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Author Topic: What *IS* The Bare Minimum...?  (Read 8592 times)
DennisLeeWilson
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« on: 2013-January-12 01:50:38 PM »

What *IS* The Bare Minimum...?
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The Bare Minimum
A new form of Governance*
Based on the Non Aggression Principle

[16]
What *IS* The Bare Minimum...?
 
by Dennis Lee Wilson


What *IS* the ABSOLUTE BARE MINIMUM that two people need to agree upon,
in order to live together peacefully and productively?


* Government is only one possible form of Governance. Conflating the two demonizes the use of NON-government, free market solutions.
See Footnote [15]




Context and Questions

The irrationality of the belief in Government and Government itself has ALWAYS led to collapse of the societies and cultures build around them or conquered by them. I have seen many governments collapse even during my own lifetime. There is a massive historical example from which to draw some lessons. It occurred when the Imperial Roman Empire collapsed.[5]

As the Imperial Roman Empire became increasingly tyrannical and finally died, people ran away to the Germanic and Frankish areas that surrounded Rome. To illustrate that fact, here’s a quote from a man named Salvian the Presbyter, from about 440 AD:

  • Thus, far and wide, they migrate either to the Goths or to the Bagaudae, or to other barbarians everywhere in power; yet they do not repent of having migrated. They prefer to live as freemen under an outward form of captivity, than as captives under the appearance of liberty. Therefore, the name of Roman citizens, at one time not only greatly valued, but dearly bought, is now repudiated and fled from, and it is almost considered not only base, but even deserving of abhorrence.

When central governments collapse (and they ALL do collapse!), what is the nature of the agreements that individuals will make to provide for the security of themselves and their family?

Many of the agreements during the Middle Ages were based on religious oaths.

Excerpt from Liberal Society Hidden in the Dark Ages followed by my comment regarding the Covenant...:

  • Today it is generally accepted that only centralized power, promulgating generalized laws offers the most efficient and fair legal system.  It was not always so.  There was a time when “relations between men were capable of being established on bases other than that of a centralized administration, that authority was able to reside elsewhere than in a city…”
     
    Pernoud goes on to give a brief review of how this decentralized system came about:
     
    A centralized power in the extreme, that of the Roman Empire, collapsed in the course of the fifth century.  In the disarray that followed, local powers arose; this was sometimes the head of a band of fellow adventurers grouped around him; sometimes, too, the master of an estate trying to assure for those around him as well as for himself a security no longer guaranteed by the state.
     
    This can help us understand what happened at that time: some little farmer, powerless by himself to assure his security and that of his family, applied to a powerful neighbor who had the possibility of maintaining armed men; the latter consented to protect the farmer in exchange for which the farmer would give him a part of his harvest.
     
    This was a voluntary action, a trade.  It was based on an oath, a sacramentum.  The act had religious value.  Such was the basis for societal relationships beginning in the fifth and sixth centuries.  It is important to note the moral and religious tone of the relationship – the oath was sacred.

*I* think that the secular Covenant of Unanimous Consent can fill that role in our modern-day situation. Furthermore, there is no need to wait for government collapse. The Covenant can play a very useful and meaningful role in your life, right now, today. THAT is what the Covenant of Unanimous Consent can provide in OUR times--the equivalent of the oath or sacramentum. THAT is what I will attempt to demonstrate in this article.


[13]

Men have passed on the knowledge of how to mix cement, lay brick, splice a line, navigate a ship, make steel, and dozens of other crafts, yet in politics, statecraft, and social relationships we continue to repeat old mistakes.
~ Louis L’Amour


He identified the problem but offered no solution. I offer this article about Governance and the Covenant. YOU get to be the judge! If you agree, you can start today by using it in your daily life.



So you see our culture collapsing around you and you have your food and ammo stockpile, your secure location with power, water, garden and livestock, your gold and silver coins and your trade-able skills, but do you have an explicit political arrangement with your friends, neighbors and like-minded associates?

