Political futurism: The state’s devolution will only better humanity. What could the next 100 years look like?
I’ll drown more sailors than the mermaid shall;
I’ll slay more gazers than the basilisk;
I’ll play the orator as well as Nestor,
Deceive more slily than Ulysses could,
And, like a Sinon, take another Troy.
I can add colours to the chameleon,
Change shapes with Proteus for advantages,
And set the murderous Machiavel to school.
Can I do this, and cannot get a crown?
Tut, were it farther off, I’ll pluck it down.
William Shakespeare, Henry VI, part 3 | Act 3, Scene 2
Sadly, Gloucester’s soliloquy of ambition would not make a contemporary Washington powerbroker blush. Looking at history, a hegemon does not simply surrender power. Power trumps ideology as a movement becomes a junta, which turns into a ruling party. Like a virus, the ruling power imprints itself on government, rewriting laws, redesigning the economy, and reshuffling institutions in order for the DNA of a country to become one with the ruling party. While we may not see it, our Democrats and Republicans have done this in the United States, a political duopoly of two statist parties who agree on many more things than they disagree:
- Military empire? You bet!
- A central bank that caters to Wall Street? Check!
- Industry capture of the legislative and regulatory process? Sure thing!
- An economic system that favors vested interests and established players? Heck yeah!
- A complex tax code full of corporate welfare and middle class handouts? Thumbs up!
- Welfare programs to palliate the poor masses? Sounds good!
- Electoral and campaign finance reform? Hell no!
Even so-called informed people are plugged into an ideological version of ‘The Matrix’ where they cannot see U.S. politics for what it really is. Red states and blue states are fake polarization–distinction without difference–and political discourse focuses on a lot of fringe issues that never move the needle on bettering the lives of most Americans. Nothing will begin to change until a critical mass of population in this country gets both politically astute and morally vigorous.
The first steps are advocacy of (1) a political ideology that is both coherent and places the highest value on individual rights in the broadest possible sense, and (2) a humanist moral framework or a religion that, at the very least, is tolerant of others and seeks to improve the human condition through private, non-coercive actions.
Today it is regarded as a fantasy to dream of a world with no governments and no religions that have been state-sanctioned and militarized, probably just as ridiculous as some unwashed, toothless peasant harvesting wheat in the middle of France in the 14th century dreaming of a world where King Charles V or one of his decedents no longer holds supreme power in his country, or where a person can opt not to adhere to the Catholic Church’s dogma and, instead, select another religion or, heaven forbid, choose not to believe in myth. His fellow peasants would laugh at him, for there will always be kings and we all must worship God in the manner required by the Church’s high clerics.
Government will be dismantled over time. This is more than some GOP tough talk or libertarian-conservative posturing. While a rollback of the federal government to the 19th century is an amusing thought experiment, there is a lack of practical application to the 21st century that makes this idea idiotic. Nevertheless, like kings, on a long enough timeline the end of government will occur, and it will be well before the sun goes into supernova and destroys our solar system. Government is simply a means to an end, so federal, state and municipal governments will exist so long as they are needed by a society. The end of history will truly take place when humanity has evolved past the need to be ruled. This will not happen overnight, but a truly free populace should be the goal of every government claiming moral coherence. The grand design of Western civilization has been the creation of citizens who are ends in themselves, self-actualizing in their lifetimes, seeking fulfillment of their desires during their all too short lives. We are not born to serve, or to never question why, or to be trapped in a permanent underclass.
The devolution of government must be a peaceful transition, as government itself is a form of violence and the answer to violence cannot be more violence. An anarcho-capitalist does not support violence or any form of coercion, so the end of government must be done through its mechanisms, a collective dismantling of laws through democratic action. This is about having a logical and coherent approach, winning the argument and changing minds, seeking to persuade and not intimidate or deceive. It may take 100 years or even 500 years, but it will occur. It’s simply a question of evolution.
This evolutionary approach towards an anarcho-capitalist society would require a less doctrinaire approach towards limiting government. Many near-term actions can help in the evolution toward anarcho-capitalist society: The Department of Education and Department of Energy can both be disbanded. National defense can be cut and right-sized for defense and not an empire. The Patent and Trademark Office and US Postal Service can be privatized. Social Security and Medicare should be means tested. The tax could should be amended to do away with corporate and middle class welfare.
However, due to the state of humanity and the world, we come to the harder calls, such as the Centers For Disease Control (CDC), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). As time goes on, you can probably privatize the CDC, disband the CIA and merge its functions with the Department of Defense, and break-up the FBI and leave it to state agencies. The Federal Reserve is also a hard call, given its a lynchpin in the world’s economy as the sole issuer of the world’s only reserve currency. The eventual resolution of the European financial crisis will strengthen the euro, and the growth of other national economies will lead to an emergence of other hard currencies (such as the renminbi, the Indian rupee, and the Brazilian real) and greater international economic integration. As US dollar floats in value with the value of other hard currencies based on the performance of this issuing economies, the Fed’s efforts to manage the US economy through manipulation of the money supply will be less effective, if not futile.
It is Chicago Fog’s contention that the evolution of humanity will lead to a devolution of government. The beginning steps in the devolution of government could occur in three waves in the 21st century:
- 2013-2030 — Continued international economic development and integration, with major trade treaties, the maturation of the emerging markets of the ‘90‘s and ‘00‘s the growth of Africa as an emerging market, and a liberalized government in China. A fiscal crisis and high inflation lead to shift in US party platforms, leading to de-centralization of the US government where federal functions are severely curtailed and/or moved to states and municipalities, defense spending is dramatically reduced, and the Federal Reserve’s powers are scaled back. Taxes and regulation are dramatically reduced to allow for the US to foster a more entrepreneurial, high-tech economy. The two-party duopoly ends as multiple political parties are created, and coalition governments take hold in the US.
- 2030-2050 — Biotech and information technology advances lead to dramatic improvements in lifespan, abilities, and productivity, further making people less dependent upon centralized power structures. Health improvements, access to food and water, and the need for more education leads to a declining world population rate for the first time in history. Religious identification begins to wane in Asia, Africa, and South America. Countries in Western Europe and North America liberalize immigration policies and further integrate their economies with a single currency (now an entirely electronic means of exchange), leading to more diverse, tolerant societies.
- 2050-2100 — Integrated economies and leaps in technology lead to a weakening of national borders and demilitarization. Low birth rates lead to immigration reform in all countries, leading to the growth of “world citizens” who immigrate and tie themselves to multiple countries. Improved information technology eliminates language barriers. Access to limitless energy (fusion; spaced-based solar collectors) eliminates competition for fossil fuels and results in cheap, fast world transportation. Robotics leads to a higher quality of life as people have more autonomy on how they spend their time. Asian and African countries begin to follow the West’s example of diversity and toleration. In most countries, large religious orders have given way to a myriad of smaller spiritual movements and new religions/sects which are mostly oriented toward self-improvement of their members and to charitable causes, with little influence on politics and society at large.
Blog posts on the rationale for each of these waves will follow (eventually).