A STUDY OF POWERS
A WORLD WITHOUT AUTHORITIES
General natural achievements especially in respect to their use by man: + The prolongation of life + The restitution of youth in some degree + The retardation of age + The curing of diseases counted incurable + The mitigation of pain + More easy and less loathsome purgings + The increasing of strength and activity + The increasing of ability to suffer torture or pain + The altering of complexions, and fatness and leanness + The altering of statures + The altering of features + The increasing and exalting of the intellectual parts + Versions of bodies into other bodies + Making of new species + Transplanting of one species into another + Instruments of destruction, as of war and poison + Exhilaration of the spirits, and putting them in good disposition + Force of the imagination, either upon another body, or upon the body itself + Acceleration of time in maturations + Acceleration of time in clarifications + Acceleration of putrefaction + Acceleration of decoction + Acceleration of germination + Making rich the composts for the earth + Impressions of the air, and raising of tempests + Great alteration; as in induration, emollition, etc. + Turning crude and watery substances into oily and unctuous + Drawing of new foods out of substances not now in use + Making new threads for apparel; and new stuffs, such as paper, glass etc. + Greater pleasures of the senses + Artificial minerals and cements.
The power of dreams can be great. Francis Bacon in the above 17th-century work expresses a few dozen wishes. From the perspective of four centuries, we can say that practically all of them have been fulfilled, or at least have become achievable. Dreams are a really mighty and far-sighted power. We have to dream judiciously, but also nobly.
My work contains a vision of man, society, and public services. It has something in common with utopia, but is not exactly it. For utopias teach how to properly arrange society, bending the individual to a vision of a community, some models, or ideas. Anti-utopias, on the other hand, warn against various models of utopias and, above all, against their consequences to the individual. My work is to be neither publicity agitation nor warning. It constitutes a thought experiment, a project of basic public services constructed without relationships of violence, domination, or exploitation; not in the name of some exquisite ideology or vision of the world, but out of respect for the freedom and dignity of an individual human being.
Modern democracy and the free market are depleted and strongly outdated formulas. Certainly, one can still powder the flaws of the system, cover up the ulcers, and put perfume over the decomposing parts, but rather without illusions that it can cure anything. Senility ends not with recovery, but with death. We will need an alternative and not therapy. Obviously, if the old system continues to function somehow, it leaves more time to consider and prepare a new one. Besides, the best test of its vitality is its ability to resist significant changes. That is why it is better not to do anything that could speed up the end, no conspiracies, revolutions, or large inner-system reforms; let it be as it is for a while.
Most of the projects stemming from the social and political thought of recent decades are projects marked with statism and fiscalism; they multiply offices, concessions, and taxes. The faith that in order to solve any problem one has to set up a new office, leads to clearly-absurd solutions, such as various offices responsible for counting birds or for fighting bureaucracy. I consider such faith as naive, and even doubt its honesty. I will consistently avoid the stance of statism.
I also consider it naive to think that democratic procedures are generally better than all others. Similarly to the conviction regarding the supremacy of professionalism, or the advantage of market mechanisms, various solutions can be better than others in certain fields, maintaining some conditions, and within some limits. Another type of gullibility is searching for justice in the changing of places between the oppressed and the oppressing, or the ruled and the ruling: the working class and the bourgeoisie, the rich and the poor, women and men. A different, but similar, example is the glorification of a repressive system with strict and unavoidable penalties for those who harm others. Reversing the harm does not make it disappear, it can only give a short-lasting feeling of a specifically-understood justice. All harm is to be illegal – this is possible but imposes greater mental strain than an ordinary political campaign.
The sketched vision of a basic political system is constructed on the consideration of an individual, who values freedom highly but does not wish to resign from a high level of security. All powers are maximally reduced and all possibilities of abusing power are minimised. The most important task of the remaining public services is to prevent relations of domination and exploitation. This is the only permissible aim for which the community may enter the relations between individuals. It is not a good model for sadists, masochists, or natural-born slaves, dimwits, or for individuals who are extraordinarily greedy or aggressive. Those can savour the contemporary state of things, as long as it lasts.
The fact that there is no mention of love, beauty, or truth in this paper, does not mean that there is no place for them in the described world. This work describes not the world but rather the basic infrastructure on which one can build different worlds in which the people can avoid suffering from violence, exploitation, or threat of poverty. Neither does this guarantee any good, nor does it eliminate all evil. It is a type of a more refined form of a sewage system protecting from some varieties of social and moral dirt. One can build cathedrals on it but also gulags.
A side effect of the project is the possibility of complete elimination from society of some groups of shameless and gigantically numerous parasites: officials, lawyers, financiers, various activists, propagandists, lobbyists, and the so-called political class. This surely lends moral and aesthetic value to the project. And it is quite a lot, isn't it?
A WORLD WITHOUT AUTHORITIES
The image of mankind freed from all fetters, free from accidental power and enemies of progress, decisively heading towards the truth, virtue and happiness, is oh what a great comfort for the philosopher in view of so many errors, crimes, and injustices, which still sully the earth and the victim of which he often is himself.
Jean Antoine Nicolas de Condorcet
Hominization of the Human
Man is king of the animals – as thou hast described him – I should rather say king of the beasts, thou being the greatest.
Leonardo da Vinci
The relations of power are full of various sorts of evil, and striving for power degrades the moral condition of people. It impoverishes their own humanity in such a way that the success of a person of power means the failure of a human being, of the same person. This means that everybody loses, the winners and the losers. Power is not a good game. But can we place ourselves outside it?
Anthropology does note cases of tribes functioning without developed institutions of power, which were somehow able to avoid the spirits of domination, exploitation, or competition in their internal organisation. Usually, in such cases social roles differ, based on kinship, gender, and age groups, and not on wealth or strength. Would such an organisation be possible in a highly-developed society? Today it seems that one of the most important sources of the victorious European civilisation was egoism, greed, and the spirit of competition; thus without them we would now be at a completely different point in history. But what point would that be? Would it be closer to Rousseau's idyll, or Hobbes's horror?
New organisational and technical possibilities appear at an increasing speed. They make organising public affairs possible without the relations of power. But what would remain of social life if we deprived it of relations of power? What would we toss aside along with this part of our animal nature? Would it not occur that society, without internal relations of domination, would be painfully deprived of something valuable, something that we do not associate a priori with the instincts of aggression, dominance, or greed? And what about egotism? Can we separate it from the relations of power? And if not, then what about ambition, the Promethean spirit, creative anxiety? I don't know.
In this paper, I will attempt to examine a model of society's organisation limiting the afflictions of power, and in fact minimising all authorities. It will be real in the sense that it will be possible to imagine from the technical and organisational points of view, but not necessarily easy to implement. Neither will it necessarily be stable or resistant to attempts at sabotage, assault, or coup. It is a model of an island, an enclave, a colony. It is also a model for the interested; though possible to be implemented for all, it is not necessarily the best for all.
I do not intend to propose a recipe for the whole of mankind; anyway, there is no reason for the whole of mankind to live according to just one way of organising society. The happiness of a sadist and the happiness of a masochist are completely different, but complementary, models of happiness, both possible to realise, if we reject the superstition about the equality of all people. The happiness of an alcoholic or of a morphine addict is also easy to secure, if we accept these addictions and their consequences. All the more, there is no reason to force one way of life and one system for all people. And why is it a problem to give them a free choice? The alcoholics will live in a park where vodka sprouts from the fountains, and the sadists will unite with the masochists, where is the harm in that? Forcing them to live an ordinary life would be harmful to them and to the rest of us.
Not everyone will be able to live in a society without violence, and not everyone deserves that. Those committing acts of vandalism, banditry, or terrorism should be eliminated from such a society. Of course, the best way of eliminating them would be through exile. A rule has to be accepted that participation in such a project would only be voluntary, and withdrawal always possible.
Power without the Authorities
stables and pens have become abandoned,
There is no fat ox in the sheds
Nor do the sheep breed in their pens
Only bitter water flows in the channels,
Only grass grows on good land,
Steppe land gives birth to “crying weeds”.
mother cannot attend to her young
nor does the husband call his wife by her name,
The woman does not please her man with her bosom,
No children run to her knees
And the nurse sings them no lullabies.
kingdom's throne has been violated,
Just verdicts are nowhere to be heard,
The powers of Sumer have been dragged out of the land
To a foreign land we have to bow.
An's and Enlil's verdicts these changes stem;
When An looked angrily upon all countries,
When Enlil turned his glare towards the hostile country.
in the land of the Sumerians, frightened people;
The King has gone – his children groan.
Ibbisin, the last king of Ur
The view that social life had to be built based on relations and institutions of power is obviously false. Certainly, relations of power, if we allow them to, will appear spontaneously. The best pattern is probably provided by the mafias, forcing a certain system of concessions and taxes on weak communities. One can assume that if we dismantled all powers and left the society outside any control, sooner or later Sicilian-type relations would appear. Of course, it is possible that the people would organise in order to defend themselves, would establish some sheriffs, and would willingly subscribe to finance them, but the difference between the two situations is of a rather philosophical character, because the effect is more or less the same – in both these cases the people would have to submit to the stronger and support them.
In many, and maybe in the most, areas it is possible to organise society without basing on the relations of domination or exploitations. Road traffic is a good example: practically all participants are free and relatively equal in their rights. Of course, they have to abide some rules and limitations, but nobody commands the traffic, nobody plans it, initiates it, and the controlling regulations and machines are a dead environment. Certainly, the police appear sometimes to direct the traffic in situations when the automatisms fail. But this is a little state of emergency in road traffic; normally, nobody has to rule. Outside emergency situations, road traffic is a spontaneous process in which the police are limited to control functions, i.e. checking if anybody is breaking the rules too much.
Since ever greater possibilities of automation and computerisation appear, since more and more processes start showing the possibility of self-steering, and collective consumption is becoming countable and easier to individualise, proper authorities, if anywhere, will be necessary only where the model of self-organisation is insufficient. I mean here some tasks from the common-good area: infrastructure, education, social security and health care, justice, and security. The rest will be better off without any authorities.
