Politics is that branch of philosophy which deals with such issues as the proper forms of legal, governmental and economic systems, and related issues. It obviously deals with many of the same issues as the subject as ethics, in that it is concerned with proper (or ethical) and improper (or unethical) modes of interaction between individuals, although it is often particularly concerned with organizations of individuals such as businesses, governments, etc., and representatives and agents of such organizations.
Ethics is (or should be) the foundation of the philosophical study and formulation of politics. Any proper, well-formed political system must therefore be based upon proper ethical standards and principles. In Scionics (as shown in the previous section) the most fundamental ethical principle is the non-aggression principle embodied in the colloquial expression, “Live and let live.” This may be expressed more technically as the recognition that one's most fundamental social right is the right of freedom and self-determination and that one's most fundamental social duty is the duty to refrain from infringing upon the freedom and self-determination of others. This specifically means that no individual or group of individuals may ethically initiate force, fraud or coercion against another.
All other rights and duties spring from this non-aggression principle, and must be consistent with it; likewise, all proper political, legal, economic and related systems and structures must be consistent with the non-aggression principle. Thus even government itself has no ethical right to violate this principle. This was very eloquently embodied (but not explicitly expressed) in the very first paragraph of Henry David Thoreau's 1849 essay, “Resistance to Civil Government” (later renamed and now popularly known as “Civil Disobedience”):
I heartily accept the motto, – “That government is best which governs least;” and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which I also believe, – “That government is best which governs not at all;” and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have. Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient.
The above paragraph touches upon three very important points, namely: (1) the desirability of absolutely minimal government; (2) the need to prepare individuals before absolutely minimal government can be realized; and (3) the fact that government is itself only an expedient. Each of these points can be examined in greater detail:
Absolutely Minimal Government. The paragraph starts by expressing the idea that less government is better than more, and that no government at all is best of all. This follows directly from the non-aggression, “Live and let live” principle. Remember that this principle holds that no individual or group of individuals may initiate force, fraud or coercion against another. In light of this, it is unethical for any government (or its agents) to forcibly or coercively tax individuals or to forcibly or coercively draft individuals into military service. It is unethical for any government (or its agents) to criminalize, prosecute, and impose fine or jail for victimless activities. It is unethical for any government (or its agents) to defraud individuals on a grand scale by means of reserve system economics. It is unethical for “representative” elected politicians to fraudulently represent their motives, allegiances and intentions to those voters and individuals whom they are supposed to represent. This list can be continued ad infinitum and ad nauseam.
The fact that governments and their agents perpetrate an endless litany of such injustices indicates that, on some level, they are operating under the principle that individuals and their interests are in some sense subordinate to the purposes or interests of governments and their agents; in fact the exact opposite is ethically true. The only ethical purpose of governments and their agents is to serve the interests of individuals, specifically through enforcement of the non-aggression principle; it is government which is ethically subordinate to individuals. An ethically-formed government is created precisely for the purpose of creating social conditions free of force, fraud and coercion; there is no sense in simply exchanging one threat of aggression with another.
Governments have no ethical claim on an individual's life, time, or property; in other words, governments cannot ethically “own” an individual. It would be much more accurate to assert that it is individuals which ethically “own” the government, as the very purpose of any ethically constituted government is only to enforce the non-aggression principle for the benefit of individuals. Historically, however, just the opposite has typically been the case in practice. From very ancient times, monarchs have claimed some or other form of “divine right” as an ethical justification for ruling and essentially “owning” those under their dominion. “Divine right” is typically defined as the view that the right of a monarch to rule has some supernatural, “divine” origin, but it can also be more broadly defined to include forms of government other than monarchies.
(It is an irony of history that the notion of “God” or the “Creator” was used both to promote two essentially opposite views regarding the equality or inequality of people. In one view, the “God” bestowed some special superiority upon one person, the monarch; in the other view, all individuals were “endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.” This is just one of many examples of the futility and error of trying to justify or understand things in the natural world with reference to the “supernatural.” But this is a digression from the main discussion at this point.)
Both the concept of monarchy and of divine right have (rightly) fallen into disfavor in various places and times; this is most prevalent in modern times but this has also occurred at various other times throughout history. In those places and times without monarchs, other forms of government have taken their place to rule people. In those times and places where the government (monarchy or otherwise) is not legally justified by means of “divine right” some other ethically invalid legal fiction is always manufactured and invoked in its place. This typically involves the abstract concept of a “social contract;” this may also be concretely embodied in some form of “constitution." (The “social contract” need not be explicitly recognized or labeled as such; in fact, this term was first used in the 17th century, although the general ideas which eventually came to be labeled as the “social contract” have been around for millennia.)
The “social contract” is the idea that individuals each give up some of their rights or freedoms in return for social stability and the protection of those rights or freedoms which they have retained. Social contract theory holds that a greater value (typically conceived of as a greater general happiness and well-being) is derived from this collective abdication of certain rights and obedience to some “higher authority,” than would generally result from each individual fully retaining his or her own rights. This is due to the supposedly greater stability of society, the general freedom from acts of aggression from other individuals, and so on, which result from giving up a measure of one's own rights and freedoms for some form of governmental rule.
There is, of course, not simply one social contract which applies equally to all individuals wherever they may live. Each nation – even each individual state, province, municipality, etc. – is governed by its own laws, which differ from place to place. These laws essentially are the social contract for the area under their jurisdiction, and inasmuch as they differ from place to place so too the social contract differs from place to place.
It would be an ethical violation to bound any individual to a contract to which he or she has not consented. It is often argued or assumed that individuals give their “tacit consent” to the social contract (and to whatever constitution or laws which may embody it) by simply remaining in the geographical region under its jurisdiction. This is fallacious argument, however. After all, even if one lives in a country which has little or no legal restrictions to leaving, it is often extraordinarily difficult to relocate to a different country. There are problems of language barriers, finding a means of supporting oneself, the often extraordinary time and expense of relocating to another country, the legality of entering or remaining in some other country, and so on. It is thus not at all true that one has freely given one's consent (whether tacit or otherwise) to whatever social contract governs his or her location.
To the degree that one is coercively forced into the acceptance of this or that social contract, is the extent to which the social contract is immoral. A smaller government requires less such coercion and (all else being equal) is less immoral – or more ethical – than a larger government; by the same reasoning, the most ethical of all governments is no government at all.
(Note that the above does not assert that one cannot, in effect, implicitly consent to a contractual agreement without actually signing or even verbally consenting. One does exactly this when entering a store, for example. There is an implicit agreement that one is allowed to be on the premises owned by the store-owner, provided that one does not steal from the store. The store-owner implicitly agrees not to trap you within the store, preventing you from leaving and thus making you involuntarily subject to the “rules” of the store. This is unlike the case of the government's “social contract” where one is essentially trapped and involuntarily subject to the government's rules.)
The “Preparation” of Individuals. While it is clearly unethical to bind anyone to a social contract (or any other contract, for that matter) to which he or she has not consented, it is also quite difficult for most individuals to conceive of a viable alternative means for creating a stable society. This difficulty is largely due to the fact that the government-run social systems which have existed for millennia have consistently conditioned individuals (particularly those who were in the “ruled” as opposed to the “ruling” class) to feel that the only solution is essentially something somewhat similar to whatever the current government-run social system already is. Most individuals are unable to break out of this conditioning, and are therefore unable to imagine anything radically different from the type of government or social contract of which they are already familiar. They may, of course, think that the solution is to vote out or otherwise replace current politicians, political parties, rulers, and so on with someone or something “better.” They may think that the solution is to tweak the way that government deals with this or that issue, whether it be taxation, education, housing, healthcare, welfare, policing, or whatever. None of this, however, ever involves changing the underlying unethical nature of existing social contracts and governmental rule.
In order to effect real change, in order to create a society as free as absolutely possible from ethically invalid governmental rule, it is necessary for individuals to “think outside the box” of historically traditional forms of social contracts and governmental rule. They must be able to conceive of viable solutions for living in a society without some form of externally-imposed rule. They must be able to understand that individuals can self-organize without any sort of external coercion, and with far better results than any which could be achieved through government initiated force, fraud, or coercion.
It order to free individuals, once and for all, from the conditioning which keeps them mentally shackled to external authority it is necessary to uncover and understand the nature of this conditioning. This can be extremely difficult to do for one who is laboring under the influence of such conditioning, of course; for one who is free from it, however, the insidious nature of this conditioning becomes glaringly and painfully obvious.
This conditioning which traps individuals in the paradigm of “rulers and ruled,” and in the seeking for and acceptance of control from external “higher” authorities, is mysticism. Individuals can be ruled, controlled and exploited by others through the manipulation of mysticism, with much less need for actual physical force than would be required if such mysticism were absent. Each human being has the inherent capacity both for mysticism and for its opposite: empiricorationality. Each human being has the capacity for thinking which evades reality and reason, or to actively embrace reality and reason.
