Friday, 13 September 2019

See? Humans are good for wildlife, not bad. And it’s “official!”

Yesterday afternoon, I was walking in a park about four miles from my home. And I chanced upon one of those signs which the local borough council had put there to tell people about the area and its wildlife. At first, I didn’t bother to read it; for I expected the usual smug, politically correct rant about “sustainability” and how “we” (whoever that may be) are extinguishing wildlife, polluting the planet and making it into a hell-hole.

Imagine my pleasure, then, when – having cleaned a little bit of the muck off the sign, for it was very dirty – I read the following:

“Shalford water meadows were once lush farmland to grow hay and graze cattle. This was achieved by creating a water meadow system across the fields along the Wey Navigation. Eventually the water meadows fell out of use and nature began to reclaim them for herself.

“If the water meadows continued to be left to nature they would eventually turn to woodland and dry up. This would result in the loss of all the fantastic plants and animals that made the meadows their home. To prevent this happening we are carrying out sensitive management work across the meadows.”

Now, one could criticize this missive for its lack of commas, and for dubbing plants and animals “fantastic” when, in truth, they are real and no fantasy. But this message came across to me most clearly:

See? Humans are good for wildlife, not bad. And it’s “official” – ‘cos Guildford Borough Council sez so!

Monday, 9 September 2019

Globalism, Nationalism and Cosmopolitanism

Part of the globalist √©lites’ strategy to bring about their super-state is to permit the people of the world no other options. They pooh-pooh the independent nations and governments, which have evolved over centuries. And they condemn giving individuals any say in our future. They tell us that nations – and even democracy – are old-fashioned and out of date, and their own vision is the only one possible. And they try to make out that people opposed to political globalism are “right-wing” extremist nuts.

Now, one reason it’s hard to argue against this, is that part of it is actually true. While the idea of the nation as a cultural force is still perfectly viable, as is the idea of patriotism (love for the land and people of a particular area), the political aspect of nationalism – that is, the national state – has, indeed, failed. Democracy, too, has failed; as I discussed earlier.

But beyond nationalism and globalism, there is a third possible vision of the future, which most people don’t even know about yet. One of its names is cosmopolitanism. The original of this approach was stated by Tom Paine: “My country is the world, and my religion is to do good.” It does not seek any global political or cultural unity. Instead, it seeks to allow people to associate with whoever they choose, whether from the same or from different backgrounds.

Cosmopolitanism, of course, comes in many different flavours. But my own maxim of: “It doesn’t matter who you are, only what you do” is, very much, one of them. Such an approach, I think, can help to point a way towards a world of, to coin a phrase: “Economics global, politics local.” There will be no centralized political Leviathan, and no √©lite to control it. Governance may remain at the national level in some places, or may be de-centralized into smaller units. And it will be one of my purposes, when I turn to Cure, to sketch out some possibilities. Despite all the storm clouds, there’s hope for humanity yet!

Friday, 6 September 2019

Community versus Society

Before I tackle the final putative binding force, nation, I’ll take a look at what I think may be a major cause of our troubles with today’s nation-states. That cause can be brought into focus by asking the question: Do the human beings, who reside in the territory of a state, constitute a society, or are they merely a community? Otherwise put, do they have a shared set of goals which they all seek, or do they live together simply for mutual convenience?

As I’ve said before, a society has some form of, usually written, constitution. Among much else this will, almost certainly, state the goals of the members as a group. It is likely to have a president or chairman, and a committee or other group of officials. Under its constitution, the society makes decisions based on its principles and interests, and acts on them. Even though some of its members may disagree on an issue, the society as a whole takes only one view.

Now, political states are like societies in one respect; they have a (usually written) constitution. The constitution of the USA, for example, states its purpose as: “to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” But this is not the same thing as a constitution for a society of all inhabitants of the US! You can see this when you parse the whole sentence: “We the People of the United States … do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” This is a constitution for a government called “the USA,” not for a putative society consisting of everyone in the US.

