Tag Archives: Decentralization

Doug Casey on Whether It’s Possible to Find Freedom in an Unfree World

The short answer is no, it’s not possible to find freedom in an unfree world, the best you can do is have enough money that you can in some measure protect yourself. From Doug Casey at internationalman.com:

Freedom

A growing number of people are interested in using the State’s power to tell others how to live. They are also voting themselves freebies at the expense of others.

It’s clear that those who want to be left alone won’t be. Is it possible to find freedom in an unfree place?

Doug Casey: Back in 1973, my old friend Harry Browne wrote a really fantastic book called How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World, where he dealt with exactly that question.

Remember, that was almost 50 years ago now—a lifetime.

The book was timely, even though the world was much freer then than it is now. We now have vastly more financial and travel controls, however—many new penalties for saying, or even appearing to think, the “wrong” things. You’re now monitored in many more ways.

Harry’s book is brilliant and actually more important to read now than it was then. His answers to how you find freedom in an unfree world are useful and relevant.

But the fact is that you can run but you can’t hide.

That’s because the world has been infected by a virus. I don’t mean the ridiculous COVID virus. I mean the virus of statism and collectivism.

There’s really nowhere you can go to be safe from it—only some places that are better than others.

For instance, the so-called Five Eyes countries—the US, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. They were once the major bastions of Western Civilization, the only civilization—ever—that held personal freedom as an ideal. But now they’re the very ones leading the route downhill.

It’s a real problem for freedom lovers. We’re a smaller and smaller minority. Most people, however, prefer a strong leader promising the illusion of safety and security. Nothing has changed since the days of Rome. It devolved from a yeoman republic to a multicultural empire with onerous taxes in order to pay for bread and circuses to keep the capite censi under control.

In the latter days of the empire, many of its citizens attempted to escape, to live among the barbarians—even while the barbarians were taking over the empire itself. Pretty much the same thing is happening now in the West in general and the US in particular.

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Nationalism and Secession, by Hans-Hermann Hoppe

This article is from 1993 and makes a strong case that secession and smaller political units are freer and more compatible with trade, production, and capitalism. From Hans-Hermann Hoppe at lewrockwell.com:

[Published in Chronicles, Nov. 1993, p. 23–25]

With the collapse of communism all across Eastern Europe, secessionist movements are mushrooming. There are now more than a dozen independent states on the territory of the former Soviet Union, and many of its more than 100 different ethnic, religious, and linguistic groups are striving to gain independence. Yugoslavia has dissolved into various national components. Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, and Bosnia now exist as independent states. The Czechs and the Slovaks have split and formed independent countries. There are Germans in Poland, Hungarians in Slovakia, Hungarians, Macedonians, and Albanians in Serbia, Germans and Hungarians in Romania, and Turks and Macedonians in Bulgaria who all desire independence. The events of Eastern Europe have also given new strength to secessionist movements in Western Europe: to the Scots and Irish in Great Britain, the Basques and Catalonians in Spain, the Flemish in Belgium, and the South Tyrolians and the Lega Nord in Italy.

From a global perspective, however, mankind has moved closer than ever before to the establishment of a world government. Even before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the United States had attained hegemonical status over Western Europe (most notably over West Germany) and the Pacific rim countries (most notably over Japan)—as indicated by the presence of American troops and military bases, by the NATO and SEATO pacts, by the role of the American dollar as the ultimate international reserve currency and of the U.S. Federal Reserve System as the “lender” or “liquidity provider” of last resort for the entire Western banking system, and by institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. Moreover, under American hegemony the political integration of Western Europe has steadily advanced. With the establishment of a European Central Bank and a European Currency Unit (ECU), the European Community will be complete before the turn of the century. In the absence of the Soviet Empire and its military threat, the United States has emerged as the world’s sole and undisputed military superpower.

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When Giants Fall, by James Howard Kunster

The Greater Depression has resumed after its hiatus since 2009. Will the economy that emerges be more decentralized and localized? It’s a good bet that it will. From James Howard Kunstler at kunstler.com:

It was only a few decades ago that Walmart entered the pantheon of American icons, joining motherhood, apple pie, and baseball on the highest tier of the altar. The people were entranced by this behemoth cornucopia of unbelievably cheap stuff packaged in gargantuan quantities. It was something like their participation trophy for the sheer luck of being born in this exceptional land, or having valiantly clawed their way in from wretched places near and far ­— where, increasingly, the mighty stream of magically cheap stuff was manufactured.