Mysticism – the evasion of reality and reason, while following essentially unexamined feelings and feel-good notions – is the lazy, low-effort mode of human thinking. This mystical mode of thinking, as it evades reality, typically has very real, negative and harmful consequences. As Ayn Rand said, “You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.”
Empiricorationalism – embracing reality and reason, and actively examining one's own feelings and emotions – is a high-effort mode of human thinking. (It should be noted that it does get much easier and almost automatic with time and practice, however, to the point where those well-versed in empiricorationalism tend to find non-mystical thinking even easier and more natural than mystical thinking.) While empiricorational thinking requires greater mental effort than mystical thinking (particularly when one is not used to empiricorational thought) it typically leads to very real, positive and beneficial consequences.
As outlined above, humans have the capacity for both mystical and empiricorational thinking; furthermore, the real-world consequences of mysticism are negative while those of empiricorationalism are positive. This creates a natural feedback system in which mysticism tends to be “punished” while empiricorationalism tends to be “rewarded.” There is thus a natural general trend or push away from mysticism and towards empiricorationalism. It is possible, however, to interrupt this natural trend towards empiricorationalism and to trap individuals – as well as whole populations – in a crippling morass of mysticism through social conditioning.
This mysticism-promoting social conditioning is both effected on individuals and reflected by individuals on various levels. The primary of these is to attack the very value of reason and reality-based knowledge itself, i.e., empiricorationality, and instead to promote the false “value” of some mystical path (such as faith, superstition, etc.) for attaining “truth.” Almost equally important is to attack the concept of self-authority and replace it with a knee-jerk obedience to and reliance upon some external “higher” authority. This combined attack on both empiricorationality and self-authority forms the foundation of mysticism-promoting conditioning.
The disease of mysticism goes far beyond this foundation, however. The more that one has an impaired ability for empiricorational though and self-authority, the more that one's mind becomes concerned with mysticisms and trivialities rather than matters of real-world importance. Thus it is that most people are deeply concerned with such “pseudo-important” (and actually completely trivial) diversionary issues and events as: celebrity gossip and worship; sporting events and athletes; fashion; mindless, knee-jerk “patriotism;” contra-reality and nonsensical religions, with their equally contra-reality and nonsensical rules, theologies, services, and the like; mindless (and often mystically-oriented) television shows, movies, and music; mind-numbing newscasts which themselves are largely filled with trivialities and misinformation; and so on.
The more that one's mind becomes concerned with such mysticisms and trivialities rather than matters of real-world importance, the more that one can be manipulated and exploited through mysticisms and trivial concerns. Thus it is that the media can produce a constant barrage of mindless television shows for a mindless audience, and constantly interrupt these shows with mindless advertising which constantly markets homes, cars, phones, cereal, prescription and non-prescription drugs, and all sorts of other goods and services, enticing them to perpetually live beyond their means while mindlessly enriching those behind the mindless entertainment and marketing. Thus it is that religions can infiltrate themselves into the very core of the mystic, creating and manipulating feelings of guilt, insinuating themselves into some of the most intimate aspects of the mystic's romantic and sexual life, directing the mystic to attend weekly brain-washing propaganda sessions and even to make financial donations to the perpetrators of the propaganda. Thus it is that the masses have come to accept being forcibly taxed to support the forcible mandatory substandard education of their children – an education just good enough for most children to go on to become mindless workers and consumers, and to be indoctrinated by whatever versions of mysticism and propaganda the state finds most useful for its own purposes.
Mystical individuals, such as described above, cannot see any real alternative to governmental rule. They see the government as necessary for the organization and stability of society. And the truth is that they are essentially correct! Mystics do need the state and governmental control, because they are not at all mentally equipped for the reality-based, empiricorational thinking required for true self-authority and self-rule. In order to have a society of absolutely minimal government it is necessary for individuals to be as free of mysticisms as possible.
The reader may recall that in Section 1.1 the concept of a “Scion” was first introduced, to indicate an individual who abandons mysticism and consistently adheres to self-honesty and consistently extracts maximum hedonic value from every situation. A Scion is the opposite of a mystic. A strict adherence to self-honesty is absolutely necessary if one is to abandon all forms of mysticism and to gain and maintain an iron-clad grasp on reality and empiricorational thinking, and to thus be classified as a Scion. A truly free society must be a society of Scions.
Government is an Expedient. At the time of this writing, humanity is not a society of Scions, but a society of mystics, conditioned from babyhood into an almost mindless, knee-jerk acceptance of and reliance upon external authority. It would be impossible to somehow immediately abandon the current systems of governmental rule and then leave individuals to “sink or swim:” like fish out of water, mystics dependent upon external authority and rule would be essentially helpless. Massive chaos would ensue, and ultimately gangs of thugs would form and force their rulership upon everyone else, thus essentially instituting new “governments” generally far more oppressive and brutal than those currently in existence.
This does not mean that government cannot ultimately be reduced to its very bare minimum, but it does mean that this must proceed in a controlled and intelligent manner. Such Scions as exist before this minimization of government is complete can work towards the elimination of mysticism and the reduction of governmental control. Scions can also go far beyond this and create their own quasi-independent societies; this will create immediate benefits in terms of their own ability to live as freely as possible from government coercion, and will also create more long-term benefits as the societies they create serve as examples of successful non-governmental social organization to the world at large. Furthermore, by experimenting with non-governmental social organization on a smaller scale in multiple communities, ever-more effective solutions to the unique challenges of such communities will evolve, and the viability and superiority of non-government will be able to be empirically demonstrated to all.
Outside of such communities, and until such time as the world at large is prepared for non-governmental social organization, government must remain an expedient, a stop-gap measure to ensure social stability. Once mysticism is largely eliminated, and the world is composed of Scions rather than mystics, this expedient will no longer be required, and will finally be eliminated.
Having analyzed Thoreau's initial paragraph from “Resistance to Civil Government” (“Civil Disobedience”) and having explained the general path to non-governmental social organization, it would now be appropriate to determine the proper name for such non-governmental social organization, and to contrast it with the names of various forms of governmental social organization. Here is a list of various systems of government:
Monarchy: Rule by a monarch, such as a king or queen. (This term is derived from the Greek words, “monos,” meaning “one, singular,” and “arkhi,” meaning “ruler, leader, authority;” in other words “rule by one.”)
Autocracy: A type of monarchy, or dictatorship, with one ruler having essentially absolute power. (This term is derived from the Greek words, “auto,” meaning “self,” and “arkhi,” meaning “ruler, leader, authority;” in other words “self rule.”)
Oligarchy: Rule by a group or special ruling class. (This term is derived from the Greek words, “oligos,” meaning “few” and “arkhi,” meaning “ruler, leader, authority;” in other words “rule by few.”)
Plutocracy: A type of oligarchy, in which the ruling class is the wealthy. (This term is derived from the Greek words, “ploutos,” meaning “wealth” and “arkhi,” meaning “ruler, leader, authority;” in other words “rule by wealth.”)
Aristocracy: A type of oligarchy, in which the ruling class is typically some hereditary class or so-called “nobility.” (This term is derived from the Greek words, “aristos,” meaning “excellent,” and “arkhi,” meaning “ruler, leader, authority;” in other words “rule by the excellent.”)
Meritocracy: Rule by the meritorious or the worthy. (This term is derived from a hybrid of English and Greek roots: the English “merit,” and the Greek “arkhi,” meaning “ruler, leader, authority.” It is meant to contrast with the term “aristocracy,” which is technically interpreted as “rule by the worthy or excellent,” but in fact is merely rule by some hereditary class of “nobles.” Meritocracy, on the other hand, does not rely upon hereditary birth, but upon the actual or perceived merits of the individuals in power.)
Democracy: Rule by the people, where each individual has a vote in the actual laws which govern society. (This term is derived from the Greek words, “demos,” meaning “people,” and “arkhi,” meaning “ruler, leader, authority;” in other words “rule by the people.”)
Republic: Rule by individuals who represent those being ruled. A common form of republic is a “democratic republic,” where the representatives are chosen by those who they represent by democratic vote. In a republic it is the representatives who actually make the laws, rather than the people at large. (This term is derived from the Latin phrase, “res publica.”)
Totalitarianism: Any system whereby the state, government or ruler attempts to exert total control over society and all aspects of public and private live, to the maximum extent possible.