Have you given consideration to the following question? It is a question that Anarchists and Agorists and libertarians DO NOT ask and one that Statists and other Collectivists WILL NOT ask.

  • What *IS* the ABSOLUTE BARE MINIMUM that Voluntary Groups of any size--two people or more--need to agree upon, in order to live together peacefully and productively?

Or perhaps the question should simply be..:

What *IS* The Bare Minimum...?


“What is past is prologue”
~ William Shakespeare The Tempest.


Prologue

The slow motion collapse of central governments, following the historical model of the Imperial Roman Empire, will lead has already led to conditions in which relationships between individuals need to be examined and redefined.

Politics is the branch of philosophy that studies the relationships between people. ALL politics start with TWO people. Politics presupposes and is a subcategory of morality and ethics. Politics is about Governance. Politics and governance do NOT presuppose government. Government is only one possible subcategory under governance. Politics and governance is MORE THAN government. See Footnote [15].

Larken Rose has accurately identified that “the belief in government is man’s greatest superstition.”

In English speaking cultures, the most well known example of simple, basic, two-person politics is found in fiction: the day that Robinson Crusoe discovers that he is not alone on his island. Until that day, he needed a rational moral code of personal conduct in order to cope with existence and to survive. But from that particular “Friday” onwards, he was also involved in politics--something that had been utterly useless and meaningless to him since his shipwreck.

[10]



What *IS* The Bare Minimum...?

Starting from the basics of politics (the relationship between two people) and working up to more complex relationships, one should eventually ask...:

        “What *IS* the bare minimum that two people need to agree upon, in order to live together peacefully and productively?”

A master/slave relationship (one of many possible political arrangements) might easily answer with:

        “Do everything I say and we will get along just fine.”  “Yes, Master.”

For the rest of us who choose individual freedom and trading instead of slavery, something a little bit more is needed.

Any attempt to answer that question will find a lot of useful advice (such as “do not steal or murder”) in various religions. But religions come with much more than the bare minimum requested in the opening question--far too much, actually, and some (most?) of it contradicts the useful advice. Therein lies part of the problem.

All systems of philosophy--including Ayn Rand’s Objectivism--have some of the same characteristics. They encompass far more than the bare minimum that individuals need to agree upon, in order to live together peacefully and productively. It is NOT NECESSARY that everyone become an Objectivist or Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddist, etc in order to live together peacefully and productively. In fact, it is readily apparent that even groups of individuals who claim to adhere to Objectivism or some other philosophy or religion cannot agree on many essential core elements of their own philosophy or religion. Furthermore, all “Objectivists” are not at the same level of knowledge about Objectivism. The same is true of ANY philosophy or religion. There will always be newcomers, students and children coming into adulthood.

Yet evidence abounds that it actually *IS* possible for some Objectivists to live peacefully and productively with some non-Objectivists--even without an EXPLICIT bare minimum. And the United States is (or at least used to be) evidence that it is possible for people of differing religious views to live peacefully and productively together.

Here is the original question restated as a universal...:

          Is there a bare minimum upon which *ALL* humans can agree?

Given what is know of psychopaths and people who gravitate to positions of power[12], the answer is “DEFINITELY, NO!”.

And that answer leads to a more specific question...:

          Is there a bare minimum upon which *YOU AND I* can agree?

If the two of us[1] can agree upon something, perhaps there is one other person that you know, or that I know.


[11]

So what might an EXPLICIT bare minimum look like?

Keeping in mind all of the foregoing, I submit for your appraisal and evaluation The Covenant of Unanimous Consent.[2] It is rational, simple, easy to read and understand and even short enough to memorize if desired.

If you agree and become a Signatory, at the very least you will have a single piece of paper that you can copy, point to and proclaim:


  • “These are MY terms for dealing with other people. They are explicit and they are the bare minimum. Does any one other person agree with these terms? If so, let the two of us agree to treat each other according to these terms!”


