“There are still peoples and herds somewhere, but not with us, my brothers: here there are states.
The state? What is that? Well then! Now open your ears, for now I shall speak to you of the death of peoples.
The state is the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly it lies, too; and this lie creeps from its mouth; ‘I, the state, am the people.’
It is a lie! It was creators who created peoples and hung a faith and a love over them: thus they served life.
It is destroyers who set snares for many and call it the state: they hang a sword and a hundred desires over them…
…I call it the state where everyone, good and bad, is a poison-drinker: the state where everyone, good and bad, loses himself: the state where universal slow suicide is called—life.”
If you regard another’s noises and scribbles as ‘the law,’ then you position that person as your superior master, and you position yourself as his inferior slave. You subjugate yourself. In effect, you commit a form of intellectual and psychological suicide. That’s why the idea or concept of ‘law’ is so deadly.
In The Crowd, Gustave le Bon wrote: “Civilization is impossible without traditions, and progress impossible without destroying those traditions…no example could better display the power of tradition on the mind of crowds. The most redoubtable idols do not dwell in temples, nor the most despotic tyrants in palaces; both the one and the other could be broken in an instant. But the invisible masters that reign in our innermost selves are safe from every effort at revolt, and only yield to the slow wearing away of centuries…
The precise moment at which a great belief is doomed is easily recognizable; it is the moment when its value begins to be called into question. Every general belief being little else than fiction, it can only survive on the condition that it be not subjected to examination…”
The debilitating ‘law’ concept is an invisible master in the innermost self, a tyrant in the form of a self-forged illusion or hallucination.
…In Bentham’s Theory of Fictions Jeremy Bentham wrote:
“Behold here one of the artifices of lawyers. They refuse to administer justice to you unless you join with them in their fictions; and then their cry is, see how necessary fiction is to justice! Necessary indeed; but too necessary; but how came it so, and who made it so?
As well might the father of a family make it a rule never to let his children have their breakfast till they had uttered, each of them, a certain number of lies, curses, and profane oaths; and then exclaim, ‘You see, my dear children, how necessary, lying, cursing, and swearing are to human sustenance!'”
To drive home his points about the nature of slavespeak, Mann also quoted from Etienne de la Boetie’s Discourse on Voluntary Servitude, which was written nearly 450 years ago:
From all these indignities, such as the very beasts of the field would not endure, you can deliver yourself if you try, not by taking action, but merely by willing to be free. Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place your hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but merely that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break into pieces.
The concept of “law” is so deadly because it’s traditionally served as the preeminent, sacrosanct political rationalization to treat human beings as fodder for sundry desires and demands of people versed in using power-over strategies. Autonomy, choice, equality, fairness, justice, and respect are sacrificed with vague and typically spurious notions of the “common good,” “general welfare,” and “public interest.” Instituting a “law-and-order” society essentially means ruling over others, which results in disorder and chaos by violating rights and sacrificing needs—not exactly an ideal political goal.
No wonder politics remains so out of touch with the people, as it serves status-hungry politicians, entrenched administrators, and “special interests.” Since statist ideologies sacrifice people on the altar of “law,” they disconnect them from natural law and rights-respecting principles. Governmental law consists of a myriad of opinions along with arbitrary, oftentimes capricious threats, all backed by literal guns of “authority.”
As stated, the perennial problem for humans entails supporting and complying with the demands of domination-oriented, organizational hierarchies called governments. To everyone’s massive misfortune, including of course those comprising government, this organization has persisted since the advent of civilization. Yet, as we’ve explored, due to the enduring nature of unexamined developmental trauma, government’s inherently immense seen and unseen costs are either denied or overlooked by nearly everyone.
Nearly all of us were taught to believe that the purported provision of security by governments justifies extremely tragic tactics, i.e., coercion, extortion, threats, punishments, and of course military slaughter. All this, supposedly for humans to interact “safely” (disregarding the irony). Such end-justifies-the-means thinking only makes full sense when we consider how most adults were parented as children. Authoritarian constraints placed on children supposedly enable them to interact without harming each other. Since many family systems lend credence to a Lord-Of-The-Flies scenario, children “must be disciplined properly.” Unsurprisingly, the British culture in which the children in William Golding’s 1954 novel had been immersed also had major themes of authoritarianism and obedience. These themes don’t foster a psychologically integrated society of individuals filled with self-confidence and self-respect (thus having confidence in and respect for others).
Human trust is always crushed by aggression, which (coupled with fraud) is how rights are violated. Governmental systems simply institutionalize and normalize this process for everyone to expect and experience, even promote and perpetuate.
So, here we are in the 21st century with immediate access to vast, virtually endless amounts of information, news, and entertainment—yet only a tiny aspect of it can disrupt power-over tactics both interpersonally and politically. Education and integration need to happen in order to see and reject the essentially coercive nature of taxation, regulation, jails and prisons, and the legalized monopolies of police, courts, and money—in favor of freedom and responsibility, respect and restorative justice. Tragic and costly systems continue mainly because of learned, self-sacrificial strategies during development in families, schools, and religions. “Law” remains an inextricable part of the religion of statism, after all, which it advises us to worship, or have hell to pay.
The schooling system sacrifices people’s intrinsic motivation in favor of extrinsic motivation, which takes the form of various carrots and sticks that attempt to get people to do things. Extrinsic motivators take the place of respecting people’s needs, so they don’t honor self-responsibility and integrity.
To discover, advocate, and practice win/win, life-enriching strategies in society is to finally foster peace in the political realm. This is the next stage in our cultural evolution, the second tier, integrated functioning of Teal, lest we self-destruct as a species.
All governmental systems, as they seek to imposes taxes, regulations, and control the money supply (and interest rates), sacrifice the need to respect others. This generates a decidedly non-peaceful and non-compassionate society, despite any and all cultural elements to the contrary.
People’s past mental wounds need to be acknowledged and a whole lot of healing needs to happen, despite it being both difficult and scary sometimes. Fortunately, we can decide to think differently and extend compassionate understanding to human interaction beyond our immediate relationships. In contrast to the nonsensical and seemingly never-ending spectacle of party politics, we can engage in voluntary trade of ideas, goods, and services, based on principles of freedom, mutual enrichment, and interpersonal harmony.
Expounding on Contentions and Realizations
The most costly of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind. —H. L. Mencken
Let’s further examine the foundational assumptions that are commonly taken for granted and promoted as truths in our confused and confusing culture; necessarily, these involve unchecked philosophical premises. In doing so, let’s also realize the helpful and compassionate alternatives that can enable vital changes in our lifetime, to counteract an unsustainable future that would consist of more of the same or much worse, leading to the demise of our species and ecosystem.
Private property has inherent problems that justify government and its correctives.
Private property, i.e., the concept and enforcement of ownership, cannot solely ensure a free and just society in the absence of governments, which are institutions of public property. Selfishness, greed, and significant power and wealth accumulation by various persons, groups, and businesses over time will cause widespread inequalities and unbalanced rights-enforcement throughout society. All this spells unjust monopolies, oligopolies, cartels, and even gang warfare, as well as continued impoverishment and persecution of minority groups. Private property rights thus need to be overseen, regulated, and restrained by government, be it a democracy, a democratic republic, or even a benevolent dictator (including a proprietary owner/operator of a “free private city”).
Governmental systems, in contradicting the nature of private property, avoid and thwart just remedies.
Ayn Rand astutely noted that the smallest minority in the world is the individual. She also noted that “private property” is a redundancy, and “public property” is a contradiction in terms (everybody supposedly owns it, yet nobody in particular owns it). Self-ownership and self-agency enable the concept and enforcement of property rights, whereby individuals ascribe value to previously unclaimed and unowned domains; they make choices about what to trade and how to use and dispose of aspects of what’s now owned—all voluntarily—without unjust, governmental interference.
Property is a general category of human action that enables freedom to use and to dispose (e.g., trade or transfer) without infringement. Trust in individual decision-making remains at the core of a clear conception of property rights. Without such trust, no society can function in a harmonious and respectful way.
Government, as the preeminent symbol of human distrust, has claimed jurisdiction for ascribing and enforcing property rights, in addition to claiming a great deal of “common” domain as its own prerogative. Property rights declared and supported by the state have been a major source of tax money and ultimate control, which has led to innumerable and monstrous injustices toward individuals and groups, even entire populations, throughout history. Horrendously exploitative rights-violations of numerous Africans, islanders, and native Americans by European and USA colonialists are tragic examples during the last few hundred years. These are still echoing across cultures today.
Furthermore, the institution of “public property” comes with immense and atrocious environmental consequences. Its deleterious effects on humans and things we value can’t be overstated. This is especially the case with the U.S. military (the so-called Department of Defense, which is “the largest employer in the world.” These effects are being extensively catalogued:
U.S. Military World’s Largest Polluter – Hundreds Of Bases Gravely Contaminated
The US military is a bigger polluter than more than 100 countries combined
Groundbreaking Report Gives Us a Glimpse of the US Military’s Gigantic Carbon Footprint
So, to free the nature of property rights from coercive, statist control will finally meet the need for justice as well as enable ecological health and harmony. Unlike governmental processes, free-market processes reflect a win/win respect for property rights. As individual rights are understood and respected, countless mutually beneficial interactions can be fostered, and this enables a clean and healthy environment to be fully realized.
Human nature has aggressive impulses, so it requires government to promote the general welfare.
Freedom for a human being comes with major constraints, first as a helpless baby and then as an uneducated child. After much schooling and becoming a teenager, each of us is required to constrain our behavior in the adult world, in order to get along with others. This is why we have governments and laws, after all. As Harvard professor Steven Pinker and many other intellectuals have noted, governmental law enforcement quells people’s tendency to engage in violent conflict, and it administers punishments for criminals according to necessary-and-just procedures. Criminals must pay their debt to society through fines and incarceration for properly determined lengths of time. While the details can get messy and injustices can sometimes happen, the American Republic is based on sound principles.
