I will be in conversation with former Newsnight Editor Stephen Haggard next Sat, 30th June talking of life without the state, perhaps touching on VegeBurger, living stars and what comes up. It’s a day out in the park at the Queen’s Park Book Festival, with loads of other authors and interesting people speaking, panelling and tickling minds throughout the day. Some are charged and some free including ours, event number 3, on at 12 noon in the Queens Park Community Tent, billed as
A literary brunch with veggie burger king, fractal artist and New Age entrepreneur Greg Sams (founder of Whole Earth foods, creator of the veggie burger, alternative thinker, published writer, entrepreneur), in conversation with local journalist and former Newsnight Editor Stephen Haggard.
At the end of last year I was asked to describe a positive vision of the future for “Newtopia,” an online BBC channel. An exciting first job of 2018 and, of course, I went for a world without the state, stressing the positive and not dwelling on the negatives (just listen to the news for that).
The challenge was to compress my entire book into 2.5 minutes of audio. Phew! It would have been easier to produce 60 minutes. Feeling good about being up top on the viewing charts with it.
Uncle Sam shuts down again, for the 19th time. Long ago, the US government thought it could legislate itself into sanity by putting a ceiling on the amount of money it could borrow – to stop the national debt getting out of hand. Since 1960, Congress has 78 times over-ridden that good intention and permanently raised, temporarily extended, or revised the definition of the debt limit. And what of the national debt? It’s out of hand.
This latest shutdown arises from another session of ‘horse-trading’ as one party holds another to ransom over a cause or project that it supports, before agreeing the increase. This time it’s about child migrants. 4 of the previous 18 shut downs were abortion related.
The politicians focus on political issues, not on the debt or budget. Do any sane voices suggest the government tries to manage with the vast sums it scoops out of the economy through its vast array of taxes? Must it forever borrow more in order to cover out-of-control spending?
All the top ends of the state, including the military, will be virtually untouched by the “shutdown.” State employees deemed non-essential (to core state survival) will not get paid, and there are many of them. National Parks, passport offices and other services stop. Many people will get pissed off, rightly so.
The business of war will continue as usual, and pointlessly. $5.6 trillion has been spent in the Middle East since 2001, not counting future liabilities to vets. Neither Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, nor Iran ever had ambitions to invade or attack the United States. The so-called hijackers of 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia anyway. It’s a sham, with horrific consequences. Western powers continue to fund a relentless expansion of the world’s conflict zones.
One day, perhaps, governments of the world really will shut down, on the back of a global financial collapse, such as that barely averted in 2008. Should this ever happen we must remember that bankers and governments do not invent or produce smart phones or airplanes, peas or wine, shoes or houses. We do.
Such a collapse would clearly be a difficult experience – but a survivable one. Humans are brilliant at self-organizing to meet each other’s needs and the evidence is everywhere you care to look. We already have established crypto currencies ready to step into the breach as a means of exchange. Amazon, EBay, Pay Pal et al keep their markets secure with constantly evolving algorithms, not police and prisons.
Today we are connected as never before and have the tools to replace, if it becomes necessary, those vital functions that the state was running, financing them with some of the wealth no longer consumed by taxes. If need be, we could even replace the archaic and expensive justice system, with joined up algorithms and no victimless offences. A modern spin can be put on the cost-free ancient deterrent of exile. The threat of exclusion or even deletion from social media, phone, Internet access, and other features of the digital world could both deter and protect. Jails are so last century.
The raison d’être of the state is to protect us from other versions of themselves. We do not need the burden of a political beast, which thrives on conflict in order to live in peace with each other and exchange things of value in a safe and organized manner. It has never been a natural or inevitable way for human beings to organize their affairs. We have survived for centuries despite the world’s ruling states, not because of them. We can survive and thrive, in peace, without them.
The wheel needs a whole new hub, not just another revolution.
