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A Pox On All Their Houses

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Hi everyone!

Sorry I haven't posted in a while, life has been kind of crazy (as usual, but more localized right now). I have something in the pipeline. In the mean time, I've republished one of my favs that might have gotten overlooked.

The Security State vs The Skeptical Society

In a better world, people would not trust other people without a lot of supporting evidence. The Security State makes it too easy for people to stop thinking. In fact, it penalizes "over-thinking" by shortening time horizons. We just don't have time to think too much about anything, and we don't have enough options to weigh. They've done the thinking for us and pre-limited our options. So everything becomes safer at the margins, but more and more worthless. If it goes on and grows more intrusive, at some point we will have pre-defined scripts for every action we take, and life per se will cease to exist. Because life is choice. We cease to be ourselves if all of our choices are made for us.
In the skeptical society, on the other hand, trust has to be earned, and people will rely on their local social networks to provide them with accurate information. Honesty, and not bullshit, will become the most valuable commodity. "Authority" as such will be scorned, unless it is backed up by a great deal of legitimate evidence. People will think more and do less, because that will be the only way to deal with risk. In the process, wealth will localize. No more vast towers of concentrated power. Production will become more interdependent, and decentralized, because no particular group will be able to sustain large-scale production, and thus no one will be denied the opportunity for small scale production. Prices will drop, and yet stabilize in the absence of large scale spending. The inequality of wealth will decrease, as everyone takes a hand in building everything.

The current growing ratio of noise to signal is putting pressure on the world to become more skeptical, which will put pressure on societies to shift away from guaranteeing security. They just won't be able to do it effectively. The idea of managing anything larger than a local area will become preposterous. Our current states will collapse, or kill us all in the process of trying to hold themselves together. When it becomes clear that the rulers will only be ruling a pile of rubble if they continue, they will be forced to retreat.