There have always been people with a passion for liberty. Since the earliest historical records, we can find questioners, dissenters, “trouble makers”, contrarians and all kinds of free and inquisitive minds. In this day and age, however, technology has played a decisive role in the influence they can have. Sure, the “bad guys” might be taking advantage of all the latest innovations for their nefarious goals and their devious plans. But the “good guys” have also massively benefitted. (Click here to read Part I)
For one thing, over the last decade, it has become extremely easy to find, engage with, learn from and debate with like-minded people. Too many of us take this for granted, but if you really think about it, it is a true, historical, and immensely consequential game changer. The mere act of discussing higher ideas with someone at the antipodes, who maybe knows something you don’t, or has the capacity to make you rethink your own ideas, maybe even reject them, is a true intellectual luxury.
For me, this is the starting point for any path to freedom. Free debate, open exchange of ideas, engaging with theories and viewpoints one might disagree with or even find “offensive”. Freedom of speech is an absolute requirement, but so is the willingness, on the part of the individual, to respect and to listen to the opposing side, no matter how “toxic” or “dangerous” their ideas might be. History clearly shows us that whenever any man or “wise committee” had the power to police speech to “protect society” and to decide the limits of “permissible ideas”, totalitarianism was just around the corner.
After all, the only way to defeat a bad idea is to counter it with a better one and to rationally disprove it. Pushing abhorrent viewpoints to the margins and forcing their discussion and proliferation to take place exclusive in the darkest corners of any society only causes them to fester and to spread like a virus. Sunlight, on the other hand, is the best disinfectant.
Another essential element of any truly free society is the freedom to simply leave it. Most citizens today fail to notice that they are actually hostages since birth. If you don’t like the way things are done in the State you were born in, sure, you can go live and work in another (after a lengthy and often expensive process, especially if you were unfortunate enough to have been born in a developing nation) – but your “motherland” will still “own” you in one way or another. The process of fully, totally leaving that State is, in most cases, an obscenely arduous and costly one, not too dissimilar to paying an unreasonable and arbitrary ransom to a kidnaper.
A final building block is the adherence to the non-aggression principle, meaning that the only justifiable form of violence is self-defense. This principle obviously also entails the absolute and total respect for private property, but it is worth highlighting, given the strange times we live in. In my view, this is a prerequisite for any civilized society. Any ideology that even remotely embraces notions such as “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”, is doomed to fail.
Over the last decade, we’ve seen a remarkable increase in both the quantity and the quality of smart, innovative and most of all, practical concepts and plans for decentralized and independent communities and “free states”. Many notable scientifically and technically inclined experts have put their minds to the task and they came up with efficient, workable, realistic and sustainable solutions. Different models, governance systems, social structures, incentives and administrative frameworks have been developed, presented and debated.
There is a plethora of plans and ideas for “ideal” societies for all kinds of belief systems and convictions. There truly is something for everyone: the Left, the Right, the Technocrats, the Environmentalists, the Futurists, the Transhumanists, and the “Leave me Alone’s” – my own “camp”. Anyone can already find a blueprint that suits their ideas and the way the want to live.
So, the “models” are there, on paper, but how do we actually build them, live in them and sustain them? Well, in my opinion, we get there the exact same way we get anywhere: With small but continuous and consistent steps in the right direction. This process might be different for other ideologies, e.g. they might use coercion, they might simply steal what they need to build their “utopia”. But for the “Liberty” camp, it is rather straightforward. It all starts and ends with the individual.
There are small, practical and meaningful steps we can take, today, right now. Depending on your priorities, you can start the process of “detaching” in different ways. For example, you might want to put you financial sovereignty first, so you could research and determine the best way to rid yourself of the current system’s influence and power over your life. Investing at least part of your savings to physical precious metals, outside your home State and outside the banking system, is a great, easy and practical first step. Decentralized private currencies are also a fantastic way to regain control, as long you’ve done your homework and understand what you’re doing.
Another priority could be to take back ownership of your digital life and your private data. There are plenty of tools to do that too to secure your communications and to ensure that Big Tech doesn’t capitalize on your online activities or that their political allies cannot use this information to their own ends one day. For others, physical relocation and separation is the most important. In that case, it really pays to do one’s research and to seek out like minded communities that have already laid down the foundations for a free and independent society.