Governmental systems vitiate the general welfare by contradicting our nature as free, choosing beings.
Perhaps some of the above notions have lost more popular appeal after experiencing the politics of law enforcement during a pandemic as well as the mass protests of police forces after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Freedom is a concept synonymous with rights. It only applies and makes sense within society, when interacting with people. We are indeed born and reared in families first in a condition of utter dependency. We mature into various conditions of interdependency, eventually meeting our need for independence.
As we mature into adulthood, to the extent that we are physically and mentally able, we can take responsibility for our own lives and well-being. We can develop our independence, psychologically (assuming we have the resourcefulness), intellectually (assuming we live in a society that respects free speech and free press), and financially (assuming sufficient opportunities exist). All those assumptions reflect the fact that freedom is a vital need. As social creatures, we have interpersonal needs for connection, love, support, meaning, purpose, and play (among many others), so we tend to flourish in various interdependent contexts: families and other close and intimate relationships (friends and lovers); companies and organizations; associations, clubs, and teams; and, online with persons and groups around the world.
Whether in personal relationships, in business, or online, we’re presented with innumerable decisions, which can be assisted by others’ opinions and perspectives in support of our mutual goal to thrive. Throughout all these relations, we manage our individual and relational existence. We can ascribe degrees of value to a plethora of interactions, processes, and things. Freedom is the process whereby we make voluntary choices within communities and marketplaces, while respecting that same freedom of others. The key to establishing freedom is applying it equally to everyone, since no double standards can logically exist. No person or group of persons has extra rights. The notion that “some are more equal than others” in this realm entails a major political contradiction, sadly one that we’re all-too-familiar with.
As mentioned, overtly unfree societies have existed since at least the advent of governments with civilization. Any gangs of aggression, which emerge from the Red stage of organization (as well as Infrared and Magenta stages preceding it), sacrifice freedom. As also noted, edicts and threats by “authorities” rely on rationalizations for using power-over strategies: “You might behave badly (i.e., contrary to our desires), so we don’t permit such freedom.” In such a milieu, the coercive jobs of cops, jailers, judges, attorneys, and politicians are considered normal. If they were to articulate what constitutes an actual rights-violation, then they’d discover that most of what they do (especially the way they do it) falls into that category. Unfortunately, since they’re mainly in the Amber stage, hardly any teachers and professors explain the spectrum of state-declared “crimes,” which are made-up fictions with no actual victims. Of course, to disrupt this tragic cycle, adults need to fundamentally question the status-quo notions of “law” and “justice.”
Representative and legal governmental systems enable free trade and correct for market failures.
Nations, states, counties, cities, and towns are fair, established domains of governmental jurisdiction, each with valid frameworks to make, enforce, and adjudicate laws. They ensure safety, equality, and maintenance of community infrastructure. Basically, since governments are the determiners and legitimizers of private property rights, they undergird commerce. Without them, the marketplace as we know it would hardly exist.
Under the reign of democracies and republics, governments (of, by, and for the people) are authorized to regulate activities in the marketplace, including personal choices (e.g., prohibitions on use of dangerous substances and restrictions on various harmful behaviors (including self-harm)). Concerned people vote in communities among constituents and interest groups. A system of checks and balances protects minority groups and enables all this social and economic complexity to function properly. Sure, it can be difficult and problematic sometimes, even confusing and unpleasant, but it’s still the best, time-tested political system we have.
Relatedly, the power of eminent domain is an important part of the U.S. Constitution, authorizing just takings for public uses, which are necessary sometimes (e.g., roadways). Moreover, regarding movement of products, services, and people, governments have the right to inspect and restrict things being shipped as well as persons trying to cross state and national borders (including private property within those borders), according to the authority of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, national sovereignty, and the desires of voting citizens and society.
Free markets and free minds reflect the full honoring of consent, property rights, and contracts.
Property rights are an extension of self-ownership, since only individuals and their choices exist. No matter the size of the society and number of individuals and groups comprising it, only particular persons and their property (i.e., individual rights) can be valid and legitimate. Of course, at any time various persons can contract to collectively own particular particular things and domains, but that’s a derivative process, and it depends on (rather than diminishes) the nature of property rights.
To reiterate, “public property” is a contradiction in terms, and “private property” is a redundancy. Therefore, no group of individuals calling themselves “government” can have legitimate jurisdiction over other people and their property—since the ones who are part of a coercive organization do not actually own the property that they claim to rule, nor have they engaged in voluntary trade with various property owners to provide legitimate justice services via consensual, contractual arrangements (as reputable companies and groups will do in a free marketplace). Integration of this basic but typically unrecognized truth can foster a principled society in which people treat each other in a voluntary fashion.
Because statist organizations use methods of extortion (all forms of taxation) and monetary inflation (devaluing the currency mandated as “legal tender” (as well as influencing interest rates)) to fund their operations, they operate in an illegitimate fashion. Governmental systems, with their power-over strategies, by definition operate outside the process of actual justice. So, we need to make a transition to organizations that employ respectful, win/win, restorative strategies. As voluntaryist writer Jim Davies explains in his educational program, The Online Freedom Academy, “Accordingly, [statist] borders do not exist in order to facilitate human harmony!” http://www.tolfa.us/L9.htm
Regarding a proprietary city or region (such as what’s explained in the book Free Private Cities by Titus Gebel), the owner/operators’ property rights of course enable establishing contractual arrangements with people who seek to occupy this private area for purposes of living and commerce. Varying levels of services and restrictions would likely be involved, especially regarding prospective movers. However, an actually free city or region would not come with these monopolistic aspects of a single owner/operator, but rather would honor people’s freedom to contract and not to contract with anyone offering justice services and assorted utilities. And, rights-respecting people would be free to come and go as they please, according to their voluntary relations with residents and businesses, thereby maximizing choice and commerce.
Passports and visas are of course coercive, statist impositions. They are clearly rooted in prejudices, collectivistic fears, arbitrary control issues, and distrust. As such, they have no place in a free world. Here’s an apropos response by John Lee to the argument for visa restrictions based on property rights:
But if I want to host a foreign person in my home, you need a better reason than ‘But they’re not from this country!’ to order my friend deported. What happened to my property rights?
Confusing public and private: the nonsensical private property argument against open borders
Policed public property allows travel and transport; private property prohibits and restricts them.
If everything were owned, i.e., privately owned, then traveling and transporting goods and services would mostly grind to a halt, due to so many signs saying “Private Property: No Trespassing. Keep Out!” Without public property being maintained and enforced by governments in America and around the world, free movement, trade, and exploration of places would be highly restricted, and the few places that weren’t declared off-limits would have exorbitant, if not prohibitive, prices for entry. Further, the United States and its military necessarily serve as the world’s policeman, ensuring that trade routes abroad don’t get hindered by would-be pirates, be they tyrannical governments or rogue terrorist groups.
Public property, being a contradiction in terms, makes travel much more costly and dangerous, and it incentivizes vast, outrageous pollution.
Real concerns and fears about travel and transport can never be alleviated by governmentally imposed borders and enforcement of “public property”—quite the opposite, as anyone who has traveled or transported things in the governmental era has experienced. Oftentimes, one attempts to travel on policed roads and transport things within and across statist “borders” with varying degrees of success and hassle. These can include gratuitous and intrusive questioning, cursory or extensive searches, detentions, fines, incarceration, and deportation—even murder by an overzealous enforcer of a statist “border.” Needless to say, respect for individual rights, including the freedom to contract or not, isn’t a law-enforcement priority. Such an Amber-stage organization wasn’t designed to be in the business of fostering and upholding a marketplace of freedom. While law-enforcement often goes by the motto “To protect and serve” (despite being coercively funded and arbitrarily imposed), such protecting and serving mainly involves those in power. So, unsurprisingly, governmental courts (including the Supreme Court) have ruled that police have no duty to protect fellow so-called citizens, as this story reports:
‘Neither the Constitution, nor state law, impose a general duty upon police officers or other governmental officials to protect individual persons from harm — even when they know the harm will occur,’ said Darren L. Hutchinson, a professor and associate dean at the University of Florida School of Law. ‘Police can watch someone attack you, refuse to intervene and not violate the Constitution.’
Officers Had No Duty to Protect Students in Parkland Massacre, Judge Rules
What really ensures freedom of movement is a free market. Respect for property rights enables people’s decisions to engage in commerce without any unjust authority intervening and dictating arbitrary rules and penalties. Trust in individuals to interact in life-giving ways to trade ideas, values, goods, and services, is the primary deterrent to a society of arbitrary and illegitimate impositions. Collectivistic notions of governments and their enforcement of imagined borders both generate and reflect mistaken ideas that create fears, animosity, prejudice, and bigotry. Age-old in-group/out-group biases can lead to lots of dehumanizing dynamics. Eliminating such institutionalized coercion will go a long way to meeting everyone’s need for respect.
Similar to today, most individual property owners will want to engage in commerce in the public sphere, not in their own living spaces (though in a free society one’s home can of course be used as one’s chosen place of business), which is everyone’s prerogative. This will be commerce on a whole other level of enrichment. In addition to today’s shopping and business areas, which can typically be entered and roamed free-of-charge (except of course those with municipal street-parking restrictions, fees, and fines, and city-zoned business districts and downtown garages), in a free marketplace the prices charged for property use would be reasonable (reflecting greater supply) and managed efficiently and effectively for optimal customer service; there will certainly be apps for that!
