What is steel compared to the hand that runs it?
– From Thulsa Doom Barbarian Conan
There is no more exciting and anxious time in a writer’s life than launch week. The book you spent nine months writing and three months preparing will be tested in the market. And the market is made up of people of all kinds.
I just started Decentralization: Mission, ethics and money in the crypto age. My first critic gave the book One star out of fiveText:
Although I found some of the information useful and the author’s primary motives such as the role resonated (sic), a large part of the book deals with self-created morality and meaning, which sounds a lot like anti-government + new age religion.
Ouch. That sting.
Yet I am reminded of the editor’s advice: it is more about how readers take your work than your purpose. So, instead of arguing with the reviewer about what they did wrong, I’d rather talk about what they did right – despite the one-stars. My hope, despite having some faults, is that Decentralization Challenges readers.
An anti-government New-Age cult
This description, hyperbolic, contains a grain of truth. In other words, Decentralization Designed for reading as a secular religion text — Jeffersonian Esoterica. I knew I was taking a risk, but I had to try. I have lamented the loss of religious affiliation in America in past columns. I believe this loss has led to the collapse of an essential source of community and moral education.
Today we see the consequences of that fall.
I am more concerned that, for many, there is no going back to the religion of those old times, even though decentralization is compatible with most religions. Yet, those who have strayed from their flocks are facing civic, moral, and spiritual malnutrition. Social cohesion cannot be maintained by politics alone. And this is a major lesson in the book.
Before moving on to the notion that politics is a domain separate from ethics, I would like to briefly address a few additional points.
First, Decentralization Not exactly “anti-government”, but it will almost certainly come to the centerists. More subtly, it is anti-authoritarian. In other words, instead of one ring, there should be many rings. There should be many small countries instead of a strong nation-state. Instead of One Imperial Power, including One True Way, there should be a competitive, self-organized judiciary that can serve as an independent test. They can rise or fall according to their ability to attract and retain
Let thousands of systems flourish. And people vote with their feet.
What better way to create local experimentation than to give people a chance? Opt out of system (in and out)? In fact, local tests that fail are preferred over national tests that end in complete disaster. This idea is basic, but it is not new. That’s why I’m grounded Decentralization In the more familiar part of the secular scriptures:
To protect these rights, governments are established among men, acquiring their just powers with the consent of the rulers – whenever any government becomes destructive to these goals, it is the people’s right to change or repeal it, and to establish a new government. Establishing national policies and organizing its powers in a way that would seem to affect their security and well-being.
I’m sure King George III thought this kind of revolutionary popcorn was positively New Age at the time. But based on the wisdom of the founders, my goal is to inspire readers to finish the revolutionary project, whether in America or abroad.
Six spheres, six offenses
Human health is embedded in everyone’s commitment to morality. The ancients mentioned the virtues because they were a moral commitment to practice and not just an abstraction taken from the air. Inside Decentralized, I identify six ethical areas:
- Non-violence – refrain from harming others in their person or property;
- Integrity – Be a man and respect his promises;
- Compassion – Value others as individuals and thus meet their hardships;
- Pluralism – To be tolerant of the views of others and to look for aspects of truth in them;
- Stewardship – Take care of your property or office, keep them better;
- Rationality – Finding the truth by using the opportunities of reasoning.
One may not think the six fields are enough, but they are necessary to maintain a society of peace, freedom and abundance. So when my reviewer says I’m flirting with “self-created morality,” I can agree to the extent that, without conscious, constant practice, our moral universe begins to disappear.
It feels good WorkNot just lip service.
Now, there are evil spheres of the six spheres, which are habits that can destroy social order. The six offenses are:
- Violence. Threatening or initiating harm against others so that they can be coerced in any way.
- Corruption. Using some pointless means like wealth or power.
- Cruelty. Showing indifference to the suffering or misery of others.
- Monomania. Working under the notion that there is only one true path and no other path.
- Neglect. Avoiding the responsibility of taking care of his office or property.
