Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Friday, April 18, 2014
How do we get to liberty, starting where we are now? Politics probably won't work. Politics is the tail, society is the dog. Change politics without changing what people think, and pretty soon things will go right back to where they were. Change what people are thinking and politics will follow. How do we change what people think?
Show me, don't just tell me. Adopting libertarian ideas is like adopting a new technology. The innovators and early adopters are relatively easy to convince, but to gain widespread support we need to be able to show people how using our ideas can help them succeed.
Here are some examples of the sort of thing I am thinking about: The Internet, BitTorrent, PGP, Bitcoin, Wikipedia, crowd funding, Linux development. All of these phenomena seemed strange when they were new. If they had needed approval from a majority of people to get started, none of them would exist. In a few cases, the government would prefer that they did not exist, but here they are. We can use that kind of dynamic.
What can I do now that will actually make a positive difference? I want to participate in projects that are tangible, credible, inclusive, and epic. Maybe even profitable!
Oops, this is my floor.
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
- Change or debate the goal.
- Create lots of paperwork, bureaucracy, and procedures.
- Collect lots of information about volunteers.
- Make people ask for permission.
- Allow working groups to get too large and break into factions.
- Discourage fun. Make it dull.
- Worry if you get criticized by outsiders.
- Criticize mistakes instead of learning from them.
Sunday, April 13, 2014
Friday, April 4, 2014
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Those who understand politics well must increase their estimate of this gap. Politics tends to stifle innovation, to wear out people who want to try something new, by forcing them to fight a tug-o-war over shared policies. The system shrugs them off and continues as before.
If you believe Hayek, your estimate gets larger still. He encouraged scepticism in regard to theories and abstractions, and toward our ability to predict and understand large complex social phenomena. The limits of central planning generalize to any designed social system. The difficulty of gathering, integrating, and processing the necessary information limits us to decentralized approaches. Allow each individual to respond to local conditions and the system will learn.
So utopias serve as a direction rather than a destination, a reason for acting more than an understanding of the final outcome, an inspiration for experiments from which we must learn and correct our ideas instead of a certainty. Utopia can inspire us to cross the stream, but cannot show us which rocks to step on.
My utopia contains people who cooperate with each other, not coercing each other. Coercion poisons empathy, corrupts integrity, and perverts loyalty. Cooperation enables these, and leaves room for inspiration.
It's not clear to me how we could eliminate coercion, or that it is entirely possible in all cases. But I know it is worth investigating and we can learn from trying new things. We can know what direction to explore, without knowing our exact destination.
Many recent social and technological developments empower individuals in ways we could hardly have imagined 20 years ago, both as individuals and as members of firms, organizations, or groups. [e.g. The Internet, cell phones, BitTorrent, bitcoin, Wikipedia, open source software, P2P, etc.] When such secrets reveal themselves, we do not forget them.
I want more. I hope for more. And I hope our imagination will catch up with our potential soon. Government does more to block experiments than to enable social learning. Still, we can do what we can do. We have examples to follow. With our utopia to guide us, we know why we act and which direction to explore: more cooperation.