Having seen the names for various systems of government, the proper name for a system of non-government, where each individual is self-governed without external coercion can now be determined. The term, “autocracy,” meaning “self-rule,” might seem fitting, but of course it has the meaning shown above, of a system consisting of a single ruler with absolute power over others. The term, “democracy,” meaning “rule by the people,” might also seem fitting, but this has the meaning shown above, of a system in which each person has a vote in determining the laws which govern society. Upon examination, it can be seen that none of the above terms applies to the system of non-government which is essentially the only truly ethical system for social organization. There is an existing term, however, which does apply to a system of non-government: “anarchy.”
The term “anarchy” is derived from the Greek words, “aristos,” meaning “none, not, without” and “arkhi,” meaning “ruler, leader, authority;” in other words “rule by none.” This term was originally negatively associated with a condition of lawless, leaderless social chaos; in 1840, however, the term was used by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon in his treatise “What is Property? An Inquiry into the Principle of Right and Government,” in a positive sense to refer to an orderly social system in the absence of government. Although this treatise contained many errors and much mysticism, it was the first time the word “anarchy” was associated with social order rather than social chaos. Here are a few quotes from “What is Property,” regarding anarchy:
“ANARCHY,—the absence of a master, of a sovereign…”
“As man seeks justice in equality, so society seeks order in anarchy.”
“Politics is the science of liberty. The government of man by man (under whatever name it be disguised) is oppression. Society finds its highest perfection in the union of order with anarchy. ”
Since the time of Proudhon, various individuals and movements have come to embrace and promote various forms of social anarchy; here is a short list including some, but certainly not all, anarchistic schools of thought:
It would be helpful to be able to have a term to distinguish the specific version of anarchy promoted by Scionics from the various and often vastly different anarchistic schools of thought. Thus Scionics philosophy introduces a new term: “scio-anarchism.” Scio-anarchism involves the voluntary association of non-mystics into an orderly, peaceful society, involving free-trade, contractual agreements, reputation databases and other non-governmental means for securing the social order.
Only in such rare cases as might arise where there is no other means for resolving some issue or dispute, should any sort of government-like “expedient” (in the words of Thoreau) be called upon as last resort measure. This will be the one vestige of coercive government remaining in scio-anarchistic societies, but even this will be kept to the absolute minimum possible. Every attempt will be made to avoid the need or use of such measures, and even when such measures are ultimately required they will be guided by the non-aggression principle to the fullest extent possible.
Specific Social Issues
Having explored the general principles by which scio-anarchistic societies – societies of Scions – will operate, it is now possible to focus on various more specific issues. Not only will this serve to explain how these things will be dealt with in a scio-anarchistic society, it will also shed light upon the often absolutely absurd way that they are handled by coercive state governments.
A proper education is absolutely vital if individuals are to be free and self-directed. A well-educated populace is the foundation of a well-structured, well-organized society. Education should be aimed not merely at making students into “good workers” but into truly informed, thinking men and women, with a well-developed understanding of both their own individual personal issues and those of society at large. This will give them the tools to make the best choices in their own lives, and also to become valuable participants in the functioning of the society around them.
It is dangerous to leave one's education, or that of one's children, to be determined by some organization which may actually have interests which are contrary to those of the student. This is particularly dangerous when the organization stands to benefit from the exploitation of the student's, time, money, loyalty, obedience and so on, such as when the organization in question is the state or religion, for example.
The scio-anarchistic solution to this would be to employ an independent educational service. The quality of education provided by each independent educational service would likely differ, and it would be a great benefit to be able to have some objective means by which to assess the various different educational services which would be available. In a scio-anarchistic society there would be a need and a market for the services of all sorts of independent organizations which assess the value of various goods and services; these independent assessors will be in competition with one another to provide the most accurate and objective assessments possible. Businesses providing goods and services will generally want to submit to whatever inspections or other requirements which the independent assessors may have, because they will want to achieve the highest possible ratings from them. So, one would be free to examine the ratings of various independent educational services, and to then chose whichever one best suited one's individual needs.
Taking this further, employers looking for well-educated employees will request the educational record of their prospective employees; the prospective employees will agree to this because they want to be employed. The schools (that is, the independent educational services) which the prospective employee attended would voluntarily provide these records, because if they did not then the assessors would note this particularly unfavorably, and no one would be willing to attend a school which did not provide records upon request. The employers would also be able to make judgments based upon the schools themselves, such that attending a more highly rated school would be more favorable than attending a lower rated school. All of this would serve to create competition to provide the highest possible level of education, and serves as just one example of how society can self-organize in the absence of government coercion, and even provide a better level of service than the government ever could.
Having discussed the general means by which education can be provided, it is now possible to move on to an examination of the actual content of a scio-anarchistic curriculum. In other words, if educational institutions in a scio-anarchistic society were being accurately and objectively assessed as to the level of education which they provided, and were actively competing with one another to provide the highest level of education, what would the typical curriculum look like?
All forms of educational “propaganda” would be eliminated from the curriculum. This would include the elimination of such things as daily “pledges of allegiance” to flags, nations, monarchs, and the like, as a child cannot be expected to examine such pledges and that to which allegiance is being pledged in anything approaching a truly critical, informed manner. The mindless repetition of such pledges, it must be admitted, is only an attempt to rob the child – and the future adult – of their own informed self-determination regarding their relationship to, and opinion of, the things to which allegiance is being pledged. It is likely that any such propaganda-type education would be assessed negatively; conversely, making the student aware of all of the various forms of propaganda which are so prevalent in society so that the student could identify it when he or she encounters it would be likely to be assessed positively.
Along the same lines, the facts and history which the child is presented with should be accurate and in no way “white washed” to present some “idealized” version of reality or events. For example, in those countries of the New World which owe their “discovery” to Christopher Columbus, Columbus' absolutely reprehensible treatment of the natives should be treated frankly, and he should not be held up as some sort of “hero” to be emulated or honored for his actions. In the United States, for example, the treatment of Native Americans and of slavery should also be dealt with frankly, as should the ownership and treatment of slaves by many of the “Founding Fathers” of the nation. Monarchies should be presented as they truly are: a system which places one person or family above all others, and which usurps undeserved power, prestige and money from the nations over which they victimize.
For the same reasons that other forms of propaganda should not be taught or indoctrinated to children, neither should mystical, non-reality-based religious beliefs. Even beyond that, when it is necessary to teach something factual and those facts are in contradiction to some religious belief or other, it should be explicitly taught that it is the religious beliefs which are contrary to reality. (A good example would be that of the “creationism” often held in the name of religion, versus the scientific theory of natural selection.) Furthermore, it is entirely appropriate to expose religion as false, mystical mythology in the context of teaching philosophy, history, science, and so on.
One subject which should be taught to children (and from a very young age) which is not currently taught to them is philosophy. Such philosophy should always be taught from a reality-based perspective, such that various mystical and erroneous viewpoints can be presented, but also shown where they are wrong – but the main focus should be on teaching reality-based philosophy. (Much like chemistry is taught as a reality-based subject, with only very occasional forays into the pursuits and beliefs of mystical alchemists, and typically only as a means for putting reality-based aspects of chemistry into their proper historical perspective.)
The teachings of reality-based philosophy (along with science) will have the effect of “inoculating” the child against all forms of mysticism, and also of creating a solid, reality-based world-view which would have much the same role of religion in terms of providing the child with both a moral and an “existentially explanatory” framework for operating in and understanding reality – except that in the case the framework would be firmly based in reality rather than in mysticisms and superstition.
It is not possible to know or specify all of characteristics of the curriculum of a scio-anarchistic educational institution, but the above gives a few general ideas of the ways in which such curricula would be different from traditional curricula. The general competition to produce the highest level of education would also affect teaching methods themselves, such that innovative and increasingly effective teaching methods would continually be being introduced. This would ensure that the general quality of education would constantly improve over time in a scio-anarchistic society.
Crime and Government
The single ethical principle of Scionics ethics may be colloquially expressed as “Live and let live.” This may also be expressed more technically and precisely as the recognition that the fundamental ethical right of the individual is the right of freedom and self-determination, and the corollary recognition that the fundamental ethical duty of the individual is the duty to refrain from interference with the freedom and self-determination of others. This is embodied in the non-aggression principle: the requirement of the individual to abstain from initiatory fraud, force or coercion against another.
“Crime” may be defined as some specific violation of the non-aggression principle, serious enough so as to warrant some sort of intervention from “society;” “society,” in this sense, may be thought of as some sort of social organization intended to help deter, punish, and seek retribution for such serious violations of the non-aggression principle. The general characteristics of such a social organization will be described shortly, but it should be pointed out that while such organization will certainly require aspects of force and coercion, ethics requires that these should never be initiatory, but only retaliatory.
As a violation of the non-aggression principle, crime cannot exist in the absence of a victim. A “victimless crime,” i.e., a crime in the absence of some form of aggression against another, is not possible. Any action undertaken voluntarily by all individuals concerned, provided no initiatory fraud, force or coercion against another exists, cannot be considered to be criminal. Recreation drugs use, adult consensual sexual acts, and all other victimless acts cannot ethically be considered or treated as crimes.