Like the Darknet, Free or “Black” Markets, PGP encryption, BitMessage, Forth, Puppy Linux, Creative Commons, open source software, “mesh” networks, Diaspora, gold, silver and Bitcoin, the Covenant does not and will not appeal to everyone--and like all the named items, it is not necessary that “everyone” embrace them. Those who *DO* use them, create their own value amongst themselves without depending on corrupt and collapsing governments, their crony corporate handmaidens and other government camp followers and dependents.


If you are organizing or are involved in a Voluntary Group such as described in Footnote [1], you may find the Covenant a useful way to qualify individuals for membership. The Covenant of Unanimous Consent--or something like it, if such exists--is a necessary, essential and indispensable core document around which small secession groups can stabilize and grow. It is objective law at the very foundation of such societies. [See Post Script]

At Footnote [2] there are links to several articles exploring various aspects of the Covenant. They may be of use during your appraisal and evaluation.

I have encountered a few other Covenant-like agreements[9] but none yet has been as clear, concise and comprehensive.

To live together peacefully and productively:

    Follow the Precepts of the Covenant and no “government” will be necessary;
    Violate the Precepts of the Covenant and no amount of government will be sufficient.


Live long and prosper.
Dennis Lee Wilson
Signatory: The Covenant of Unanimous Consent




Post Script: A New Model

Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England,
The four books are contained in two volumes and are available in several downloadable formats.
Select downloadable versions by clicking on the image below.


[4]
http://tinyurl.com/Get-Blackstone


“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.  To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
 ~ R. Buckminster Fuller



We do NOT suffer from a lack of rules!!

Our culture--the world/country/state/city--does NOT suffer from a lack of rules. What *IS* lacking is a rational, reliable, objective means by which to judge which rules are good, valid, proper and which rules should be ignored, invalidated, and discarded.

A fully defined, rational moral code provides the key[14] but is beyond the scope of this article and is not necessary because the Non Aggression Principle (NAP) provides sufficient moral justification and the Covenant of Unanimous Consent with its Five Precepts explicitly based on the NAP, provides the Political Statement, i.e. the “Supreme Law” by which ALL other laws and rules can be judged.

There is an important connection between The Covenant of Unanimous Consent[2] and Customary/Merchant Law[3] and Blackstone’s Commentaries[4].

One might argue that the Covenant is too simple and ask “What about ‘everyday’ laws against theft, murder, fraud, and property and contract issues?” In the past[5], Merchant Law and Blackstone’s provided those details--and they continue to do so to this day. In spite of the existence of government “laws” and government courts, many people still resort to private arbitration to resolve disputes! Merchant Law and Blackstone’s are the precedents and the foundations for these private arbitrations.

The Covenant of Unanimous Consent provides the means by which individuals can and should judge, accept, modify or reject particular instances of Merchant Law and Blackstone’s,-- i.e. the Covenant *IS* Supreme Law for those groups that chose to utilize it. The Covenant--when viewed as Supreme Law--*IS* what the Constitution of the united States was allegedly intended to be, and attempted to provide but failed.

A community utilizing the Covenant and Blackstone’s in this manner should--as an occasion arises--review and mark each of the “laws” in their publicly accessible copy of Blackstone’s according to the following four status notes:

  • (a) This law has NOT been reviewed. (This is the original default status of ALL of the laws.)
  • (b) This law has been ACCEPTED as being in accord with the Covenant for the following reasons: (listed)
  • (c) This law has been REJECTED as being in violation of the Covenant for the following reasons: (listed)
  • (d) This law has been MODIFIED to make it in accord with the Covenant for the following reasons: (listed)

Eventually, over a period of time, the status of each of the laws, starting with the more important ones, will get reviewed and  judged as accepted, modified or rejected and the reasons documented for anyone to see and review.

The Constitution of the united States[7] and similar historical documents relied upon “other”, delegated people (government) to “make”, care for and enforce sensible and rational laws. We are witness to and living with the results[8] that are neither sensible nor rational.