Control provides some minimum of power, and minimal control means punishments. Hence, minimal power will be unpleasant, but it will distort human nature the least. Power encouraging some actions (paradoxically, we should call it positive), or that rewards some actions (more pleasant than the punishing one, but requiring a wider scope of competences) are etatistic, paternalistic, or even totalitarian powers, which I discard.
What can an individual expect from the powers? Above all that they bring him no harm: do not violate him, rob him, do not force him to do something, do not oppress him. So, as if they didn't exist, right? And when does the individual need the powers? Well, when he can make some use of them. This concerns three types of situations: when somebody holds power, when he receives something from the powers (usually at the expense of somebody else), or when they protect him from something. The two former situations have to be discarded as corrupting, which leaves us with the third: protection against somebody else's domination.
As regards the situation in which some do not hurt, rob, or enslave the others, we might not need rulers for that kind of protection. Someday it will probably be possible to entrust a dead environment with this task of control. Nanotechnology seems to promise more and more solutions in this area, a self-replicating dust can fill the air just as bacteria do now, what remains is to programme it. It cannot be too intelligent though, because if it gains a personality, we will create an idol, and one that rules directly, which seems a grim perspective.
The idea of automated power is not as terrifying as one thinks at first glance. Even today we are all dependent on the power of machines in road traffic, the machines directing the traffic, and it does not seem to cause much discomfort or much less harm. Anyway, we all depend also on the environment controlled by microorganisms filling the atmosphere. Their kind of justice might not be swift, but does quite effectively eliminate various stances violating biology or offending hygiene from the environment and from the human genotype. What I am writing about is just broadening and speeding up the actions of the environment.
Since the evolution of microorganisms is a spontaneous process and is very difficult to control outside a laboratory, one should rather exclude the use thereof. The possibilities of evolution of machines and micromachines can somehow be limited in the initial phase of the projects. The role, if not of the creators, then at least of the masters of machines has to be left to humans. We have to find some reason for our existence, don't we?
Of course, I do not propose that we use a live or a dead environment in order to oppress people. What it is rather about is recognizing pathological or dangerous states and eliminating them through influencing the chemistry or physics of an organism. But this is all rather remote future.
Beyond Evolution and Revolution
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Declaration of Independence
The officers and other beneficiaries of the existing order will always find reasons and ways for preventing such a reform of power, which limits their influence and profits. And since all real reforms have to disturb the status quo, the natural stance of those in power is conservatism. Therefore, the more important changes in the area of relations of power have to be undertaken suddenly or in secrecy, so that they are irreversible before they are noticed by their adversaries. Thus they force two competitive scenarios of change – revolutionary or evolutionary.
History shows that the results of revolutions usually discouragingly strayed away from the aims. So planning revolutionary changes is an activity for either naive dreamers, who, against history, think that they will be the first to make it work, or for cunning provocateurs, who use the slogans of the revolution as a cover-up for their own interests, even if it is only printing leaflets or weapon supplies.
Evolutionary changes, on the other hand, are incredibly difficult to plan, and their natural slowness would require a planner with a time horizon extending to several generations. Apart from tortoises, only collective beings can fulfil this requirement. Among these beings, cultural communities, such as churches, academies, societies, and genetic communities, such as families, clans, and tribes have to be highlighted. If they keep some continuity of purpose for a longer period of time, even a weak, but constant influence can result with a significant effect. As such we should consider the participation of the Church in introducing medieval order in Europe, the role of Freemasonry in promoting the Enlightenment model of state and society, or the efficient striving of the Zionist movement in regaining Israel for the Jews.
Recent decades in the development of social and economic life within the scope of modern civilisation are more reminiscent of decay processes than of progress. And for now, the internal dynamics of our civilisation seems to be heading towards degeneration. This process is probably spontaneous, and if somebody is facilitating it, he is probably doing so unconsciously; because it is hard to imagine a director so situated that he does not have to worry about the effects of this decomposition. The growth of social entropy seems to prove that there is no-one behind the scenes of civilisation; nobody seems to be pulling the strings.
Refraining from provoking a revolution or from manipulating evolution does not mean complete resignation from actions. One can build projects basing on the assumption that they are naive and utopian now, but maybe, tomorrow, useful to some people who survive a civilisation catastrophe or for the colonies created as a result of human expansion. One can always dream.
Practically every development process has its moments of turbulence, when, usually gradual changes, lead to a situation without the possibility of a smooth solution. In such a case, the changes become stormy and break the current continuity of the process for a while, only to restore it successfully in a new situation, in which the charts smooth out again. The development of civilisation is no exception, it also needs to undergo some disturbances sooner or later, and the result, almost completely regardless of the causes and type, is usually the same, a state of emergency.
The armed forces gain all power, and democracy, bureaucracy, some laws, freedom of speech, property, competition and a free-market economy are put on hold. Rationing and distribution of the basic necessities, confiscations, contingents, fast courts, executions... brute force and elementary survival instantly become more important than all usual reasons, hierarchies, or privileges. It is probably the only situation in which deep reforms are possible, when a society can shake off the system's parasites and eliminate the legal and bureaucratic absurdities, which suddenly, and for a short while, lose their protectors.
Another important moment is when the armed forces start to miss their natural state of blissful laziness. When the ineffectiveness of terror and dysfunction of a war economy come to light, and the situation calms down and clarifies itself enough for a civilian to guarantee the armed forces all the benefits of power without its problems, the army will gladly go back to the barracks. Of course, it will be key who and with what kind of programme undertakes the restoration of civil society, and above all the relations of power. It would be best if that person was compliant towards the army, and completely insensitive to the misery of all the remaining parasites.
For the generation of military men who have enabled a reform, many privileges have to be foreseen, and one perhaps should resign from introducing greater restrictions for them. No rational reward for enabling the repair of public affairs will be too great in comparison with the gains made by eliminating the absurdities of the current system.
In a closer perspective, one can imagine such a social experiment now, anywhere on Earth, at best at a junction of several countries, on a scale of at least several thousand square kilometres, which is possible to be settled by a couple of million people. Such an experiment would have to give the neighbouring countries some profits for their territory. The most obvious one is ridding them of an unnecessary weight, their citizens. By the way, it is a sign of an advanced degeneration that most modern democracies are so far alienated from their societies that the people become a burden to the state and not a source of wealth and strength. But since that's the way it is, one could try and make life easier for the people and the states.
The most ideal, but also the most remote, is the colonisation scenario. An extraterrestrial, or oceanic colony would have to be equipped with machines and technology as well as an initial model of social relations: a labour camp, military barracks, a merchants' or robbers' nest, or some other type; maybe such as that I describe here.
If there was a person, family, or organisation able and willing to finance such an experiment, they could be rewarded with almost any kind of privileges or profits. They could receive reports, sacrifices, tributes, or they could be even prayed to, but under the condition that they would not interfere with the project in any way and that they would remain outside at all times.
November 26, 1960 I received a ballot paper with my name printed on it. It seemed the most valuable thing I have ever owned. Placing this paper in the red voting urn, I felt the happiest man in the world. Along with six hundred, fifty million of my countrymen, I was the owner of a country of 9600000 square kilometres. (...)
The word ‘man’ was the first I have learned when reading the first short stories in The Book of the Three Signs, but I never truly understood its meaning. Only today, thanks to the Communist Party and the rehabilitation policy for the criminals, have I understood the meaning of this great word and I have become a true man.
Pu Yi, the last emperor of China
Liberty, Equality, etc.
There can be no greater absurdity and no greater disservice to humanity in general than to insist that all men are equal. Most certainly all men are not equal, and any democratic conception which strives to make men equal is only an effort to block progress.
One of the foundations of the modern political systems is the conviction that every person has the right to his personal freedom, understood in such a way that nobody can force him to do anything without a higher reason. One of these higher reasons is respect for the freedom of others, so that the freedom of some does not become the bondage of others. According to this philosophy, ruling relations of power among people are wrong, with some exceptions again justified by higher reasons. For the purpose of further argument, I will accept as my aim such an organisation of society, which limits the amount and strength of relations of power between people.
The second foundation of modern political systems is the common acceptance of the assumption that all people are equal. But what is the equality of a person with a wealth greater than that of a province with a population of a million compared to the most shabby character from that province? Sure, they are both human beings, so they are more equal between themselves than a human and an insect or, say, a stone. And let us take a stone weighing as much as the richest person. Are they equal? In terms of weight, yes. In this respect, people are equal, the number of limbs, heads, some pattern on which their bodies are built or in which they behave, they are a part of the same species, often of the same culture, but this is not equality, this is similarity.
Maintaining fiction always carries some costs. If we decided to believe that all people are of the same sex, we would have to reform fashion and customs, change something in the culture, create extensive censorship, and some sophisticated taboo and ceremonies covering up procreation. We would have to maintain a complex system based mostly on lies or at least on covering up the truth. The costs of such a system would have to be great.
It is similar with maintaining the appearance that all people are equal, which is clearly false and against the nature of things. This also has to carry various costs. One of them is the deep inconsistency of the organisation of the state and the society, as well as many contradictions in them. Pretending that all people are equal requires not only some cognitive self-limitations, costs of camouflage, and hidden mechanisms adjusting a theory which is false in its assumptions to the reality which it perceives as improper, but also a specific duping of the society, so that it does not notice the fundamental contradiction between this declaration and reality.
Freedom does not please the weak amongst the strong or the poor amongst the rich. Formal equality in the meaning of having equal rights, when these are rights to freely access the earthly goods and some can use an excavator and the others do not even have a decent spoon. Such “equality” leads to exponential growth of disproportions of wealth and influence distribution, and, in consequence, to economic, and probably someday formal slavery of the majority. So real slavery can be a result of duplicitous equality.
The type of equality that is really desired and harmless is the equality of status and class, not allowing some to treat others too condescendingly, to dominate, to harm or exploit the others. As Gabriel Garcia Marquez beautifully wrote: “a man only has the right to look down on another man when it is to help him to stand up”.