Regardless of their rationale, governments around the world prevent untold commerce and human movement from happening on a daily basis (https://openborders.info). Misunderstandings coupled with fear and control issues, i.e., lack of trust, no doubt underlie this. Freedom and respect in the realm of ownership not only enable free movement and trade; they also responsibly and effectively resolve the immense seen and unseen costs of “the commons,” or “public property.”
We need the accountability of property rights to rectify many dangerous “common-pool” problems happening in governmental and unclaimed domains. Aside from various arguments about climate change these days (the atmospheric common-pool problem), the sea and its thousands of species are arguably suffering the biggest tragedy of the commons today. The oceans and other bodies of water (and sundry places on land) have been inundated with a slew of toxic garbage, much in the form of plastics and, as a consequence, microplastics (and then, nanoplastics). They’ve been infiltrating biosystems with disastrous effects, even potentially catastrophic ones for ecosystems.
For decades industrial chemists, engineers, and managers in Orange-stage organizations have contributed to the unrelenting production of these durable and non-biodegradable synthetic polymers, which have now been used in nearly everything—from miles and miles of ocean fishing nets (called “ghost nets” after they’ve been abandoned at sea by boat operators) to millions of tons of throw-away products and packaging that end up in storm drains, tributaries, and then oceans. Typical of Orange-stage thinking, a focus on maximizing shareholder wealth has resulted in scant attention placed on the consumer-disposal and environmental-impact side of things. The sheer volume of discarded plastics strewn across our planet already (not to mention a plethora of other harmful chemicals) raises the question of whether ecosystems have already passed the point of no return, as the following two-part documentary along with a couple recent articles shockingly illustrate:
Drowning in Plastic
The Deep Ocean Harbors a Mountain of Microplastic Pollution
Fight against plastic pollution targets a hidden source: Our clothes
The biggest likely source of microplastics in California coastal waters? Our car tires
Humans can do so much better than this within a free and responsible world, without dysfunctional and corrupting systems that impede recovery. Currently, the corporate culture (again, mostly broken Orange stage, but also broken Green) relies heavily on governmentally enforced “legal rights” that again focus on maximizing profits for shareholders at the expense of many other needs, such as safety, order, beauty, and harmony within a non-polluted world. Teal-stage organizations will not sacrifice responsibility of ownership, sustainability, and environmental stewardship for short-term gains and convenience, nor will they create and promote products that don’t do what they’re supposed to do (allegedly eco-friendly plastics), as noted below:
Ask Our Help Desk: Are bioplastics and biodegradable plastics really better?https://ecologycenter.org/blog/ask-our-help-desk-are-bioplastics-and-biodegradable-plastics-really-better/
Further discussion and some viable alternatives:
The truth about bioplastics
The Truth About Plastic
Ooho: The Eco-Friendly Substitute to Plastic Bottles
We are a sustainable packaging start-up
For security, the USA military must remain Americans’ policeman, if not the world’s policeman.
Nation-states are vitally important for overseeing societies. However, we must also understand that some nations are based on freedom, while others are based on tyranny. One of the duties of the United States government is to protect Americans from being attacked by terrorist groups and from being obliterated by a tyrannical regime’s nuclear weapons. Thus, we need to maintain a strong military with a sizable arsenal of nuclear weapons (the USA presently has thousands) capable of deterring potential attacks and destroying enemies. Moreover, the present arsenal needs to be renewed and expanded, as the Trump administration stated, so that tactical fission nukes (less powerful than those dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WW2) can be used in new ways outside of strict deterrence. This will enable the military of the United States to continue to be seen as a superpower that ought not be messed with.
From dictatorships to democracies, statist militaries foster senseless and brutal conflicts, wasteful and dangerous arms races, and potential nuclear Armageddon.
As Daniel Ellsberg pointed out in his 2017 book The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner, the catastrophic effects of a nuclear exchange on humanity itself were never fully calculated by war planners. In addition to forecasting hundreds of millions of deaths from detonations of warheads on their targets (e.g., in Russia or China), more recent research arrives at another beyond-tragic fact: A direct exchange of warheads numbering in the hundreds from each warring side might cast enough debris into the atmosphere to cause a years-long “nuclear winter,” which could destroy humanity’s capacity to feed itself, as a result of much of Earth’s ecosystem also perishing.
Daniel Ellsberg on the creation of nuclear doomsday machines, the institutional insanity that maintains them, and a practical plan for dismantling them.
Thus far, on two separate occasions the doomsday scenario almost happened. Single decisions in the minds of two Soviet officers, Vasily Arkhipov in 1962 and Stanislav Petrov in 1983, prevented humanity’s potential annihilation. To their and everyone else’s absolute fortune, each man crucially chose to live rather than die in those extremely tense moments, sparing everyone the catastrophic aftermath:
Mistakes are simply not an option in this realm, and yet, they are bound to happen. The thousands of nuclear weapons devised and maintained by various nation-states throughout the world represent our species’ suicide pact of planetary proportions. They are the end result of cultures immersed in the typically unacknowledged effects of developmental trauma, such as being ruled by fear, control issues (again, based on distrust), and power-over strategies. Of course, this fosters the opposite of safety and security for people, as the following articles indicate:
What You Should Know About Nuclear Weapons
The World’s Most Dangerous Nuclear Weapon Just Rolled Off the Assembly Line
If India and Pakistan have a ‘limited’ nuclear war, scientists say it could wreck Earth’s climate and trigger global famine
Rapidly expanding nuclear arsenals in Pakistan and India portend regional and global catastrophe
The Russian military’s murderous and destructive invasion of Ukraine in 2022 presents another serious global risk in this realm. Clearly, modern nation-states can do an assortment of horrific things, and nuclear weapons can dramatically escalate them. As the saying by Lord Acton goes, absolute power corrupts absolutely. If our species has any chance of surviving this century and finally living in fully integrated societies of peace, love, and happiness, we need to come to full terms with the nature of domination systems and their underlying dysregulated limbic systems.
Unfortunately, most nation-states around the world can be classified as dictatorships; censorship of speech and press is common (along with constant disinformation), as is punishment for assembly of protests, and many other abuses are routine, as “public officials” become even more unaccountable than in democratic regimes. The Chinese Communist Party’s recent takeover of Hong Kong brutally revealed this, as it erased their “one country, two systems” doctrine. As we’ve explored, governmental systems are notorious for disrespecting individual rights and property rights, and the only way to ensure these values and needs are respected is to fully reject the master/slave, or state/citizen, paradigm. The systems that lead to in-group/out-group conflicts and people being dehumanized can of course be traced to childhood.
Enemy images and domination thinking arise intergenerationally via traumatic upbringings. Disconnected interactions happen more often than not when caregivers lack inner resourcefulness, have diminished intrinsic motivation, and lack knowledge and skills to foster a sense of secure-attachment as well as (most importantly) repair of attachment ruptures. Of course, when connection and care—specifically in the forms of offering a sense of safety/protection, soothing, attunement, expressed delight, and support of self-development—aren’t consistently modeled for us as children, they don’t come easily when we’ve become adults. Psychologist Daniel Brown at Harvard and his colleagues explored these facets of attachment and vital dynamics relating to it in their highly informative and instructive 2016 book, Attachment Disturbances in Adults: Treatment for Comprehensive Repair.
When, as adults, we are overwhelmed and resort to moralistic judgments (of ourselves, others, and children), the processes of observing without bias, connecting empathetically to feelings and needs, and making straightforward requests can become very challenging; such things might even seem ridiculous in the heat of the moment. All of us needed—and are still in need of—a sense of secure attachment, which relates to self-esteem, i.e., having a conviction that one’s own mind can think clearly, discern the facts of reality, and cope with life’s challenges, coupled with a feeling that one’s person is worthy of happiness. Being worthy of happiness includes having kind and loving connections.
Dysfunctional processes arise from a sense of insecure attachment, which can be quite isolating and disturbing. A defensive posture (including having a “strong offense”) can also be formed. Power-over systems habitually arise from this dynamic, tragically sacrificing needs such as autonomy, choice, creativity, respect, empathy, and compassion. They of course consistently manifest in top-down, Amber-stage schooling systems, which essentially continue the traumatizing cycle.
Fortunately, no matter our age or past experiences, we can still learn how to foster within ourselves (in our memory systems) what are called Ideal Parent Figures in Brown’s Attachment book above, in order to develop and integrate an earned sense of secure attachment, which tremendously benefits ourselves and our relationships. Essentially, we can learn how to become Balanced, Resilient, Insightful, and Empathetic (psychiatrist Dan Siegel’s trauma-informed BRIE acronym), so we can create and experience overarching themes of joy, connection, and love in our lives. Time is of the essence, and our safety and security on Earth depend on it.
Dr. Dan Siegel: What Hearing “Yes” Does to Your Child’s Brain
Well-run governmental legal systems and police objectively oversee and adjudicate disputes in the marketplace; free-market justice services would, simply, create mayhem.
The governmentally devised and maintained legal profession is legitimate and necessary. Plaintiffs and defendants must have lawyers, which are zealous advocates for their clients in adversarial court proceedings. The scales of Lady Justice depend on her blindness, i.e., impartiality, in publicly funded and operated courtrooms. The purpose of government, after all, is to be the ultimate arbiter of disputes in society, so that fair and equitable adjudication happens and wrongdoers are properly held accountable and punished. This legal process is supposed to be objective, which can’t happen in a subjectively biased “free-market” system of private, competing, so-called “justice-service” companies, because they will end up violently conflicting in the name of “self-defense.”
A coercive monopoly on the enforcement and adjudication of statist law not only has an inherent conflict of interest but also enacts immensely costly retributive justice; free-market justice services will be in the business of seeking fair and rights-respecting resolutions, restoring victims and communities.
