States rule the modern world and state-sanctioned evil is rampant, of this there is no doubt. But at the same time, we’re by far the freest and wealthiest human beings in history. So should I regard 21st century existence as an awful experience or an amazing one? Should I love it or hate it? Is it possible to love and hate it? Hop aboard my train of thought and let’s see where it takes us.
Knowledge of the true nature of the modern state helps you, but it also haunts you. Recognising that governments, as we know them, are criminal agencies systematically violating the rights of their citizens enables you to see the ways in which you can avoid sanctioning and facilitating legal evil. But it can also fill you with a melancholy and even rage, which isn’t felt by most people who maintain a blind faith that governments are on their side.
In my experience, this leads to feelings of ambivalence towards 21st century existence. Sometimes I love it and with good reason. My standard of living is far beyond the wildest dreams of my ancestors of only a century ago. Without question, the world of abundance and rapid technological progress in which I live is amazing.
Indeed, it’s hard to truly appreciate just how fortunate we are and how exceptional, in all of human history, our experience of existence is. For thousands of years until only about a few centuries ago, the common man languished in subsistence. Life was comparatively brutal, short and mostly an exercise in survival – literally. If I could travel back in time and bring some of my deep ancestors forward to the present, they would probably think I lived in some otherworldly heaven and not on the same planet that was so hellish for them.
Other times, however, I’m disgusted and saddened by the age we live in. Also with good reason. After all, state power is only expanding throughout the western world and the number of freedom-eroding laws is only increasing. And just think of the countless innocent people in the Middle East who were snuffed out by bombs and bombers paid for with British taxpayers’ money. That figurative giant pile of bodies symbolises the total disregard for human life invariably shown by people holding state power – people we elect to ‘represent’ us.
All this is unquestionably awful and governments everywhere continue to plunder, corrupt and regress societies. That’s what they do. With this in mind, I can sometimes feel it’s wrong or stupid to love existence in today’s world and that perhaps it would be more appropriate to hate it.
This love-hate relationship with modern existence can be exhausting, unsettling and depressing at times, but it seems like there’s no way to resolve it without becoming an obsessive state-hater or a myopic free-market advocate. And those aren’t much good to anyone. So maybe the best thing for your own inner peace and for the cause of liberty is to maintain as best you can a balance between state-hating and society-loving. In short: love society AND hate the state.
Perhaps it’s helpful to look at it this way. We owe it to every past generation of humanity to fully enjoy and truly appreciate the fruits of the freedom that exists in today’s world – a degree of individual liberty unimaginable to them. But we also owe it to future generations to express moral objection to and to avoid participating in legalised coercion in the multiple forms it takes in society today. Otherwise, our descendants may be left imagining what freedom was like.
Or maybe an analogy is better. The world today is like an apple with a rotten core. The delicious flesh is free market society and the rancid core of coercion is the state. What humanity needs is an apple corer. Could blockchain technology be it?
A few centuries ago, unprecedented economic liberty enabled the development of production for the masses by the masses, thus eliminating monopoly production by a minority for a minority. The next great advancement needs to be property-rights enforcement and justice for the masses by the masses, two things which states have monopolised for centuries. The long-term effect of which has been increasing costs with decreasing quality of outcomes.
If blockchain technology is sufficiently mature by the time the states we know and hate start to collapse, then it could be the very thing to fill the voids and preserve western civilisation by forming new decentralised foundations for it. Western civilisation, society as we know and love it, depending on a single technology might sound preposterous or even terrifying, but actually, this is normal for humanity.
Human survival and progress has often hinged on the invention of certain technologies, such as fire, the wheel, stone tools, written language, electricity etc. Evolution is no cakewalk and existence is a harsh mistress. Survival is often seat-of-the-pants stuff, but the human mind has always come up with solutions when needed. Maybe, just maybe, it’s done it again with the invention of Blockchain, which is potentially a way to develop Western Civilisation 2.0 without erasing all the core code from the first version. No rulers, just rules. It’s a tantalising and beautiful prospect.
As Henry Miller once wrote, “No man is great enough or wise enough for any of us to surrender our destiny to. The only way in which anyone can lead us is to restore our belief in our own guidance.”