A community, in contrast, has no constitution. It has no president or chairman, no officials and no goals as a group. It may spawn societies, which act in certain respects on behalf of all those in the community; an example I gave earlier is a home-owners’ association. And the USA government, indeed, is a society whose remit is to act in certain respects on behalf of everyone in the territory called the US. But a community, even if all its members share common values – such as mutual respect for property rights and rejection of psychopathic behaviours – has no “general will,” beyond its own continuation.

If the people of the US (for example) form only a community, not a society, then it would be wrong, I think, to present as “the will of the people” what is, in reality, no more than the will of the USA government for the time being. And it would be wrong to subordinate the people of the US (or of any other country) to whatever political ideology is in vogue among those in power at a given time.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Legal and illegal entry and immigration

Lastly, legal versus illegal entry to an area (and by extension, legal versus illegal immigration).

For me, what is right and what is wrong must be the same for everyone. That is, indeed, implied by the concepts of the rule of law and equality before the law. So, you cannot reasonably claim, of twin brothers Mo and Ahmed, neither of whom has ever committed a crime, that it’s legal for one to be in a particular place in the public space, and illegal for the other. Therefore, no-one may ban any individual, who has not committed and is not committing any harm to anyone, from any point of the public space.

With private property, of course, it’s different. You can say that Mo is rightly on your private property, because he’s a plumber, and you’ve invited him in to fix a leak. While Ahmed, if he was in the same place, would be trespassing, unless you chose to invite him in. But by calling one of them legal in the public space and the other illegal for being in the same place, you reject the idea of equality before the law. You also accept the dangerous notion that a government, unlike any other landowner, has a right to deny the passage of individuals across a piece of land it does not own.

Thus, there is no case for preventing any convivial individual from going anywhere he or she wishes within the public space. Otherwise said, visitors should be able to move freely, as long as they behave convivially.

Immigration, however – by which, I mean entry to an area with intent to reside there, either for a period or permanently – is a more complex matter. Someone who goes to reside in an area is, in effect, joining the community of people who live in that area.

Now, the criteria for joining a community are not as strict as those for joining a society. For example, there is no requirement to agree with a society’s particular set of goals. Nevertheless, the people already in the community must have the right to decide who is to be allowed to join their community. Shared culture is not necessary; but a willingness to accept the culture of the people already there is a requirement. And that is so, however small the community.

There is another aspect, too. If a small community agrees to let an individual join them, that individual should be able to travel to that community. He or she must not be prevented from doing so by a third party (e.g. a government) refusing permission for the individual to enter or to cross its land, such as at a border.

So, the current system of arbitrary borders and immigration controls is unjust and unworkable. This is made worse by deliberate encouragement of mass migration by some political factions, and opposition to it by others. The system needs radical change.

Saturday, 31 August 2019

The humanity haters

There are many things in common, I think, between all the political ideologies today – whether “left,” “right,” or of any other persuasion. Socialism, communism, fascism and deep green environmentalism, for example, are all much the same underneath. And that commonality is reflected in the ways in which the promoters and supporters of those ideologies think and act.

They want to impose, or even to force, their ideology on to others, whether they like it or not. They show no concern for individuals; for them, the collective is everything, the individual is nothing. They show no qualms about causing unjust harms or inconveniences to ordinary people. They have no worries about violating rights, or restricting or even destroying freedoms. Indeed, they seem actively to enjoy harassing or impoverishing people they don’t like. By their actions, they show themselves to be extremely selfish and uncaring. Yet, they often project their own faults on to others, and accuse their victims of being selfish and uncaring!

Their approach is generally one-size-fits-all. They seem not to understand that different people need and want different things. They seem not to understand that different people – urban and rural dwellers, for example – are in different situations, so policies which might work for one could cause catastrophic damage to the other. Moreover, they show little or no care for truth or facts. And they are never satisfied; give them an inch, and they’ll take a mile.

They hate anyone – other than themselves and their buddies, of course – enjoying life, or having anything good. And many of them show a hatred of human civilization, and of human progress.

They all favour the state, and want to increase its power. They worship the political set-up which, far from defending people against mass-murdering psychopaths like Hitler and Pol Pot, actively gave those psychopaths licence to wreck the lives of many millions of people. And today’s politicians, instead of defending us against civilization-wreckers like Maurice Strong and Extinction Rebellion, kow-tow to their demands.

