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32. And Where From Here?

"The time is always right to do what is right."

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 - 1968)
I do not mean to suggest that all of our problems are caused by the state and its institutions but I would suggest that most of them are; I also maintain that if we were neither financing these institutions nor suffering their inevitable negative side-effects, we as a world society would eventually create the structures we need in order to live safe, happy, healthy and unthreatened lives.

We do need structures as complex as the insurance industry or the airline industry and they must in many cases be built from scratch. We already see society seeking to escape the state's failings in areas such as healthcare, in which an entire alternative industry, offering therapies ranging from Bach Flower Remedies to Chinese Herbalism, has been built from nothing in 20 years. It is highly noteworthy that these new medical industries have thrived in a free market - despite the fact that their main competition, the NHS, is provided as a "free service". Private security firms have also prospered as the state becomes less able to protect us from robbery and attack. These industries are being funded by customers who must continue, in most cases, to pay for the state's diminishing service. Imagine how much more we could achieve if we only had to pay once, and only for the service we want.

It will also take an attitude change among business leaders. We see this taking place already as increasing numbers of companies pay attention to environmental and health concerns, taking positive action long before being required to do so by government legislation. They have friends and children too, and a public image that is often built on something real and meaningful. It is unfortunate but understandable that business sometimes apes the state in its effort to determinedly retain a coercive grip on its market, in a climate where those who run the state are perceived as leaders. When they also recognise that such an approach is unprofitable they will at least seek other models. Many business leaders today are as disenchanted with the state as are the road-protesters living in a bender or tree-house. From a long-term viewpoint the evidence indicates that the state's coercive techniques have a built-in unprofitability factor, and that we are the losers.

I also optimistically put some trust in human nature - this is because I have usually found the raw material to be worthy of that trust. I believe that when responsibility for morality is taken from the immoral and returned to society, our society will be able to construct a means to recover its lost integrity, and engineer a return to safe environments with less police and jails, not more. These police will perhaps come to be funded by the insurance industry who can only profit by reduced levels of crime and danger. Criminals who steal things don't get much use out of their plunder without the support of the banks. Banks, too, need to address their responsibilities to society and to recognise the long-term profitability of morality in a climate where they are permitted to take a long term view.

There has been some serious and worthwhile study of mechanisms in a genuinely free market that could deal with the seemingly intractable problems we would confront without a state. One example of this which I touched on was how to deal effectively with coercive crimes in a non-coercive manner. This and many issues can be addressed, or naturally developed, though in many cases this is obstructed by existing state control of the arena. In others, the natural structures required might not fit into the regulated definitions which force all enterprise into one of a few narrow and carefully defined formats.

We can do it. We have the tools and the intellect to advance our civilisation. It is unlikely that we can do it however while still carrying the monkey of the state on our backs, diverting the resources that we have generated into ever more distorting and damaging schemes, hopeless programmes and deadly confrontations with other monkeys.

As I said in the beginning, this book isn't proposing a new way to run the world because there is no way to "run" such a complex system. In his satirical novel "1984", George Orwell warned us of the possible future in an "ideal" Soviet world. Perhaps unwittingly, he came close to depicting the uniform society and permissible mindset to which many statesmen today would seem to aspire - albeit with a full refrigerator and colour TV. It is now apparent, however, that it is beyond anybody's powers to accomplish such control, be they saint or Stalin, and that what we, humanity, are suffering today is the result of the fumbling and dangerous attempts of the state to achieve its dream version of George Orwell's nightmare.

That which we most reliably enjoy today is the fruit of our own complex and chaotic society, not the creation of any parliament, king or emperor. We can live happily within our complex system and we can find ways to govern and manage some of the more universal elements of it.

I can make but a few suggestions on how we regain our freedom from the state and on how we correct or unravel the iniquities of history. This is a job for the complex system to address. It is certainly not a job for any politician who asks for your vote on the promise of reducing the state; but if we are to govern or influence this system successfully, we must recognise that we cannot do so using coercion as our basic tool. If we seek to attack the state and are somehow successful, we then become the next state. Do not attack the state. Just live without it as the focus and build to survive its decay.
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From the book "Uncommon Sense - The State is Out of Date"
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