That mankind is approaching the edge of a terminal social precipice is no news to me or to my correspondents around the world or to you. We see the consequences of centralized political state action clearly enough. The lingering question is, what happens after the collapse?
The earliest documented civilization in history arose in Sumer around 6,500 years ago among a people who were apparently indigenous to the region. Here were the beginnings of many things, including writing, religion, slavery, trade, money, and the city-state. Here the natural human inclination to use force to satisfy desire was codified as a state monopoly, and elevated in status by many fanciful myths that we continue to revere to this day. Here political government was born.
It failed. The idea that a monopoly on the use of force could somehow provide security to the people who produced something useful, like food, failed at the outset. Naturally nobody sat down and said we need to rethink this system of government, the proto-governors and their myth-makers saw to that. No, all we need to do is fix it.
Mankind has been fixing political government ever since, and still it fails. Roughly two hundred and twenty generations of human beings have faithfully practiced a social organizing principle that doesn’t work and can’t be fixed. Knowing no more than the history of political government, one can safely predict it will fail again, but how can we track that failure and how might it be different this time?
To answer the first question, I suggest that we track the progress of fiat money, and the use of force against a given political jurisdiction’s own tax-paying residents. Purchasing power of a state’s currency declines in a direct ratio with the dual frauds of printing more money and authorizing credit expansion; the state is first hog at the trough and invariably spends its own largess on its non-productive military. Meanwhile the masses struggle to keep up with rising prices and watch the value of their savings dwindle away. Political governments are reluctant to allow a systemic fiat collapse across the board and have established international safety nets to cope with a failure here and there; Argentina was permitted to destroy its powerful middle-class by this means, for example, and was then bailed out. This won’t work in the US; if and when the fiat dollar fails, we’ll see Greenspan’s "cascading cross-defaults" in every other political jurisdiction on the planet. In the near term, say ten years, we can easily track the dollar and know where we stand.
All political jurisdictions eventually use their own military against their own people; it is the real purpose of standing armies. In all cases this is something obvious to track. (I am using the word military in a generic sense that includes all armed employees of the state who are authorized to kill on command, or choice.) Sadly for our Republic, the ink was hardly dry on our Constitution before the true nature of the beast was revealed during the tax protest dubbed the Whiskey Rebellion. In our own times we have witnessed small-scale demonstrations at Wounded Knee, Kent State, Ruby Ridge, and Waco, not to mention innumerable attacks by SWAT teams. With the passing of the Vietnam generation of damaged personalities into senescence, training a new crop was essential to the health of the state. With the rule of law a dead issue in the District of Criminals, it’s only a matter of time before these people are loosed on our civilian population to maintain "order and security." When we see the armored and armed Humvees patrolling our streets, we will know the end is near.
Ordinary people have always found a way to work around the restrictions and proscriptions of political governments in the past, even though they sometimes died trying. The spirit of laissez-faire — the principle of least action in operation — is as deeply ingrained in human nature as the urge to use force, although it is widely ignored. Life is simply easier without confrontation and violence, and people tend to avoid both. I think we would be wise to keep this human characteristic in mind during the next transition, and focus on it when we choose a replacement for the state. The pressing question to answer now, before the fall, is how to create security and justice without using fraud or physical force at all? I think it can be done.
Thanks to our modern science and technology, we’re not going to get a grace period of three centuries as the Romans did. Political systems are going to fall fast and hard this time. Precipitating factors abound: the fraudulent stock markets, the fraudulent derivative markets, the fraudulent currency markets, the criminal central banks, or the criminal political governments each could trigger the failure of all, all at once. Our wannabe dictator for life could do it by himself, tomorrow. I hope that more of us have more time to think about it, so that we may pass through the chaos safely and quickly, and arrive at something that works better than political government after the collapse.
Robert Klassen [send him mail] retired from a forty-year career in critical-care respiratory therapy. He is the author of five books, including Atlantis: A Novel about Economic Government, and Economic Government, which describe a solution to the problem of political government. Here’s his web site.