The Covenant expects the individual Signatories to be responsible for themselves and their own actions, and to organize themselves as they deem to be appropriate. This is no utopian expectation! Some groups of people have relied on themselves for hundreds of years,[5] the most recent example being the pioneers who settled from the Appalachian Mountains thru-out the American West and especially in the California mining camps.[6] Merchant Law and Blackstone’s Commentaries ALREADY EXIST! There is no great effort needed to utilize them. They are made, cared for and enforced by the individuals who use them and they are excellent tools for Covenant societies and associations[1].



Footnotes:

[1] It takes two people or more to form Voluntary Groups such as Friendships; Marriages; Agorist, Anarcho-capitalist, Anarchist and Survivalist Communities; Objectivist “Galt” Gulches and similar Societies; Redoubts; Family/Community Farms; Free State Groups; Temporary and Permanent Autonomous Zones; Supersedure Zones; Sea Steads; Independent Territories; Private Apartment Buildings; Home Associations and Restricted or Gated Communities, ZEDEs (Zones for Employment and Development of the Economy) and more. For details see...:

What *IS* a “Political Statement”? Why is One Needed? Who would Use It?
     http://tinyurl.com/Political-Statement

[2] The Covenant of Unanimous Consent-- see attachment below. Also see:
     http://tinyurl.com/Covenant-and-Galts-Oath
     http://tinyurl.com/Index-to-Covenant-Articles
     http://tinyurl.com/Objectivism-to-Autarchy
     http://tinyurl.com/Institute-New-Government

[3] The Enterprise of Customary Law [aka Law Merchant*]
     http://tinyurl.com/Customary-Law


  • *Law Merchant...:
    By studying the incentives and institutions of primitive law, it becomes evident that precisely the same kinds of customary legal systems have existed in more complex societies, ranging from medieval Iceland, Ireland, and Anglo-Saxon England to the development of the medieval Law Merchant, and even to the western frontier of the United States during the 1800s. See Blackstone[4]

    Law Merchant developed during the time when humans in Europe REJECTED the existing Roman law and actually managed to live--and thrive-- for 1,000 years[5] without big central government!

[4] Commentaries on the Laws of England by William Blackstone--also known as Blackstone’s Commentaries.
     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commentaries_on_the_Laws_of_England

  • On the western frontier of the United States during the 1800s, numerous frontiersmen were familiar with Blackstone’s and frequently quoted from it.
  • The Commentaries on the Laws of England are an influential 18th-century treatise on the common law of England by Sir William Blackstone, originally published by the Clarendon Press at Oxford, 1765–1769. The work is divided into four volumes, on the rights of persons, the rights of things, of private wrongs and of public wrongs.
  • The Commentaries were long regarded as the leading work on the development of English law and played a role in the development of the American legal system. They were in fact the first methodical treatise on the common law suitable for a lay readership since at least the Middle Ages. The common law of England has relied on precedent more than statute and codifications and has been far less amenable than the civil law, developed from the Roman law, to the needs of a treatise. The Commentaries were influential largely because they were in fact readable, and because they met a need. The work is as much an apologia for the legal system of the time as it is an explanation; even when the law was obscure, Blackstone sought to make it seem rational, just, and inevitable that things should be how they were. The Covenant of Unanimous Consent provides the means by which individuals can and should judge, accept, modify or reject particular instances of Merchant Law and Blackstone’s,-- i.e. the Covenant *IS* Supreme Law for those groups that chose to utilize it.

  • Blackstone’s Commentaries are available free for downloading on this site at the following link:
    http://tinyurl.com/Get-Blackstone

[5] Living for 1000 Years - The “Dark” Ages?
     http://tinyurl.com/1000-Dark-Years

  • What *IS* so important about 1,000 years of human history that advocates of government need to label it “Dark”?
  • I reference the series of articles about the Middle Ages with the Covenant of Unanimous Consent because the slow motion collapse of central governments, following the historical model of the Imperial Roman Empire, will lead has already led to conditions in which the Covenant can and should play a vital role.

