PANARCHY - POLYARCHY - PERSONARCHY
A group of individuals, deeply dissatisfied with the dominant mental attitudes and material practices based on compulsory conformity to the majority and the restriction of personal choices, have drafted a series of principles that they intend to present to everybody interested in finding a way out of the present individual subjection and apathy.
The principles are presented under the name of
Panarchy - Polyarchy - Personarchy
Panarchy, Polyarchy and Personarchy indicate that what is aimed at is:
- a worldwide open framework free from territorial sovereignties.
- a variety of voluntary systems of personal and social organization, like parallel autonomous societies, even within the same territory.
- full freedom of association, circulation and action for each and every human being.
- Freedom of association - freedom of disassociation
- Voluntary engagements - voluntary contributions
- Personal liberties - personal responsibilities
- Freedom to act (enterprise)
- Freedom to interact (exchange)
- Choices (utilities - services - agencies)
- Variety - optionality - discretionality
- Cosmopolitanism - localism - personalism
A territory comprises a vast and various set of natural and human-made resources that constitute the so-called world common heritage. This ought to be like an open resource for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations, i.e. of all people from all lands.
Territorial sovereignty or territorialism is the pretence of the rightfulness of exclusive sovereignty (e.g. national state sovereignty) by some entity.
Aterritorialism means the non-recognition of any claim to territorial dominance by any power, whether institutional or not.
According to aterritorialism, no so-called sovereign power can rightfully appropriate a whole continent, country or region and dictate rules that are binding for all the people living on the same territory, nor can it deny the use of or access to a land, a river, a thoroughfare or any territorial resource, part of the common heritage.
At the same time, nobody should infringe the property rights of individuals or groups. The use of and access to their properties (e.g. a building, a specific tract of land, a cultivated field, etc.) is regulated directly by the owners (individuals, communities) and the rules affect only the owners and those who have been granted use-access. These property rights and property rules are valid only in so far as they do not become impositions spreading out into the common heritage.
The only general rules acceptable and desirable in a territory belonging to the common heritage are norms of expediency (e.g. driving on the left or on the right) and health regulations (e.g. standards of hygiene).
The aim of those advocating aterritorialism is to achieve, in due time and through a voluntary process, the overall extinction of every territorial sovereignty and the promotion of self-rule.
A rule is generally a command by or to a person. The basic rules of social interaction are usually internalized at an early age by a human being as long as the commands are sympathetic to human nature and to the protection/promotion of the human being.
It is almost impossible for basic rules to be fairly and successfully imposed from the outside. Imposed rules are likely to generate continuous frictions leading, sooner or later, to bloody clashes.
The healthy condition (ethical and rational) is either that of self-rule (self-determination) or one leading to self-rule.
Self-rule means that it is not for a king or a majority (through an elected assembly) or anybody else to decide about social and economic issues but it is up to individuals through their free choices and continuous-voluntary adjustments to reality. The despotism of one or the despotism of many (even a large majority) can generate identical negative results: the subjection of the individual and his moral misery and personal helplessness.
Self-rule, by contrast, is the way most conducive to true personal development (moral, mental, material) and full social acceptance (universal reciprocal respect).
The concept and practice of self-rule include, clearly, also the option of appointing elected rulers (as in a representative democracy) for those who prefer to be exempt from the process and effort of decision-making. The only difference with current representative democracy, albeit a substantial one, is that in the case of genuine self-rule the decisions taken by the elected representatives will affect only those who have elected them and will not concern those who have chosen other representatives for their voluntary communities or those who want to take autonomous decisions without any delegation of power.
Self-rule should then make room for all possible forms of social and political representation or non-representation and people should consider legitimate, and be bound only by, the decisions of whatever political, social, philosophical group or other they might be members of.
The aim is to stop political intolerance that imposes on everybody the will of the majority (or of a strong ruler or a strong minority) in the form of state policy. This is the same mass opium and oppression that once appeared as religious intolerance in the form of a state religion.