Services exist in the marketplace to provide for people’s desires and needs, exchanging value for value. Humans have needs for security and safety as well as for fairness, peace, and harmony. In the process of trying to meet these needs, humans can devise equitable ways of resolving conflict and repairing harms. However, governmental systems, being stuck in Amber-stage ways of operating, coercively impose their array of monopolistic “services” on a population, so they’re the opposite of accountable (since no one is paying for them voluntarily). Thus, the desire for justice isn’t served as it otherwise would be.
In the marketplace of voluntary exchange, which admittedly is harder to find in a governmentally controlled (mixed) economy, services respond to the varying desires and needs of customers. To be viable, services make profits by satisfying customers, which presupposes that they’re offering what those customers want. This is why services (at least on the non-corporate level) are responsive to complaints of distasteful, inefficient, corrupt, costly, and unfair practices—in stark contrast to governmental operations.
When it comes to realizing the grave disparity between what government “provides” and what the marketplace can offer us, the realm of justice remains extraordinarily important. When disputes arise from alleged rights violations, we need justice services in the form of objective, mutually agreed-upon, third-party adjudication. No governmental system can provide such an unbiased service, due to being a coercively funded, legalized monopoly. This extortion and coercive monopolization make objectivity impossible, since it entails an irreconcilable conflict of interest: presiding over and adjudicating one’s own crimes. No wonder we all witness enduring themes of inefficiency, ineffectiveness, and unfairness. At monumental cost in terms of money, time, and human suffering, the governmental legal system perpetuates injustice by its very design. Enforcing a monopolized power to have the final say means being a rights-violator of the highest order, which precludes due process and the supposed “right to a fair trial.”
Marketplace justice services, which could be branches of insurance companies, would simply go out of business if they upheld such contradictions. Yet to everyone’s major misfortune, injustice has been normalized in today’s culture of domination-and-punishment systems. The late Dutch legal scholar Michael van Notten proposed the following set of voluntary remedies, which were designed to respect individual rights:
Bill of Law by Michael van Notten
As far as legal systems go, both the adversarial process and the inquisitorial process operate with flawed assumptions about the ethical and psychological nature of justice. While they can be seen as a definite improvement on the terrible trial by ordeal, these procedures and trial processes remain flawed in principle. Retributive practices do little, if anything, to restore those harmed. The punishment model reflects both archaic Red and Amber stages as well as abusive and neglectful parenting practices (from which those stages arose), so it continues sacrificial cycles. Neither adults nor children are helped to make amends and fully recover when they’re being judged within distrustful, demeaning, and condemnatory systems.
In stark, principled contrast, justice services offered and purchased in a free-market system can honor and uphold the rights of each individual. By incorporating a foundation of restorative justice, they dispense with the retributive attitude that seeks to punish “criminals,” a statist category that conflates law-breakers and actual rights-violators. Punishing, jailing, and imprisoning people for violating “the law” turns a blind eye to vital matters of making persons and communities whole, and finally free and responsible. Restorative justice services basically enable resolution of disputes by helping all parties come to psychological and existential terms with the harm done and devise reparations, or equitable restitution for rights-violations.
Restorative justice practices recognize that persons who commit rights-violations, especially those in systems of aggression, can become part of an interdependent and collaborative community in favor of interacting peacefully. Everyone’s individual growth and recovery can finally take place in communities that are safe and connected, stemming from a society that honors freedom and responsibility.
Restorative Justice Nonviolent Communication NVC [note the talk by Dominic Barter linked in the description]
My five-part podcast series on Restorative Justice and Nonviolent-Communication:
Governmental systems are necessary for various marketplace inequalities to be mitigated.
Government as a legalized monopoly of force is both useful and important for a whole host of reasons that haven’t been articulated here, with which most people in society agree. It’s really a matter of ensuring more fair distribution of wealth and income, reflected in living standards and economic opportunities. Clearly, the top 1% of income earners and wealth holders could contribute much more to a fair-and-level playing field, so that people throughout society can benefit and be prosperous too. Government, being a time-honored institution, protects us from societal dangers and the basic problems of existence, after all, which includes marketplace imbalances and inequities as well as environmental destruction. We don’t want the corporate fatcats to keep getting richer while the middle class and poor can’t keep up financially and just fall behind.
Six facts about wealth in the United States
Are You in the World’s Top 1%?
Once coercive strategies of governmental systems (including schooling systems) are discarded in favor of free markets, finally everyone can flourish.
Like the content of those links above, so much national news is focused on large-scale economic facts and figures (and numbers from Wall Street) that it can lead to feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and dispirited, even apathetic about the magnitude of such things. How can any person seeking clarity really make sense of the immensely complex patterns of human activity known as macroeconomics? Is all this grandiose mathematical slicing and dicing, comparing and contrasting, even worthwhile let alone necessary?
By reasoning from first principles, we see that the coercion at the foundation of our society, in all the forms we’ve been exploring, is antithetical to win/win, free-market activities. The staggering income and wealth disparities across America and around the world—billions of people living at subsistence levels—have arisen from very mixed economies (both coerced and voluntary activities). Despite ubiquitous coercion by Amber-stage, governmental systems, many today blame “capitalism”—as if problems with corporations, lobbyists, Wall Street, and a culture of consumerism (or crass materialism) were the only valid things to draw attention to, while governmental aggression is supposed to fix things. This quote by freedom advocate Robert LeFevre is apt: “Government is a disease masquerading as its own cure.”
Due to the unprocessed nature of developmental trauma and its multifaceted effects, our culture promotes dissociation from the genesis of costly political strategies. Not on the agenda is attending to key philosophical and psychological aspects for healing and growing (recall the fixed- vs growth-oriented mindsets). Avoiding such “elephants in the room” becomes tragically habitual in political and economic matters—the main unspoken elephant, of course, being the nature of domination thinking that gives rise to domination systems.
Now instead, imagine a culture in which coercive systems cease, as the result of a cessation of reliving trauma in a myriad of ways. From this kind of enlightenment, the provision of goods and services via fully voluntary trade grants customers what they want, and what they want arises from meaningful values rather than marketing gimmicks. Imagine people’s choices—their volitional capacities—being honored and unimpeded (untaxed and unregulated) throughout the economy. In such a respectful process, self-respect, self-trust, and trust are bolstered. We need to survive and flourish on this awesome planet, and political and economic freedom enables us to do so without win/lose (or lose/lose) limits on human imagination and value exchange. Essentially, a completely free market means enterprising individuals and groups seeing needs and meeting needs. Striving to fulfill human desires is, of course, part of this process, and we can devise healthy and enriching strategies here too.
The profit motive works with the complex supply-and-demand aspects of the marketplace to ascertain the most cost-effective and useful ways to accomplish things. Thus, people get what they’re willing to pay for, and they only pay for what they want, according to their values. Individuals are trusted in a free market to responsibly gain and keep their values, which are based on human needs, be they physical, psychological, or interpersonal. The economy, society, and reality itself become wondrous places for us to explore, reflect on, admire and appreciate. Marshall Rosenberg’s methodology of Nonviolent Communication details universal human needs, which Teal-stage organizations inculcate.
Whatever governmental systems seek to provide, they do so with lots of seen and unseen costs to everyone. Voluntary exchange, in contrast, reflects rights-respecting and self-and-other-respecting interactions. People’s yearnings for economic stability, prosperity, and harmony can finally be realized in a free market. Furthermore, the lifeblood of an advanced economy—money—will no longer be inflated and devalued via governmental fiat in concert with highly regulated banking systems. Various freely offered and freely chosen universally recognized mediums of exchange, including various decentralized and distributed cryptocurrencies (in which individuals can be their own bankers), will enable myriad new and wonderful types of human flourishing. One can’t overstate the beneficial results of this.
Governmental systems must control the monetary system for economic stability.
Fiat money, created and controlled by governments and chartered banks, is necessary for a thriving economy, and claims about its downsides are either erroneous or exaggerated. Rather, centralized control and oversight of the money supply and interest rates across a nation provide a solid foundation from which capital markets are maintained and, thus, provide for people in countless ways. The United States Federal Reserve system and Wall Street are inextricable parts of our vibrant American economy of capitalism, and they ensure a beneficial economic future for people.
A free market of money will enable increasing valuations of currencies and widespread savings, so everyone can be prosperous.
What is money? And, more importantly, as the late free-market economist Murray Rothbard queried, what has government done to it? Money is a relatively scarce commodity arising from market requirements for a medium of exchange that’s widely accepted—divisible, durable, fungible, and non-counterfeitable. Traditionally gold and silver have been used in marketplaces, which governmental systems have sought to control. Eventually, fiat currency (e.g., the dollar) was imposed as “legal tender” and unredeemable for the original money (gold). Then, true to statist-fiat-currency form, the supply of currency (no longer representing receipts for gold, or even silver) has been inflated over time. This devalues its buying power and causes prices to steadily rise. Such an inflation/devaluation cycle can induce economic collapse and a dictatorial resetting of the fiat currency. Zimbabwe and Venezuela are recent examples, but these monetary chickens tend to come home to roost for all nation-states.
Since the advent of the Federal Reserve banking cartel, the U.S. dollar has lost nearly all of its original value (https://smartasset.com/investing/inflation-calculator). The main things preventing the tumultuous experience of hyperinflation (such as in Zimbabwe and Venezuela) are ongoing, top-down monitoring and control via the regulated corporate banking system and—likely more importantly—increases in productivity, particularly in the infotech sector, serving as a huge economic counterbalance. Without such advances in efficiency, we’d be experiencing more dire effects of centralized, fractional-reserve banking and monetary-planning schemes.
