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An explanation for "I'm Moving Out"

Mon, 25 Apr 2011 | wilfred

What is this "structure of people, built to allow liberty"?

In "I'm Moving Out: A Letter To My Parents", the author, Seculus, refers to "a structure of people, built to allow liberty".

What's that about?

Well, inspired by Locke and Hume, the founding fathers of the United States created the American constitution as a structure to ensure the liberty of the people, not only in such a way that their liberty was defended by their government, but also that the people were protected from their government.

It was genius. And it worked fantastically for hundreds of years, until it met a nemesis more powerful than the founding fathers imagined. In 1917, and again in 1941, America fought societies where every single individual was part of a coordinated war machine, which made maximum use of industrial strength, powered by fossil fuels that allowed a level of productivity orders of magnitude greater than that of 1787. America did this by being a society much like those of its opponents.

It wasn't the use of fossil fuels, or industrialisation, that changed America from what the founding fathers had in mind; it was its coordinated militarisation.

And this seems to me to be the ultimate difference between the Republicans and the Democrats. Republicans stand under the banner of Liberty, and the spirit of the founding fathers. And the Democrats stand under the banner of Coordination, which they have witnessed can perform extraordinary feats, in order to promote the goals of the founding fathers.

Seculus believes that liberty is required by individuals to achieve their own fulfilment. But he believes that for the long-term prosperity of humanity, such liberty needs to exist within a coordinated structure. Humanity requires the fulfilment of individuals, and individuals require the prosperity of humanity. They are two sides of the same coin.

(The Chinese government may claim that its citizens are fulfilled without liberty. But Seculus neatly sidesteps this argument by claiming that for some people, fulfilment requires liberty. Seculus also believes that the long-term health of a government also requires the liberty of its citizens.)

What is this structure that Seculus wants?

Seculus is not sure. But he has some ideas about what it might look like.

It would be a meritocracy. It might be bicameral at high levels of government, but one house would be for representatives and the other for experts in relevant fields.

It would recognise human strengths and accommodate human weaknesses. For example, humans can establish relationships with about 150 people. That may be an important number when it comes to local, regional, and higher levels of government.

Not only a meritocracy, but also a society that is designed to promote liberty and personal fulfilment, must allow people to achieve the professional and personal roles of maximum benefit to themselves and others. This goal would be self-perpetuating. A society of individuals who achieve maximum benefit are best able to allow others to achieve maximum benefit in turn.

Historically coordination has been done by means of large government. But large government is extremely inefficient, and susceptible to ills like opacity and corruption. Seculus would like a structure that is efficient, small, and transparent.

He would like people to think of the structure as a collective of themselves rather than as a separate entity like "The Government", and of the money and resources it uses as their own, and not as those of the entity. These perceptions are in part conceptual, but are also strongly affected by the nature of the structure.

Seculus does not know how to design such a structure, nor how to implement it. Nor how to ensure that feedback can be used to improve it once it is working, but prevent it from being corrupted.

But he is open to ideas.

You can mail me at wilfred at extrange dot com, and I will pass all correspondence on to him.

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