Is it Folly to Change the World? (MLN #3)

in anarchy •  3 years ago  (edited)

I want to change the world by replacing the nation-state with a voluntary order. People say that's folly. Here's why it's not.

I’ve stated my intention of bringing about a change in the world by replacing the nation-state with a decentralized, voluntary order of client-accountable organizations that provide services such as security, dispute resolution and social safety net.

The first step when you want something is to ask for it. If you don’t get it, do you give up?

No. If you want it badly enough. If you’re convinced of the righteousness of your cause, then you goddamned better well demand what it is you want.

Otherwise, I have to question what you think your purpose is in this life. There is no human being, ever, with a higher claim to your life and your rights than you. If you don’t stand up for yourself, who will?

No one.

Trying to change the world is folly, a few people have said to me. Let’s look at some of their objections.

1. I can only change my world.

I can only change my world. Me, that’s all I have power over.

True. Yet by changing yourself and your world, you inevitably change the world, since you’re a part of it.

Further, by changing your world, you inspire others to do the same. This self-perpetuating process can end up changing the whole world.

Finally, once you’ve changed your world, then what? You developed skills and knowledge that are in demand in the marketplace. Are you going to hide this knowledge? Repudiate these skills?

Of course not. You’re going to put yourself out there to have an even bigger impact. We admire great inventors, leaders and inspirers. They make great money, too. And their impact on the world is frequently beyond measure.

2. We should just accept other people as they are.

I’m me and you’re you. Don’t try to change me.

But some people are destructive assholes. They pose a threat. They need an intervention before they contradict themselves by forcibly changing someone else’s life for the worse.

Other people are crying out for help. They want to be better. They want to live in a better world. They want to change the world with you.

Are you going to ignore them?

3. We need only change our thoughts about the world in order for it to change.

Zen enthusiasts advocate meditation and tell us to accommodate ourselves to others and to just think differently. They take a longer view.

But when the nation-state’s goons are killing children with drone strikes or seizing your family’s business or taking 1/3 of your income, happy thoughts don’t really help.

Passivity is not a solution.

4. It’s arrogant to change the world.

How dare you think you know better than the rest of us how to live our lives?

Was the invention of the telegraph or the discovery of electricity arrogant? How about the invention of airplanes and the offering of daily flights to just about everywhere? The invention and use of the internet must be the height of hubris.

if you have a better product, service or idea, don’t allow yourself to be cowed by negative people, people who are threatened by change and may be possessed by envy.

Charge forward, instead, with confidence. Those who agree will accept the idea. Together you will implement it. The world will change for the better and you might even be thanked in the process.

5. New technologies will change the world automagically without us having to lift a finger.

Technologies X, Y and Z will gradually result in the obsolescence of the nation-state. No need to lift a finger.

This is another example of passivity. It implicitly denies agency and suffers from invisible hand syndrome: the idea that the actions of huge groups of people doing the things you quietly want them to do will automagically add up to the unexpected end result you seek.

It’s nothing more than fantasy play. The ultimate technology is people. A single human mind is the most powerful computer in existence.

And it’s stubborn.

Human minds don’t automagically change and new political systems don’t automagically arise just because someone invented something.

Political change requires leadership, organization and consistency. Supplanting the nation-state is likely the most far-reaching political change the world will see in 6 millennia.

It ain’t gonna be easy.

6. Evil destroys itself. Fighting it only gives it more power.

Evil is just plain misguided. So it inevitably destroys itself. If you fight it, you just give it more negative energy and it thrives on that.

Evil doesn’t destroy itself when good people support it. That is the unfortunate case with the nation-state.

This is how we’ve always done it. We need strong cops. How else will I get my Medicaid? Where do I send my tax check? I support the troops!

Fighting evil can indeed give it additional power, which is why we need to build our way out of the nation-state, instead of trying to tear it all down.

7. Focusing so big means you’ll never have an impact.

If you want to achieve success, focus on small goals.