- Casustry. Using detailed or deceptive speech instead of good speech.
Notice that the centrists – i.e. those who worship in the Church of the State – consider the six crimes as political tactics. According to centralists, the edges support the way. The strategy is immoral. Indeed, for centrists, ethics is the sum of morality and the culmination of political strategy. Far from being immoral or destructive, the six crimes are exactly how sausage is made.
We make our rules, and then our rules make us.
The more we reduce moral practice in political tactics, the more we create social harm.
Violence. Consider that the whole building of the nation-state exists because a group of elites control a violence exclusively. This is an undeniable fact. Violence defines the state. As Max Weber puts it, the state is a group of people who “(successfully) claim exclusively the legitimate use of physical energy within a certain area.” But “valid” means LegalNot moral – especially state actors ultimately decide what is legal and what is not.
Corruption. Although we don’t talk enough about it, corruption is also part of the government and parcels. Of course there are levels and types of corruption. In some countries, officials take bribes. In America, they contribute to the campaign. The political hierarchy opts for sociopaths who rise to the top in dubious ways. Of course, some politicians have honesty. But most will have to auction it off to be successful. Otherwise, they have no power. And if voters think they can get something for free, they will often look the other way when it comes to revenge.
Cruelty. Does politics make people stupid? We constantly hear, for example, that the larger European welfare states are more “sympathetic” societies, although the United States has a larger welfare state. In both cases, the welfare states give people the opportunity to outsource their sympathy. This may not seem unreasonable at first, but centralized welfare creates apathy. “I pay my taxes,” most people muttered. Cruelty comes when someone starts seeing others as ATMs instead of giving of themselves. They have done a good job by posting their policy prescriptions online. But redistribution is not sympathy at all. It is mandatory. And often, well-wishers do little better.
Monomania. Although platforms change in the political air, partisans tend to be monogamous. Notice how they never make a mistake. While technocrats can quickly bring out some high ideals, they almost always lack the knowledge needed to implement them. dirigisme. When policies fail or create distorted effects, they blame the other party or cry that the program of their choice is not adequately funded.
Centralists also imagine that the state is somehow a good and fair steward of wealth. Yet the resources that the state wastes make a book for itself. Governments carry more debt than their productive output (GDP). Workers pay extra to military contractors that will not carry any market. The US government is also the world’s biggest polluter; Its military alone corrupts more than 100 countries. Roads have become dilapidated as new highways have been built in the Congress desert. Social security funds are empty. The centralist system creates a stimulus to neglect. And the political class remains responsible.
Casustry. There is no need to explain the innumerable ways that the political elite use to seduce people. One has only to mention that some of the biggest propagandists of “confusion” are being tapped to the staff of the new disinformation board of the US government. For reasons that should be clear, it has been called the “Ministry of Truth.” If the other side occupies the board, far from being devoted to the pursuit of truth, it will be the snatching of a gun by the detractors and extremists of a different group.
Whenever you notice the chauvinists of centralism, you will notice some bias. Most people want to see their previous confirmed. When you fail to convince their predecessors and offer them some medicine, some will spit on you again.
Political partisanship has replaced moral practice. And most people feel comfortable expanding their political power. Of course, these two concerns are related and self-empowering. Either way, we need to get our morals back.
While crypto-technologies promise anti-authoritarian tools, they are working. Scammers, hackers and other bad actors threaten to destroy this newborn ecosystem before they turn. But a mature crypto industry promises to be a strong check on the authorities. Conscientious people must fight to protect them. And it takes mission, ethics and money.
That is why I wrote Decentralization.
Confused by political spectacles and erroneous ideologies, the world is forever forgetting the truth. Even if it means shouting in the air, we must do our best to restore the human practices that protect civilization. Without mission, ethics and money, no human system – centralized or decentralized – can improve. Even then power needs to be decentralized. It’s not just that the fall of the empire is day after day, night after night. The rise of the managing state is destroying innocent people.
And we have to speak for them.