[6] UNANIMOUS CONSENT in ’49ers California mining camps!
     https://tinyurl.com/Unanimous-Consent-in-CA-1849

  • Beginning in 1848, the miners began forming contracts with one another ... There was no government authority in California at the time... The miners’ contracts established property rights in land (and in any gold found on the land) that the miners themselves enforced.

[7] A Written Constitution: Protecting the State from the People
     http://tinyurl.com/Why-Constitutions-Fail
     Also see Bill Bonner: The “Social Contract” With the Government Is a Fraud
     http://tinyurl.com/Social-Contract-Fraud

[8] 2010-January-1st saw 40,627 NEW mandates become “legal” in the USA! Have YOU read them? Ignorance of the law is no excuse!!
      http://www.searchamelia.com/Land-of-40627-Laws-and-Regulations-More

[9] I do already know of a plagiarized, abbreviated version of the Covenant that removed, among other things, the essential Supersedure clause which enables the five Precepts.

[10] Picture courtesy of Mises.org - Creative Commons, Attribute
[11] Graphic by Dennis Wilson
[12] There will always BE evil men and they always gravitate to positions of power. Louis L’Amour wrote that good people stand against evil by FIRST acknowledging the existence of evil:

  • “They know that not all men are men of good will; they knew there was evil in the world, and stood strong against it. They knew that there were some who would take by force what they would not work to acquire. They knew ... that outside their windows waited hunger, thirst, and cold; that beyond their doors there were savage men, held in restraint only be a realization of another force ready to oppose them, to preserve the world they had built from savagery into order and peace, where each man might work and build and create without the threat of destruction.”

    Louis L’Amour, Reilly’s Luck (Paperback), p. 151, para 7

[13] Graphic by Dennis Wilson
[14] http://tinyurl.com/The-Objectivist-Ethics
[15] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Governance
  • Governance refers to "all of processes of governing, whether undertaken by a government, market or network, whether over a family, tribe, formal or informal organization or territory and whether through the laws, norms, power or language." It relates to "the processes of interaction and decision-making among the actors involved in a collective problem that lead to the creation, reinforcement, or reproduction of social norms and institutions."

    A variety of entities (known generically as governing bodies) can govern. The most formal is a government, a body whose sole responsibility and authority is to make binding decisions in a given geopolitical system (such as a state) by establishing laws. Other types of governing include an organization (such as a corporation recognized as a legal entity by a government), a socio-political group (chiefdom, tribe, family, religious denomination, etc.), or another, informal group of people. In business and outsourcing relationships, governance frameworks are built into relational contracts that foster long-term collaboration and innovation. Poor governance can lead to contract failure.

    Governance is the way the rules, norms and actions are structured, sustained, regulated and held accountable. The degree of formality depends on the internal rules of a given organization and, externally, with its business partners. As such, governance may take many forms, driven by many different motivations and with many different results.

[16] Drawing by Milo Manara

The following four graphics by Dennis Wilson are available on various items at http://www.cafepress.com/artemiszuna/318652



(For best viewing, expand to full screen)
Click image for further details.

[11]



[11]



[11]


To live together peacefully and productively:
    Follow the Precepts of the Covenant and no “government” will be necessary;
    Violate the Precepts of the Covenant and no amount of government will be sufficient.



[11]



Mr. Wilson currently resides in Arizona, North America and has enjoyed a long life with several, sometimes overlapping careers, starting with architectural design immediately after college graduation; landlord by virtue of selective property acquisitions; computer programmer, manager and consultant for “mainframe” computers and early micro computers; Forth computer language enthusiast and creator of the Z80 version of FIG-Forth; and commodities speculator.