Most human beings do not normally victimize others, or violate the non-aggression principle. A mentally and emotionally healthy human being tends to be a “good” person, generally following the principle of “live and let live,” and generally eschewing violence, theft, and other forms of unethical behavior. Of course, even some people who are normally “good,” may do something unethical or “wrong,” especially if a particularly easy or tempting opportunity presents itself. For example, if banks simply worked on the “honor system,” allowing individuals to simply walk into the vault to deposit or withdraw money themselves, trusting individuals to record their own balance and never to take more than they deposited, even otherwise very “good” people would sometimes succumb to the temptation to take advantage of the situation and take more than what was theirs; in other words, to steal. This reality is the the reason behind the expression “locks keep out the honest people.”
Thus it is that the prevention of crime starts with simple common-sense precautions: putting locks on doors, keeping valuables locked up, and so on. It also helps to have a social framework in which mental and emotional health are promoted, as this also promotes the ethical “goodness” of individuals. There are many factors which can contribute to such mental and emotional health. A warm, loving, stable and supportive home environment is vital, particularly when this environment is also one which promotes empiricorationality. This is further enhanced when society itself, outside the home, is also oriented around empiricorationality and the ethical principle of non-aggression. Proper education, with an emphasis on empiricorational philosophy, the non-aggression principle, and the rejection of mysticism, would be a particularly important aspect of this. (See the section on education, above.) Also valuable would be certain specific meditative practices (described later in this writing) which have been demonstrated to increase one's feelings of well-being, happiness, and equanimity.
While the above measures serve to dramatically reduce the occurrence of crime, there is no reasonable way for eliminating it altogether. There must therefore be some means for dealing with such crimes as do occur, and provide mechanisms for:
actually specifying those things which are to be deemed criminal;
apprehension of criminals and suspected criminals;
a procedure for determining guilt or innocence of a crime;
some form of punishment (which can also serve as a deterrent to crime) and restitution (if possible).
It was mentioned a bit earlier that, in order to accomplish the above and similar goals in an ethical manner, it is necessary to have some some sort of social organization designed to intervene in serious violations of the non-aggression principle. This organization would need to resort to force and coercion, but only in a retaliatory fashion: these would be used only against those who have (or who are reasonably suspected of having) committed some specific serious act of violation of the non-aggression principle themselves. This organization would never be sanctioned in the initiation or use of force or coercion of any type against individuals who have not (and are not reasonably suspected of having) committed some such specific violation. Furthermore, the force and coercion used must be limited to that which is required to address the specific violation, and no more.
The exact details of how such a retaliatory social organization could be implemented in a scio-anarchistic society would need to be worked out by such societies themselves, with each such society solving this problem in the way it deems best. That said, certain general guidelines or suggestions would provide insight into how this could work.
It is first necessary to define those specific acts which would be deemed “criminal” and which therefore which could be acted against by force, and to define the appropriate forms of punishment or retribution for each. The alternative would be to have no such definitions, but to simply apply something like a general standard that any act which “reasonably” seems to be a serious enough violation of the non-aggression principle should be treated as a crime, and to impose any form of punishment or retribution which seems “reasonable.” The problem with this, however, is that there would simply be far too much “wiggle room” and subjectivity in the application of this, and far too much risk of abuses. By creating firm definitions of crimes and ranges of acceptable punishments for them, however, such abuses become much less likely.
The creation of such definitions, i.e., of “laws,” requires some body of “lawmakers.” This can be done by direct democratic vote of all individuals, or by electing a body of specific individuals to represent the voters. Each of these systems has their own benefits and disadvantages, and of course other systems can also be devised. The important thing is to ensure that the laws do represent, in some very real way, the will of the people.
In order to ensure that the people don't pass laws which would violate the non-aggression principle, each law passed could be reviewed by some sort of court. Those laws which the court found to be consistent with the non-aggression principle would then be ratified, and those which were found to be inconsistent would not be ratified. The court could also return laws under consideration to the body of lawmakers, with suggestions for their improvement before passing them.
With the creation of laws comes the necessity for their enforcement. This can be largely be done by means of a largely or perhaps even completely volunteer “peace force;” if deemed necessary some positions in this peace force could be paid. In order for the funding for the peace force to remain completely non-coercive this would need to be based upon fund-raising and voluntary contributions. To base it upon taxation would be coercive and therefore unethical.
A strong sense of “volunteerism” and citizen involvement would be a great benefit – and almost a necessity – to a scio-anarchistic society. Thus essentially every adult member of society who met some minimum entry requirements would be both allowed and even encouraged to volunteer for the peace force. The responsibility and power of an entry-level peace officer would obviously be limited, and such officers would often be required to consult with higher ranking officers before taking certain types of action. To “move up the ranks” and be granted more responsibility, power, and authority would require not only experience but also passing very stringent psychological and other tests – much more stringent than those generally required by police officers today.
Once a suspected criminal has been apprehended he or she then must be tried to determine guilt or innocence, and any sentencing. Some form of court is necessary for this. The position of judges can be filled by a general vote of the community. The jury must not be filled by the coercive “summoning” of individuals to involuntarily fill the position, but by some voluntary means. Since all crimes in a scio-anarchistic society would be “real” crimes rather than “victimless” crimes, the general population would have a much greater interest in seeing that these “real” crimes are properly adjudicated. “Going to court” just to observe the proceedings might well be considered a social duty (as, indeed, might all sorts of personal involvement in the running of the community) somewhat like voting is considered to be today. Observers in the court could be picked by lottery to serve on the jury, provided they were approved by both the plaintiff and defense, and also provided that they voluntarily agreed to serve. Alternatively, the court could randomly send invitations (not summonses) for jury duty out to the general population, with those who choose to serve then serving, again provided that they were approved by both the plaintiff and defense.
As stated earlier, the details of all of this would need to be worked out by the people actually involved. What is written here, however, should serve as a general model for how a scio-anarchistic society could deal with the issue of crime, without resorting to any sort of initiatory force or coercion, with force and coercion only be used in a retaliatory fashion, against those who themselves are reasonably suspected of having initiated force, fraud or coercion, in violation of the non-aggression principle.
It was briefly mentioned above that funding for the peace force must be non-coercive and based upon fund-raising and voluntary contributions. The same goes for all funding of governmental operation.
The proper operation of government is beneficial to those it serves. (And note that the government serves the people; the people do NOT serve the government.) Inasmuch as the services of government are beneficial to individuals, individuals should be willing to pay for these services as they are used. However, much of the function of government must be paid for in advance, and whether or not it is actually used, much like fire insurance. One does not wait to obtain fire insurance until one's home is on fire, but purchases it in advance. The government therefore needs to find ethical, non-coercive methods for the funding of its operations and services. Some of these non-coercive means could include:
Government run lotteries or gambling.
Government run utilities. It can be difficult or impractical for private enterprise to create the necessary infrastructure to provide for such utilities as gas, electric, water, sewerage, and so on, without at least some governmental involvement. By simply creating and running such utilities itself, the government can have a reliable source of income.
A usage fee for government-built roadways, typically by means of tolls.
Government run transportation. This can include trains, buses, and taxis. It can also include government-rented vehicles.
Rent on government-owned housing.
Such methods essentially have the government running as a business, often in competition with other businesses. Competition helps keep prices lower and is the normal impetus for businesses to improve and innovate the creation and delivery of goods and services. The much smaller government which would exist in a scio-anarchistic society would require proportionally less money to operate, so such competition would not be a threat to the government's operation.
Money and Banking
Part 1: A Brief History of Money
Governments have historically claimed and exercised their power through many aspects of the economy. They create the currency, regulate banking and financial institutions, and impose taxation. This absolute monopoly upon such vital aspects of the economic system has proven to be a true breeding ground for corruption, abuse and exploitation. To understand how scio-anarchy would dispense with all of this, and what would be implemented in its place, it is first necessary to understand the full scope of, and methodology behind, the current government-run system.
To begin with, there is the physical currency itself. Before such currency existed, people simply traded goods and services by barter. This works to a point in relatively simple societies, but it does have certain inherent limitations. There is the difficulty of having to carry around a bunch of items for trade, rather than the relative ease of simply carrying currency. There is the problem that the particular items which one owns or happens to be carrying around will not be desired for trade with those with whom one wants to barter. There is also the problem that there is not one universal standard by which to value and compare all items.
One of the earliest solutions for this was to use some precious metal such as gold as a sort of universal medium of exchange. Each item for sale could then simply be equated with a certain weight of gold. Each item could then be valued in terms of one thing – a certain amount of gold – and the different values of various items could then be compared according to a single standard. Other metals of varying rarity could also be used, such as silver, copper, nickel and iron, by setting a certain weight of each of these less-rare metals to be equal in value to a certain smaller weight of the more-rare gold. This made it possible for an individual to simply carry around relatively small weights of various metals, sufficient for most ordinary, day-to-day purchases.