It is a shame to be poor when one's state is orderly.
It is also a shame to be rich when one's state is disorderly.
A healthy man with his family would be able to get by on a farm of a couple of hectares. Of course, he should establish bartering relations with others in order to get specific resources, tools, or seeds, but theoretically he would have the possibility of living on his own without paying anyone. However, in a world where all the earth and its riches have been seized, one has to pay for every day of one's existence, paying for what should be freely accessible – shelter, food, life. In such a world, those who have seized the common goods can economically enslave the rest. It is impossible to reconcile freedom for all with unlimited property for some, because these rights contradict each other.
Saying that a single person owns a mountain chain, a sea, or a big island is a bit of a misuse of the term. One can own an island until somebody else comes and takes control over it, but then you can chase the intruder away, and if he is stronger, you can maintain guards or call a neighbouring country for help, of course in the name of the holy property right. But in such a case we are talking of power rather than property.
If we consider what property means, we have to realize that property is a negative right, hindering the others from using something. If property includes items of more personal use such as food, clothing, or shelter, then a property right protects the owner from those who would like to rid him of something that he needs. But when we are talking about a big island, who and in what sense can need it and how can he use it? Well, let's say that somebody likes emptiness and loneliness. OK, let him have it, but shouldn't from here to the horizon be enough? What's the difference if there are people further on, if he cannot see them?
A property right to big things unnecessarily limits others, because it rids them of something that the owner not only doesn't need, but also is not able to use fully; in other words, violation of the property right does not impoverish the owner, or only impoverishes him to an invisible extent. The case of copyright laws: the author of a song does not lose the song if somebody copies it, he loses some part of hope for profit from potential sales. Not collecting an author's royalty or fee for landing on an island does not make anybody's assets smaller, it only ignores his possibility of forbidding others to do something; and so, in short, his power.
And by the way, why would anyone need the property right to Australia? How would he use it? Renting pieces of land to settlers? In order to do that, he would have to be able to protect the shores against unlawful landing. So he would need a great army and support it. But how? Even if he had enough gold, what would the army do with the pay on an empty island? No houses to rent, no shops with clothing, no food farming, restaurants, no way to confiscate anything from anyone... so how to support such an army? Well, you would have to settle several times more people on the island in order to provide the army with houses, clothes, food, weapons... But why would anyone come to an island to support an army? Maybe because of poverty, or as a punishment, maybe in some act of desperation, for example escaping from unbearable powers; this is at least how it used to look. In short, one would have to find the right number of unfortunates or troublemakers, somehow convince, bribe, or force them to come to the island and settle it, and there organise them in such a way that they would carry out the assumed mission without complaining too much... in other words, one requires power big enough to do it. Only that if one has it already, no property title is needed in order to take over an island.
In the case of big items, having power and property rights would mean more or less the same as just having power. This would mean that as property increases, its utility approaches zero. Of course, I mean marginal utility, i.e. the increment of utility, because those things which we are able to use and defend remain fully useful. According to this, the owner of Australia could build a dugout with a small vegetable garden and draw fully from its utility, or fence off a hundred-hectare farm and enjoy an incomplete, but still larger than before, utility. However, expanding the farm over the whole continent would not bring much change to the utility of this property.
Anyway, how many beautiful cars can one use a day, how many gourmet meals can one eat, how much wine can one drink, how much flattery can one listen to, how many elite, anti-dying pills can one devour? Well, maybe several cars, some kilograms of food, some litres of wine, several hours of flattery, and some hundred pills. And how much does all this cost? A thousand, two, or ten thousand dollars? Let it be ten. It would amount to three hundred thousand a month and three million, six-hundred-thousand a year. So three hundred million for a hundred-year-long life. So why the hell would you need more? For your children and wives? OK, let it be a billion then, but more? Wanting more must be a kind of illness. How do you treat a person who buys 50 kg of bread everyday, even though he eats only a hundredth of it and throws the rest away? Well, I guess similarly to a person who has a billion dollars and still hasn't started to spend it, and only increases the problem by striving for the next billion. It surely is not a sign of mental health. Whether it can be seen in the nutrition, sexual, or prestige, or financial area, bulimia is a serious illness, and the treatment is always painful and expensive. But definitely doesn't cost a billion.
If we accept a rule that ownership of anything, the value of which surpasses reason, requires co-ownership of such a number of people that their shares do not exceed some reasonable amount, in fact we do not rid anybody of anything. If the assets of a single person are naturally limited, they can be also limited formally. Anyway, it is no limitation to forbid a seal to fly. And if there is a seal that is bothered by such a prohibition, we should doubt whether it is really a seal, because an honest seal would not care.
Culture and Education
When Mencius was little, he returned home after finishing his studies. His mother, who was spinning thread, asked, “What did you learn today?” Mencius replied, “Same as usual.” Mother Meng grabbed a knife and cut the cloth she was working on. Mencius asked why she did this and she replied, “When you neglect your studies, it is like me cutting this cloth before I am done with my work.”
The story of Meng K'e
Everyone should educate himself, both as a child and as an adult. Obligatory education may require less time as the person grows older, more or less so that it stops at the age of about sixty. The cost of such a system does not need to be great, especially if we use mutual help and distance-teaching. The marginalising of ever larger numbers of people to the level of rabble doped with mass culture, advertising, political campaigns, and other crude entertainments seems to be more costly.
Everybody should be included in general education. Commonly-accessible tests could examine the capabilities of interested people to hold various public functions, and those who would pass such tests would have the possibility of undergoing specific education developing their skills. Those selected or drawn, would undergo specialist training and then would be employed for a period, and for some time in a public service corresponding to their skills, but rarely enough for them not to become deformed because of their extraordinary role and not to forget about their status of a regular person.
Socialising must be one of the most important aims of education. Educational programmes should define community as togetherness and promote the co-operative model of social relations. If you design social relations in the spirit of competition, and perceive the interests of different people as competitive, the success of one person is the failure of others; the freedom or wealth of one is the bondage or poverty of another. This is not a good model.
In the first fire-engines, a boy was constantly employed to open and shut alternately the communication between the boiler and the cylinder, according as the piston either ascended or descended. One of those boys, who loved to play with his companions, observed that, by tying a string from the handle of the valve which opened this communication to another part of the machine, the valve would open and shut without his assistance, and leave him at liberty to divert himself with his playfellows. One of the greatest improvements that has been made upon this machine, since it was first invented, was in this manner the discovery of a boy who wanted to save his own labour.
For the ancient farmer, the only real work was farming; all other occupations were different types of idleness. From the standpoint of this agricultural view, unemployment today in the developed countries is almost 100%, because only a couple of percent of the people really work on farms. What happened to the rest? They mostly became proletarian. That's when the definition of work was changed, and the majority was working again, but in factories, doing what was called productive work. But from this productive standpoint, unemployment amounts to almost 90%, because farming and industrial work is what about a dozen percent is doing now. So what has happened to the rest? Well, they are doing something in offices, shops, warehouses, or restaurants. But also there they are being replaced with automation, computers, or other technical solutions. So what next? They will probably start doing something else, some new services or entertainment, which will then be called work, and only twenty-something percent of the population will stay on farms, in factories, shops, and offices.
The job market and common employment is just a century-long episode of our history. Athenians had their (human) machines to do their work, and they themselves dealt with trade, politics, and philosophy. This lasted quite a long time. In Rome, the commoners, independent of whether they worked or not, had an ensured access to bread and circuses, so in our terms, beer and TV, and that was not what made Rome fall.
Remaining without a job does not have to, and even should not be synonymous with, marginalisation; everybody is useful somehow, whether he has a job or not. There is no sense in compensating for the alleged impairment which unemployment is seen as today. If the current development does not crash, human labour will become less and less needed. Practically all commodities, including food, can be produced and distributed by machines. Of course, those who need to could still work, those who want to could continue lounging around, why not?
That everyone has the right to work should mean that we cannot forbid him to do so, but we also should not force him to. But isn't that what an employment guarantee more or less leads to? We could divide the ever-smaller amount of necessary labour amongst the ever-higher population, we could invent for the unemployed new more or less odd jobs, such as counting birds, banding earthworms, ringing cows, or writing flowery rhyming applications for unemployment benefits; we could leave it to their resourcefulness to come up with such services, for which they will be paid by those employed. But would it not be easier to recognise that everyone should receive some reasonable minimum of benefits without compulsory labour?
There is no reason for giving a denial to any person, since there is such plenty of everything among them; and there is no danger of a man's asking for more than he needs; they have no inducements to do this, since they are sure that they shall always be supplied. It is the fear of want that makes any of the whole race of animals either greedy or ravenous; but besides fear, there is in man a pride that makes him fancy it a particular glory to excel others in pomp and excess.
Since every person lives, he has to eat something, drink something, wear some clothes, and have some shelter. Guaranteeing everyone the right to nutrition, clothes, and shelter wouldn't actually change any social relations, since we would guarantee something everybody has anyway. Raising the quality of the meals, clothes, or accommodation could be an additional cost, but the whole society would obtain the benefit of that.
If we kept to traditional national accounts, we would have to estimate the costs of such a law in the following way: let modest meals and attire for a single person cost 10 dollars a day and modest accommodation twice that amount. This makes around 7200 dollars a year. Let us add organising the whole scheme, some personnel and infrastructure for 2800 dollars, so almost 40% on top of the initial cost. This leaves us with the annual cost of such a guarantee amounting to 10,000 dollars. Very few countries have such income per capita, but people eat, put clothes on, and reside somewhere in all countries. This just shows how little use there is in the arithmetic of national accounts, and not merely in the case of utopian projects.
So let us assume, without estimating costs, that everyone, independent of his wealth, should receive daily meals, clothes every year, and permanent accommodation with free Internet, phone, and television access, or rather access to what will be created as a way of combining these media. Probably, it will be easier to guarantee that financially than materially. It would be best if the budget covered everybody's expenses on food, basic necessities, and shelter. Of course, with some limitations, but at a decent level.