The evolving psychology of Walmart-ism had a strangely self-destructive aura about it. Like cargo cultists waiting on a jungle mountaintop, small town Americans prayed and importuned the gods of commerce to bring them a Walmart. Historians of the future, pan-frying ‘possum cutlets over their campfires, will marvel at the potency of their ancestors’ prayers. Every little burg in the USA eventually saw a Walmart UFO land in the cornfield or cow-pasture on the edge of town. Like the space invaders of sci-fi filmdom, Walmart quickly killed off everything else of economic worth around it, and eventually the towns themselves. And that was where things stood as the long emergency commenced in the winter of early 2020, along with the Covid-19 corona virus riding shotgun on the hearse-wagon it rolled in on.

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Localism in the 2020s, Part 5 (Pandemic) – It All Starts With You, by Michael Krieger

Dire as things may look, the current coronavirus outbreak and financial stress will add substantial impetus to the burgeoning trend towards decentralization and localism. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

And it was in the midst of shouts rolling against the terrace wall in massive waves that waxed in volume and duration, while cataracts of colored fire fell thicker through the darkness, that Dr. Rieux resolved to compile this chronicle, so that he should not be one of those who hold their peace but should bear witness in favor of those plague-stricken people; so that some memorial of the injustice ad outrage done them might endure; and to state quite simply what we learn in times of pestilence: that there are more things to admire in men than to despise.

– Albert Camus, The Plague

It’s likely the past few weeks have been some of the most surreal you’ve ever experienced; I know it’s been the case for me. The largest cities in the U.S. are essentially on lockdown, the stock market is in free fall and grocery stores are being stripped bare. It feels like a very dark moment, but in such darkness I see the light of a new beginning. A new beginning that starts with each and every one of us.

One of the things that helped me navigate the last couple of months in a state of relative calm is a longstanding understanding that something of this sort was inevitable. Not a pandemic necessarily, but something was bound to come along and slam us unexpectedly, and that when it did, the impact would be shockingly disruptive given how completely brittle and phony our economies and societies have become.

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“Political Anarchy” Is How the West Got Rich, by Ryan McMaken

One of the main and generally unattributed factors behind the West’s rise since the Middle Ages was the lack of political centralization. From Ryan McMaken at mises.org:

It is not uncommon to encounter political theorists and pundits who insist that political centralization is a boon to economic growth.  In both cases, it is claimed the presence of a unifying central regime—whether in Brussels or in Washington, DC, for example—is essential in ensuring the efficient and free flow of goods throughout a large jurisdiction. This, we are told, will greatly accelerate economic growth.

In many ways, the model is the United States, inside of which there are virtually no barriers to trade or migration at all between member states. In the EU, barriers have been falling rapidly in recent decades.

The historical evidence, however, suggests that political unity is not actually a catalyst to economic growth or innovation over the long term. In fact, the European experience suggests that the opposite is true.

Why Did Europe Surpass China in Wealth and Growth?

A thousand years ago, a visitor from another planet might have easily overlooked European civilization as a poor backwater. Instead, China and the Islamic world may have looked far more likely to be the world leaders in wealth and innovation indefinitely.

Why is it, then, that Europe became the wealthiest and most technologically advanced civilization in the world?

Indeed, the fact that Europe had grown to surpass other civilizations that were once more scientifically and technologically advanced had become apparent by the nineteenth century. Historians have debated the question of the origins of this “European miracle” ever since.

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Secession Fever in Today’s America: What Would Lincoln Think? by Thomas DiLorenzo

Lincoln prevented secession in America by going to war, but it’s an idea whose time has come. From Thomas DiLorenzo at lewrockwell.com:

A February 19 article in The Washington Times announced that “Secession Fever Spikes” in five states where “conservatives” are attempting to escape neo-Stalinist policies of the Democrat Party majority there, now that the mask is finally off and the Democrats are the proud party of socialism and omnipotent government.  Long gone are the days when they hid their true beliefs by calling themselves “liberals” and their brand of fascism “The New Deal.”  They are now the party of the Green New Deal, the crazed, Soviet-style government plan to totalitarianize all of American society under the dishonest guise of “saving the planet.”  In other words, they are all card-carrying “watermelons” – green on the outside, red on the inside.