The use of precious metals as a medium of exchange was much more efficient than direct barter, but even this had its problems. One problem was related to the scales which were used to weigh the metals: different scales could indicate two different weights for the same piece of metal, resulting in all sorts of conflicts and disagreements between people. Furthermore, it would often happen that the pieces of metal which one had on hand could not be combined in such a way as to equal the exact value required to make some purchase, creating a need to cut the pieces of metal into even smaller pieces – an inconvenient task.
This lead to a further innovation: the sizing of pieces of metals into standard weights and values. Governments seized upon this innovation, and began to issue standardized coins made of these metals. Since the coins were all of standard weights and values, there was no longer any need to weigh them. Now commerce could take place even more fluidly than before – except that other problems soon arose. Individuals soon realized that they could shave bits of metal from the coins, and use those bits to make new counterfeit coins of their own; this is called “coin clipping.” The clipped coins thus each contained less metal than they should have, as typically did the counterfeit coins. Even the state engaged in essentially the same process, although on a much larger scale. They would substitute the rare metals in their coins for less-rare alloys or metals, while “declaring” that the new (essentially cheaper) coins were worth the same as the older coins, thus “debasing” the currency. In some cases they dispensed with metal currency altogether, in favor of paper currency. All of these factors serve to increase the available money supply (debased though the supply may be) to create inflation and to decrease the general confidence in the actual value of the money.
In the modern world, this is just what exists: coins made of metals which are worth far less by weight than their own face values, and paper currency which was initially “backed” by gold or silver, but which today is backed by nothing physical at all. By simply printing more currency, which governments do all the time, the amount of currency in circulation is increased and the result is “inflation:” a rise in the prices of items across the board and the corresponding decrease in the real value of the hard-earned savings of each individual.
While all of the above should rightfully make one angry – after all, it is completely unethical for governments to continually debase the money supply, causing inflation, increased prices and decreased buying power – it is easy to understand how things got this way, from barter on through precious metals and coins being used as a medium of exchange, and then to the government issuance of paper money with no real correspondence to anything of physical value at all. It was a simple combination of the need or desire for ever more efficient financial transactions, coupled with the unchecked power of the state (whether in the form of monarchs, politicians, or anything else) and its desire to increase its own wealth, and willingness to do so at the expense of its citizens.
(The story doesn't end there, however it does get more complex, and it is not really necessary to understand this extra complexity to understand that any economic system in which money can simply be created by one entity – whether it be a monarch, the government, or whatever – at the expense of others is ultimately unsustainable and doomed to fail. If the reader would like to skip over this extra complexity and simply begin reading about the scio-anarchistic solutions to these and other problems with the world monetary system currently in place, one may simply skip ahead to Part 3: The Scio-anarchistic Future of Money. If, however, one would like to delve into the complex and insidious world of privately owned national central banks, and their system of “fractional reserve banking,” the intrepid reader is urged to push forward right into Part 2: The Current Hijacking of Money. The reward will be a much deeper understanding of the world economic system and a much deeper insight into the evil grip which a small banking cartel has on the world; sadly, such things are almost never taught anywhere, and hardly anyone is even aware of them at all.) anarchistic
Part 2: The Current Hijacking of Money
The way that money is created in much of the current world is somewhat different that it was for most of the past. We live in an age of privately controlled central national banking, a system which simply defies all common sense whatsoever. This system, as will be explained, is bad for the state and bad for the citizens – but really, really good for a very small group of bankers. This system is world-wide, and this small group of bankers has the entire global economy – which really means all the people of the earth, and not only those alive today, but even unborn future generations – essentially held hostage within its evil grip, through the “monetization of debt” and the manipulation of inflation and deflation. To understand this system, one first must understand the concept of “fractional reserve banking,” which is another way in which the effective money supply can be debased and inflated (and confidence thereby decreased) besides those already mentioned in Part 1: A Brief History of Money.
It is not always practical or even safe for one to carry all of one's money around, or even to store it in one's own home, so people typically deposit their money in a bank. In the “old days” when gold was used as a means of exchange one would often store one's gold for safekeeping with a goldsmith. The goldsmith would issue the depositor of the gold a “note” – essentially a form of “I Owe You” – which the depositor could later redeem with the goldsmith in return for the gold itself. These notes eventually became a sort of de facto currency in their own right, as the holders of the notes knew they could be redeemed at will for the actual gold which the notes represented. In more modern times this came to be called “fractional reserve banking,” because the amounts on deposit represented only a fraction of the value of the notes issued.
This system worked fine, until the goldsmiths realized that, in general, most depositors will simply leave most of their gold on deposit most of the time. It would be very rare for so many depositors to want to withdraw so much gold at the same time as to deplete the amount actually kept on hand with the goldsmith. This lead the goldsmiths to begin to issue more in terms of notes than the actual value of the gold they had on deposit. Unlike the direct printing, debasing or counterfeiting of currency itself, this was a different sort of fraud which also served to debase and inflate the “effective” supply of money. This fraud would be discovered at such times as the general confidence in the goldsmith's notes began to fail and there was a “run” on the goldsmith: people would begin to attempt to redeem their notes en masse, and would quickly find that there was not enough gold to back their notes.
While it was illegal for goldsmiths to engage in this fraudulent practice in their time (and rightfully so) this is very similar to the way banking is done throughout the world today: in the modern world, fractional reserve banking is done with legal sanction, and really benefits a small banking cartel while being really, really bad for both the state and its citizens. This system is world-wide, and this small banking cartel has the entire global economy – which really means all the people of the earth, and not only those alive today, but even unborn future generations – essentially held hostage within its evil grip. To understand how the modern system came to be requires looking back into history again.
England was in debt in the late seventeenth century; in addition, its navy at the time very badly needed to be rebuilt. King William III lacked the necessary money or even the credit for the rebuilding of the navy. Since there was no other source of funding, and the King himself could not raise the necessary capital by obtaining a loan due to his poor credit at the time, on July 27th, 1694, the Bank of England was created to fulfill this purpose. The Bank of England (originally called the “Governor and Company of the Bank of England”) was not a part of the government, but was created as a private, limited liability corporation. This private corporation was chartered to raise a loan of £1,200,000 in gold for King William, to be paid back to the bank at 8% interest. It was additionally allowed to accept deposits (in addition to the initial £1,200,000 in gold) for which the depositors would receive bank notes and also be paid 4% interest. (Thus the amount received by the bank in interest from the King would be double the amount paid out in interest to the depositors.) The bank notes would be used as a form of currency (in other words, they would “circulate” as money) and would be redeemable at the bank for gold. Due to fractional reserve banking, however, it was only necessary to actually keep a small fraction of the total value of the deposits “in reserve” in gold.
The amount of bank notes which the Bank of England could issue would be equal to the amount of gold it loaned to the government. In this way, it essentially turned the government's debt into money; this is known as the “monetization of debt.” One very important aspect of the monetization of debt is that the more debt that England incurred, the greater the profit made by the Bank of England! In other words, it was actually in the interests of the bank's stockholders to promote government spending, and since the greatest government expenditures take place in times of war, it would be in their interest to promote war. (As such private national banks began to consolidate their power, this is just what they did, as shall be shown later.)
The Bank of England was completely superfluous, of course: the government itself could have printed the notes, without the need to pay any interest to the bank or to any other depositors. The Bank of England seems to owe its origin to the fact that its operation was just complex enough to obscure the fact that its very existence was unnecessary and even counter-productive!
The creation of money through the monetization of debt and fractional reserve banking, implemented by private banks masquerading behind a governmental façade, as described above, are hardly understood by anyone, although this information is available to everyone. In truth, it is not money, but the general ignorance of the common man, which is the greatest asset to the banking cartel which has hijacked the world's economy. Thanks to this general ignorance, combined with the incredible wealth and power generated by this scheme, almost every nation in the world is now under the control of similarly structured, privately owned central banks (with names which deceptively make them seem to be part of the government) which engage in fractional reserve banking and the monetization of debt, all under the control of the very same international banking cartel.
The monetization of debt essentially makes wage slaves of us all, as the payment of this debt is always put on the backs of innocent citizens through taxation. In the United States, the private national bank, under the control of the same international banking cartel, is called the Federal Reserve Bank. This name, however, is a ruse: it is not “federal” and it has no “reserves.” It was started in 1913, the very same year as the I.R.S. – the Internal Revenue Service, whose very function is to collect taxes to pay the debt to the Federal Reserve. Like the Bank of England, the Federal Reserve is both unnecessary and even harmful to the government and the citizens, and without the Federal Reserve there would literally be no need at all for the I.R.S. at all!