This did not start with Donald Trump. It is good that he is barefaced and honest enough for people’s eyes to snap right open and realise where we have come to. The world reacts in anger as millions take to the streets to protest at his temporary ban on immigration from seven nations. That the previous president was already bombing Muslims in seven nations had somehow been acceptable. Surely bombing people is as bad as banning them. The groundwork for Trump’s ban had been put into place before he came to power, in the Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015 . To paraphrase Isaac Newton – If Trump has oppressed further than others it is because he is standing on the shoulders of tyrants.
It is not only the leader but also the system that oppresses, with a militarized police force, tyrannical application of laws and the criminalization of countless activities that have no victims. Sure, citizens have the right to vote for who is going to rule the system, but with that choice limited to different flavors of shite even an educated socially thoughtful majority are going to make a crap choice.
Many Americans had lost so much faith in the status quo that they wanted to vote against it, whatever the alternative. Many Trump voters would have been just as happy voting for his polar opposite, the humble and perceptive Bernie Sanders. They realized something had gone very wrong with their beloved nation and responded by jumping out of the pot they knew and despised, not caring if that might mean landing in an unfamiliar frying pan.
Those Trumpophobes who wanted to stick with the status quo (the devil you know) are in a shocked state of disbelief. The vulgar and insensitive character of the new president has activated them. They are like the frog in a pot that was being heated so slowly it was unaware of its own imminent demise. Trump’s election was a sudden leap in temperature, shifting from a very dark situation they had come to regard as normal, to what looks like an even darker shade of dark.
But just how dark does it have to flipping get? We know that our leaders did not give a damn whether or not WMD’s were in Iraq – they wanted war. They didn’t care about the people of Libya – they wanted a bombing spree. They fanned the flames of conflict in Syria, not for the people – they wanted war. Next in line was (or is) Iran, a beautiful nation of 77 million with a modern culture that functions better than many world nations who are allies of ours. Ditto for Syria and Libya not long ago. There are countless sub-plots to it all that involve oil-based currency plans, pipeline routes, oil, droughts, religions, bankers, et al. And the poster child of it all is the evil Islamic State, itself spawned by the heavy-handed activities of the so-called leader of the free world.
The problem with democracy, as we have just seen, is that anybody can win the popularity contest. Many world leaders, including Adolf Hitler, used and then abused the democratic system. The difficulty with government, democratic or otherwise, is that its natural tendency is to grow as long as society (it’s prey, you could say) is producing enough wealth to support it.
America currently creates more wealth than any other nation in the world. Its state is overgrown and its military budget surpasses that of the world’s next eight big spenders combined. A third of tax revenues go directly to the military (including veteran benefits). The real figure, including security agencies, private contractors, caring for the disabled, could take this far higher. At 20 a day, Veteran suicides grossly outnumber combat deaths, though do not figure as a cost or war.
Americans, immensely proud of being the strongest nation in the world, seem oblivious to the fact that such a mighty military force is not content to be sitting on its collective ass all day. It’s got a million and a half willing combatants trained to kill and equipped with the most sophisticated and powerful killing technology on the planet. Can you really think they are not going to be finding reasons to put all this practice and hardware into play? And if they cannot find a reason they can manufacture one.
In Europe and America our rulers and the status quo over which they preside (or under which they thrive) have been complicit in actions that have and continue to result in the death and injury of hundreds of thousands and the displacement of millions, the destruction of ancient monuments, homes and modern cities, the proliferation of weapons in the region, and massive profits for Western “defense” industries. To our own doorstep their actions have brought the relatively minor inconvenience of a refugee crisis and occasional acts of terrorism. We are feared and hated in many parts of the world, an understandable response to the wanton destruction being funded by our taxes.