Presently, self-rule is allowed in some societies only in regard to some very personal matters like religious practices or sexual orientations.
For the rest the tyranny of the majority dominates, that is, largely, the power of pressure groups and vested interests prevailing over manipulated masses, isolated minority groups and individuals.
Self-rule means in essence that:
- the norms affecting primarily the life of an individual (education, health, work, travel, insurance, retirement, etc.) are completely subject to the choice of the individual;
- the norms regulating primarily the life of the individual within a community and between communities are directly established and administered by the individual members of the community affected by those norms, or by representatives voluntarily
An essential pre-condition for the compliance by the individual with communitarian norms concerning his social life is the existence of personal freedom of association with or disassociation from any community.
Freedom of association means that any reasoning individual can freely decide of which societal group/groups he/she wants to be a member.
The freedom of association cannot be separated from the freedom of disassociation. That means that every person can opt out of the community he has joined whenever he wishes to do so, after having absolved himself from any existing contractual obligation previously voluntarily accepted.
However, if the individual has been victimized by the community or essential contractual obligations towards him have been broken, the member can disassociate from the group without any delay or charge and join or establish a new community.
Everybody should also be free to live as quite autonomous human beings bound only by their contractual engagements and by respect for the rights and liberties of others.
To no one should be automatically ascribed any nationality or religion or membership of any institution (state, church, guild) or be attributed any role or status (like in a caste or class system) without his prior individual choice and consent.
The automatic ascription to a national group under national rulers is the equivalent, in our time, of the attribution of the status of servant under the feudal master for the newborn within the feudal domain.
The realization of these two freedoms (association - disassociation) would, at long last, dispose of any feudalist and absolutist remnants still operating under territorial statism.
The extensive use of the technologies of communication and transport is already making a mockery of any pretension or illusion of forcibly restricting the associations of individuals belonging to territorial groups under the control of the so-called nation state.
The necessary complement to the freedom of association - disassociation, and a more dynamic implementation of it, consists in the voluntary engagements - voluntary contributions to the group(s) of which one is member.
Voluntary engagements and voluntary contributions mean active involvement and active support for the group or community chosen by an individual.
The implementation of these two principles should lead to the extinction of any forced demand on the part of any power, as for instance compulsory enrolment (e.g. military conscription) or compulsory exaction (e.g. fiscal impositions).
In other words, compulsory involvement and compulsory taxes are to be replaced by voluntary engagements and voluntary contributions.
Nobody should be forced to do anything or contribute to anything he/she does not approve of, beyond the respect of voluntarily agreed contracts. Even the group to whom one has associated oneself cannot ask compulsorily for engagements and contributions unless those were pre-conditions for membership. In that case the individual who no longer wants to fulfil those obligations can disassociate from the group.
Voluntary engagements and voluntary contributions are the centrepieces of communities based on individuals who decide the degree and type of power that the community can exert on them (from total voluntary submission to personal unrestricted autonomy).
The focus is then not on the group (the collective will), as in the feudal or neo-feudal (i.e. statist) society, but on the individual (the personal will).
For this reason, whatever decisions the individual takes concerning his personal and social sphere (from full autonomy = voluntary independence, to full heteronomy = voluntary submission) paramount importance has to be attributed to personal liberties (of choice) and personal responsibilities (for consequences).
The true essence and the rightful expectations of every human being are to be free from impositions and limitations unless they are voluntarily and willingly accepted.
This means also that nobody may infringe anybody's choices whenever they are compatible with anybody else's freedom. External interventions are not acceptable even if they are made (or said to be made) in the name of the so-called public interest or on behalf of the person's hypothetical well-being. Every adult human being should be the arbiter of his own interest and well-being.
The other side of personal liberty is personal responsibility for the decisions undertaken by each individual. This means that the consequences (success or failure) of an individual's actions or omissions fall on him/her alone and cannot be forcibly shared with or imposed upon somebody else.