We hereby, in these documents, publish, announce, pronounce, sentence and declare thee the aforesaid Brother Giordano Bruno to be an impenitent and pertinacious heretic, and therefore to have incurred all the ecclesiastical censures and pains of the Holy Canon, the laws and the constitutions, both general and particular, imposed on such confessed impenitent pertinacious and obstinate heretics. Wherefore as such we verbally degrade thee and declare that thou must be degraded, and we hereby ordain and command that thou shalt be actually degraded from all thine ecclesiastical orders both major and minor in which thou hast been ordained, according to the Sacred Canon Law: and that thou must be driven forth, and we do drive thee forth from our ecclesiastical forum and from our holy and immaculate Church of whose mercy thou art become unworthy. And we ordain and command that thou must be delivered to the Secular Court wherefore we hereby deliver thee to the Court of You the Governor of Rome here present that thou mayest be punished with the punishment deserved, though we earnestly pray that he will mitigate the rigour of the laws concerning the pains of thy person, that thou mayest not be in danger of death or of mutilation of thy members.
Congregation of the Holy Roman and Common Inquisition
The main, and practically only, punishment should be exclusion from the community, rather permanent than temporary. Imprisoning or killing people are not the best solutions. What seems more reasonable is exile for sociopaths, somewhere outside, and in cases where it is not possible, sectioning a part of the territory as an enclave for the those who break the rules of the community. Such an enclave would of course need to be under discrete but strong control, in order to prevent any dangers stemming from it, such as aggression, demoralisation, or epidemic. If the topography allows, although this does not seem possible on Earth, such a zone could be kept on the borders as a model of gradual expansion; at a pinch, it could be called an army and be treated as one.
Because the return of somebody after a temporary exile could create many complications and dangers for the rest, we should avoid of this type of punishment and introduce some sort of record in case of misdemeanours, maybe penalty points, and later, for more serious or repeated offences, some sort of marking or invigilation. Clear marking would warn the others against the threat on the one hand, and on the other, would allow for observing and assessing the behaviour of the criminal. However, this method ruins the social atmosphere. Confidential invigilation would be a better solution. The criminal would be constantly overseen by devices which would be controlled once in a while and uninstalled after the criminal successfully passed the quarantine period.
Those who held a public function would have to undergo similar quarantine. The difference would be that they would receive additional psychiatric support and a resocialization programme, not available to criminals. A person who undertook any form of government is especially exposed to psychological harm and should receive some sort of compensation for it. Similar help for a criminal would be an undeserved gift which would distort the feeling of justice.
Alcohol and Drugs
Barring extremely urgent circumstances, the young are not allowed to drink wine until they are nineteen years of age. After that they may drink it diluted with water, as women do. Men of fifty and over may drink it neat.
All kinds of foods and beverages should be legal and untaxed, alcohol and drugs as well. This will lower their price many times and will limit the profits from their production and distribution, which will cut off the criminal world from its main flow of finance. Those who wish to drink or drug themselves to death will do it anyway. From the Darwinian point of view, it is quite a humanitarian and cheap way of eliminating from the gene pool those who could not raise their children properly anyway.
Of course, who wants to use his human rights fully, should act as a human – this means maintaining some level of culture, hygiene, and some basic socialising. Those who would lean away from this too much, could have their rights changed in the name of the good of the others. This does not necessarily mean repression. On the contrary, it could resemble a paradise, as for example a reservation for alcoholics full of free vodka-vending machines.
A similar strategy should be accepted in other areas where many different mafias exist. They always enter the gap between the official order and what people strive for; if the gap is too big, it is filled with a flow of dirty money with a bottom-up organisation and social regulation.
We could state paradoxically that mafias need to be observed not only for the sake of punishing them, but first to identify degenerations of the law and then to eliminate of causes of these degenerations and not only of their effects. This is the best way of eliminating mafias as well. Of course, in the long-term perspective we should concentrate on the mission of education and shaping the attitudes of the people, but this will bring slower and later results than a simple verification of the law.
Our congregation is a success. Mao Zedong is dead. We are celebrating the triumph of dialectics. Since the ancient times no one has failed, all have died. This is the law of physical development.
Mao Zedong in the draft speech for his own funeral
You should know that there are ten commandments of the law of which Our Lord gave to Moses on Mount Sinai. The first says: love and adore your God alone; the second says: do not take the Lord's name in vain; the third says: remember to keep the Sabbath holy, that is honour it; the fourth says: honour your father and your mother; the fifth says: do not commit adultery; the sixth says: do not kill; the seventh says: do not steal; the eighth says: do not bear false witness; the ninth says: do not covet your neighbour's belongings; the tenth says: do not covet your neighbour's wife.
Here is another commandment of our Lord which summarizes the ten: love your neighbour as yourself.
Life, health, happiness, and freedom of people are the highest values. All public services have to protect them. Where it is possible to organize public assignments without creating authorities, we shouldn't create them. Where it is crucial, we should establish them to a minimal extent and rather as services than powers. Where power can be assigned to algorithms and machines, it cannot be given to people.
Where power has to be entrusted with people, we should create two independent, non-intertwining competitive powers controlling each other. Where it is possible, the individual should have the choice which of the alternative powers to obey. This would automatically increase the selected power's budget. Where it would not be possible or sensible to chose an authority, all these governed would have to show their support for the actions of the authorities in a permanent referendum. The budget would be assigned to those authorities based on the proportion of votes they received.
Of course, the sheer possibility of choice or assessment does not yet humanize relations of power. After all, the possibility of choosing the rapist does not change the essence of rape. All public affairs have to be arranged with an obsessive suspicion that every public servant and every authority has a tendency to abuse their position. The environment of all authorities or public services has to be considered as especially prone to criminalisation and constantly supervised regarding this threat.
Authorities and other services will be either elected or drawn, but out of a pool of candidates initially selected by means of commonly-accessible exams. These exams would be carried out with the help of machines in order to avoid human mistakes or abuse. Even though such a selection of authorities does seem promising, it is not foolproof. The selection criteria can be burdened with flaws. This method does not exclude sociopathic individuals who are especially dangerous when in power. After their term, the members of various services or authorities would have to undergo compulsory quarantine and re-education as potential sociopaths.
No authority will be allowed to interfere with issues it was not established to take care of. What is not explicitly allowed will be forbidden to the authorities. Authorities will be appointed to care for enumeratively-listed issues and will have fore-ordained competences. Since all equivalents of authorities will be designed respecting the above-mentioned assumptions, all authorities, along with all other public administrations and utilities employing machines or people, will hereinafter rather be called services.
Extraordinary situations can lead to a state of emergency, but that does not have to be regulated. Should the police, or other service, decide on and be able to seize power they do not deserve, it would mean that the proposed system does not work properly and is not worth protecting. And if someday they decided to come back to the previous state of relations, they would have to dissolve themselves.
And now suppose someone, such as they sometimes are, a man ignorant of laws, little less than an enemy to the public good, and minding nothing but his own, given up to pleasure, a hater of learning, liberty, and justice, studying nothing less than the public safety, but measuring everything by his own will and profit; and then put on him a golden chain that declares the accord of all virtues linked one to another; a crown set with diamonds, that should put him in mind how he ought to excel all others in heroic virtues; besides a scepter, the emblem of justice and an untainted heart; and lastly, a purple robe, a badge of that charity he owes the commonwealth. All which if a prince should compare them with his own life, he would, I believe, be clearly ashamed of his bravery, and be afraid lest some or other gibing expounder turn all this tragical furniture into a ridiculous laughingstock.
Erasmus from Rotterdam
The judiciary and legislative powers can be entrusted with a permanent forum with the status of a referendum. The executive power could be entrusted mainly with machines and various legal or IT algorithms; with people on a marginal scale. The financial power should be left to banking software. Spiritual power will not be distinguished, even though official education can be entrusted with the academies.
The activity of professional bureaucracies or professional public services in general will be practically unnecessary. Where they cannot be replaced with computers and machines, they will have to be commercialised or made communal at the lowest possible level. The executive services can be limited to control and intervention functions, and these will be carried out by the police (or, actually “polices”).
The system by means of which the governed can control the authorities requires special care and protection against atrophy. The modern system of representatives has to be accepted as completely worn out. The elected representatives of the governed rather search for their own place among the authorities which they allegedly control, than care for their role of controllers. This refers to trade unions, various local governments, and, of course, parliaments. In order to avoid the mounting up of different levels of control, we should find a way for the governed themselves, through their own feeling of satisfaction or harm, to award or punish the authorities. There are many possible models.
It will be necessary to double all the public and social services. Maybe through male and female mutations? The female service would consist only of women, and the male only of men. Should one of them turn out to be too lenient or too brutal, it would lose social support, which would lead to the weakening of its budget and its possibilities of functioning. Clearly, we could not allow complete atrophy of any of the services; if it was to become weaker and reached some emergency limit, an alternative would be created immediately, far away from the ill organisation, of course. If the ill service cured itself, it would be strengthened with the new reinforcements, and if it died, it would be replaced by them.
No service, including control services, would have the right to interfere in the relations between people without being called by someone. Intervention on their own initiative could only have prevention of serious violence or of devastation as its aim. All further actions would require somebody's accusation. Greater cases of evident crimes against life, health, and human freedom could be detected and registered, then presented to the public in order to enable somebody to bring an accusation. If no one decided to bring accusations, the crime would not be persecuted, even though the evidence would remain in the register for potential further use.
Machines and algorithms will be serviced by maintenance which will also be dual. Also here the division by gender seems to be worth considering. It is an aesthetic and natural division, I think there are no others quite like it. The products of both of the maintenance groups will compete as far as their utility goes, and the budget will follow the results of this competition.
All system regulation of the issues of authorities have to be based on the principal of mistrust towards the actions of the authorities. Mistrust towards the IT specialists, who will be monitored extremely carefully, should be a priority. Introducing a rule that all algorithms, except for the simplest ones, should be able to learn and evolve, but not expand or replicate, would be a solution. In such a case, no IT specialist will be the designer of a programme, just a cultivator of algorithms, which will splendidly limit the possibility of misuse.