The immense, untold loss of wealth and opportunities for the populace remains extremely hard to quantify and fully comprehend. Suffice it to say that our standard of living would be vastly higher and cost of living would be vastly lower in a free-market system, which includes a free market of money. The same can be said for the rest of the world, where billions of people’s livelihoods are being sacrificed by centralized systems with corrupt monetary controls and other ills of statism. Rothbard’s informative book is free to download, by the way:
What Has Government Done to Our Money?
Capitalism works best with corporations achieving economies of scale and maximizing shareholder wealth, so nearly everyone can afford a multitude of goods and services.
Corporations, both public or private (no shares traded publicly), are natural parts of capitalism. This widespread organizational framework involves such things as articles of incorporation, shareholders, boards, bylaws, and annual reports (for public corps), which enable businesses to acquire noted credibility, capital funding, tax deductions, limited legal liability, legal personhood, as well as unlimited lifespan. All these aspects are useful to operate in many economic environments, including internationally, so that numerous products and services can be provided to customers at competitive prices. Simply put, without corporations, capitalism could not bestow the enormous benefits of economies of scale, and not nearly as much wealth could be produced, which would result in fewer goods and services to create prosperous, first-class economies.
Since capitalism means free trade for profit among private owners, any statist legal system with corporate structures will degrade its functioning. Thinking beyond the statist paradigm of Orange- and Green-stage business models, we need to transition to Teal-stage organizations, so that everyone can become whole and flourish.
The corporate structure in America was born out of laws of various “states” and granted “limited liability” and then “legal personhood” by federal statute and Supreme Court rulings. These things won’t exist in a free-market system, because the legal system that coercively created and supported them won’t exist either. This of course includes the laws that direct or enable corporations to do anything injurious to people and their property rights. Although it didn’t integrate the methodology of Nonviolent Communication (like Complete Liberty Inside Out did), which I didn’t learn until 2010, the following chapter within Complete Liberty covers the nature of corporatism and regulation in further detail:
In a free-market system, entrepreneurial activities of people and organizations will surely exist in the form of businesses and companies. These are simply names for teams of individuals engaged in purposeful economic activities. In a society that has evolved past the domination system called government, these collaborating groups naturally follow rights-respecting processes—reflecting a win/win perspective that contributes to each others’ flourishing, instead of present-day win/lose (and lose/lose) scenarios.
Bureaucracy arises primarily on account of legal and regulatory frameworks of government, which operate in ways that undermine both rationality and benevolence, basically transforming individuals into “nice dead people” (as Marshall Rosenberg noted) who have not-so-nice strategies sometimes. Within this paradigm, we hear phrases such as “I was just doing my job” and “It’s company policy,” as well as “I’m only following my orders.” Bureaucracy drains persons of empathetic resourcefulness and, more fundamentally, self-empathy. Attending to oneself in a holistic and nurturing way, involving one’s uncomfortable feelings and vital psychological needs, is typically abandoned. Bureaucracy often thrives in corporations too, following from the governmental processes that gave rise to them, which has fostered a host of costly ideas and perverse incentives.
Is the Corporation a Free-Market Institution?
The Origin Of ‘The World’s Dumbest Idea’: Milton Friedman
The Infinite Game: How to Lead in the 21st Century
Bureaucracy can also arise within groups and organizations with participatory democratic processes, in which voting serves as a substitute for genuine, collaborative input. Any strategy that diminishes creative decision-making, personal accountability, and responsible ownership—along with the entrepreneurial spirit—will tend to suffer the ills of bureaucracy.
Dissolution of the legal structure of the corporation means a great deal for increasing human well-being and flourishing, as well as the health of this amazing planet. The hierarchical, costly, and deficient organizational stages of command-and-control Amber, shareholder-wealth-focused Orange, and stakeholder-equality-and-culture-focused Green will no longer be viewed as required. The detrimental components of these stages will be let go, while any beneficial aspects will be improved upon by the dynamically creative, respectful, and responsible organizational stage of Teal. When it becomes the norm throughout the world, sustainable prosperity and interpersonal flourishing can finally happen as a way of life instead of an overlooked exception. This will both foster and reflect communities of healthy, integrated, and connected people.
As Laloux points out in Reinventing Organizations, the transition to Teal involves applying vital free market principles to organizations themselves. A typical central-planning mentality in Orange-stage organizations (and even Green ones) hinders various natural, individual, and relational sense-and-respond life processes. The age-old dispositions of fear, distrust, and control can finally give way to openness, curiosity, trust, vulnerability, acceptance, and respect—reflecting profound change. By embodying nonviolent, compassionate, and connected communication processes, Teal organizations and free markets operate harmoniously, finally enabling all of us to naturally flourish.
Rather than treating an organization like a machine in need of monitoring and control by overseers to keep it running properly, Teal organizations rely on the processes of sensing and responding of every person in the company, as they embody its evolutionary purpose. Bringing one’s whole person to this purpose is an invaluable essence of Teal. Colleagues (instead of “workers” or even “employees” and “employers”) all can exercise their own power-with strategies. Self-management entails making decisions via a key practice called the Advice Process. Essentially, this means 1) consulting with those who have expertise in the matter in order to make an informed decision and 2) informing everyone who will be directly affected by the decision so as to identify and deal with objections.
Whole persons collaborate in various teams as they express the purpose of their company. No more masks of rank and file are worn, since they’re no longer viewed as necessary (trying to protect our vulnerability). Persons choose myriad win/win tasks for themselves with their colleagues, which are aligned with the purpose of their organization. This can include further societal evolution to enable more needs-fulfillment and sustainability on a living planet. Such processes crucially involve the personal, emotional realm of humans, and NVC serves as an invaluable guide to a new realm of being—integrating and authentically relating internally, with others, and with the world.
An Introduction to Nonviolent Communication
Pathways to Liberation: Matrix of Self-assessment
Claiming ownership of the products of one’s mind and having governmental systems uphold such intellectual property (IP) encourages creativity and enables creators to make profits.
IP is valid and requires legal enforcement, like tangible property. Creators of processes and patterns of information that are legally deemed to be original IP (non-obvious and not too similar to “prior art”) are thereby protected from others in the marketplace who would otherwise steal their IP. Without IP enforcement others in the marketplace would utilize it for their own financial gain, thus depriving the original creators of recognition and profits, the fruits of their extensive, creative labor.
The immense unseen costs of IP adversely affect people’s creations and their availability in the marketplace. Freedom to create includes freedom to duplicate anything in the marketplace, thus fostering a world of abundance.
The legal concepts of copyrights, patents, and trademarks arise from statutory law, not natural law. Given that the legal profession revolves around the popular, coercive system of government, very few people view IP laws as more made-up opinions backed by threats of aggression. Intellectual property is also honored within the U.S. Constitution (specifically, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8), giving rise to legislation, Supreme Court rulings, and of course threats and actual aggression. Like the institution of government itself, such laws consistently violate individual rights, and no natural (or customary) law is invoked in their enforcement.
IP advocacy tends to overlook an important fact: Anything in the marketplace that can be copied or reproduced without conflict very well might be; oftentimes, it will be copied or reproduced in spite of statutory laws against it. Rather than complaining or being outraged about this economic situation and marshalling the coercion of government against it, content creators can instead realize their own distinct advantages. Anyone who puts information patterns into the marketplace of ideas, goods, and services can benefit via recognition, acclaim, and further business, due to offering novel creations prior to others who might merely copy them. Further, when people recognize the original aspects of creators’ works, they can be voluntarily honored and supported. Of course, this happens widely today in the midst of IP enforcement and the reactionary culture of “piracy,” though the implications aren’t well-known.
The issue of people valuing and desiring to recognize original creators of information patterns is an important matter today. The present onslaught of legal threats and statist aggression only hinders clarity on this issue. As we’ve covered, the institution of government violates actual property rights of every person through monopolized “services,” taxation, regulation, unjust law-enforcement, and control of money and banking—even as it claims to be a protector of people’s intellectual “property”—all without valid jurisdiction, being “public property.”
The individuals operating command-and-control institutions are as deprived of their freedoms and opportunities as everyone else they presume to govern. Like the rest of us, they have so much more potential than present domination systems are set up to realize. We can all make our lives incredibly more wonderful by enacting the principles of freedom and responsibility, with which interactions are always win/win.
Once again, our culture needs to resolve the political and psychological contradictions of control and aggression. This especially pertains to anyone who creates things, from artistic achievements to novel identifications and processes in science, engineering, and business. In the pharmaceutical industry, for example, a very governmentally controlled realm, corporations seek special exclusions in the form of “secondary patents” on their already patented drugs, so that two-thirds or even three-quarters are now of this ilk—patents on top patents designed to maintain legalized monopolies and exclude competition.
Robin Feldman on Drugs, Money, and Secret Handshakes
‘Gaming’ of U.S. patent system is keeping drug prices sky high, report says – Drugmakers are able to extend the patents on their drugs, keeping generics off the market, through a process known as “evergreening.”
Such costly strategies hinder vast amounts of thriving in the realms of trade and needs-fulfillment, despite ironically stemming from a belief that duplication by others will not allow original developers and creators to recoup their expenditures and make profits. Tangible property (such as real estate), however, cannot be duplicated; it’s naturally scarce. And it can’t be simultaneously owned and used without some negotiated mutual consent; any arrangement of multiple owners requires agreements about the nature of their co-ownership.
Further, as individuals, we each possess identities, which give rise to authorization rights to our property. Unfortunately, in our traumatized and troubled age, some people choose to commit identity theft, as they try to copy and use passwords, accounts, documents, and other property without permission. Because identity and authorization are extensions of self-ownership, they are capable of being violated through duplication (impersonation) and unauthorized use. Hence, protection is needed, such as using various encryption methods.
