The Ron Paul Nation

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A frequent
topic of discussion is about how Ron Paul is ignored or dismissed
by the smug MSM and other establishment elites. This is all true,
and is clearly at their peril, but not only for the specifics of
Ron Paul’s message or the number of his supporters. The fact that
the campaign seemingly materialized out of thin air and promptly
began registering real world accomplishments is the first shot in
what will prove to be a protracted evolution of the mechanisms of
governance. The organization of the Ron Paul campaign is demonstrating
that the corporate and government monopoly on, well, corporatism
and governance, is weakening. The general population has just now
been armed with digital weapons that allow them to challenge anointed
power structures and the Ron Paul campaign is evidence that they
aren’t wasting any time getting to work.

As CTO of a
small startup, I spend a lot of time thinking about what people
will do with software in the future. Some years ago, I convinced
myself that virtual/digital entities will arise that parallel much
of the function of traditional geographic sovereign entities. Ultimately,
these will conflict and lead to political and social realignments
on the order of the Reformation. Clearly, this will be played out
over years and decades. So for the past 10 years, I’ve been looking
for glimmerings that support this conjecture; the RP movement seems
to be the first significant digital entity fitting this pattern.

So the big
question in this story is not why Ron Paul is gaining traction –
his ideas have been out there for decades – but rather why now and
not ten or fifty years ago. The answer is simply that the technology
just now exists for like-minded individuals to form geography independent
groupings that are capable of effective action at very low overhead
and that do not rely upon any of the state or establishment apparatus.

Since the early
days of the web, the population has been training itself how to
develop collaboration and trust across the internet. This took a
big jump a couple of years back with the emergence of social networking
applications. This demonstrated and conditioned millions of users
of the validity of online social organization and shared, trusted
interactions with strangers. The final and absolutely vital ingredient
has been Youtube and similar applications over the past 1.5 years;
the supremacy of video for propaganda purpose is undeniable and
seems to be in the genetic programming of human beings.

So we are just
now, over the past year or so, at the juncture where people can
frictionlessly organize and have informational tools that rival
those of their complacent masters. Add a corrupt, bloated government
that has been relying on its now broken monopoly on social organization,
and voil, instant slave rebellion. The Ron Paul movement, or something
similar, was scripted to happen as soon as it could and is now doing
so with enabling tools and social acceptance of those tools that
really is only a year or two old. The fact that the first digital
nation formed around Ron Paul as a cause rather than Obama or banning
transfats is a good early indication that perhaps digital nations
will tend towards libertarian-friendly. Certainly, the internet
at large tends in that direction.

But what should
truly hearten freedom lovers everywhere is that the genie can’t
be put back into the bottle. Even if Ron Paul fails at his Presidential
run, there will be another Ron Paul, then another, a relentless
series of assaults on the establishment by the grassroots. Each
time, the challengers will grow much stronger because they are just
now teaching themselves how to run a digital nation, fight this
sort of battle. Plus, the enabling tools progress in the very non-linear
leaps and bounds typical of software. The next digital nation will
make the current high-tech campaign seem like musketry. Government
can’t really fight back by shutting down or seriously restricting
the internet, as that would hobble themselves and business while
stimulating creation of alternate internets. The pattern already
emerging will be governments, in their typical reflexive mode, playing
defense with traditional means, innovative digital nations on offense
with a constantly renewing arsenal of weapons and organizational

Can Ron Paul
win? Sure, it would be nice to have Ron Paul as President, but it
would be much nicer to be governed in a manner similar to that by
which the Ron Paul campaign is being conducted. This sentiment,
whether or not consciously expressed, seems to drive many Ron Paul
supporters. So while the campaign and message are important news
and should not be ignored, another big story is that the workings
of the Ron Paul campaign is the first demonstration of a viable
digital nation taking effective action, what social organization
is going to look like in the future, and all the negative implications
this holds for traditional governmental entities.

In this story,
Ron Paul has already won, in a very real sense.

2, 2007

Jay Roberts
[send him mail] is
CTO of His wife and 3 year old son kindly let him
out regularly to play guitar with his jazz buddies.

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