Nobody will be allowed to be active in public service for longer than a year, or three years at a maximum. In the case of scientific and educational services, and health care, the period can be prolonged to about ten years.
Any form of co-operation between the competing services will be considered as crimes and punished especially severely. In this case, and only in this case, group responsibility can be used.
Caliph al-Mutadid, by economy and good management, increased his cash to over 9 million dinars. This immense sum was considered so extra-ordinary that people ascribed to him all manner of schemes which he had in view as soon as the savings amounted to 10 million dinars. He wanted, it is reported, to reduce the land-tax to a third. He wanted, so it is also said, to melt down the gold pieces into one single block to be placed before the gate of his palace that the princes might know that he had at his command 10 million dinars and that he did not need their help. But he died before he actually got together 10 million dinars.
Modern money, called fiduciary money, does not have any cover in assets. It is only a paper or electronic sign. It is worth something as long as the majority believes in it. Whoever gathers it in order to secure their future, does so at his own risk. The technology of producing real and false money is pretty much the same, so from the materialistic point of view, all money is counterfeit, just not all counterfeiters are persecuted... or the other way around, all money is authentic, just the smaller issuers are combated by the bigger ones. There is no difference anyway.
Most of the rights to issue money on a global scale have been monopolised in the hands of a small group of institutions which are hermetically oligarchic, practically independent of the public authorities, mostly private, and protecting from the rest the philosopher's stone which money has become. After all, what is the possibility of turning common paper into noble gold? Is this not what the ancient alchemists were searching for throughout the millennia?
Public currency should be a public device. It does sound somewhat tautological, but let it be like this. For the currency to remain reliable, it cannot be controlled by democratic authorities, but neither should it be the domain of tight oligarchies as it is today. Currency, especially the electronic type, can be controlled by soulless and impersonal algorithms. Bankers will not be necessary anymore.
In order for money to be useful and easy in everyday use, a person has to use up, say, 50 monetary units a day. Let us assume that a decent minimum is 5 units, and luxury is 500. The annual sum of daily expenses should be from 1825 to 182500. If we double the sum counted as occasional expenses, we end up with 3650 to 365000. Assuming that a person lives a maximum of 100 years, the total of life's expenses should be from 365 to 36500 thousand units. Adding a half of that for something like life investments, we have a reasonable scope of life expenses at the level of 547.5 to 54750 thousand units, so approximately from a half a million to fifty million.
Every person has to have a minimum guaranteed to pay for his living. The IT public finance system could provide everyone with a dietary subsidy of a couple of units a day, adding living and residential subsidies, each in a similar amount, altogether on a scale of a 100-year life a bit over a half a million units. The annual expense limit could be equal to this sum, and correspondingly, the maximum possible sum in a bank account with public money would be a hundred times larger and would amount to about 50 million. If somebody needed more capital or to spend more money out of the public purse during the year, he would need to find some partners.
Physical money will not be necessary, most of the misappropriations will not be possible. Currency will be only an IT abstraction. It will always be present in computer memory and always in necessary amounts. Interest rates are not intended, but if somebody wants to give back more than they have borrowed, it’s their business. Everybody will be able to create the type of currency they want, accumulate it, spread it around, in the amounts they wish, but in the public area it is public currency that will have the monopoly. Nobody will be prohibited from practising social barter or to have alternative currencies, but the use thereof when dealing with public fees and services will not be possible.
The prices of the subsidized public services and fees will be monitored by the software controlling the currency, and if the prices begin to fall, currency will be created, and if they begin to rise, it will be withdrawn, until the trend is stopped. Creation and annihilation of the currency can consist of adding or subtracting a given amount from the public account which is only an IT abstraction, used to distribute money between the accounts of the people. Automatic creation and annihilation of the currency will guarantee stability in the prices of public services.
Public currency can, but does not have to be, used by the people in their private affairs. If it is, the demand for it will cause a fall in the prices expressed in it, and hence force the issuing of more currency; similarly, a movement away from the public currency will cause its withdrawal from circulation.
The first man who, having fenced in a piece of land, said, “This is mine”, and found people naive enough to believe him, that man was the true founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars, and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows: “Beware of listening to this imposter; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody.”
Jean Jacques Rousseau
Since space or area is a limited resource by definition, it cannot be owned by private persons. The land will belong to the community and will be rented, or we can even abandon the idea of ownership of the land and treat the lease as a fee for the exclusive use of some territory. Even new land “discovered” by somebody will not belong to him, but should be free of any charges for some time.
Let us assume that the considered territory is a square with a side of 100 km. It has to be divided into 10-by-10-km parcels, and these into parcels of a size 1 by 1 km, next into parcels of a size 100 by 100 m and 10 by 10 m. The parcels numbered 0 to 99 will be of an area of 100 km2, the parcels numbered 0001 to 9999 will have an area of 1 km2, the size of the parcels numbered 000001 to 999999 will be 1 ha, and the parcels numbered 00000001 to 99999999 will have an area of 100 m2. The number of the parcel also indicates not only the area, but also its geographic coordinates. So if no lease has been paid for the parcel number 124204 (fourth hectare parcel on the 1242 kilometre parcel), it means that the parcel is not occupied or even if somebody does occupy it, he has to be aware of the fact that any moment someone can come with a document confirming any payment for the lease of the parcel and demand that the parcel is handed over.
If the lease is not paid on time, this will indicate that the parcel returns to an unoccupied status. Such parcels will be put on sale in a permanent offer. Since everybody will set his own lease, every year every tenth parcel will be put on auction with a starting price equal to the current lease. Those who offer more than has been paid until that moment will be allowed to take the parcel over. Of course, the present leaseholders also will have the right to take part in the auction, and if they lose the parcel, to some compensation for what they have brought in. But rather for only the expenses in public money because they are verifiable. As we can see, the profits from this lease should be decent, without any administrative supervision.
The absorption of all social functions by the State necessarily favoured the development of an unbridled, narrow-minded individualism. In proportion as the obligations towards the State grew in numbers the citizens were evidently relieved from their obligations towards each other. In the guild – and in medieval times every man belonged to some guild or fraternity two “brothers” were bound to watch in turns a brother who had fallen ill; it would be sufficient now to give one's neighbour the address of the next paupers' hospital. In barbarian society, to assist at a fight between two men, arisen from a quarrel, and not to prevent it from taking a fatal issue, meant to be oneself treated as a murderer; but under the theory of the all-protecting State the bystander need not intrude: it is the policeman's business to interfere, or not.
Public assignments will be limited only to those areas which have to be protected against the market, demagoguery, or private usurping. The remaining affairs of the people will be left to an order which will establish itself.
An energy monopoly will be one of the three sources of income for the budget. The energy industry should be private but in the accounting programmes of this sector, and only there will the fiscal procedures appear. An as-broad-as-possible internal competition in the energy sector seems appropriate. The second source of public income will be the voluntary, but rather common, lease fees for the land, and the third could be a special fee for maintenance of the banking account, something like demurrage in the Middle Ages.
Distribution of energy or its carriers violating the public monopoly, will be punished as a crime against public finances. The energy prices will be relatively high, but other prices will be relatively low and high energy prices will encourage saving energy, which can only bring positive ecological results.
The energy monopoly will only concern the distribution of energy and its carriers. Production has to be ruled by the free market. Everyone can produce energy for his own needs, including renewable sources such as burning hay, wood, biogas, oil extracted on one's own, or the use of sunlight or water energy, all this will be allowed, but in order to secure the safety of such an activity, one should pay a lease for the area in which one exercises this activity.
The division of consumption subsidies will be provided by a simple IT system. Public finance arithmetic does need such refined tools as the brain of a vertebrate, and its software should automatically harmonize fulfilment of the basic needs of society.
The infrastructures of communication and telecommunication are also areas of natural monopolies. They too can be free of charge and totally subsidized. What would be wanted, but not obsessively, is some kind of doubling of the infrastructure in order to maintain internal competition.
Communal and public utility infrastructure (flats, garbage, water, etc.) should finance itself. Competition is possible here and should be a preferred solution. Typical (and rather minimal) charges should be covered by subsidies which would be paid out automatically by banking software without anyone's decision.
Common education should be fully subsidized. The remaining education should be fully paid, in a similar way as health care. In these areas some elements of competition would be appropriate.
In order to design, harmonize, and service public assignments we will need some additional social infrastructure which would generate development studies, projects, predictions, technical and IT tools. Officials will not be necessary here, but scientists, and this is not the same race.
The laws are very few, all of them being inscribed on a copper plaque placed on a column at the temple door.
The volume of law in total cannot surpass the capabilities of a single person to understand it, a volume which a regular person can read in, say, one evening without using a dictionary. The volume of the brochure entitled “The Law” will be strongly limited. Adding new laws would require erasing some old ones. The above concerns public law, of course. Private law, especially professional regulation, can be broader and not limited by the capabilities of a single person, because it can be directly an algorithm carried out without the participation of the people.
Copyright law, the grotesque and disfigured growth of the last centuries, especially corrupt in the 20th century, is a great threat today to the development of knowledge and culture as a whole. But rejecting it peacefully seems impossible, because it serves today as a powerful and effective tool of exploitation. This law is based on many intellectual abuses and absurdities which hinder any progress on an ever-greater scale. The civilisation which rejects it should experience a strong development impulse. The copyright law will have to be erased, or at least drastically limited, at the first opportunity that presents itself.
Practically the whole development of human knowledge, most of the culture, the greatest works of art, all of these have been created out of higher, and often idealistic motivations. The impressive bloom of modern European science took place in an atmosphere of selfless exchange of thought, discoveries, the sharing thereof and open discussion of the greatest minds of different countries. How different it was from the envious closing of the greatest discoveries in temples, which was typical of most other times, and what different results it has brought! Before that humanity had experienced such acceleration only once, in ancient Greece, and especially in its Small-Asian colonies, which this also happened in an atmosphere of treating knowledge as a common good.
