Saturday, 9 February 2013

Political Tolerance

Neil’s Note: I see I haven’t published a proper essay here for a few months now. This will rectify that. And it’s good to put down some thoughts on how – even without the involvement of extraterrestrials - we might make the transition from today’s political societies to Galactic freedom and justice.

I am in the throes of writing a Philosophy (with a capital P). One subject I have touched on is tolerance. This is part of what I have written on the subject:
“History is littered with intolerance of difference. Whites versus blacks, browns, yellows, and those of mixed race. Protestants against Catholics, both against atheists, and everybody against Jews. One nation-state or group of nation-states against another. Ruling classes versus middle classes, versus working classes. Men against women, “straights” against gays.
Now race, religion, gender, origin and accident of birth can still, indeed, be barriers to individual advancement. But in recent centuries, we have made considerable progress towards tolerance of difference. Except in one area. And that is, political tolerance.
As other types of intolerance have improved, it seems that political intolerance has worsened. Socialists, deep greens, religious and social conservatives, Eurocrats, warmongers, bullies, snoops, immigration and population control freaks, alcohol and smoking haters, drug warriors, energy haters, car haters, gun haters (in the US), freedom haters, business haters, success haters and many more; all have their agendas. All want to impose them on others, whether we like it or not. And democracy makes things worse, not better.
Today, you don’t even have to be different to become a victim of political intolerance; you just need to exist. The humanity haters – I call them the Political Intolerants, or PITs for short – are having a field day.”
Now, I’ll inject a radical thought. Imagine, just imagine, if in place of today’s nation-states and federations we had genuine political tolerance. Imagine if each of us could join, or at need form, organizations to provide us with the government we want. (Following Hans-Hermann Hoppe, I will call them “law societies.”) Imagine if each of us could choose which set of laws we should be governed by. Imagine if we could associate freely with our fellows who agree with our values, and could say “No” to those that want to use political machinations to force on us agendas we don’t want.
Now of course, there would need to be some agreements between the law societies. I see a need for at least three such agreements. First, not to make war against each other. And in the event of a war, to help the victims defend against the aggressors. Second, an arbitration mechanism for objective, just resolution of disputes between law societies and between individuals in them. And third, a clearing house through which, when a member of one law society causes objective damage to a member of another, the victim can claim compensation from the perpetrator.
With me so far? OK, I’ll make a few suggestions.
I’m no fan of geographically based states, but there is at least one group of PITs, the warmongers, that we definitely will need to allot their own physical plot of land. A tract of Mongolian desert would do nicely. To that enclave, we will deport all promoters and supporters of aggressive wars, in Iraq, Afghanistan or wherever else. No nukes, but we’ll let them take whatever other weapons they like – one each. Then they can use guns, bombs, tanks, drones and whatever else they can lay their hands on to kill each other. Without doing any harm to the rest of us.
The bullies can be dealt with too; simply by chucking them in with the warmongers. Bullies enjoy violence, don’t they? Well, we’ll give them what they want.
A third group also will receive their own territory; the immigration control freaks. We’ll give them a ring-shaped territory, completely surrounding the warmongers’ enclave. And we’ll give them the job of not letting the warmongers out. Not even one of them, not even once, not ever.  For once, immigration control freaks will serve a socially useful purpose! For the brief time the warmongers’ and bullies’ enclave survives, at least.
The rest of us, hopefully, should be able to get along well enough not to need borders or political governments.
Socialists, for example, could have the communal ownership of the means of production, and the subordination of the individual to society, which they so greatly desire. They could, if they wish, tax the productive out of existence for the sake of the lazy and dishonest. Within their own communes, of course, and without affecting anyone else. How long those communes would last, is a subject for debate. The history of New Harmony, Indiana, may be a pointer.
Greenies could have their own communes too. They could hug trees as often, as hard and as long as they like. They could give up all use of energy and mechanical transport, and could wear masks to sequester the carbon dioxide they breathe out. If they wish, they could also wear green pointy hats with the word “Denier” on them. And population control freaks could be allowed a special right to kill themselves and their children without further penalty.
Religious conservatives could have their own rules – no pork, no alcohol, no abortion, fish on Fridays, no trade on Sundays (or was that Saturdays or Fridays?). And all of these, without affecting anyone else. And if they like, they could eschew contact with those of other religions (or no religion).
Social and economic conservatives could have a system in which the well-connected get rich, and everyone else is poor. (Oh dear, that’s no different from the socialists, is it?) But no-one would be forced to belong to their system. And Eurocrats could enjoy a Europe without borders – and without bureaucracies, either.
Health freaks could have their non-smoking enclaves. Drug warriors could prohibit plants like marijuana from being grown in their gardens. Car haters could have their (individual) car-free zones on their property. Snoops could enjoy their right to snoop on each other (but not on anyone else). Class freaks could reject contact with anyone not in their particular favoured class.
Meanwhile, those of us who favour individual freedom, free markets and the rule of law and justice, could have what we want too. A peaceful society of live and let live, where each individual takes responsibility for his or her own life. A society where everyone is free to develop themselves to the maximum, and to strive to make themselves as rich as they wish through honest business and trade.
Now, my friend, answer this question: Which of all these societies do you think would be the most sustainable?

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