The new president is such an obnoxious character that it is tempting to blame him for things which have been part of the scene for many years, such as police violence and the stripping of human rights that began with the Patriot Act. Fair play to Trumpophobes for hating him but don’t for a moment pretend that things were idyllic before him. He is just the new and uglier face of a government they support; a body to which they have already sacrificed their rights, complacent that the state knows who they know, what they watch and like, what they say, write, and buy. Our states have granted themselves the right to tap into everything we do, in order to protect us from a threat that has arisen as a result of their activities on the world stage. This is not something Trump set up. This is the apparatus of a police state, far more invasive even than the notorious Stasi of former East Germany. It was something to be concerned about long before the Donald.
With talk of measures to ban so-called “fake news,” any views diverging from the official propaganda line could soon become prosecutable. And if Trump is the evil demagogue that many fear, he will now have the power to quickly identify and shut down dissenting views, expunging any remaining semblance of democracy from the system. It has been an ever-reducing commodity of late.
Trump and Hillary are just different shades of darkness. We cannot know where she would have taken us, but her track record would suggest more war and pipelines, less rights and freedoms. Barack Obama may have seemed ‘white’ by comparison to those two, but still we saw bombings and domestic surveillance soar on his watch. He may not have banned Muslims but he sure bombed them. This is the so-called democracy that the American state now administers, setting a standard for the free world.
After this, can anybody still believe that the democratic process is going to make it all right, by getting a decent honest man into the White House? Many thought Obama to be that man, though with a barrelful of rotten apples it is optimistic to believe that we can throw an unblemished one into the pile that will un-rot all the others. Yet many keep hoping for this magic apple.
As long as we believe that the road to peace is paved with rules and regulations enforced by police and military we will continue to see conflict in the world. We are more suited to living together than to killing each other, with peace being an easier and more natural state than war. We are not all born with sin in our hearts because of what Eve did. There is another way and we have countless instances where we govern from the bottom up and do an excellent job, without even thinking about it. It is time to consider whether we are truly in need of a nuclear umbrella to protect us and countless politicians and bureaucrats to regulate us. However much power rests in the state’s hands, when it comes right down to it their existence depends upon our belief in a need for their control. Can we do it ourselves? You bet we can.
Warning: book plug approaching: I wrote this blog in the hope of converting Trumpophobes to ‘Stateophobes,’ or freedom lovers as I prefer to put it. We must pin the tail on the donkey and not its rider. Were Donald Trump removed from power next month the world would not return to some idyllic state without wars, onerous travel restrictions, racial tensions and sexist behavior. Government would still be corrupt and/or in the pockets of corporations, the military, and bankers. Wealth would still transfer from the many to the one percent.
Ah yes, the book. It is one thing to point out the flawed nature of this system. What we can do about it and how we can do it and why we need to do it is the subject of my book, The State Is Out Of Date, We Can Do It Better.
More information and chapter briefs on my website. It’s positive, not paranoid.
The election of Donald Trump to President demonstrates as nothing else the failure of so-called democracy to alter the nature of that “necessary evil” called government. In the birthplace of modern democracy we see a man hated by most of the population rise to become its ruler, oops, I mean leader. This, because even more people hated the woman running against him, and with good cause.
I will not digress into the pros and cons of either candidate here. They shared the same major pro of not being each other, and enough cons apiece for an entire book. People often ask if I am working on another book and if I were, for sure, that would not be it. An earlier book of mine looks beyond pros and cons of candidates, beyond even “who took down the Twin Towers?” type questions. “Why does this shit keep going on?” is a better question than “who did what to whom for why.” This backdrop shapes the comments this bizarre contest prompted.
Like nothing else, this election underlines the reality that by whatever means our rulers assume power it is the structure of rule itself that invites abuse. Churchill was wrong to say “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” History may well compare the actions of some modern democracies unfavourably to other and older non-democratic regimes. There have been kings and queens who thought well of their subjects, avoiding warfare and living within their, albeit comfortable, means. Relax, I will not digress into the pro’s and con’s of the dozens of failed variants of rule–by-the-stick throughout history.
