On Democracy

By Robert Klassen

The one simple and undeniable fact of history is: All civilizations have failed. Historians in all places and times have acknowledged this fact and some have painstakingly tried to explain it. Without fail, they ignore the use to which each and every political government put its monopoly on coercion. As my mentor, Andrew J. Galambos, said, “There are only two political parties at any given time, the INS and the OUTS. The OUTS want to get IN and the INS want to stay IN.” Coercion becomes the arbiter, the people are enslaved to the purpose, the wars begin, and another Dark Age ensues. What is at fault, unrecognized, is the political paradigm of government itself, i.e., political government does not work.

The true foundations of any civilization are innovation and free-trade, which necessarily imply liberty, security, and justice amongst the people living at the time. Government is called upon to supply the demand for liberty, security, and justice so that innovation and free-trade may flourish. The question of government becomes: How can we supply that demand without coercive political government?

The answer lies in economic democracy. I vote with my dollar; I vote for a telephone company, I vote for a cable company, I vote for software companies, I vote for my Internet Service Provider. I would similarly vote for liberty, security, and justice companies — if they existed!

What I call Economic Government consists of three interlocking, private, profit-seeking institutions which are, simply, insurance, banking, and innovation clearing-house. Properly structured, these institutions would be capable of selling absolute liberty, security, and justice without the need for coercion.

However, not only do these institutions not exist in the form that I envision, they would not be permitted to exist by political government, no more than King George could permit an assault on his authority. But we have the technology to circumvent our petty kings, the Internet.

The Internet represents existential democracy and intellectual liberty undreamed of in all of history. Even in its present chaotic condition it is a threat to all political governments on this planet. Our very first imperative must be to ensure that our American political government does not tax or restrain our use of the Internet in any way, shape, or form, including attacks on hardware and software innovation. If we lose this battle, we lose the war.

Assuming we win, the opportunity will exist to increasingly turn money into anonymous electronic digits and to carry on business on the Internet, encrypted, of course, and the opportunity will exist to establish the institutions of Economic Government. Then government will be truly vested in the supreme power of the people and only then will true democracy begin.

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