It should be noted that there were actually three private national central banks prior to the 1913 inception of the Federal Reserve: in brief, these were the Bank of North America (chartered 1781, operated as the central bank from 1782-1791) the First Bank of the United States (1791-1811) and the Second Bank of the United States (1816-1836). These were all operated in much the same manner as the Federal Reserve, and by essentially the same international banking cartel. It was also this cartel who used its vast financial and political influence to push for the creation of these central banks in the first place. The fact that they were each relatively short-lived because the people and politicians came to understand the needlessness and the very danger of such banks gives one hope that the same fate will ultimately befall the current Federal Reserve.
It is also particularly illuminating to understand that the United States had no central bank of any sort at all during the 77-year period between 1836 to 1913. The abolition of the hidden economic slavery of the the nation to these central banks, combined with the abolition of the much more visible and direct form of slavery practiced in the southern states upon the end of the Civil War (1861-1865) saw the greatest period of economic expansion in American history. Slavery, in any form, direct or indirect, is never as productive as freedom, except for the slave-owners. There can be no slavery of any sort in a scio-anarchistic society.
This is not to say that there were no “ups-and-downs” in the economy, even during this period, or that everything was perfect; then again, the same can be said of the economy under the various central banks. Furthermore, the central banks themselves, with their monetization of debt, creates a great addition drain upon the economies of nations and their people. And because this system of private central banks, controlled by a single international banking cartel, profits from the debt of nations, they wield their vast global financial and political power to create policies and situations which put every nation possible into debt. This evil cartel knows that the greatest method for creating nation debt is to pit nation against nation in military conflict, so they work to do just that, albeit in places far from where they themselves actually live. Soldiers go off to fight and die, and nations of people work themselves into a patriotic frenzy to support the war effort, never realizing that the real enemy is hardly ever the nation they are fighting, but the very cartel which controls the purse-strings of the world.
Although the early operation of the Bank of England has been discussed, it is more relevant to today's world to now discuss the modern operation of the Federal Reserve; other privately owned central banks around the world today operate according to very similar principles. When the government of the United States needs to raise money, it has essentially two options: it can raise taxes, or it can simply print money. Both options are coercive and unethical, but that tends not to be a great consideration, since government itself is coercive and unethical. The first option is politically unpopular with taxpayers because of its very direct and overt nature, and is therefore often perilous to political careers. The second option is a more covert and indirect way of fleecing the public and therefore less likely to adversely affect voting behavior, so it is safer to political careers.
Simply printing more money would have the adverse effect of creating inflation: increasing the money supply, raising prices, and lowering the purchasing power of one's savings. In reality, however, the government does not simply print money; instead, in defiance of all logic, it has delegated that power to the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve, a private bank controlled by an international cartel of bankers, therefore has the power to print money “out of thin air,” backed by absolutely nothing at all – not gold, not silver, and not anything else. (If the reader hasn't already noticed, take a quick look at the front of any dollar bill, or any larger bill for that matter: the words “Federal Reserve Note” are right on top.)
Let's imagine that the government wants $1,000,000 from the Federal Reserve. The government essentially borrows this money from the Federal Reserve. To be even more precise, the government will sell $1,000,000 worth of treasury bonds to the Federal Reserve, which the Federal Reserve pays for by simply having the money printed – again, “out of thin air,” and backed by absolutely nothing. The government pays interest to the bearer of a treasury bond (which in this case is the Federal Reserve) and returns the principle at maturity. To put it simply, the Federal Reserve loans money to the government, and the government pays back the loan with interest.
It is very important to realize, however, that as long as this system remains in place the government can never pay off its debt to the Federal Reserve. This is because the payment of the interest would require more money than the Federal Reserve has loaned the government in the first place, and ultimately that money would also have to come from the Federal Reserve! In this way, the entire nation and even future generations will forever be in debt to the Federal Reserve.
As if this weren't enough, there is also the matter of fractional reserve banking. Every bank in the United States operates according to Federal Reserve regulations; these regulations permit fractional reserve banking. This means that banks are only required to keep a fraction of the amount of the money that they loan out in reserve at the bank. To understand how this is another method of creating money “out of thin air,” and for drastically inflating the money supply, imagine a situation where the required fractional reserve is 10%. Someone deposits $1000 in a bank; the bank then can and does issue a loan to someone else for $900. This person then spends the loan, and the receiver of this money then deposits it in some other bank. This bank can and does then issue a loan to someone else for $810. In this way the original $1000 can be “multiplied” up to a maximum of $10,000, although the real amount will typically be less.
It may seem that nothing is actually being “multiplied” in the above example, and that what is actually happening is that the money is simply being moved around from person to person and bank to bank. In reality, however, there is another factor at work. Only about 3% or so of the “money” in the economy is in the form of actual paper “cash.” The rest is in various forms of “non-cash:” electronic records, checks, etc. When a bank gives out a loan, they are typically not handing actual paper cash to the borrower, but issuing credit in some form of “non-cash,” and this is the form which the money “created” by fractional reserve banking takes.
Isn't it ironic that the dollars in your wallet, the Federal Reserve notes, are imprinted with the words, “In God We Trust?” Is this an attempt to prop up the public's perception of the soundness of the monetary system, by invoking the supernatural? Unfortunately, the truth is that the whole system is so flawed and actually evil that it has much more in common with something profane rather than anything divine.
Part 3: The Scio-anarchistic Future of Money
Any system which allows money to be created by one entity (a monarch, the government, a banking cartel, or whatever) at the expense of everyone else is coercive and unethical. Any system which is vulnerable to “coin clipping,” the debasement of metals, counterfeiting, inflation, or mis-calibrated scales is fatally flawed and therefore unsuitable for use.
The ideal medium of exchange for a scio-anarchistic society would need to be free of all of the above problems. In addition, there should be a means whereby transactions could be conducted globally by electronic means, ideally without the need for any sort of “middleman” such as a banker or other financial institution. All of this is necessary if the medium of exchange is to be accepted voluntarily and widely, in the absence of some government coercively forcing its use and acceptance.
One obvious and very promising candidate for such a medium of exchange is some form of “cryptocurrency.” Cryptocurrency may be thought of as something like a form of “electronic cash,” or even more precisely, like “electronic gold.” While cryptocurrency is like modern paper currency in that it is not backed by gold, silver, or anything else, there are some very important differences. Unlike paper currency, it cannot simply be created at will by one entity at the expense of others. It also can be made strictly limited in supply, so that only a certain amount can ever be produced; in this way its value comes from both its rarity and the willingness of individuals to accept it as a medium of exchange, much like precious metals.
Here is an explanation of the revolutionary technology of cryptocurrency, for those readers who may not already be familiar with it. Cryptocurrency relies on a peer-to-peer network of multiple computers; in practice, this simply means a group of computers connected together via the internet. Each computer is able to create any number of randomly generated “addresses,” each of which is associated with a secret “private key.” Only the computer which generated the address has access to this private key. The addresses and private keys are simply really long numbers. The addresses are used to store virtual “cryptocoins.”
One way of obtaining a cryptocoin is to simply generate it, in a process known as “mining.” Each computer is in competition with all of the others to solve some difficult mathematical problem, where part of the process of solving the problem involves randomly generated numbers. The computer which solves the problem first is considered to have mined some predetermined number of cryptocoins. The process then starts over, with all the computers again competing to earn the next cryptocoins.
Each computer also keeps an identical ongoing history containing a record of each mined cryptocoin; this ongoing history is known as the “blockchain.” As coins are mined, the computer which mined them broadcasts the proof that it has done so to all the others, and it also broadcasts that the cryptocoins are now associated with one of the addresses which it has created. All of the other computers check the proof, and then also associate the cryptocoins with the address stipulated by the computer which mined them.
A second way of obtaining a cryptocoin is to simply transfer it from one computer on the network to another. The computer sending the cryptocoin generates a “transaction” from one of the addresses which it “owns” (by virtue of having its private key) to an address owned by another computer on the network. This transaction is also stored in the blockchain.
In order to limit the number of cryptocoins generated, the difficulty of the mining “problems” are adjusted over time so that it takes approximately the same amount of time for some computer to solve the problem. The “payout,” or the amount of coins mined each time the mining problem is solved, is also typically adjusted so that less cryptocoins are generated each time. There also typically comes a point at which no more cryptocoins can be generated. This ultimately limits the maximum number of cryptocoins which can ever exist, making them have a rarity akin to something like gold or silver.