The cruellest and the most dishonourable area of exploitation through copyright and patent rights is the area of healthcare, medical equipment, pharmacy, and hygiene. At least a drastic shortening of patent protection periods will be necessary, regarding the protection period or the volume of protected production. The more expensive drugs, which require more time to develop and which require a longer protection period, are achievements for a small group of the rich anyway, and do not need to be financed by the whole population.
Trademark and brand protection will have to be greatly limited for the sake of both, rationalizing the prices, and making marketing activities more difficult. Advertisement is a phenomenon with a specific, and sometimes hard-to-notice, harmfulness. It raises the prices of goods, distorts market balance mechanisms, degrades life to consumption, and brings the level of mass culture down by shamelessly brainwashing its participants.
There are two major ways of fighting advertising. Limiting trademark protection will make it harder to convince people that the rice in the red box is worth more than the rice in the grey box. The other way is persecuting lying and severe punishment for misinformation. If somebody feels misinformed, cheated, or even molested by an advertisement, he will be able to sue the guilty ones. As a result of this, advertisement will have to limit itself to honest and non-intrusive information about the properties of the products.
The alleged threats coming from the elimination of copyright and patent laws do not seem worse than the factual effects of these laws. But if their complete elimination was impossible, they should at least be under time and money restrictions. The protection period could last a couple of years, but only to a given income preset by the owners themselves by payment of some percentage of the amount to the public account. This percentage should be between 1 and 10%, where the former seems more appropriate for specialist technical devices, and the latter for products sold on a massive scale. It would be best though to find some average, fixed rate. Of course everywhere, so also here, everybody will have a limit on his bank account and a limit on expenses expressed in the public currency.
Since public courts will only be of a penal character, copyright protection will consist of bringing those who violate these laws during the protection period, to justice. Material responsibility will remain outside the public courts' area of interest; if somebody decides to grant himself a hundred-year-long monopoly on some word, he can use this word freely, and punish those who violate the monopoly anyway he wishes, as long as he does not resort to violence, vandalism, or exploitation, because this is punishable. However, he can also use moral or social punishments, for example forbid the culprits to enter his garden or pantry. Why not?
They say that one of the prophets, whom Allah save and assain, worshipped Allah on a high mountain, at the foot of which a stream flowed. As he was sitting and looking down, he noticed a rider who approached dismounted his horse, took a travel bag off the horse's back, had a drink of water, and drove off leaving the bag behind. And there were dinars within the bag. Shortly, another man came to have a drink of water. He quenched his thirst, took the bag, and left in a hurry. After him a woodcutter came carrying a heavy bundle of wood on his back and sat by the stream to drink. But the rider, who was there first, appeared at the same time and asked the woodcutter: “Where is my bag that was lying here?” The woodcutter replied: “I know nothing of it.” The rider then drew his sword and killed the woodcutter and searched his belongings, but found nothing. He left the dead man and rode off.
And the prophet said then: “Oh Lord, how can this be? One stole a thousand dinars, and another was unjustly killed for it!” But Allah revealed such words to him: “Do what is your duty, that is service to god. Because steering the world is not up to you! Know that the father of the rider stole one thousand dinars from the father of the man who came here second. That is why I allowed the son to reposes his father's money. Whereas the woodcutter took the life of the father of the rider, so I gave the son a chance to avenge him.”
And the prophet said: “There is no god besides you! Praise be to you, for you know all that is hidden!”
If we reject the preventive function of the services, and if we rid the services of initiative, at least regarding interfering with relations between the people, we have to equip individuals with the ability to summon these services. Everyone who feels harmed, cheated, treated dishonourably or dishonestly by someone else, like everyone who suffers damage to his health, dignity, or wealth has to have the possibility to lodge a complaint. Examining each complaint will require constant recording of practically all human behaviour in all places.
This does sound somewhat disturbing, but in fact today all telephone calls are registered, and public places are constantly overseen by cameras. Normally, if no specific reason presents itself, nobody listens to these records or watches them and after some time they are recorded over. So, the environment would have to be saturated with recording devices, but this is what awaits us anyway, spying equipment is becoming cheaper and more common every minute, and people are installing it everywhere for their own protection or for the protection of their property.
After retrieving documentation of some offence, the police would be obliged to present the case to the judiciary “authority”, before which the plaintiff and the accused would have to stand. The court could only sentence someone to exile or a probation period, during which the convict would be submitted to special observation and supervision and the police would be able to take him to court themselves. With minor offences it will be possible to use some system of penalty points, which will fall under the statute of limitations after some time, but if they accumulate to some level, they will cause special supervision of the offender, and with an even higher level – exile. No penalty will be awarded by the police or anybody else except the court.
The use of a “phone-in quiz” or an internet forum as a court may seem unprofessional and unjust. But since the law is to be easy for everyone to comprehend, professionalism will not be necessary, and as far as justice goes, there won't be less of it than there is in today's courts. In order to avoid less serious votes, voting regarding the sentence can be preceded by control questions checking the knowledge of the case and the appropriate regulations.
Professional defence will not be necessary, but if the accused wishes so, a defence counsel with a broad and irreversible letter of attorney can be selected for him. The letter would also include acceptance of guilt and of the type of punishment. This should discourage the real criminals from taking up somebody else's time and from using other people. On the whole, it would not be a bad idea to forbid all types of professional representation in all public cases. If some people prefer to use middlemen in their private conversations, it's their business, nobody can forbid those representatives to have some special education or licences. But the state has to be protected against legal machination.
Concessions, Records, Taxes
We, the undersigned, solemnly declare that we will not willingly pay any sums due to the government on account of income tax. Let the government reach for all means it considers legal, we will gladly face the consequences. We would rather the government confiscated our land, than have us, through voluntary payment of taxes, contribute to the government considering our action as wrong, and put our sense of dignity on the line.
All concessions and permits have to be made illegal. If any service issues them, they will still be void. Any attempt at introducing licensing, or demanding any permits from a legally-functioning enterprise should be punishable as an act of usurpation. Any paternalistic prevention attempted by the services or some oligarchies will be unacceptable. A strong justice system should be maintained. It would threaten to punish harming others by such ways as poisoning, demoralizing, misinforming, or cheating, but would not prevent that, it would only function post factum.
All records that a service wishes to keep will be created by this service, on its account and for its own purposes. Nobody can be obliged to help in these procedures, nor can anybody be burdened with the effects of the content, state, or lack of record, except for a convicted criminal. A citizen can be the object of some records, but these records cannot bear any effects for the citizen.
All existing taxes have to be totally eliminated. Their efficiency today is pathetically low, and the fiscal procedures are absurdly expensive to such an extent that the revenue office has to take from society a multiple of what it can deliver to the budget. The tax system does admittedly feed, apart from the revenue office, various accountants, lawyers, advisors, officers, and controllers, but the alleged usefulness to some cannot justify the actual torment of the majority. Taxes are an excessive and unnecessary evil.
The public budget can support itself based on a single monopoly, preferably on energy and its carriers. Energy companies, most probably private-owned, supplying everyone with fuels, heating, or electrical energy would be the only taxed ones. Their accountants, or rather accounting programmes, will replace the whole fiscal apparatus with all the controllers, advisors, mediators, lawyers and whoever else. An additional income to the budget could be achieved through lease fees on all real estate and some fees for the usage of public currency. There is really no need for more.
So, too, it is an injustice to and at the same time a grave evil and a disturbance of right order to transfer to the larger and higher collectivity functions which can be performed and provided for by a lesser and subordinate bodies.
Science and Education
In Samoa, when elementary schools were first established, the natives developed an absolute craze for arithmetical calculations. They laid aside their weapons and were to be seen going about armed with slate and pencil, setting sums and problems to one another and to European visitors. The Honourable Frederick Walpole declares that his visit to the beautiful island was positively embittered by ceaseless multiplication and division.
Education should be concentrated in academies. Of course, apart from that one can create various institutes and private schools. If somebody wishes to support them, they can even teach lessons contradicting the official approach; it's their right to do so. Each stage of education will end with tests carried out by machines. Those who are not satisfied with their results will be able to re-take the test the following year.
The role of the lecturer cannot be off and on without loss of quality. For that reason scientists will hold their positions longer than other services, but also for a limited period of time, say, ten years. Apart from this time limitation, or maybe instead of it, every year the personnel could be decimated by taking every tenth or twentieth scientist to be laid off. The scientists could be also allowed every year to select those few from among themselves who could be protected against such rotation for various reasons. This might look cruel, but the main purpose here is for everyone to be human towards others, even when he is a supervisor, mentor, or a decision-maker for a while, he has to be aware that it is a temporary role.
Only scientists will teach the people through distance teaching, but direct help for pupils will be provided by the others, who have already been educated through obligatory education. Common education has to cover the basics of culture and elements of the fundamental sciences, as well as practical knowledge regarding life in a society. Generally, education is to socialise, build co-operative attitudes, and the feeling of responsibility for the common good.
I do not wish to keep in worries my subjects, whom my father, Genghis Khan, organised amongst worries. I have taken over the throne prepared by my father and I will not allow the people to suffer! That is why all the subjects must give one sheep of their herd! One sheep of every hundred must be taken and given to the poor and the needy!
Payment for board, rent, clothes, hygiene products, and other basic necessities will be covered to a certain extent guaranteeing a basic, but decent standard of living. The community will not organise any greasy spoons, night shelters, or clothes production. Everyone will buy these where he wishes, but the price covered by the subsidies will be limited. If somebody offers more for the same price as the others, he will prosper and develop, if he offers less, he will lose clients and their subsidies.
One could consider full automation and mechanisation of construction, tailoring, shoemaking, production and distribution of food, but it does not seem an optimal solution and would make the people too lazy. Even if most of the labour will be carried out by machines, private landlords, tailors, shoemakers, cultivators, restaurant owners should exist, at least as those who own the machines and organise their work.