This is wise advice — in the short term.

Your short term goals, however, had better be adding up to a meaningful long term goal. Otherwise, you’re like a very efficiently-run ship, heading from island to island with no end destination, no end goal.

You got more work done this week than last, but is the work meaningful? Is it resulting in a greater income? Will you look back on it when you’re older and consider that week well spent?

Where is this more work leading you to? Is it just a paycheck? Are you just helping the company make more money? Or is it leading you to a happier life, more time with your family, a vacation, a comfortable retirement, to creating a better life for your kids, to owning your own business, to making an impact on the world around you?

If you can’t focus on the big picture, and make a series of more tightly-focused short and medium term plans to get you to your big picture, then you need to get better at planning.

A big goal is just a collection of small goals that add up to something at the end, like the chapters in a novel or the courses in a college education.

8. It’s just too hard.

Changing the world is a huge task. It’s just too hard. I— I just can’t.

How ridiculous is it to say that in a world where we have self-driving electric sports cars, a space station, the collected knowledge of humanity at our fingertips, material wealth beyond anything the great kings of old enjoyed and multiple groups of people working seriously towards colonizing Mars?

The only limits that exist are in your mind. Shed them!

Why not both?

Change yourself or change the world?

Why not both?

Changing yourself is the first step towards changing the world. So why not align yourself with a larger goal? Why not give your life greater meaning? You hold beliefs about how the world should work. Are they just for philosophical fun, so you can feel superior to others? Or do they mean something to you? Are you willing to risk your time and energy to make them real?

The institution of the nation-state will be widely recognized as an outdated relic some day soon. Help me make that day come faster. Join me in the conversation as we bring about a voluntary world by 2064.

We could start a subreddit for this but let’s use a Steem tag instead. Sign up, tag your posts with voluntaryworld2064, follow me and email me about your first post so I can upvote, comment and follow you, too.

If nothing else, this is gonna be fun!


Authors get paid when people like you upvote their post.
If you enjoyed what you read here, create your account today and start earning FREE STEEM!
Sort Order:  

Hi @georgedonnelly, I just wanted to let you know that my new post "The 40 anarchists you want to follow on Steemit!" is up, and you're on the list :-) You can find it here

Wow, thanks man! Hey, please remember to email me. I want to get you on @steemsmart very soon.

I love this thinking. The more anarchists that come on the more I'm getting a different perspective. Good job @georgedonnelly!


This came up briefly in our last podcast episode and I'm pretty sure I failed at explaining myself properly. All I meant is that how we affect the world "out there" should be a side-effect of our actions, not the primary goal/focus. Rather than trying to make others change to conform to our ideals, we ought to just lead by example... that's my opinion anyway ;)

I wanted to offer my contrarian viewpoint but we were running out of time. It was funny tho how that conversation in episode 2 echoed other conversations I was having.

I think I understand what you're saying. I'm really combining the two apparently conflicting ideas and saying they work well when you put them together and work on both.

I'm into leading by example but that implies a certain quiet passivity that isn't going to get the job done. We need to do more, I'm arguing.


I understand. I guess I just don't care about "getting the job done" for everyone else anymore. If others want to follow our lead, that's great, but I'm also okay with letting them burn in the flames of their own doing too... yeah, I have a dark side, I guess ;)

Here's the thing. The nation-state is a threat to all of us everywhere, including where you are. It's not like you can just move and free yourself from it.

Also, we all suffer from the lack of scientific and cultural progress that is a result of the nation-state stealing from people and limiting their non-aggressive actions.

So, it's not as simple as me vs everyone else.

I don't believe its folly, good video. First I've seen of your work, checked out some of your other stuff. Keep it up.

Thanks, will do!

Interesting. It confuses me a bit though, it is a political manifesto that has no policies made in the manner of a self help guru, would this be true to say?

Can you rephrase that?

This is inspirational and important! Libertarians of the world should follow the advice of @georgedonnelly.