However they got there, those in power have the self-given right to make rules and to force compliance upon us. Legislation stripping us of our right to privacy and basic human freedoms can be passed by a majority of our so-called representatives, few of whom will have read the thousands of pages within those acts. Even if they do, and object, the aptly named Chief Whip is there to beat them into compliance. Terrorism, drugs, tax-evaders and pedophiles are often pulled out of ye olde propaganda box to scare us into accepting ever more intrusions. Rant stops, not going there.
Let us imagine it is all going well – we’ve got good people elected into power and whilst they take a bunch of taxes they do provide reliable services on the education, public services, safety and clean roads-type departments. Maybe they don’t even lock people up for victimless crimes. America used to be a lot like that. Everybody thought it could only get better. Yet back in 1989 the former sheriff of Sacramento, California’s capitol, told me unequivocally that the USA had already become a police state. It wasn’t as obvious to the rest of us at that time.
Once we have relinquished our rights and freedoms to so-called government they may never return. Indeed the current course is one of ongoing diminishment. Who would have ever thought the so-called government could access all our private correspondence and browsing history, in the name of fighting a terrorism spawned by their own violent interventions in the Middle East? The problem with creating a surveillance state is that you never know who may inherit it and what they will consider acceptable or not.
Let us hope that Trump does not live up to his campaign persona. There is always hope, but this man could be bad news indeed. For very sound reasons, people wanted a change from the same old shit in the US elections and had leftie Bernie Saunders been the Democratic candidate many believe he would have won the vote for change. In Europe we now see far right parties soaring in popularity while in Greece it was far left party Syriza that unexpectedly rose to power (only to be beaten into line by the EU bankers). We see far left Podemos in Spain and far right Front Nationale in France. Oh my!
The only thing we can really be sure of is that we have little idea of who or what may be in power a generation or three ahead, or of what use they will make of the all-pervasive technology at their disposal. Perhaps one day a dangerous megalomaniac will gain control of your nation’s destiny, perhaps a religious fundamentalist, a clique of bankers or a charismatic gangster. Could the AI singularity enable computers to take over? Might they do a better job than those currently in control? Many might vote for an algorithm, given the chance. It would certainly be a change.
Anybody but who we’ve got now is as far as many will allow their imagination to run. They know the old narrative is failed and hope anybody new in charge cannot be any worse. But just turning the wheel of state a little or a lot, to the left or the right, is not enough. The wheel needs a whole new hub, not just another revolution. Left, right, religious, military, we can’t be sure of future shifts in politics, aptly described as war without the bloodshed. Even dangerous people we dislike can gain power legitimately, claiming their mandate to rule based upon our votes. Even honest and uncorrupted people in power can be brutally repressive when committed to a religion or political ism.
Whoever runs it, corruption is likely to be rife in a structure based on the foundation stone of coercion, a structure that long ago granted itself the right to demand money and direct behavior at the point of a sword. Many different types of ruler have occupied this structure over the ages, claiming their right to rule on one basis or another, and demanding money at the point of a sword. Democracy claims to represent the will of the people but whoever we vote for, the so-called government stays in power, demanding money – you get my drift.
We need real government, the sort that operates naturally from the bottom up; the sort that evolves effortlessly to adapt to new situations and meet new needs; the sort we take for granted because it happens without us trying; the sort that does not rely upon the “big stick” to govern us. This is the core subject of my book mentioned earlier. For many today, so-called democracy has come down to choosing the lesser evil. This is not a rational or effective way to govern our complex society. Recognizing how well we self-govern or used to self-govern large complex aspects of our civilization is edifying, and not to be taken for granted. Look where we have taken music, transport & travel, and information technology, governing from the bottom up without the state. Have so-called governments evolved beyond wars; beyond police, courts & prisons; beyond people in charge telling us what to do? International trade between ancient cultures long preceded the existence of rulers, taxes and global banking systems.