From the mid 1960s thru the early 1970s, he was the Phoenix business representative for the Nathaniel Branden Institute and other Objectivist tape lectures. During the late 1970s thru the 1980s, with his two sons and his camera he enjoyed monthly Boy Scout outings thru-out Arizona (including the bottom the Grand Canyon at Havasupai and at Phantom Ranch) and Colorado (including the top of the continental divide of the Rocky Mountains near Silverton). In 1985 he became a member of Mensa (now lapsed) and spent an interesting and enjoyable time as editor of Vidya, the Journal of the Triple Nine Society. Later, (in 2014) disappointed and slightly outraged that some 3 Sigma people insisted on “moderating” the language, manners and content of postings by other 3 Sigma people on four discussion forums, he created OnlyOne Agora. Hosted on the decentralized, user-built Diaspora network, OnlyOne Agora is a free, unmoderated discussion forum exclusively for past or present members of the several 3 Sigma (99.9%tile) or higher Hi-IQ groups.  

For the 2000 Millennium he visited Ouray, Colorado, the inspiration for Ayn Rand’s Galt’s Gulch, and created Atlas Shrugged Celebration Day website which contains Judge Narragansett’s New Constitution Project and in October, 2003 he became a Signatory to the Covenant of Unanimous Consent.

He is currently converting his large collection of photographic slides into digital format and maintaining his Artemis Zuna Trading Post at CafePress. He also continues to re-design and remodel his adobe residence, piddles at restoring his old (1975-1990) Mercedes Benz cars and retrofitting them with HHO, and is attempting to read the entire written works of Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour. In addition to all that, he still makes time to write and collect articles about current events and analyze how they relate to the Covenant of Unanimous Consent which he considers profoundly fundamental and essential to individuals and small groups seeking to survive the inevitable collapse of the USA Imperial Empire. Some of his articles have been published on sites throughout the worldwide web. All are available at his personal website/blog at
 http://tinyurl.com/Articles-Index .

His primary email address is  DennisLeeWilson@Yahoo.com
His Public PGP keys are at https://tinyurl.com/PGP-DennisLeeWilson Temporarily suspended due to hardware problems.
His personal website is http://DennisLeeWilson.com


2013-Jan-11


2013-01-11
Updates:
2014-10-12 Footnote [12] Louis L’Amour quote
2015-03-29 Added image of Blackstone’s Commentaries, relocated Jefferson and Crusoe.
2016-02-26 Added Disqus Comment link
2016-04-02 Revised the Context and Questions introduction.
2016-07-06 Added L’Amour graphic [13] and quote.
2016-10-09 Added introduction to the Post Script.
2016-12-31 Added suggestions for utilizing the Covenant with Blackstone’s Commentaries
2017-02-21 Added Governance details and Footnote [15]

Publication history:
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE Number 791, October 5, 2014  
http://ncc-1776.org/tle2014/tle791-20141005-02.html

Freedom’s Phoenix
http://www.freedomsphoenix.com/News/164216-2014-10-05-what-is-the-bare-minimum-by-dennis-lee-wilson.htm?From=News

This article was originally published on Mr. Wilson’s website at http://tinyurl.com/The-Bare-Minimum


Permission to redistribute this article, or any portion of it, is herewith granted by the author—provided that appropriate credit is given as per Creative Commons, Attribute, Share Alike.






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« Last Edit: 2017-March-04 12:05:51 AM by DennisLeeWilson » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: 2013-June-03 12:18:27 PM »

Bill Bonner: The "Social Contract" With the Government Is a Fraud
Links to this page:
http://tinyurl.com/Social-Contract-Fraud
http://dennisleewilson.com/simplemachinesforum/index.php?topic=664.msg1420#msg1420

Bill Bonner supplies a very nice supplement to What *IS* The Bare Minimum...?


http://lfb.org/today/the-social-contract-with-the-government-is-a-fraud/

Laissez Faire Today
The Laissez Faire Club Daily e-Letter


June 3, 2013

The "Social Contract" With the Government Is a Fraud


There are many theories to explain government. Most are nothing but scams, justifications, and puffery. One tries to put something over on the common man… the other claims it was for his own good… and the third pretends that he’d be lost without it.