Full and principled recognition of actual ownership throughout society will be an absolute blessing for creativity and innovation, once again vastly increasing opportunities and abundance for everyone. Imagine anyone with a creative bent openly using and collaborating with all the information patterns already available in the marketplace, mashing them up and innovating on them, all without the labyrinth of IP law, lawsuits, countersuits, defensive patenting, and licensing negotiations.
Smart phones alone involve hundreds of thousands of patents presently, based on claimed ownership over sundry designs and processes—once again, trying to uphold the idea that information patterns, particularly ones that are novel or “non-obvious,” ought to be made artificially scarce for an arbitrary amount of time and legally restricted from duplication and use by others without licensing agreements.
Too Many Patents
So How Many Patents Are In A Smartphone?
While the patenting process does make innovations publicly known (so that innovators can attempt to steer clear of such “prior art”), the legal restrictions placed on these information patterns cause conflicts where none would otherwise exist! Notice that the fashion industry doesn’t typically claim design-patent rights (only trademarks), so anyone is mostly free to duplicate and innovate to their heart’s content in this realm. Things are priced accordingly, be they original-and-genuine articles or knockoffs. Needless to say, the continuous innovation in this one industry will pale in comparison to an actual free market in, for example, technological and biotechnological products and processes. Everyone will benefit tremendously, probably more than even most freedom lovers imagine (especially those still harboring a belief in IP).
Plenty of people, all conceptual beings in fact, can devise similar if not identical designs and processes. Yet, only those who were first to patent (or who can prove that they were the first creators) are granted exclusive “rights” by governmental “law”—clearly a protection racket that thwarts many future possibilities for innovation. Unsurprisingly, nearly all corporate IP attorneys believe that this legal predicament is preferable to a free-market system, in which everyone’s needs can get met. Of course, without patents, many will likely do more reverse engineering of others’ inventions, while novel such products and services benefit from being first to the market. A world of freedom and, hence, economic abundance will far outweigh the previous profits garnered from IP enforcement. Furthermore, enormous legal conflicts such as the following would cease.
Forget Apple vs Samsung, an even bigger patent war has just begun
Basically, the ever-expanding pie of human productivity in a free-market system can ameliorate untold suffering in the world. It can disrupt the status quo in profound ways that Silicon Valley start-ups hardly fathom, because they’re still immersed in mostly Amber-, Orange-, and Green-stage thinking. Most of them don’t realize that IP and its enforcement have immense opportunity costs throughout the world. IP directly involves an arbitrary, legalized monopoly that enforces other artificial monopolies, all of which sacrifice the rights of countless individuals, both potential sellers and buyers, in the vast marketplace of ideas, goods, and services. Ironically, this is contended to be for the “common good” and “progress of science and useful arts.”
Essentially, IP enforcement attempts to control the minds and actions of people in their creative endeavors to duplicate and improve upon existing products and services in the marketplace. It diminishes choices and raising prices for everything that’s been copyrighted, patented, and trademarked (and servicemarked). Ultimately, this is a major losing proposition for everyone. Marketplaces can continually facilitate ways to recognize and differentiate people’s creations (again, look at the fashion industry). Here is a chapter explaining more about the arbitrary nature and injustice of IP:
Blockchains for Community, Instead of Dysfunctional Political Systems
Now that we’ve covered so much ground in the realm of political philosophy and economics, as well as psychology, let’s investigate more about blockchain technology, returning to the company called Blockchains. Given the vital importance of integration for human flourishing, a slightly modified mission statement for Blockchains that seeks to change the world could be as follows:
Utilize blockchain technologies to honor freedom and responsibility, ownership and win/win interactions, in order to constantly flourish via consensual creation and exchange of innovative digital values and sustainable infrastructure.
Such a mission would involve people in a blockchain-connected community demonstrating to the rest of America and the world that true freedom and mutually beneficial relationships are not only possible, but realizable in tangible form. Voluntary trade has always been the guiding light, as the Statue of Liberty relates, for anyone “yearning to breathe free.” Strategies of voluntary trade both generate and reflect human enrichment.
In their book The Business Blockchain, William Mougayar and Vitalik Buterin offer an acronym to explain various uses of blockchain technology: ATOMIC, which stands for Assets, Trust, Ownership, Money, Identity, and Contracts. In order to ensure a free society, we can use blockchains for such aspects of our lives, in order to facilitate trade and sharing of (self-selected) information, which can prevent violations of identity and authorization. Business and economic communication in the marketplace can be augmented as well. In line with ATOMIC, by recording ownership, usage, and its transfer on a blockchain, ease of cooperation can be maximized and conflict can be minimized.
In such a connected environment, individuals and consenting groups can become both free from the injustice of governmental intrusions and responsible for themselves and their chosen interactions. Once again, freedom is the ultimate win for everyone’s happiness, and it’s the ultimate win for the planet in terms of sustainability, because it honors responsibility. For thousands of years, costly systems of domination and arbitrary centralization have squandered and suppressed countless opportunities for creative expression, productive achievement, and interpersonal flourishing. As we recognize this, we can mourn all the sacrificed needs from strategies of coercion and control, stemming from fear and distrust.
Because Teal organizations reject command-and-control hierarchies and embrace decentralized and distributed, power-with strategies, they honor each person’s contributions and potential capacities, along with everyone’s combined input, or synergistic energy. Similarly, blockchain technology rejects centralization of records in favor of decentralized, distributed nodes of them. Such a peer-to-peer network can assist both privacy and commerce, given the nature of encrypted information residing on an open, permanent (or very hard to change) ledger of verified transactions. Blockchain ledgers are updated as each new block of transactions is timestamped and linked sequentially and cryptographically on the chain of transactions (or records).
In our presently Amber-stage culture, blockchain tech that’s decentralized and distributed provides the utmost in censorship resistance to top-down “authority,” aka Big Brother. However, it’s also the least efficient way to run a database. Another technology that’s used in only a few cyptocurrencies presently, such as Obyte, Nano, and Hashgraph is called directed acyclic graph (DAG), which uses a graph of user transaction blocks instead of a proven chain of transactions, and this enables much higher transaction throughput (yet security aspects might be an issue). Another useful aspect of both DAG and blockchain technologies is the capability of smart contracts, which are automated digital tasks that fulfill and record a contractual instruction set. Since DAG systems can have much greater scaling capability and no fees, they might prove preferable at some point, though a few years have passed since the following articles were written and blockchains remain mostly favored in the industry:
Solving Blockchain’s Current Flaws & Enabling Future Mainstream Adoption
A DAG-Based Cryptocurrency Framework
Charles Liu: Smart Contracts in DAG
Distributed cryptographic ledgers can be used for all the important things that have typically been monopolized by governments, banks, and other corporations, involving documents and records of personal identity, status of ownership, items for sale, and usage contracts (renting and leasing), insurance policies (from health to dispute resolution), certificates, registrations, titles, deeds, and so forth. Of course, as this treatise has explored in detail, the main problem that such ledger developers face isn’t the technical challenges of ensuring security and efficiency of their decentralized platforms. Rather, it’s the nature of our present culture that tolerates ancient domination institutions presuming to be in charge of all persons and their property within arbitrarily and unjustly declared “jurisdictions.”
Once we become aware of the nature of Amber stage—centralized, power-over strategies that reflect a paradigm of threats and punishments—we can begin to realize its incredible costs and how tragic it’s been for humanity—and entirely needless! The next crucial step will involve working to discontinue such strategies with honesty and compassionate, authenticity and understanding, so that we can finally transcend this stage, leaving it to the dustbin of history. Certainly, we can promote everyone’s needs as members of a thinking, feeling, and interrelating species: freedom, independence, trust, choice, respect, safety, security, competence, fairness, equality, effectiveness, clarity, meaning, and peace can all get met by honoring property rights, learning Nonviolent Communication, and implementing Teal-stage organizations. Healthy and completely functional communities really hinge on respect for individuals and their choices, as does society at large.
Distributed and secure ledgers can facilitate this process—for example, in the realm of health care. The highly regulated and socialized medical system in America (and elsewhere) contributes to massive confusion, frustration, and suffering, in concert with the corporate insurance industry. Presently, with the effects of HIPAA, most patients don’t possess always-updated records of their medical history, despite it being technologically possible and especially convenient with smartphones. For most people today, any of their existing medical records are kept (albeit for a limited time) in clinics and hospitals that they’ve visited over the years, which typically don’t even provide copies of records to patients by default. This explains all the unnecessary and time-consuming redundant paperwork to fill out upon visiting a new health-care provider, be it a physician, dentist, or ophthalmologist.
With a free-market system, highly useful innovations would seemingly happen overnight. We’re in the 21st century, after all! Untold numbers of patients ought not suffer and die on account of present providers’ incomplete or mistaken records of them, or patients’ omissions and errors about their own histories and conditions. Furthermore, the incomplete, mistaken, and downright harmful governmentally approved “nutritional guidelines” and health advice will no longer be provided to acutely and chronically ill patients, nor to everyone else (e.g., children in schools). This will assist in remedying the high obesity rates and prevalence of metabolic syndrome in the American population.
The sugar conspiracy
Saturated fats: do they cause heart disease? — The Nutrition Coalition
Why Chicken Could Be Harming You and Saturated Fat is a Health Food, with Nina Teicholz | Carnivore MD
FRAUDULENT Nutrition Guidelines? Nina Teicholz & Dr Berry Reveal
Is Medicine Overrated?
