We have a problem with authority.
Always have done.
It started in ancient times when the strong lorded over the weak and got called god-kings. Over time, people recognized that kings were not gods, but then we got the divine right of kngs, which amounted to the same type of thing. Then, that power got eroded and many countries got rid of kings and began to elect leaders with constitutional constraints.
As Winston Churchill purportedly said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others that have been tried.” The good about is that it includes more voices of average people so that more of the needs of the people get addressed. The bad is that it is rife with abuse and finally ends up looking quite a lot like monarchies, only power is distributed amongst a number of wealthy individuals or corporations who have taken on themselves the notion that they have a divine, or at least superior, right to rule.
This wouldn’t happen if people were able to fully understand what their own best interests are and to vote for them, but as Churchill himself noted, the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with an average voter. They tend to vote not in the best interest of the community, nor even in their own interests, but out of fear, bias, and emotionally based snap judgements. And in a world where the media has aggressively relinquished its role of presenting truth in favor of seeking ratings at the expense of truth, this problem has become worse.
The problem is that democracies are unstable because of the natural differences between the interests of the people in a large country and republics are too easily taken over by the interests of the rich and connected (where we stand now).
One solution that is often talked about, especially among users of crypto currencies, is libertarianism. But this system has an even worse outcome. It posits that your rights end at the tip of my nose, but the only one to enforce that rule is me. If you are more powerful than I am, than there is nothing for me to do but become your follower, like one of the Saviors under Negan’s rule in the Walking Dead.
The reason for governments to exist is to help balance the differences in power that exist naturally in society and give the weak an opportunity to have an equal footing with the powerful. And in a truly just society, the wealthy and powerful see themselves as privileged, not entitled.
Unfortunately, the tendency of people is, if they are wealthy and powerful, to come to believe that they are meant to be that way. And if there are people who are weak and disempowered, it is because they are either meant to be that way, or because they have failed to do something that would save them from that state.
We are at a crossroads. Billionaires, corporations, and authoritarians are ascendant. At the same time, forces that work against the accretion of that power is also rising. The internet has provided us all a way to communicate world wide. And now, with Bitcoin, soon governments will lose the battle to take over our finances completely as they seek to destroy cash. As people realize that Bitcoin gives them a way to use a world-wide money that they are fully in control of and that no government can confiscate or interdict, we will see the first real faltering of the corporate-kingdoms now developing.
And on top of Bitcoin’s blockchain, we will also start to see people begin to find ways to govern themselves locally, nationally, globally in a trustless, transparent fashion that will not allow for the wars, theft, and other abuses we are currently subject to.
People band together and form governments to make their lives better, and then those efforts get hijacked by the greedy and the power-hungry. We are at a crossroads where we may actually begin to solve the problem of government that has plagued us for so long.
Let’s get on it.