We still self-govern much of our food chain with feedback loops largely intact between consumers, sellers and manufacturers – if not farmers. We witness countless new food products appearing on the market. Some join our culinary culture and some fail. If some consumers want their cars to be electric or their food chemical-free they can get it. That’s natural government at work, from the bottom up.
After the Second World War, German u-boats and the like, the British government decided the nation’s food supply was so important to our survival that it needed their guidance. Intervention in farming gradually grew, replacing feedback loops with price and subsidy schemes skewed to favour meat and dairy. Industrial agriculture and the factory farm were born and boosted by conformity to EU agricultural policies, leading to the the infamous lakes of milk and wine and mountains of butter and beef that grew through the 1970’ and 80’s, persisting for nearly four decades. From this source came the cow meat fed to cattle that then developed Mad Cow disease. We still have not emerged from their management today, and most farmers in Europe would go bankrupt without government grants and subsidy.
Let us do a thought experiment and imagine a planet where for several generations the so-called government managed the entire food supply, contracting farmers, processors, and caterers to feed the people. They taught that in the bad old days we suffered terrible health and food poisoning when choosing what to eat for ourselves. But in time the gargantuan state service starts to experience failures of service (frequent rotten, toxic, adulterated food and missed deliveries). Without feedback loops, what can people do other than clamour for improvements? Few would consider scrapping this faulty model and doing it themselves, through fear of inevitable starvation and poisoning, however dodgy the existing supply is. How could we possibly take care of such a complex issue ourselves? You know the answer.
We do already, and the fact that millions of residents in the world’s cities are fed daily according to their tastes and pockets without anybody planning it centrally is one of the miracles acknowledged by new science ‘chaos theory’ in the 1980’s. Chaos theory was the catalyst that led me to write the aforementioned book, providing as it did some scientific underpinning to what I had already learned about the power of freedom and the perils of its suppression.
The truth is that people are great at cooperating and living together. There is no regulatory glue of government that keeps it all working and any change we think the state must force upon us is change we can effect ourselves. There are free market means to guarantee product safety and truth in product description just as there are to assure organic cultivation and fair trade. Supermarket chains have very demanding, and enforced, quality standards. Amazon and other online businesses maintain order without needing jails. The government’s track record is not very good. The government we would like to protect us from corporations is the same one enacting laws that let frackers over-ride centuries-old common law land rights. States love large corporations, which simplify the harvesting of taxes, deducting it at source.
Rule by a coercive state is not a natural state of affairs for humanity. It is wrong yet we buy into it for the same reason that we once bought into the idea of a flat earth, believed the whole Universe rotated around us and, in China, thought that binding women’s feet was a normal thing to do. Tradition. Several factors could bring about the natural collapse of this unnatural state of affairs within our lifetimes and the dumbest thing we could do is just re-create a new variant, with new leaders very different to the ones we know. My book does not fit into a short sound bite so if after the US election you are wondering what in the hell is wrong with the way we run this world and what other options there are, you might find it an enjoyable read.
There is just no way to assess the validity of a 200-page Treasury report in which small variations of the forecast assumptions can significantly affect the results. Keep in mind that these assumptions are made by experts who did not forecast the recent collapse in oil prices or the global banking crisis of 2008.
We know that information can be massaged to achieve politically desired results – it’s called “torturing the data until it confesses,” according to New Scientist. Politicians are the least trusted of all professions, with 21% of us doubting their honesty, well below the 37% who trust bankers. We almost expect mendacity from our government, and are tolerant provided it’s been aged before discovery. For a detailed ripping-to-shreds of Osborne’s spurious concoction, check Fraser Nelson’s piece in The Spectator.
I suggest we ignore attempts at forecasting specifics in a fragile scenario where anything could happen, up to and including disintegration of the European Union, with or without Britain included. The refugee situation is already defragmenting parts of it. Several member states are in difficult straits. The Eurozone is in a mess, and who knows what black swan is coming next? No predictions here, just perspective.
