http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-08-0 ... tion-stateI’ll speculate it was largely due to an intellectual factor, the invention of the printing press; and a physical factor, the widespread use of gunpowder. The printing press destroyed the monopoly the elites had on knowledge; the average man could now see that they were no smarter or “better” than he was. If he was going to fight them (conflict is, after all, what politics is all about), it didn’t have to be just because he was told to, but because he was motivated by an idea. And now, with gunpowder, he was on an equal footing with the ruler’s knights and professional soldiers.
Right now I believe we’re at the cusp of another change, at least as important as the ones that took place around 12,000 years ago and several hundred years ago. Even though things are starting to look truly grim for the individual, with collapsing economic structures and increasingly virulent governments, I suspect help is on the way from historical evolution. Just as the agricultural revolution put an end to tribalism and the industrial revolution killed the kingdom, I think we’re heading for another multipronged revolution that’s going to make the nation-state an anachronism. It won’t happen next month, or next year. But I’ll bet the pattern will start becoming clear within the lifetime of many now reading this.
What pattern am I talking about? Once again, a reference to the evil genius Karl Marx, with his concept of the “withering away of the State.” By the end of this century, I suspect the US and most other nation-states will have, for all practical purposes, ceased to exist.
The Problem with the State—And Your Nation-State
Of course, while I suspect that many of you are sympathetic to that sentiment, you also think the concept is too far out, and that I’m guilty of wishful thinking. People believe the state is necessary and—generally—good. They never even question whether the institution is permanent.
My view is that the institution of the state itself is a bad thing. It’s not a question of getting the right people into the government; the institution itself is hopelessly flawed and necessarily corrupts the people that compose it, as well as the people it rules. This statement invariably shocks people, who believe that government is both a necessary and permanent part of the cosmic firmament.
The problem is that government is based on coercion, and it is, at a minimum, suboptimal to base a social structure on institutionalized coercion. Let me urge you to read the Tannehills’ superb The Market for Liberty, which is available for free, download here.
One of the huge changes brought by the printing press and advanced exponentially by the Internet is that people are able to readily pursue different interests and points of view. As a result, they have less and less in common: living within the same political borders is no longer enough to make them countrymen. That’s a big change from pre-agricultural times when members of the same tribe had quite a bit—almost everything—in common. But this has been increasingly diluted in the times of the kingdom and the nation-state. If you’re honest, you may find you have very little in common with most of your countrymen besides superficialities and trivialities.
Ponder that point for a minute. What do you have in common with your fellow countrymen? A mode of living, (perhaps) a common language, possibly some shared experiences and myths, and a common ruler. But very little of any real meaning or importance. To start with, they’re more likely to be an active danger to you than the citizens of a presumed “enemy” country, say, like Iran. If you earn a good living, certainly if you own a business and have assets, your fellow Americans are the ones who actually present the clear and present danger. The average American (about 50% of them now) pays no income tax. Even if he’s not actually a direct or indirect employee of the government, he’s a net recipient of its largesse, which is to say your wealth, through Social Security and other welfare programs.
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