However, if the status quo were to remain so, then most of us are destined to suffer and die as a result of this backwards, misguided, and distinctly unfree “health care” system. And, of course, it’s completely unnecessary. Our health and well-being don’t have to be at the mercy of a hopeless bureaucracy filled with sundry conflicts of interest, mirroring the governmental system.
Blockchain (or DAG) technology, effectively applied, can render all “middlemen” in this process obsolete. The sheer amount of time, money, and energy that’s been wasted dealing with them really staggers the imagination. Frustratingly, though unsurprisingly, they’ve coercively reaped various monopolistic and oligopolistic rewards. Having a status of gatekeeper may pay well, but it sacrifices lots of opportunities for enriching alternatives (and better pay and lower costs) for everyone. Using distributed ledgers for cryptocurrencies, identity management, custody (titles, deeds, etc.), and smart contracts (e.g., insurance) can displace any and all present gatekeepers, aka “bridge trolls.”
Needless to say, profound social innovation will happen once domination systems are viewed as intolerable by a sufficient percentage of the population, due to their immensely sacrificial nature. What amount of growth-oriented and trauma-informed intellectuals and activists shall prove sufficient is of course open to speculation. Perhaps when at least 10% makes the shift to Teal stage of development, as suggested by philosopher Ken Wilber’s Integral Theory, the next Enlightenment can emerge—2nd-tier, wholesome and integrated.
But if domination systems continue to be tolerated, then centralized “blockchain” technology has the potential to deliver us into a world much more like Nineteen Eighty-Four. As noted previously, companies such as Consensys are already working to create governmentally controlled and monitored “smart cities” that run on their blockchains. Among other things, governmental “revenue” departments seek to monitor people’s finances and collect taxes much more easily, which even the head of future-oriented Singularity University, Peter Diamandis (among others), has been applauding.
Blockchain in Government and the Public Sector
Future of Smart Cities – Part 1
Future of Cities Part 2 – Visions of the Future
Inner and Systemic Change
Being subjected to demands during our development can hinder the formation of a new vision for humanity. We can transition beyond the punishment paradigm; we can change our world in all the ways that deeply matter for health and vitality. Since a demand comes with an intention to punish, it disregards choice and sacrifices the need to respect others. A request instead comes with an intention to appreciate and accept, thereby honoring choice.
Imagine a world in which people in organizations throughout America, or in a city, did not comply with governmental demands—in the name of respectful functioning and freedom. Again, this entails a psychological journey into our developmental past, confronting “authority”—its shaming and blaming, its threats and punishments, its sacrifice of needs. Presently, as throughout human history, very few adults feel comfortable and confident speaking truth to power as a consequence, let alone disobeying, especially when that power seems to be in charge of people’s very lives and future well-being. No wonder the status quo tends to persist and vital human change remains the most difficult process. The punishment paradigm, sunk cost fallacy, and negativity bias all loom large here, reflecting lack of trust in achieving win/win outcomes.
Meanwhile, those maintaining positions of unjust power in political systems oftentimes aren’t too aware of their own underlying fears, which concern giving up coercive roles that actually put others and society at an extreme disadvantage. Even though no one has a right to thwart human well-being and flourishing, it’s still commonly done on an institutional level—seemingly as a way of life, supported and maintained by most parents, teachers (including professors, journalists, pundits, and mental health practitioners), religious leaders, and of course politicians, bureaucrats, judges, and cops. This reflects the extremely costly nature of domination systems, which is also commonly unrecognized.
The mentality of command-and-control needs to be honestly and compassionately recognized as the developmental result of distrust in early choices and lack of appreciation for safe and healthy boundaries by parents and caregivers. Self-distrust forms in childhood when little persons are subjected to coercive strategies—shaming, blaming, lots of “should” statements, demands, threats, and punishments. All these sacrifice needs for acceptance, safety, security, warmth, closeness, nurturing, empathy, and respect, among others. Sadly, as a usual consequence, self-distrust and distrust of others become as natural as the cycles of day and night. Cultures replete with insecure attachment styles and normalized coercion are predictable outcomes.
However, trust in self and trust in others can be restored via self-esteem practices and trauma-repair and integration work. Love and compassion can be revitalized as well throughout society. Anything less than love and compassion will spell further dire straits for everyone—basically, a dysfunctional condition of humanity, systemically reliving trauma, even to the point of totally wrecking civilization and the biosphere via numerous unchecked hazards.
In light of this now global predicament, a promising movement has been gaining cultural acceptance and scientific understanding: psychedelic-assisted therapy. This involves explicit intentions to heal and grow, to make better sense of past troublesome experiences and costly coping strategies in order to experience new ways of being and doing in the world, personally and interpersonally. Therapeutic (and even “heroic”) doses of psychedelic substances, such as psilocybin (in “magic” mushrooms and truffles, or the synthesized equivalent) and entheogens such as MDMA, are taken to facilitate more psychological and relational insights. Since our brains naturally seek ways to manage painful life experiences (trying to meet needs), psychedelic trips often induce profound mental experiences that reflect loving awareness and empathetic understanding. Trips can also induce learning experiences that summon our capacity for emotional resilience, which might be similar to developing an earned sense of secure attachment.
Integration remains key. Psychedelic experiences enable more integration and growth than is normally available with traditional psychotherapeutic methods. For many years impressive anecdotal and clinical research (such as at NYU and Johns Hopkins U.) have been demonstrating that trauma-based cognitive, emotional, and behavioral patterns can be compassionately and effectively processed with informed use of these substances. Having both a therapeutic mindset and a safe setting tends to empower this heartfelt inner journey. The various deeply meaningful insights generated by one’s brain during even a single psychedelic trip can be reflected on and integrated throughout a lifetime. Here are two recent informative books that explore the enriching and transformative possibilities:
Changing Our Minds: Psychedelic Sacraments and the New Psychotherapy by Don Lattin
How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us about Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence by Michael Pollan
To everyone’s misfortune currently, cultivating a safe setting is jeopardized around the world when people are subjected to innumerable demands, threats of punishment, and rights-violations by governmental organizations (again, ironically in the name of “public health and safety”). The so-called War on Drugs continues to be a horrendous, many-decades-long set of injustices on people’s choices, property, and lives. It seeks to deny them responsibility and respect, which are two needs essential for more life-enriching decisions and actions.
The organization called the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration sacrifices the need to respect fellow Americans as well as foreigners, which of course is reflective of the governmental system itself. All its members are both effects and causes of the punishment paradigm, which is ruled by ignorance, fear, and control. Alongside other governmental police forces, DEA agents daily engage in a futile, extremely costly, and rights-violating endeavor to achieve, allegedly, human propriety. To add insult to immense injury, this Red/Amber organization makes blatantly false claims that psychedelics are highly addictive and have no medicinal value, as stated at https://www.dea.gov/drug-scheduling:
Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are:
heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine [MDMA] (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote
Classifying heroin alongside LSD is pharmacologically absurd, as is placing THC, MDMA, and mescaline in the same category as quaaludes. No doubt, perverse incentive structures and dysregulated limbic systems lead people to assert and maintain dogmatic biases and rationalize power-over strategies. In such a coercive system, scientific discernment in particular and reality-oriented thinking in general—to say nothing of respect for cognitive liberty and property rights— become much less of a priority. Not only does the DEA’s scheduling ignore basic and crucial drug distinctions; it also fails to mention the most potentially harmful and most widely used drug on the planet, which of course is legal to both sell and consume: Alcohol.
This is not a mere oversight or mistake. It’s the end result of an obvious double standard that’s persisted for many decades. Governmental prohibition of alcohol was lifted at the end of 1933, but other drugs were taxed and regulated in assorted ways and then became framed as an official public health hazard in 1970. In spite of the violent failure of alcohol prohibition, yet another corrupt and prejudicial prohibition was inflicted on Americans and people elsewhere. Of course, this grand gaslighting of the public is characteristic of the entire organization of government, a “public” rights-violating institution that masquerades as everyone’s protector and provider, whether you like it or not! Even those operating this organization are subjected to its severe costs; everyone pays psychological and existential prices for injustice, be they direct or indirect.
Every member of the DEA knows that alcohol fully fits their Schedule 1 description: It has no currently accepted medical use, and it has a high potential for abuse. Extensive research and people’s ubiquitous experiences bear this out. Professor Nutt in the UK, who specializes in neuropsychopharmacology, has been pointing out these facts for years:
Alcohol ‘more harmful than heroin’ says Prof David Nutt
Both historians and laypersons in our (hopefully near) future society of freedom, respect, and responsibility will look back at this time as filled with so much needless suffering. Of course, alcohol prohibition was a miserable and bloody failure that ended in the 1930s, though this drug is still regulated and taxed (even sold by some “states,” such as New Hampshire’s Liquor Commission). Despite prohibition being essentially unenforceable due to widespread desire to use (where there’s a demand, there will be supply), other drugs continue to be demonized, as if they were the actual problem, to futilely try to ban and extirpate.
We need to compassionately remedy what ails us, which means effectively dealing with the deep-rooted cultural and psychological cycles of fear, distrust, shame, blame, threats, and punishments. To change in wonderfully healing ways remains available for nearly anyone with curiosity, concern for well-being, and an Internet connection. Of course, from the vantage point of someone who’s been using costly strategies of trying to get needs met within command-and-control systems, the process of change might seem too difficult, and the downsides might seem too severe. The status-quo bias looms large. Taking significant steps forward can be scary, after all. This is why the win/win principles of voluntaryism, the mental and organizational stage of Teal, and the enriching methods of Nonviolent Communication are so vital. They enable whole new levels of clarity, empathy, and understanding, so much so that they could be called “The Second Enlightenment.”