Everybody will be entitled to the standard-of-living subsidy, even the rich. It is not a great evil to give a rich person a public penny, after all today he appropriates most of the public resources. However, it is a great evil to allow some to assess the others, to estimate their needs and decide on the subsidies. It is a moral evil because the relations between the people degenerate, and it is an economic evil, because the decision-makers usually consume or waste more public goods than they distribute. We have to accept in advance that everyone will be subsidized, and if somebody really doesn't want that, he can donate his subsidy to some noble cause.
Unused subsidies can accumulate to some extent, but it should be made difficult to use them for other purposes. One could allow for transfers between the different subsidies (for food, living standards, housing), but the transfers for purposes not covered by the subsidies should cause some charges, say of 10%. Of course, everyone makes the decision for such a transfer himself, without paying any tribute to some bureaucrats or officers.
Whoever wishes to buy a more expensive house, clothes, or more exquisite food will have to pay in addition to his subsidies. Of course, everyone can order expensive houses, clothes, or food of any price and pay for them in gold, sacred paintings, or any other currency. If these goods were to be introduced to the secondary market, the public currency should be obligatory, in order to maintain a balance on the public-services market.
They have no doctors but carry the sufferers out into the marketplace where passersby offer advice and remedies, either having experienced the same sickness themselves or having observed it in other cases. They suggest such remedies as have proved efficacious for themselves or that have been seen to succeed with others. Nobody is allowed to pass by in silence; they must ask the sufferer the nature of his ailment.
The network of basic health care facilities will be accessible commonly and free of charge. Free health care will cover consultations with an internist and with some specialists as well as the treatments and medicines prescribed by them. The common network will not provide any particularly refined medical services, nor will it direct the patients to specialists providing such services. The rules of functioning of the medical services will be similar to those of the academies.
Illnesses and many other weaknesses are inherent in humans. Blaming health care, the insurers, or the state for them is either the result of stupidity or of a misunderstanding; nobody honest can promise the society that it will be free of diseases or, even more so, of death, nobody sane can believe such promises. However, if somebody searches for such an offer on his own, nobody can forbid that. So facilities making people more beautiful, healthier, immortal, facilities undoing spells and charms can freely exist and cost as much as they wish, and it is no business of public health care. The scope of its services will be determined in advance and rarely changed, and always by means of a referendum.
The aim of public health care will be fighting those pains and ailments which can be eliminated or at least limited, preventing various diseases, and curing those, which can be cured, soothing the symptoms of old age, and reasonable prolonging of life. It will not be its goal to provide everyone with an unlimited access to all existing services and medicines, because this is impossible.
All patients could have their health accounts, and within these accounts they would have some money limit for the more refined medical services. After they use up their limit, only basic health care would be left to them.
The Media and Collective Decisions
We all, who swear this treaty, will not reap any profits, will not protect the guilty, will not grant shelter to the makers of disorder; we will help those who are victims of natural disasters and misfortunes, we will have compassion for those in misfortune or poverty. We will have the same friends and the same foes. We will help the royal home. Should anyone turn against this treaty, let him be destroyed by the Defenders of the Truth and the Defenders of Treaties, the honoured Mountains and the respectable Rivers, all Gods (...), the deceased kings and the dead lords, the descendants of the Seven Dynasties, the Twelve Lieges, and the enlightened divinities! Let his people abandon him! Let him lose his heavenly mandate! Let his family die out! Let his country be defeated!
Feudal treaty from the times of the Tsin dynasty
Differentiation between the legislative and judiciary authorities is not necessary. Both can be collective and make decisions regarding both general and detailed matters, there not being a great difference after all.
There must be one public medium, maybe two, but it would be best to make it one with a double technical infrastructure, so that there is a choice. It will probably be some interactive medium with various modes of work covering the modern functions of the telephone, the Internet, radio, television, and also a local or larger gathering of the people. This medium will be taken care of by technicians, and employees working on the content will be practically unnecessary, because there will not be any programs produced by the medium.
Apart from broadcasting educational programmes, the public medium is to only provide a forum for people to contact each other on, to moderate discussions and solve common issues. This will be the only mission of this medium. Access to it will be free, of course. Everyone will have the possibility to participate in various forums and voice his opinion from any place. We could consider the choice of moderators or returning officers for various forums, but I guess this would only be reasonable through legislation and the courts.
One of the important functions of the medium will be the referendum, in which everyone, after fulfilling some procedures, will be able to propose bills to be voted on. There will have to be some preset requirement for the referendum to be valid, an absolute majority of the votes in favour, participation of more than a half of those entitled to vote, a qualified majority, etc., but in typical cases no quorum or particular majority should be needed, just simple counting of the votes of those who wish to take a position on something. Collective decisions will be necessary for each change in the budget and all reallocations in the budget, apart from those which happen automatically.
Nobody can have the ability to interfere with the decisions and sentences. Exile being the result of a complaint cannot be questioned by anybody. This can cause some fears, but this is justice, this is the definition we accept: the will of the people. And the randomness of the auditorium is also not harmful, but on the contrary, it gives some form of objectivism, which is very hard to achieve in any other way.
The courts will be run by the people, in the meaning of the majority of those present on-line. The sentences of the courts will be as wise and as stupid as the society. Let us observe that today's sentences are often stupider than society, since so often they slight the common feeling of justice or sense. The courts can pronounce sentences with a power of ostracism, which grants them dimension of meta-justice, in the sense that if somebody accuses someone else of bringing harm to his life by casting curses on him, and society believes that, it is better for the accused to be banished than to live in such a society, isn't it? Anyway, he didn't have to cast those curses.
In order to avoid litigiousness and gibberish, penalty points have to be assigned: if, for example, a hundred points means exile, then one for a complaint, one for a proposal, five for a denunciation, ten for presenting a project for voting, and so on. Public courts will not see civil cases, nor will they consider any other rules apart from the common law, even voluntary agreements. The courts will only pronounce sentences of a penal character, sentencing to exile or making exile closer.
There can be an obligation of participation in, say one vote a month, and on the other hand, a limitation of a couple of votes a day, in order to avoid senseless votes.
On the one hand, there have started into life industrial and scientific forces, which no epoch of the former human history had ever suspected. On the other hand, there exist symptoms of decay, far surpassing the horrors recorded of the latter times of the Roman Empire. In our days, everything seems pregnant with its contrary: Machinery, gifted with the wonderful power of shortening and fructifying human labour, we behold starving and overworking it; The newfangled sources of wealth, by some strange weird spell, are turned into sources of want; The victories of art seem bought by the loss of character. At the same pace that mankind masters nature, man seems to become enslaved to other men or to his own infamy. Even the pure light of science seems unable to shine but on the dark background of ignorance. All our invention and progress seem to result in endowing material forces with intellectual life, and in stultifying human life into a material force.
Technical services, covering all types of engineering, including computer science and automation, could be concentrated in two competing technical institutions. These would be strictly service-oriented institutions, executive with respect to the academies and supervised by them, not carrying out any research nor conducting any training or education. The rules by which these technical institutions would operate could be similar to those of the academies. The technical services could provide invigilation for the purpose of protection of people and property; however, they would not have free access to the records; these could be opened only in co-operation with the police.
The supply of energy and of the carriers, as well as production of energy for the needs of others, will be taxed. Since this will be practically the only tax, energy and fuels will become relatively expensive, but this should be well-compensated by the fall of all other prices, because the cost of the taxes will be practically eliminated. The society will not have to pay the costs of various records, controls, accountants, lawyers, advisors, forms, stamps, offices, packages, laws, stressful situations, and so on. Clear profit.
All infrastructural initiatives will be started by the academies conducting design and studio work, which will be presented to the public and accepted by means of a referendum, with the appropriate budget instructions covering investment expenses and later maintenance costs. All tender procedures will be done by computers without any participation by humans.
If the farmers had all the land, there wouldn't be any of these idiotic flower beds all around us.
As a rule, the economy should be free from any interference from the authorities. Everyone has the right to do anything that is legal and doesn't harm others, also to produce and sell whatever he likes. As human labour is replaced with machine labour, the economy will become more and more unmanned. Humans will remain the owners and users of the machines, their designers and producers. Machines will not be allowed to multiply or to self-develop too far, but will have to be dependent on people in this respect.
There can be no revenue, income, or property taxes, no concessions or licences, no writs or prohibitions. Of course, if somebody's activity is harmful to others, they can sue the offender, through a penal complaint, because the courts will not see civil cases. So bringing harm to others will carry the risk of being banished.
We could consider some system of payments for using the environment, automated in a similar way as the system of land-lease charges, but I do not think this is necessary. If the harmfulness is visible, each harmed person can sue the offender, if it is not, its plausibility has to be considered. Our ecological, biological, and medical knowledge is still limited to such an extent that forming sentences based on it could carry the risk of compromising mistakes.
All regulations, institutions, courts, currencies, credits, exchanges, or banks that people wish to create, will be allowed, but unnoticed by the public law, which will only consist of penal regulations referring to individuals.
The Armed Forces
The subject should have a miserable and idiotic look before his superior, in order not to disconcert the superior with his understanding of the issue.
The armed forces will most probably have to be divided into internal and external, i.e. the police and the military. In such a case, the military should remain on the borders and be maximally isolated from the society. If the art of war requires it, the army can be stationed within the territory, but in special isolation.
Since common obligatory military service is an idea which I detest, I do not wish to consider it at all. Then again, a caste of professional soldiers always seems to consist of people mentally mutilated, and their sheer presence within the society can be more harmful than the potential aggressors. We could consider mercenaries stationed along the boarders, and in the case of neighbouring countries, paying them additionally for customs control as a way of protecting the borders; it is not as if they have to work more because of that, they would still be protecting the same border, right?
The police will be active where there is no army, so within the country. They will have the controlling role. The police will protect themselves and the people against all types of power, they will be equipped with various devices for invigilation, infiltration, and interference, including IT and nanotechnology devices. It cannot be a steady profession to be a policeman. There has to be a high rotation, and rehabilitation for officers coming back into normal life.