As soon as they took control of the Virginia state government, helped along with mega-donations by billionaire fellow totalitarians Michael Bloomberg and George Soros, among others, they immediately waged political war on the First and Second Amendments to the Constitution.  Their governor, Ralph Northam, is on record in a publicly-recorded video as supporting infanticide in cases where babies survive abortions.  That’s just for starters in the first month of their rule.

Virginia politics is now dominated by the heavily-populated D.C. suburbs composed of hundreds of thousands of deep state bureaucrats, government contractors, and Third World immigrants promised the riches of the American welfare state by the Democrats.  Most of the rest of the counties in the state have declared themselves to be Second Amendment sanctuaries.  Most strikingly, there is a “Vexit” movement whose goal is for those counties to secede from Virginia and become a part of more Constitution-friendly West Virginia.  The governor of West Virginia, Jim Justice, joined with Liberty University president Jerry Falwell, Jr. in a press conference at which they invited the more conservative Virginia counties to secede.  The West Virginia legislature is on board.

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Omniviolence Is Coming and the World Isn’t Ready, by Phil Torres

Like everything else, the capacity to commit crimes and wage violence is becoming increasing decentralized and individuals are becoming increasingly powerful. From Phil Torres at nautil.us:

Emerging bio-, nano-, and cyber-technologies are enabling criminals to target anyone anywhere and, due to democratization, increasingly at scale.Screengrab via The Future of Life Institute/YouTube

In The Future of Violence, Benjamin Wittes and Gabriella Blum discuss a disturbing hypothetical scenario. A lone actor in Nigeria, “home to a great deal of spamming and online fraud activity,” tricks women and teenage girls into downloading malware that enables him to monitor and record their activity, for the purposes of blackmail. The real story involved a California man who the FBI eventually caught and sent to prison for six years, but if he had been elsewhere in the world he might have gotten away with it. Many countries, as Wittes and Blum note, “have neither the will nor the means to monitor cybercrime, prosecute offenders, or extradite suspects to the United States.”

Technology is, in other words, enabling criminals to target anyone anywhere and, due to democratization, increasingly at scale. Emerging bio-, nano-, and cyber-technologies are becoming more and more accessible. The political scientist Daniel Deudney has a word for what can result: “omniviolence.” The ratio of killers to killed, or “K/K ratio,” is falling. For example, computer scientist Stuart Russell has vividly described how a small group of malicious agents might engage in omniviolence: “A very, very small quadcopter, one inch in diameter can carry a one-or two-gram shaped charge,” he says. “You can order them from a drone manufacturer in China. You can program the code to say: ‘Here are thousands of photographs of the kinds of things I want to target.’ A one-gram shaped charge can punch a hole in nine millimeters of steel, so presumably you can also punch a hole in someone’s head. You can fit about three million of those in a semi-tractor-trailer. You can drive up I-95 with three trucks and have 10 million weapons attacking New York City. They don’t have to be very effective, only 5 or 10% of them have to find the target.” Manufacturers will be producing millions of these drones, available for purchase just as with guns now, Russell points out, “except millions of guns don’t matter unless you have a million soldiers. You need only three guys to write the program and launch.” In this scenario, the K/K ratio could be perhaps 3/1,000,000, assuming a 10-percent accuracy and only a single one-gram shaped charge per drone.

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Globalization Just Peaked, by Raúl Ilargi Meijer

There’s not much left out there to profitably “globalize.” From Raúl Ilargi Meijer at theautomaticearth.com:

In Jackson Hole on Friday, Bank of England’s outgoing governor Mark Carney talked about a Synthetic Hegemonic Currency (SHC) that the world ‘must’ create, and I thought: that sounds as creepy as anything Halloween. Now, Carney is a central banker as well as a former Giant Squid partner, hence a certified cultist, but still.