Most are not really “theories” at all… but prescriptions, blueprints for creating the kind of government the “theorist” would like to have. Not surprisingly, the blueprints flatter his intellect and engage his imagination.

The “social contract,” for example, is a fraud. You can’t have a contract unless you have two willing and able parties. They must come together in a meeting of the minds — a real agreement about what they are going to do together.

But what is the “social contract” with government? There was never a meeting of the minds. The deal was forced on the public. And now imagine that you want out. Can you simply “break the contract”? You refuse to pay your taxes and refuse to be bossed around by TSA agents and other government employees. How long will it be before you are put in jail?

What kind of contract is it that you don’t agree to and can’t get out of? They can dress it up… print out a piece of paper… have a solemn ceremony in which everyone pretends it is a real contract. But it’s not worth the paper it’s not written on. [Even President George W Bush confirmed THAT!! Click here for proof!...DLW]

Also, what kind of a contract allows for one party to unilaterally change the terms of the deal? Congress passes new laws almost every day. The bureaucracy issues new edicts. The tax system is changed. The pound of flesh they got already wasn’t enough; now they want a pound and a half!

Here are the critical questions: Why do we let other people tell us what to do; are we not all equal? What is the purpose of government? What does it cost, and what benefits does it confer?

The Metaphor Doesn’t Work

A theory should explain something without reference to something else. That is, a metaphor doesn’t work. It’s just a description. If you say that government is a kind of “social contract,” you are merely describing how it seems to you… or what you think it might be comparable to.

Let’s try a simpler insight: Government is a natural phenomenon, an expression of power relationships, in which some people seek to dominate others by force. These dominators gather “insiders” together so that they can take money, power and status away from other people, the “outsiders.”

Many people think that government provides some service. That is true, but it is incidental. Governments often deliver the mail. But they don’t have to. They would still be governments even if they didn’t control the postal service.

And what if they didn’t have a department of inland fisheries, or a program to teach Democrats to count to 20? They would still be in the government business… and still have their helicopters, chauffeurs and expense accounts.

But if they lost control of the police or the army, it would be an entirely different matter. Force is the essence of government, not a decorative detail. Without armies and police, they would no longer be governments, but voluntary associations like the Kiwanis Club or the Teamsters union.

Government Is a Fact

In 2012, the U.S. faced a major presidential election. Several men and women came forward offering to take charge of the U.S. government. What exactly were they going to take charge of?

Government is a fact. It exists. It is as common as stomach gas. It is as ubiquitous as lice and as inescapable as vanity. But what is it? Why is it? And what has it become?

We know very little about the actual origins of government. All we know, and this from the archeological records, is that one group often conquered another. There are skeletons more than 100,000 years old showing the kind of head wounds that you get from fighting.

We presume this meant that “government” changed. Whoever had been in charge was chased out or murdered. Then someone else was in charge.

Tribal groups, or even family groups for that matter, probably had “chiefs.” They could have been little more than bullies… or perhaps respected elders.

Programmed by Evolution

Over the millennia, there were probably as many different examples of primitive “government” as there were tribes. Some elected their leaders. Some may have chosen them randomly, for all we know. Many probably simply conferred leadership by consensus. Some probably had no identifiable leaders at all. But it seems to be a characteristic of the human race that some people want to be in charge… and many people want someone to be in charge of them.

In adversity, there was probably an advantage to having a leader. Hunts were often collective enterprises. There were also group decisions to be made… about how food was stored or rationed out, for example… that would affect the survival of the whole group. Under attack from another group, a strong, able leader could make the difference between life and death.

We can guess that people enter into leader/follower roles today because they are programmed for it by evolution. Those who can’t or won’t be… well, perhaps they died out many millennia ago.