It is important to note that the generation of addresses, private keys, cryptocoins, transactions, and so on, is not a process which is protected by passwords or the like, but by time-tested “cryptographic” mathematical algorithms. They are essentially mathematically impossible to “break.” (To be more precise, breaking one of these algorithms just once, would be like randomly selecting one grain of sand from all the beaches on the earth, and have it be the same grain of sand selected by another person. Technically this is not impossible, but it is so unlikely that it might as well be. Furthermore, to break the same algorithm again would again require exactly the same “impossible” odds.) This makes it impossible to “counterfeit” coins. It is also impossible to “hack” the program in some way, because one would essentially have to “hack” or have control of over 50% of the computers on the network – and even in such a case, anything “fishy” would be publicly visible by looking at the blockchain, and could then be dealt with appropriately.
There are already a number of cryptocurrencies in existence. The first and most widely used (as of the time of this writing) is “Bitcoin.” One of Bitcoin's main problems, however, is the fact that all of the transactions are stored in the blockchain in such a way that one can tell where the coins came from when they are received. The is a very real threat to privacy because it then becomes possible to track the movement of cryptocurrency from address to address, and if someone's address becomes publicly known (as it typically does, by virtue of the way addresses are used) or even just known to the wrong entity, it then becomes possible to track where someone is receiving and spending Bitcoins.
Another problem with Bitcoin is the transaction time. Bitcoin transactions typically take 10 minutes at the minimum for one “confirmation.” For maximum security, however, it is typically recommended that one require 6 confirmations before the transaction is considered complete. It is simply not practical to have to wait an hour – or even 10 minutes – to complete a transaction.
There are other cryptocurrencies, however, which have solved these problems. The most notable among these is Dash (previously known as Darkcoin). Dash has a features called “Darksend” which anonymizes transactions. It also has a feature called “InstantX” which enables instant transactions, so that the effective transaction time is only a few seconds, very much like using a credit or debit card.
Of course, since no one would be coerced to use any particular medium of exchange, there would be nothing to prevent individuals from using different cryptocurrencies, or even other things altogether such as gold and silver; for most purposes, however, it would be most convenient and sensible to use the most widely accepted medium of exchange. It seems highly likely that for real-world usage in a scio-anarchistic society, where both privacy and convenience will have a high priority, a cryptocurrency such as Dash or something very similar will become the de facto medium of exchange.
Healthcare in government-run societies tends to be an extremely regulated industry. This serves to greatly suppress the competition to provide a higher quality of healthcare while protecting and promoting the interests of certain entrenched businesses involved in the medical, pharmaceutical and healthcare industry.
This is particularly evident in the pharmaceutical industry. Pharmaceutical companies make absolutely enormous profits when they are able to create and patent a drug. The patent gives them an exclusive license to manufacture and market the drug for a number of years and this allows them to charge much higher prices for the drug due to the monopoly they have on its sale. In order to create such drugs in the first place, they will often experiment with some known naturally occurring treatment or cure, to identify and isolate the molecular components which have the beneficial effects. Since these components were originally found in nature, they are unable to be patented. To get around this, however, the pharmaceutical company then makes minor changes or tweaks in the molecular structure so that the new structure is something not actually found in nature. This then allows them to patent the drug, and obtain their exclusive, competition-free license.
It is worth noting that such drugs were originally referred to as “patent medicine,” and that creating such artificial “patent medicine” (rather than “natural medicine” or even simply “medicine”) is the true business of pharmaceutical companies. The primary motivation for modifying a naturally occurring substance is not for the purpose of actually improving the efficacy of the substance for the treatment of a medical condition, but merely to gain an exclusive patent to market the drug. The resulting treatment may actually be less effective than the original naturally occurring treatment, and it will certainly be far more expensive.
When a pharmaceutical company creates a new drug, it is submitted to a government agency for approval for medical use. (In the USA this agency is the FDA, the Food and Drug Administration.) This is an extremely expensive process, but one which pays off handsomely once the substance in question is approved. The natural substances which are modified to create pharmaceuticals, however, are not typically submitted, because their approval would create an inexpensive competitive alternative to the pharmaceuticals. (The drug companies certainly don't want to pay for FDA approval for an inexpensive and often superior alternative to their own patent medicine!) In the United States, only those drugs which are approved by the FDA are legally permitted to be prescribed within government-run medical programs such as Medicaid and Medicare, and prescribing such drugs outside of such government-run programs puts the doctor at risk of losing his or her license to practice.
This system has developed because pharmaceutical companies spend an enormous amount of money on government lobbying, and also make direct payments to the FDA in order to have their drugs evaluated. In other words, the politicians which make the laws regulating this industry, and the agencies which are ostensibly tasked with protecting and promoting public health are instead financial beneficiaries of the pharmaceutical companies. This has created a medical system which serves the pharmaceutical companies, at the expense of the health of individuals.
The inefficiencies in government regulated healthcare is not limited to pharmaceuticals, but include such things as the education and licensing of medical professionals, the licensing of healthcare facilities, and all sorts of other issues. The root cause of all of these is the very fact of coercive government regulation itself.
The scio-anarchistic approach to healthcare would be very different, of course. There would be no patent-protected drugs, as it would not be possible (and is not ethical) to coercive enforce patents or other forms of “intellectual property.” This is not to say that a drug company could not keep certain “trade secrets” regarding the formulation and manufacture of its drugs; on the other hand, there would be nothing to stop other companies from attempting to reverse-engineer the drugs produced by another company. There would also be nothing to stop medical practitioners from prescribing effective and completely natural substances and treatments; in fact, these might often be preferred.
In the absence of the need for government approval for various drugs, there would be a need and a market for independent assessors to determine the safety and efficacy of different treatments. It is worth noting that the same would be true of medical practitioners, healthcare facilities and the like: they would also be evaluated by independent assessors. Individuals would be able to examine these assessments and then judge for themselves whether or not a particular medical practitioner met their needs.
The ultimate result of all of this is that in a scio-anarchistic society there would be increased pharmaceutical and medical innovation, no economic or legal disincentives to using superior and less expensive natural treatments, more economic competition among drug companies and therefore lower prices even for man-made drugs, and so on. The cost and availability of healthcare in general would come down drastically – without the stifling influence of coercive government regulations.
Recreational Drugs and Alcohol
The topic of pharmaceutical drugs leads into the topic of recreational drugs and alcohol. Most countries have laws of some sort against the use of various drugs for recreational or other purposes. The reasons given for such laws typically include the danger of the drug to the user, the danger that drug users pose to others, and the like. In reality, however, coercive government prohibitions on the use of drugs actually vastly exacerbate rather than minimize the problems created by drug use.
There can be no crime without a victim. To criminalize the voluntary use of any drug is completely unethical. It creates criminals out of productive members of society who have harmed absolutely no one, and fines and even imprisons them, in addition to giving them criminal records. This affects not only them but also their children, spouses, and so on. It also creates a completely artificial manufactured “need” for more police, more jails, and so on, as well as the obvious economic cost of meeting that “need.” The immense economic and social burden of a bloated criminal justice system, bent on the enforcement of nonsensical drug laws, would be completely eliminated in a scio-anarchistic society.
This is not meant to imply that Scionics advocates the recreational use of drugs, and particularly not in an addictive habitual manner. Such usage tends to reduce one's capacity for clear, empiricorational thought. Furthermore, recreational drugs often have some neurochemical mechanism for producing “good” feelings in the brain – feelings of euphoria, happiness, release from pain or stress, and the like – which are typically the primary reason for their use. The downside of this is that one's neurochemistry often rather quickly becomes habituated to the presence of the drug, thereby requiring the user to take higher and higher doses to achieve the desired effect. Once such habituation has taken place (sometimes very quickly, depending upon the drug and the individual) the absence of the drug becomes very unpleasant; this requires the user to take the drug just to feel somewhat “normal.” The cessation of certain drugs causes not only very unpleasant but also very dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Thus it is often the case that ultimately the “highs” aren't worth the “lows,” but once one is “hooked” on some drug it can be extraordinarily difficult to quit.
(It should be noted that it can be quite difficult to effectively engage in meditative practices, or even simply experience a general sense of well-being or equanimity, when one's neurology and psychology are affected in this way.)
Of course, despite any possible hazards, it should always remain the sole prerogative of the individual as to whether or not to use any drug. Furthermore, some drugs are much less prone to misuse or abuse than others, and some may even have distinct positive aspects associated with careful, controlled use. In a scio-anarchistic society, the common misinformation and “scare tactics” typically surrounding drugs and their use, propagated by coercive governments in the name of the “war on drugs” (which is actually a war on freedom) would be abandoned in favor of accurate reality-based information regarding drugs, their effects, and positive and negative modes of use.
When individuals wish to live their lives in loving union, this is their own personal choice. In a similar fashion, if they later change their minds and decide they no longer want to live their lives together, this is also their personal choice. It is unethical for any third party or government to coercively enforce these decisions, or put any sort of condition upon them, or otherwise interfere in any way.