Any half decent system of governance ought to defend ordinary people against humanity haters like Hitler, Pol Pot or Maurice Strong – and against their henchpersons and supporters. But today’s system of political states and super-states does exactly the opposite. Not only does it encourage the worst to seek power. But once they are in power, it lets them act with impunity, until someone else gets sufficient power to topple them.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Left versus Right

Many people think of political ideologies as being either on the “left” or the “right.” In recent times, however, this distinction has become more and more blurred. You hear feverish, and always inconclusive, arguments about, for example, whether fascism was (or is?) left-wing or right-wing.

The way I see it is that, historically, the left have been driven mainly by political agendas. They want power in order to do things to people. And, when faced by ideas beyond their comfort zone, they try to enlist them and to pervert them into supporting their own agendas. The right, on the other hand, are more driven by selfishness and greed. They want power because they enjoy it, and in order to make themselves rich. And their response to ideas outside their comfort zone is usually to ignore them, or to try to suppress them.

Moreover, there are hatreds common to many on both left and right. Notably, both hate people who are different. And most of all, those who are different from themselves. Almost no-one in politics, either left or right, has any empathy or real concern for the individual human beings they seek to rule over. The worst of them, on both sides, even go so far as to hate humanity as a species. But while the left hate most those who develop their talents and make themselves good at anything, the right hate more those who have the wrong skin colour, culture or religion. And both of them hate anyone who tries to be individual and independent, or dares to disagree with them in any way.

All political ideologies today, from my point of view, are no more than a mixture of these two tendencies in one proportion or another.

Monday, 26 August 2019

The proper functions of governance

I haven't been writing much new "serious" stuff lately. This is mainly because I've been going over what I've written in the last couple of years, trying to fix some inconsistencies and clarify things that didn't come over quite right. In the process, I've written six new, or substantially revised, sections. I'll try to publish them over the next week or so. Here's the first.

* * *

The first step towards solving the political problems we face today, I think, must be to understand what the valid functions of government (or, as I prefer to call it, governance) actually are. In my view, proper governance has a total of six functions; three principal and three subsidiary.

The first function of governance is to maintain peace. This includes the defence of the governed against external attack or internal violence.

The second function of governance is to deliver justice. This function includes the just resolution of disputes. Justice, as I put forward earlier, is the condition in which every individual, over the long term, in the round and as far as practicable, is treated as he or she treats others. And governance must be fair, objective and meticulous in all its decisions.

The third function of governance is defence of the rights of those who respect others’ rights. Those rights, as I discussed earlier, include fundamental rights like life, property and privacy; and rights of non-impedance, such as freedom of speech, religion and association.

All these three principal functions of governance can be seen as different aspects of a single whole. Namely, the delivery of peace and justice to all individuals.

There are further functions of governance which, while not as important as the first three, are nevertheless necessities. The fourth is co-ordination of the building of infrastructure. This is needed because, although infrastructure must be created and maintained at the local level, some degree of co-ordination is required to ensure that the infrastructure forms a coherent whole. For example, that a new road doesn’t suddenly dead-end at some arbitrary community border. But these functions must always be delivered and paid for in a way that is just towards every individual.

The fifth function is the maintenance of good relations with other, friendly communities.

The sixth and final function of governance is quality control of itself. It must maintain a constant ethical watch on the actions of governance as a whole, and of the individuals who constitute it. It must assure that the functions of governance are being performed as they should be. That those whose job is to maintain peace are indeed doing so to the best of their abilities. That the justice system is, and remains, just, objective and fair to everyone. That no-one in governance violates the rights of innocent people. That any decisions governance needs to make on behalf of those under it are made objectively, fairly, and taking into account the costs and benefits to every individual or group. And that governance – including the quality assurance function! – keeps meticulous and publicly accessible audit trails of all it does, and of the reasons behind every decision it makes.

In my view, these six are the valid functions, and the only valid functions, of governance. It is not a function of governance to impose any particular political or religious ideology. It is not a function of governance to try to cure perceived social ills. It is not a function of governance to pick winners and losers, or to re-distribute wealth from one group of people to another. And it is not a function of governance to provide education, or insurance, or any other good or service which can be effectively provided by individuals and groups in the free market.