Let us put into perspective the pro-Euro camp’s 200 pages of taxpayer-funded fear mongering, suggesting a cost of £4300 per household. Preserving the bankers in 2008 has so far cost the UK £133 Billion – that’s £4926 per household. We were offered no referendum on that, and also made potentially liable for up to £1029 Billion in related guarantee commitments, or £38,000 per household.
We can only sensibly go with our guts on this one and decide which way our instincts point us when not fogged by fear of consequences. We transitioned into the EU smoothly all those years ago and could easily transition out. Had we seen forecasts that this thing called VAT would add 20% to the cost of most of what we buy, the vote would have gone against joining. Leaving will not damage the viability of 64 million people managing to co-exist and provide for each other on a relatively small island. Whether we collapse or thrive will depend on bigger factors than how many layers of government and regulation we want to support.
I have lived and worked in the UK before and during EU membership. Yes it added to the cost and complexity of living, but we endured. If we leave we won’t miss passport-free travel since we never enjoyed it, and will continue to change pounds for euros and use credit cards abroad. I am not being glib, but commerce will work its stuff out if we leave.
Whichever choice we make today we will look back in 20 years and think either that we made the right choice or the wrong choice and which of those we think will be up to all the choices we make between now and then.
– ••• –
I am author of The State Is Out Of Date, We Can Do It Better, a book which makes the case for increasing self-government and decreasing top-down government by fear. The issue is not who is in power, how they got there, what they want to do, or why. The issue is whether or not the underlying principles of the state can ever bring us lasting peace and harmony – and what could.
The European Union is now seeking to criminalize people who are being charitable to refugees arriving on boats, reports The Times. With people smugglers now outranking pedophile rings in the crime stakes those good people in Greece who help migrants ashore and give them dry clothes and food are clearly accomplices. People smuggling must be stopped and these people’s compassionate humanity is now deemed part of the problem.
Here we see a stark example of the state’s underlying psychopathic nature, devoid of empathy. When our actions are legislated instead of voluntary the feedback loop is cut between stimulus and response, which is where empathy resides. Like allopathic medicine the state cares little about causes, seeking mainly to suppress symptoms. Forget about the wars we started and fearsome groups we trained and funded; forget the once stable countries now riven by rival factions following “regime change” and the gift of democracy. Yeah, let’s hit those friggin’ people smugglers – they’re the problem!
What have these evil men done? Their crime is helping desperate people flee a war zone, people who are prohibited from boarding normal ferry services or air flights due to lack of papers. Often criminals by trade, I doubt they are nice guys, but their customers willingly take the risk. Of the 1.8 million illegal refugees entering Europe in 2015, mainly by sea, 3,770 drowned. Each one is a dreadful tragedy but when you do the maths, 998 out of 1000 illegal migrants get through alive. On a legitimate ferry service those odds are unacceptable but those fleeing a war zone are disallowed that, and will pay twenty times the fare and take a thousand times the risk. Now the Council wants smuggling upgraded to the status of people trafficking, when the two are clearly opposite ends of the spectrum. You usually pay to be smuggled and are free thereafter, whereas trafficking is akin to slavery. Yet the Council argues equivalence and can charge all those involved in smuggling without needing to show financial gain, unlike in a charge of trafficking.
This war on people smugglers will be a good earner for some. In their depiction of people smuggling as the scourge of our age they want all Member States to undertake a “comprehensive, multidisciplinary and cross-border approach” – this to combat some Turkish gangsters with a supply of inflatable boats. Across Member States this will co-ordinate different agencies “including law enforcement and judiciary authorities, labour, social, health and fisheries inspectorates, border forces, immigration services, local and regional governments, tax authorities, NGOs, businesses, trade unions, employers’ organisations and embassies.” One suspects that NATO member Turkey could at a stroke end the people smuggling but that would be far too simple, and kill a high-profit business that is, let’s face it, helping desperate people escape the horror.