Marriage and divorce in a scio-anarchistic society would be contractual matters between the individuals involved. These contracts may involve such matters as mutual property, inheritance, mutual access to each other's financial or medical records, the roles that each is expected to fill in the relationship, and so on. The creation or revocation of such contracts is ethically only the prerogative of the individuals who are party to the contracts. In other words, marriage and divorce ethically require no third party to “license” or “make it official.” Individuals in a scio-anarchistic society would be married the moment they make a contractual agreement to be married, and divorced the moment the contract is revoked.
In fact, the “contractual agreement” can be as simple as a verbal agreement between the individuals themselves. The only need for having such a contract in written form would be so that others would have independent verification of the rights and duties which were mutually granted by the contract, and would therefore have cause to honor these mutual rights and duties. Such a contract would need to be produced in order for a third party to share otherwise private financial or medical data, for example, with a spouse.
Even such terms as “married,” “spouse,” and so on, would not really have an official, legal meaning, since there would be no actual government to enforce the relationships and roles to which such terms refer. It would simply be a convenient way of referring to the relationships and roles amongst individuals, or to the fact that such a contract is in effect between them.
Regarding any “religious” significance which such a marriage may have to the individuals involved, this would be a personal matter amongst themselves. If they choose to have some sort of religious ceremony to “consecrate” or commemorate the initiation of the marriage, that would be up to them to decide, but would be completely unnecessary in order to initiate the contract, unless, of course, the ceremony was stipulated in the contract itself.
As to the matter of who may be married, this is simple: any individuals capable of entering into contractual agreements may ethically enter into whatever sort of contracts they wish.
Children generally do not have the fully developed rationality and understanding of the world which they will have as they mature into adulthood. As children age, they not only grow physically, but also grow in knowledge and experience. At some point they are deemed capable of making their own decisions and being fully responsible for their own actions; this point roughly corresponds with the beginning of “adulthood.” Prior to that point some of their decisions must be made for them, and they cannot be held fully responsible for all of those choices which they do make themselves.
The line between childhood and adulthood is somewhat arbitrarily drawn when a person has reached some chronological age. This is because it is difficult to actually establish some set of criteria, some “test,” or some other means for determining whether a young person has become capable of fully responsible self-direction. If such criteria ever were developed, some young people would surely be found to be “adults” long before reaching whatever arbitrary age is commonly used, and just as surely some people of even advanced years would be found to be still essentially be “children” in terms of their own ability to responsibly live by their own authority. Until such time, however, the use of the simple criteria of age still seems to be the best method, although making it possible for a person to essentially “declare” their own adulthood at some younger age, provided they do meet some sort of criteria, also does seem appropriate.
It is also necessary to recognize the obvious fact that as children mature they become increasingly able to determine their own actions and to make more important decisions for themselves. Thus they are given greater autonomy over time by their caretakers, which are typically their parents. This is also reflected by the fact that under current legal systems the rights of young people are often progressively acknowledged with increasing years, there often being different ages at which they are allowed to legally drive, give sexual consent, enlist in military service, drink alcohol, and so on. Furthermore, since the younger a child is the more physically and psychologically vulnerable he or she is, crimes against children are also often considered more serious the younger they are.
Children do not ask to be born. They come into the world completely defenseless and dependent. They are the responsibility of those who created them. To shirk this responsibility or to neglect the needs of one's child is an initiation of force against the child: this initiation of force rests on the fact that the child was forced into a situation where he or she is defenseless and dependent, and could not meet these unmet needs himself or herself. The active abuse of a child is also an obvious initiation of force, which is exacerbated by the very helplessness of the victim. Thus the neglect or abuse of a child are criminal acts.
Reproduction and Abortion
Having a child is a huge responsibility. There may be situations in which one feels one cannot adequately handle this responsibility, either in terms of the demand on time and money, or in terms of providing the proper intellectual and emotional home environment for a developing rational being. The best thing to do in such a situation is to simply avoid pregnancy altogether, whether by abstinence or some form of contraception.
Abstinence is not really a practical life-long solution for most sexually healthy individuals, and contraception is typically not 100% reliable. People often get pregnant when they are not actually prepared to raise a child. This leads to the sometimes controversial issue of abortion.
A human fetus has much more in common with an animal than with a rational human being. It may have sensory or perceptual consciousness, but so do cats, dogs, chickens, cows and so on. It does not have the conceptual consciousness which is the very hallmark of humanity. While most people do not relish the idea of killing animals, it is certainly not uncommon at all to kill animals for food. A small animal might provide one with a meal. One could often do without this meal, or simply eat something else, and yet most people consider it perfectly acceptable to kill an animal for a meal. A meal – or doing without one – is a very short-term and rather trivial matter, compared with the two decades or so of the awesome responsibility required to raise a child. If killing an animal is considered ethically acceptable to avoid the hunger of missing a single meal (or even to simply avoid eating something else) how much more should it be considered ethically acceptable to abort a pregnancy to avoid decades of sacrifice to the raising of a child?
This is not to say that one should intentionally and irresponsibility engage in sexual practices which are ultimately likely to result in pregnancy, if one is not prepared to raise a child. One should avoid getting pregnant under such circumstances, but if a pregnancy does occur no one ethically has any right to force a woman to give birth, including the father of the fetus or society at large. The choice of whether to proceed with or to abort the pregnancy is solely the woman's choice.
The choice of whether to accept the immense responsibility of raising a child or to opt out of this should not be the mother's alone. It is just as unethical to force a man into accepting fatherhood as it is to force a woman to accept motherhood. Either parent must be free to relinquish their parental status at any point, whether this is during pregnancy or even after the child is born. Only the mother can decide to abort a pregnancy, but either parent must be free to relinquish their role of parent in the event that they feel they cannot meet this responsibility themselves. This relinquishment (aside from abortion) can consist of the full relinquishment of all rights and responsibilities, or some lesser or temporary relinquishment.
Because it is a crime to neglect or abuse a child, one can only relinquish one's parental rights and responsibilities if there is some other person or organization willing to take on these parental rights and responsibilities. In the absence of such a person or organization, such relinquishment would be an act of criminal neglect. If only one parent wishes to relinquish his or her parental rights or responsibilities, but the other parent wishes to retain his or hers, then one parent may simply relinquish their rights and responsibilities to the other. If both parents wish to relinquish their parental rights and responsibilities then some other third party must be found; this may be a willing family member, friend, a suitable stranger desiring to raise a child, or an orphanage.
The Implementation of Scio-anarchy
Current social organization is very far from the ideal of scio-anarchy. The political, economic, and other related systems which may be considered to be, in some sense, “optimal” may be very difficult to implement in practice. This difficulty is due to many factors, not the least of which are those powerful political and economic forces which benefit from the current systems in place, i.e., the “status quo,” and also the resistance to almost and sort of change often exhibited by the “common man,” even in the face of rather obvious and enormous benefits which would be enjoyed under some alternative system. A further difficulty is due to the sheer size of the global and national political and economic systems, such that there is a tremendous amount of “social inertia” which must be overcome to make even the smallest changes.
In light of the above, consideration should be given to the issue of how one could create, at least, small experimental “pockets” of politico-economic independence and optimization, within the larger global and national politico-economic structures. In other words, while one may not be able to change the world at large, a start can at least be made by creating one or more smaller societies where such change can be implemented and enjoyed. Such isolated politico-economic systems are typically easier to establish within a larger system which is capitalistic in nature. This is because of the much greater degree of freedom that individual and groups have over their money and income in a capitalistic society, as opposed to some other more restrictive economic system. Such favorable conditions are even further enhanced in places where religious and other freedoms are respected by the larger society, and where religious, educational, charitable and other such organizations are exempt from taxation, as this increases the politico-economic freedom and isolation of such social experiments.
Later in this writing specific methods for creating pockets of scio-anarchism existing in parallel with the larger society will be detailed. It is hoped that they will serve as shining examples to the society at large, and that the society at large will come to see the enormous benefits of scio-anarchistic principles, and eventually adopt such principles itself. In such a fashion, Scionics will bring about the most peaceful and liberating revolution in all of human history.
Scionics politics is derived directly from ethics, which in turn is based upon metaphysics, epistemology, and the empiricorational understanding of human nature and human choice. The politics of Scionics based upon the nature of reality and the nature of the beings which inhabit that reality and are capable of understanding the requirements of true empiricorational self-government. An opposing view would be some form of “political supernaturalism,” the view that politics or government should be based (at least in part) upon supernatural rather than natural considerations. Scionics recognizes, however, that the “supernatural” is a flawed and unreal concept, and that politics must be based upon reality rather than non-reality. Scionics politics, as embodied in scio-anarchism and the non-aggression principle, is the ultimate, invincible form of political naturalism.