As Marshall Rosenberg used to say, those who are in touch with their needs don’t make very good slaves. When people connect with their feelings and needs, they become more curious and more intrinsically motivated. This can foster a desire to enact a vision of the future that really solves the problems of human suffering. Naturally and logically, optimal human flourishing coincides with living harmoniously and sustainably on this wondrous planet. Free and intrinsically motivated humans can most easily foster these delightful processes, while coerced and fearful humans simply cannot.
Yet, practically the entire world of business operates in a coerced and fearful realm, that of statism. Asserting one’s right to exist and not sacrificing to governmental systems (in all their facets) of course entail significant internal transformation. Ayn Rand noted that confidence and courage are practical necessities and that human sacrifice requires “the sanction of the victim.” So, the protagonists in Atlas Shrugged decided to stop such endorsement, favoring instead a credo that reflects a non-sacrificial ethics:
I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.
The familiar win/lose (ultimately lose/lose) sacrificial ethics contributes largely to our loss of freedom—psychologically, intellectually, politically—and the concomitant unjust and arbitrary constraints. As we’ve explored, statist “laws and regulations” demand conformity in line with the punishment paradigm, which results in massive diminishment of opportunities. As they violate rights, they seriously hinder the creation of a world of abundance for everyone. Despite the worldwide trends of billions of people no longer living in poverty (due to developmental factors), most Americans have been relegated to living paycheck to paycheck. Economic problems were exacerbated by the SARS CoV-2 pandemic and the coercive ways that governmental systems have tried to deal with it for everyone. Restricting movement and proscribing various business activities (including outdoor recreational ones) violated rights as they hindered market-based responses, which are healthy and effective for entire societies. Inexpensive rapid-antigen testing and potent, cheap antiviral medicines needed to be prioritized, in addition to closing laboratories involved in gain-of-function research (the lab in Wuhan, China most likely created SARS CoV-2).
Amidst all the time, energy, and money expended to create and provide SARS CoV-2 vaccines during a pandemic, they were not designed to provide sterilizing immunity. So, a team of scientists and bioengineers at UCSF focused their knowledge and skills to craft a strong antiviral treatment. It consisted of “nanobodies” that were refined to stop this particular coronavirus in its tracks, neutralizing its surface spike proteins and disabling entry into cells, thus preventing infection. If their product had been brought to market in late 2020, countless lives could’ve been saved and incalculable amounts of suffering could’ve been prevented. Similar antivirals were created by teams elsewhere, such as Columbia University (Intranasal fusion inhibitory lipopeptide prevents direct-contact SARS-CoV-2 transmission in ferrets).
‘AeroNabs’ Promise Powerful, Inhalable Protection Against COVID-19
As we pan out from the pandemic problems, we see that billions of people around the world are still in conditions of barely getting by, despite poverty being reduced decade after decade overall. As history has shown us, domination system hinder people’s ability to cultivate more resourcefulness, and they heavily influence people not to realize new possibilities of social organization. While being more well-off financially can certainly assist in having greater access to resources, it doesn’t necessarily enable more resourcefulness, wisdom, and foresight. Most of the proffered solutions by relatively wealthy people and groups fall far short of speaking truth to unjust power, especially in ways that are fruitful, avoiding sacrificial strategies.
Here’s an ironic fact: Cryptography might have very little practical value in a world in which we had 100% trust in each other. Many people today believe that trusting each other to the fullest extent is impossible and quite ill-advised, because some people will always seek to benefit themselves at the expense of others. Of course, this belief takes place in a world of domination systems that emanate distrust and suspicion, not loving kindness and respect.
Now, imagine trust how much trust would permeate a society of loving kindness and respect, expanding from the interpersonal to the organizational, up to and including the political philosophy of freedom. That will be a profoundly different society in which to live and flourish. In the interim, cryptography grants us opportunities to trust in mathematics, instead of believing (or pretending to believe) that coercive institutions can somehow meet our need for trust. Of course, creating and using cryptographic methods is much easier than developing a society of trust, yet only this latter society can heal its major systemic wounds. Essentially, everything we want is on the other side of the present paradigm of fear, control, distrust, and punishment.
Tragically, societies can sometimes reverse course, becoming more Orwellian rather than less. As mentioned, this kind of devolution happened in Hong Kong during the pandemic. Despite most Hongkongers wanting their city government to respect speech, press, and assembly, it was supplanted by the Chinese Communist Party’s dictates—ignoring the actual expiration date of 2047 insuring the city’s relative independence from the mainland.
Shocked and outraged no more – Hong Kong’s new normal
Speaking of Orwellian nightmares, the North Korean people have experienced horrendous suffering due to their political and economic circumstances. Many greatly fear the consequences of trying to challenge the statist propaganda and subvert the dictatorial controls. Their seemingly everlasting political regime tries to keep them in the dark about any possible alternatives, while threatening anyone (and generations of their family members) who dares to challenge the status quo. This is similar in kind to the over billion Chinese, who are also indoctrinated by their governmental system without any semblance of free speech and free press (only via illegal VPNs) and assembly, as the crack down on Hong Kong protesters has shown the world.
Indeed, China remains a place where independent expressions of contrary ideas and behaviors are continually throttled by those in power. Most Chinese probably don’t quite grasp the costly nature of their sacrificial paradigm, because they grew up within it. Such is the traumatizing nature of the paradigm that binds minds to it, which the Hongkongers were demonstrating against. Notice that collectivistic thinking, which is constantly promoted via governmental propaganda, disempowers individuals, denying personal responsibility and fostering group-think, such as natives-vs-foreigners or Us versus Them thinking. Predictably, thoughts about their society’s predicament tend to align with those running the coercive systems, which use subterfuge on everyone.
Then, of course, we have America, where the “federal government” has adopted the majority of the ten planks of the The Communist Manifesto, and most people seem either unfazed or in full support of this political predicament (though politicians remain largely disliked, sort of a “necessary evil”). “The United States” is part and parcel of a collectivistic, coercive enterprise, which pretends to be upholding the “common good,” or “general welfare,” and other erroneous, slavespeak notions. Tragically, the political process continues with these unrecognized root contradictions, as noted in the first chapter of my 2007 book:
As we’ve explored in depth, new learning and integration really need to happen in psychology and philosophy. Intrinsic motivation and a courageous desire for a respectful and compassionate society can enable us to check mistaken assumptions and change the course of history. Mencken’s notion from decades ago is still apt: “Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.” Here was his assessment of governmental schooling:
The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else.
Of course, those who seem wedded to the status-quo bias oftentimes view these ideas as hyperbolic, or painting with too broad of a brush. As mentioned, Steven Pinker contends in his book The Better Angels of Our Nature that governments have largely served as a civilizing force to mediate disputes in society. In other words, without government overseeing our private and business affairs, we’d be robbing, maiming, and murdering each other, similar to the bulk of his book’s gruesome historical portrayal of human behavior.
Whether or not his dismaying account of our species violence accords with all the anthropological facts, both historic and prehistoric (since some controversy among scholars does exist), he and most other professors tend to believe that the benefits of domination systems outweigh their costs. Even though this belief is unfounded, it stems from many common assumptions in our culture that involve the unchecked premises of collectivism, distrust, and human sacrifice. As Pinker advocates for Enlightenment Now (his latest book’s title), these premises remain unchecked. Highly unnecessary and tragic costs can be acknowledged and rectified with win/win, systemic changes on personal, interpersonal, organizational, and societal levels. We can live in a healed, post-political world, via a Second Enlightenment now.
Freedom and flourishing are our birthrights, after all, for all of us to experience during our precious lifetimes. We are amazing beings evolving on a magnificent planet. The choice to change in ways that deeply matter remains within reach for anyone who desires it, despite the major challenges posed by past and present situations.
The future can come to light in our minds too, in each newly considered realization and in every present-moment reflection. We are the species actually able to free ourselves from past troublesome and traumatizing patterns. We have a tremendous opportunity before us, to heal and grow out of intergenerational and developmental cycles of neglect, abuse, and injustice. This is what changing the world entails, in line with our conscious—and conscientious—purpose to live optimally with our fellow humans.
After I moved to Reno, NV in the spring of 2019, I desired to connect with those working at Blockchains. I soon befriended and had many enriching conversations with their project lead, Alison Berreman. Our discussions about Sociocracy, an advanced Green-stage business model, soon led me to discovering Laloux’s book Reinventing Organizations and all the wonderful facets of the Teal-stage business model. Then, during the summer Berreman was dismissed for advocating (in essence) that Blockchains’ Orange-stage model be transformed into something more Green and even Teal. Her few tweets about the need for such organizational change did not sit well with corporate management, since most (if not all) were law-school graduates and bar-association members. A caring colleague of hers was also dismissed the next day, when she did a silent protest simply requesting empathic understanding.
Sadly, neither compassionate communication nor restorative justice, two invaluable hallmarks of Teal, were practiced with these team members who had been wanting to flourish in a nurturing and dynamic environment. The following link still contains some of what Alison and her team wrote below.
Individuals should have input in the development and design of systems, technological or otherwise, that affect them.
Individuals unsatisfied with the systems affecting them have the right to exit them.
Privacy is a human right.
Individuals have the right to control access to their data.
Those with more power have an obligation to empower those with less.
Freedom is not a scarce resource, nor is prosperity: Winning need not be zero sum.
Unfortunately, Blockchains’ management was also not interested in learning about Nonviolent Communication when I offered to introduce it and explore it with them; this was shortly before Alison’s dismissal. NVC fluency is practically indispensable in the transformation to Teal, because it entails becoming more (and more) integrated. Only time will tell if the managers at Blockchains decide to change their present corporate course, into a new direction of personal and organizational growth, of self-management, wholeness, and purpose, for the benefit of everyone—and the world.
Pathways to Liberation: Matrix of Self-assessment