He even mentioned Facebook’s Libra ‘currency’ as some sort of example for something that should replace the US dollar internationally. And that replacement is allegedly needed because countries are hoarding dollars. And/or “protecting themselves by racking up enormous piles of dollar-denominated debt.” Whichever comes first, I guess?!

I’ve read quite a few comments on Carney’s speech, but far as I’ve seen they all ignore one aspect of it: the current shape and form of globalization. See, Carney can see only one thing: more centralization, more things moving more in the same direction. Remember, he’s the man who with Michael Bloomberg in 2016 wrote “How To Make A Profit From Defeating Climate Change”. Aka things are worth doing only if they make you richer.

It’s a state of mind that works fine when you’re inside a system and an echo chamber, when you’re a central banker or a corporate banker. But there’s nothing that indicates it’s a useful state of mind when the system you’re serving must undergo change. What is as true when it comes to climate change as it is for changing the entire global economy. Carney’s got blinders on.

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Is It Time for America to Break Apart? by Boyd D. Cathey

It is way past time for the US and other superstates to break apart. They will do so by choice or by circumstances as devolution and decentralization are already rendering mega-governments obsolete. From Boyd D. Cathey at unz.com:

There is a question that increasingly arises, uncomfortably, in our conversations…from brief exchanges at work at the water cooler, at home with family, after church on Sunday, with our email messages to friends and associates. To watch any amount of television news these days, to switch back and forth between, say, CNN and Fox, and to listen to their interpretations of any event or issue, no matter what, that same question clambers in the background like an unchained wild beast:

What has happened—what is happening—to the geographical entity we call the United States, to its people, to its culture? Does it not seem like the country is coming apart at the seams, in just about everything, from its once-established moral base in a more or less historic Christian framework to its very vision of reality, of what is real and what is not?

Millions of “woke” social justice progressives now control the Democratic Party and most of our media; they dominate our entertainment and sports industries; they push for open borders and what amounts to “population replacement” of natives by illegal aliens; and they have a stranglehold on the near entirety of our educational system, from the primary grades to our colleges.

Each year those institutions turn out millions of freshly-minted automatons—intellectual zombies—who think like their unhinged teachers and professors have trained them, and who then take up responsible positions in our society and increasingly support and vote for a type of veritable madness which, like an unstoppable centrifugal force, is tearing this country apart, creating unbridgeable divisions that no amount of misdirected pleading or faux-compromise can repair.

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Which Nations Will Crumble and Which Few Will Prosper in the Next 25 Years? by Charles Hugh Smith

Decentralization runs contrary to the centralizing trend of the last century or so and is steadily gaining strength. The smart money bet is that very few governments will survive it. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

Adaptability and flexibility will be the core survival traits going forward.
What will separate the many nations that will crumble in the next 25 years and those few that will survive and even prosper while the status quo dissolves around them? As I explain in my recent book Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic, the factors that will matter are not necessarily cultural or financial; being hard-working and wealthy won’t be enough to save nations from coming apart at the seams.
Here are the factors that will matter in the next 25 years:
1. The ability to engage and survive non-linear change, which is rapid, unpredictable and systemic, as opposed to linear change which is gradual, predictable and limited in nature.
None of the current political systems are decentralized enough and adaptable enough to survive the non-linear era we’re entering. As I explained in What If Politics Can’t Fix What’s Broken?, the politics of centralized compromise and incremental, top-down adjustments are wholly inadequate to dealing with non-linear disruptions.
2. The nations that cannot jettison their parasitic elites will fall; the few that find the political will to jettison their parasitic elites will have the wherewithal to survive and possibly even prosper as the global status quo collapses around them.
The problem, as we all know, is the parasitic elites rule the centralized hierarchies of wealth and political power, and they will cling to power even as the nation they rule crumbles around them. The hubris, complacency and greed of the ruling parasitic elites is near-infinite; the idea that the political and financial structures that they dominate will not survive simply doesn’t exist in the parasitic elites, with the exception of a few outliers who are constructing remote bugout compounds with landing strips etc.
Unfortunately for these outliers, they can’t escape satellite and drone imagery, or the loose tongues of employees, contractors, etc.

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