• A little more on the black flag

    by  • May 15, 2007 • Hexayurt, Personal, The Global Picture • 0 Comments

    You can’t trust anybody these days.

    At the root of the systems of oppression we labor under is the concept of the Nation State, and the idea that the Nation State has some kind of automatic right to enforce its will on the population unlucky enough to be born within its borders.

    It is a direct inheritor of might-makes-right and the divine right of kings. It is, without the slightest shadow of a doubt, the worst arrangements of human affairs other than all the others. I had to explain yesterday to an extremely bright and promising young man that the idea that democracy was the dictatorship of the masses was simply not on. I just don’t know what they teach them these days :-)

    Sounds funny, but it’s not. It’s not until you get thrown out of America that you realize what the Founding Fathers were about. For all that the American government in its current forms stinks to high heaven, cutting away at the rights of the people like a gorilla with a chain saw in each hand, the underlying framework is undamaged. People realize that it is wrong, however dimly. They still recognize freedom when they see it, even if they are not willing to struggle for its place in their own personal lives.

    The hexayurt is a technology of freedom because it gives you autonomy. A reasonable place to live, which can be transported on the back of a pickup truck by two people without heavy tools like scaffolding and which costs less than a week’s wages to build. You can, if you have to, pick up your family, move out of the city, and continue to live on your own terms for a while, maybe even for a few years, if you’re willing to do without luxuries like 120V mains and central air conditioning.

    I smiled when the survivalists at places like AR15.com started to build them. That told me I was on the right track: they cut through the current direction of the project and asked (as any good survivalist should) “what could I use this for?” Sharp kids.

    The Internet is, for a few years yet at least, a technological implementation of the right to free speech and to a lesser extent, freedom of religion through access to the fundamental texts of your tradition, whatever it might be, from west coast Wicca to Zoroastrianism.

    You can’t trust anybody these days.

    The Hexayurt is an implementation of the right to be left alone. You take your yurt, you buy some land, you move out of the cities, and you mind your own business for a few years or a decade or a lifetime. It’s the right to step out of the national economy if the conditions become untenable (Great Depression, or the Argentine IMF “bankruptcy” crisis) and go back to the land. Add a rifle, and you are now a pre-1776 peasant farmer.

    This sounds like a joke. It is not. All over the world, people struggle under the yoke of governments which still run off their local equivalent of the Divine Right of Kings. The State draws its claims of legitimacy not from the will of the people, or the consent of the governed, but from whatever shoddy excuse holds the local enterprise together with some dubious collective of power barons on top of the pile.

    There are two options. One is violent revolution. That option has been executed successfully once (America) and partially successfully a few other places, but in the general case it winds up in immediate occupation of the land by an armed band of thugs bent on their own enrichment.

    The other option is Gandhian non-violent non-cooperation. Ignore the State until it goes away.

    Does it work? Well, we have three partially successful attempted implementations: Gandhi in India, Nelson Mandela in South Africa, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in America.

    Two fatalities before project completion, India is a mess because of partition, South Africa is a miracle even in its current condition, and race in America is still ugly. Needs work. It’s not like democracy was learned over night, and weapon making and war have undergone a continuous evolution over millennia if not longer.

    So here’s the call: it’s time to develop a new generation of Gandhian political science, economic technology and non-cooperation methodologies. Armed struggle has plenty of adherents and developers. Gandhian methods have only a handful of people working on applying and enhancing the work of the Mahatama.

    It’s up to us to take Gandhi’s legacy, with all the lessons learned from the past 60 years of implementations, and update it for the Internet age and beyond. My feeling is that the economic independence possibilities of the Internet and other new technologies are wind under the wings of the Gandhian vision.

    Is freedom possible for everybody?

    Yes. There is enough food, enough clothing, enough water. With these essentials there is no reason why any person should be starved or beaten into compliance with a law they do not approve of. Let each person migrate to the jurisdiction which suits their personal vision so that political conflicts over the nature of the State are solved as far as possible by individual emigration, rather than war.

    Capital can move. Persons can move. The world is big enough for republics with gay marriage, or death for sodomy, or any of a range of drug policies. The world is big enough for fundamentalist nation states who wish war on one another for religious crimes and unaligned secular republics who look on aghast.

    A nationality is a membership of a club. It should be possible to buy and sell this membership at an agreed fair-market price. The fact that my body was born in Britain should not give the current band of armed men who run that country the right to tell me what to do by default. This is barbarism.

    Organized crime is the sole remaining compelling reason for the existence of the Nation State. Anybody who says the State is not necessary needs to spend some time with the topic of the mafias. But the State as an entity that prevents people from exercising their basic human rights is an anarchonism we need to work on phasing out as soon as possible.

    You can see this in America: 8 million or more “illegal immigrants” who everybody in power insists aren’t taking jobs away from Americans.

    This is about sovereignty. They are simply amending the rules of the game by non-enforcement of the law for a specific purpose, breaking the compact they have with the poor citizens of their own nation who might want those three or four million jobs for their own. Because the constructs of citizenship are economically inconvenient, the State breaks them. What then is it?

    The concept of Citizenship is whatever the thugs in charge say it is.

    So think on this with me over the next few years: what concept of the State lives up to Gandhian principles, while at the same time being viable in the face of organized crime. Answer me that question, and I have an immodest proposal for you.

    Behind the black flag there is a spinning wheel.


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    Vinay Gupta is a consultant on disaster relief and risk management.


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