Tony Bunyan, Statewatch Director, comments:“The Council proposals would criminalise NGOs, local people and volunteers who have worked heroically to welcome refugees when the EU institutions did nothing, while other plans would require them to “register” with the police and work within state structures. In a humane and caring EU it should not be necessary to “register” to offer help and care to people who have suffered so much already.” See the full Statewatch report here:
I am often criticized for being naïve when I suggest that human charity would be capable of covering our social responsibilities better than the state, if needs were to be. Friends of mine brought to life the Refugee Community Kitchen in Calais last November, which is completely self-funding and puts out over 2000 meals a day. Watch the video and do remember, this is people being human. So I love these examples of human charity rising to a challenge – despite half its income already being consumed in taxes. Think how it could be with all our resources to hand, without our taxes being used to obstruct their efforts.
In my book The State Is Out of Date, We Can Do It Better, I explore just how and why humanity is good at coming up with solutions that resolve problems instead of feeding upon them. It’s a book for those who realize politics isn’t working and wonder what would. The answer is staring us in the face and so simple it is difficult to grasp.
For any fans of Thomas Paine, or my first book Uncommon Sense, I highly recommend a listen to Melvyn Bragg’s excellent coverage of Paine’s world-changing book “Common Sense,” published in 1776. This 48-page publication was responsible for solidifying that which began as a tax protest into the American Revolution for independence. It also helped trigger the French Revolution and set the stage for the world’s first nation states. It was the best-selling book of the 18th century and, were sales scaled up to today’s population, they would have achieved 150 million. It is an amazing story.
Do we need Big Brother to regulate our relationship with gender issues? The City of New York, in its efforts to eliminate gender discrimination has made citizens liable to fines of up to $125,000 for calling somebody mister who considers themself miss (or vice versa), rising up to $250,000 if transgressions are deliberate and hurtful. Hello? It comes with the Human Rights Law constructed by lawyers to ban all gender discrimination. Their legalistic definitions of genders are very explicit, starting with:
“Gender is defined as one’s “actual or perceived sex and shall also include a person’s gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior or expression, whether or not that gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior or expression is different from that traditionally associated with the legal sex assigned to that person at birth.”
I am, officially speaking, a “cisgender.” What are you?
This blog post by Dr. Eowynmade me reflect upon the fact that when I was a young man the state jailed people for being homosexual and nobody realised that Liberace was gay. The law’s change in attitude has followed a natural shift in our attitudes to gender variety, lubricated by the social normalization of once-shunned homosexuals. Transgenders are the latest gender to leap out of the closet. Now, the authorities who once jailed the few who dared to express banned gender identity now fine or jail those few who still express the old-fashioned bigotry they once enforced.
Banning specific gender identities, or banning those who don’t like them, simply slows the process of social change, needlessly damaging lives in the process. The change happens first anyway, aided and abetted by social and, I hesitate to call it, “mainstream” media. So what if some baker in wherever doesn’t want to bake a cake that offends their religious quirks; or a couple from a shrinking culture are uncomfortable with the gender choices of B&B guests wanting to visit home. As far as I know, it is still legal to refuse service to bald people, teenagers, or customers without shoes. If we must have police, judges and jails this is not what they are for.
We are seeing the primal urge of an organization to grow and expand. In this case that organization is the state, which expands by finding ever more aspects of human life that need its management. In the course of it, we move closer and closer to the “thoughtcrimes” of George Orwells’ 1984. We already have the cameras, in abundance.
And yes (plug time), all this and more is explored in my book, The State Is Out Of Date – We Can Do It Better. The state is no longer “a necessary evil,” and is ultimately less capable than are we of controlling the excesses of bigoted people, or corporate greed. Indeed, the bigoted state and its body of statute law protects and often subsidizes the very activities we think they should be reigning in.