We don’t have to look back to the last glacial period to see what happens in small political units. We can see them today. They are all around us. Every church has its governing board. Every community has some form of government. Every corporation… group… club… every place where humans get together seems to develop rules and power relationships.

Leaders arise. Informal groups typically yield to the strong personality. Juries try to control it. Families resist it. Dinner parties try to avoid it.

But that’s just the way it is. Some people seek to dominate. Others like being dominated.

Trouble is, there is usually more than one person or one group that wants to do the dominating. This leads to conflict. Treachery. Murder. Rivalry. And elections. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We’re talking about the origins of government and trying to guess what they were like.

A Matter of Scale

On a small scale, we conclude, governments are both extremely variable in form… and extremely limited in scope. That is, how much governing can you get away with in a small group? Not much. You can boss people around, but they won’t take too much bossing. And there is always a rival bosser who is ready to topple the big boss if he should lose his popular support.

In a tribal setting, we imagine that the strongest, fiercest warrior might have been able to set himself up as the governing authority. But he could be stabbed in the back as he slept… or even shot with an arrow in a “hunting accident.” Even in the best of circumstances, his reign wouldn’t last much longer than his own strength would.

In a small town, government proceeds tolerably well. There is not much distance between governors and the governed. The latter know where the former live… and how they live… and how little difference there is between them. If the governors overreach, they are likely to find themselves beaten in the next election… or in the middle of the street.

But as the scale increases… as the distance between the governed and the governors increases… and as the institutional setting grows and ages… government becomes a bigger deal. More formal. More powerful. It can begin governing more grandly.

Higher up on the Ladder

The first large-scale, long-term government we know about was in Egypt. After the unification of the Upper and Lower Kingdoms in about 3,150 B.C., the Dynastic Period began. It continued for two millennia, not ending until the Romans conquered Egypt in 30 B.C.

We don’t know exactly how government worked during those many centuries, but we know that a theory of government arose out of them. At the time, it was not considered a theory at all, but a fact. The ruler was divine. A god.

As a theory, it is a good one. It answers the question: Why should you take orders from another human being? In Ancient Egypt, the question didn’t arise. Because Pharaoh was not another human being. He was something else.

Precisely what he was… or what people thought he was… is not clear. But the archeological record shows that he was treated as though he were at least a step or two higher up on the ladder than the rest of us. If not a full god, he was at least a demigod… on the mezzanine between Earth and heaven.

Regards,

Bill Bonner
« Last Edit: 2015-April-25 12:11:52 PM by DennisLeeWilson » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: 2013-June-22 09:26:37 PM »

There was a father who left 17 camels as an asset for his three sons.

When the father passed away, his sons opened up the Will.

The Will of the father stated that the eldest son should get 1/2 (half) of total camels while the middle son should be given 1/3rd (one-third) and the youngest son should be given 1/9th (one-ninth) of the total camels.

As it was not possible to divide 17 into half or 17 by 3 or 17 by 9, the three sons started to fight with each other. So, the three sons decided to go to a wise man.

The wise man read the Will patiently. The wise man, after giving due thought, brought one camel of his own and added the same to 17. That increased the total to 18 camels.

Now, he started reading the deceased father’s Will.

Half of 18 = 9. So he gave the eldest son 9 camels

1/3rd of 18 = 6. So he gave the middle son 6 camels

1/9th of 18 = 2. So he gave the youngest son 2 camels.

Now add this up: 9 plus 6 plus 2 is 17 and this leaves one camel, which belonged to the wise man and he took it back.


Moral:  The attitude of negotiation and problem solving is to find the 18th camel i.e. the common ground. Once a person is able to find the 18th camel the issue is resolved. It is difficult at times.

However, to reach a solution, the first step is to understand that a peaceful solution *IS* possible.

If you think that there is NO peaceful solution, it is a GUARANTEED CERTAINTY that you won’t be able to find one!

 
 
« Last Edit: 2016-February-25 09:49:53 PM by DennisLeeWilson » Logged

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