There should be as few police as possible, and it would best if there were none, if the police functions can be taken over by technology. For as long as this does not happen, there have to be two police forces, never just one. They have to control each other and the authorities. Actually, this would be their only task, dependent on their own initiative, because all other activities will be undertaken if the police are summoned by somebody. The second main task is enforcing execution of sentences. Only in special cases will the police be able to interfere or sue, for example when they discover a homicide about which there is no individual complaint.
Functioning as a policeman or a soldier cannot last longer than, say, a year or two. Those who pass the qualifying tests, who want to hold such functions, and are drawn to do so, after special training will be able to hold it for the determined period of time. The next service will be allowed after a “quarantine” of a couple of years.
Let the country be small and its population controlled. Make sure that the weapons are not used, and the people value their lives and do not want to move away. Though there can be boats and carriages, there should be no places to ride them. Though there can be armour and weapons, there should be no places to display them. (...)
Let the neighbouring countries look at each other, and let the people not visit each other all their lives though the crowing of their cocks and the barking of their dogs are within the hearing of each other.
The community is an abstraction. The community should not constitute a legal entity, because it is appropriated too often, and the people's voice is then dictated by usurpers. No person or office can represent the community. Only exceptions are acceptable in foreign relations, but the less of them, the better. But since there will always be the outside world, some relations with it will have to be maintained, at least the economic ones.
Foreign affairs have to be one of the sciences cultivated in the academies, and the people prepared and authorized to deal with foreign contacts have to stem from the academies. Foreign service will last a couple of years, will be preceded by some years of training, and ended with a rehabilitation period of at least a year. The centre of these services will be localised at the academies, and the competitive services will be active separately in different fields, but will exchange quite often.
Foreign trade should be a private-owned business, of course. What might constitute a problem is the harmless harmonization of trade with the work of foreign services in some aspects. This will probably be difficult without limiting the possibility of migration or at least without treating every person returning from abroad in a way similar to a member of the authorities ending his term.
People! In this world I have achieved something nobody else has achieved. For the other world I will also do what nobody has done yet!
The scholar Al-Jauhari before his fatal jump from a mosque roof
Apart from official relations of power, “bottom-up” relations can appear. “Hazing” in the military means that those officers who posses official power allow the ruled soldiers to create unofficial and secret relations of power within the ruled group. Even though they will officially deny any knowledge of such relations, they use them on an everyday basis, at least out of laziness. We can observe similar cases between the police and the criminal world, prison guards and inmates, tutors and juveniles in detention centres, teachers and pupils in schools, where the underworld rules take over.
We also have more inspiring examples of self-organisation, especially in concentration and POW camps, in degenerated organisations or even countries, where the foundations of solidarity and mutual aid appear spontaneously, making the repressive nature of the official authorities easier to take.
Since freedom of the individual has to be the highest value, one cannot forbid the individual the right to enter into various relations with others. Even relations of domination will be tolerated if nobody lodges a complaint. Freedom is real only when even it itself is at our disposal. Inalienable freedom is limited by definition (namely: by the impossibility of alienation). People will be able to create additional social systems of power among themselves, and they have to be allowed to do that as well. Only their education and upbringing will determine whether they strive for co-operation with others or against them.
A serious problem is protection against misuses committed by the authorities, so common today that they are often equated with the authorities themselves. Modern law, especially concerning taxes, is full of ridiculous regulations which seem to be put there on purpose to criminalise all normal people, similar to every mile of our roads, these being covered with signs which the drivers cannot conform to. This way the police are presented with the role of predators and drivers with the roles of defenseless victims, whose only defensive strategy is mimesis: remaining unnoticed.
It would be best if the control function was taken over by the environment, some nanotechnological dust. But this would have to be introduced secretly, in secret from the police and the army, the power of which would have to disappear as a consequence. But this will not happen soon, but maybe also not late.
The proposed model is based on available but advanced technology. It is not a cheap model and has a rather high starting threshold, it would be hardly possible to start among a couple of families or in a small town. It could be allowed for an external organisation or person to cover the cost of the indispensable infrastructure; they would later be repaid for a longer period of time, maybe even for an indefinite period. Of course, such a person or organisation would always have to remain outside the system.
It is hard to predict if an average person, having his full board and lodging guaranteed, can remain resourceful enough to create the amount needed for energy charges, lease, and maintaining the public purse which would cover the subsidies for each person and the cost of public utilities. If we accept in the model that the budget income shouldn't surpass a third of all income, then the costs of energy, lease, and demurrage should have a similar share in the prices of goods, and private economic activity should surpass the engagement in public affairs at least by twice.
Assuming further that the budget expenses are evenly-divided between the living-standard subsidies and the remaining expenses, we can estimate the share of board and lodging in the costs at around one-sixth. It is relatively little compared to modern relation, at least the relations known from the countries of the temperate zones. Because of the low cognitive value of public accounts, which describe and charm reality to a similar extent, it is hard to determine the break-even and boundary values for the proposed model. We must only remember that it may be sensitive to the unknown degree of laziness of the satiated.
Rabbi Bunan used to tell the youth, who came to him for the first time, this story of Eisik, the son of Jekel from Cracow, who was a pious servant to the Lord unbroken in his faith: One night, as the pious and faithful Rabbi Eisik slept, he had a dream; the dream enjoyed him to proceed, afar, to the Bohemian capital, Prague, where he should discover a hidden treasure, buried beneath the principal bridge leading to the castle of the Bohemian kings. The Rabbi was surprised, and put off his going. But the dream recurred twice again. After the third call, he bravely girded his loins and set forth on the quest. Arriving at the city of his destiny, Rabbi Eisik discovered sentries at the bridge, and these guarded it day and night; so that he did not venture to dig. He only returned every morning and loitered around until dusk, looking at the bridge, watching the sentries, studying unostentatiously the masonry and the soil. At length, the captain of the guards, struck by the old man's persistence, approached, and gently inquired whether he had lost something or perhaps was waiting for someone to arrive. Rabbi Eisik recounted, simply and confidently, the dream that he had had, and the officer stood back and laughed. “Really, you poor fellow!” the captain said; “Have you worn your shoes out wandering all this way only because of a dream? What sensible person would trust a dream? Why look, if I had been one to go trusting dreams, I should this very minute be doing just the opposite. I should have made such a pilgrimage as this silly one of yours, only in opposite direction, but no doubt with the same result. Let me tell you my dream. I dreamt of a voice and it spoke to me of Cracow, commanding me to go thither and to search there for a great treasure in the house of a Jewish Rabbi whose name would be Eisik son of Jekel. Fancy going to Cracow and pulling down the walls of every house in the ghetto, where half of the men are called Eisik and the other half Jekel!”. And he laughed again. The unostentatious Rabbi having bowed deeply hurried straightway back to his distant home, dug in the neglected corner of his house and discovered the treasure, with a portion of which he erected a prayer house that bears his name to this day.
None of the classified political systems, from despotism to anarchy, provides a satisfying alternative for the system of post-Enlightenment democracy which seems to be dying down. That is why it is becoming increasingly urgent and important to formulate some alternative which would not just come down to a regress.
It wasn't my intention to design the new system in detail, just to propose elementary powers servicing some necessary areas of the common good in a decent way. Almost all social and political solutions can be created on this foundation, if they maintain elementary social hygiene, limiting harm, privation, and poverty.
Anyway, since the project is constructed in the name of freedom, it would be grotesque if it decided upon everything, taking away the liberty of resourcefulness and choice. Therefore, I prefer to stick to a sketch, imperfect and incomplete, but instead maybe able to provoke discussion, after which the project can grow with the knowledge and imagination of others. My aim is presenting for open criticism and verification, an idea of organising basic social devices grounded not on relations of power, but rather on automatisms accepting the primacy of freedom and safety of each individual, not trusting any authorities or services in which people are somehow active, doubling these services and subjecting them to internal competition and the external assessment of all.
My vision is close in its aims to the ideals of anarchists, but surely most of them will claim that it could go further. It can also be close to those looking at ancient republics with their direct democracy, but to them, on the other hand, it can be a bit too radical. And this vision is probably the closest to what Rudolf Steiner called nearchy, which, according to him, is the realisation of the anarchists' dreams in a way which does not threaten with destruction or chaos.
Even though I usually have some opinion on how to properly arrange most aspects of social life, I am also aware that this opinion can change easily, through discussion or own speculations. That is why I didn't decide on solutions at a smaller scale, or possible to shape according to various variants. Anyway, I would like to avoid orthodoxy even in the basic cases, because I can imagine other solutions not described here that I could find hard to reject a priori. Generally, when choosing from among the variants, it would be crucial to remember the rule of minimising the number and size of institutions, authorities, borders, norms, laws, duties...
The proposed solution eliminates or minimises the area of interpersonal relations shaped on the rule of domination, exploitation, or rivalry, at least in the area of common good and elementary public devices. What people do outside this area is only their business, the authorities will only have the right to be interested in this if summoned by the wronged, and if there is no one like that, social relations will remain out of sight of the public authorities. If people decide to create some complementary authorities, this will also be their business. If they cause no complaints from others, they can be democratic, monarchical, or even theocratic if somebody convinces others to pray to him or to somebody else. After all, people who are truly free should manage their liberty freely, shouldn't they?
For this reason, this model can only be treated as a design for elementary powers, leaving complete freedom to the people to appoint other powers according to any criteria, not only the territorial one. Those powers may be able to freely rape, rob, or force whoever they wished, but in the case of a complaint being lodged, the elementary powers will have the ability to banish the violators, the oppressors, and the tyrants. This has to be enough.
I have not designed the whole of the social life, I have not referred at all to family, religion, art, creative work, mutual help, local communities. I have just described the elementary area covering the irreducible scope of common good and common consumption. And I have also shown that it can be based not on relations of domination, but on various automatisms, less on authorities, more on mechanisms. Thus, most of the relations of power, due to which most of humanity suffers today, lose any metaphysical justification.