Sunday, August 2, 2009

The on line world, cont.

As readers know, my interests have been along the lines of how Objectivism and Libertarianism have become social rather than political movements, and how to migrate to a virtual "Galt's Gulch" in order to live, work and dream in privacy without the busybodies of the State interfering with our lives. (Far better the agents of the State were to concentrate on their real jobs of protecting our lives and property from theft and fraud...).

Next Big Future has an interesting post here on the idea of transhumanism as applied to libertarian thought. For those of you who havn't come across this idea before, many futurists, science fiction writers and others maintain that advances in technology and biology will allow the human race to trancend current limits and achieve a physical utopia free of current problems and wants.

Ideas such as nanotechnology, highly advanced computers and artificial intelligence and genetic engineering do have the potential to eliminate scarcity and poverty in the world, and allow ordinary people access to the sorts of tools that are currently only in the reach of governments today. This is a two edged sword, of course. Being able to fabricate a spaceship and go to the asteroid belt is a positive, but the same technologies also allow you to build an ICBM and take personal action against a foreign regime you may not like.

It occurs to me that much of what we see in politics is a reaction to this sort of thinking (however diffused and unorganized). Politics is defined in organizational theory as a means of allocating limited resources. In the transhumanist libertarian universe, there are no limited resources (besides natural limits set by physics), hence there is no need for politics as usually defined. Why do we need a CRTC to allocate limited bandwidth, when there is effectively unlimited bandwidth through the Internet? The world produces more than enough agricultural produce to feed everyone, famines are caused by government actions that distort markets or actively embargo food distribution for military or ideological purposes. Other examples can be thought of by the preceptive reader.

What we are seeing is a process of limiting access to resources by political entities in order to maintain control. Bureaucratic entities like the CRTC float trial balloons to limit the sorts of information available on the Internet in a very public way. Other groups act like "Brownshirts" and attempt to drive competing ideas from the public square, as this example shows. "Cap and Trade" and associated "Climate Change" hysteria is designed to frighten people and make inexpensive access to energy, manufactured goods and services too expensive to afford for the masses.

So how do we respond?

Transhumanism is a very high tech idea and would require the resources of innovative corporations and the mass market to develop quickly and effectively. However, lots of low to mid tech resources exist in the here and now that allow the determined person to partake of relative abundance in the comfort of their own households. Everything from hydroponic gardening to using rain barrels to catch unmetered water, investing in high efficiency appliances to schooling yourself to turn off and unplug "instant on" devices reduces you dependance on outside resources and agencies without necessarily depriving you of a lifestyle of relative abundance.

Busybodies of the State will still attempt to harass you, for example citing zoning laws or launching complaints to take up your valuable time.  This is where you can become involved in the political process, and at a level that you, the reader have much influence. I am suggesting that applying anti-politics to your lives and engaging in the political process at the municipal level will provide the means to break down the overwhelming control of the State.

Anti politics (removing or reducing your dependance on the municipal grid and services) reduces the tax revenues of the State, provides an example for your friends and neighbours to follow and even co-ops some of the memes that the Statists use to attempt to control your lives.

Being active in municipal politics is doable for the majority of people, and the results can be imediate and very gratifying (rolling back intrusive bylaws and ordinances, for example).

Perhaps this is not as much fun as prospecting in the rings of Saturn or sea steading in the Earth's oceans, but it is doable, and it is possible for all of us, today.

Freedom is a self help project!

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