The practice of personal liberties (of choices) and personal responsibilities (for consequences) is the only known way to initiate and achieve a sound learning process for human beings.
There is no rational reason or historical experience that should convince any human being to abdicate his own liberties and responsibilities. As the ancients said, every human being is the maker of his own fortune (or misfortune).
Contrary to all this, territorial statism acts according to the principles of limited freedom and collective responsibility. They arose from the delegation of decisions to a few men in power, generating on one side general irresponsibility and on the other side unjustifiable collective responsibility for the actions of these few leaders.
This is the same ill-logic or sick logic implemented by terrorist groups when they strike against unarmed individuals (in New York, Madrid, Paris, Moscow, etc.). This ill-logic is also extensively practiced by many states that act as the worst terrorist groups when they drop bombs on a population (in Coventry, Dresden, Hiroshima, Grozny, and in so many other places) that happens to live on the "wrong" side of a supposed divide.
The reality that animates personal liberties and underlies personal responsibilities can be summarized in the social and economic sphere by two basic principles of civilization: the freedom to act (enterprise) and the freedom to interact (exchange).
Freedom to act means that there are no external interferences of any type (positive or negative) on the enterprising activities of anyone by anyone. In other words, no one can get in the way of any producer unless it is for the purpose of preventing damage or securing compensation.
Individuals (singularly or collectively) are very capable of looking after or willing to learn how to look after their own interests, if institutional restrictions and manipulations do not render this ability and effort useless and vain or even outlaw such self-help endeavours.
One of the most blatant restrictions is in the form of occupational licensures introduced by the state (in direct furtherance of feudal practices) in order to perpetuate a caste or class system. These feudal remnants are kept with the deceitful excuse of protecting producers and consumers but in reality with the aim of favouring the strong (organised lobbies) and exploiting the weak (isolated citizens).
For this reason the entry into an institutional register of producers (workers, professionals) should be left to the free decision of the interested parties and should not be a pre-requisite for getting a job or practicing an activity. All that is necessary is the availability of all sorts of relevant information concerning producers and products (goods and services).
Freedom to act, then, requires getting rid of all compulsory state interventions, which lead only to a condition of sectorial favouritism and general dependency, besides damaging enterprising producers and thrifty consumers.
The necessary complementary principle to the freedom to act (enterprise) is the freedom to interact (exchange).
Freedom to interact means the abolition of every state manufactured barrier (tariffs, quotas, passports, visas, censorship, etc.) to the freedom of movement by individuals and the freedom of exchanges among individuals and groups of goods, services, and ideas.
Freedom of exchange is achievable only through:
- full freedom of information and communication, making it possible for everybody to participate unhampered in a flow of images, sounds and concepts.
- full freedom of trade and full freedom for volunteers to experiment with their own exchange media, value standard, clearing and credit system.
- full freedom of movement, because the world's common heritage belongs to all living beings and should not be monopolized by nation states and divided into national or supranational territorial cages.
The freedom to interact is compatible with the existence of secluded enclaves of people who do not want to mingle with anybody and who prefer to live in a closed society. Closed communities and communities which want to keep to traditional life styles do have the right not to be disturbed and trampled on. Nobody should interfere in the decisions voluntarily assumed by the members of those communities.
What should eventually be overcome is the fixing of borders by any power, affecting, indiscriminately, large populations or concerning spaces that are the common heritage of all living creatures. For this reason, closed societies and cultural or economic protectionism cannot extend to areas so big as to forcibly include people who do not share these views and practices.
Any imposition of political, economic and social apartheid (to be distinguished from voluntary separateness) is not only a crime against humanity; it is also an act totally at odds with current technology (of transport and communication) and, especially, with the natural desire of exploration and self- improvement that has always characterized the human being.
In order that every individual be allowed to shape his life according to his own views we need a full range of choices with respect to all kinds of utilities, services and agencies, especially those so far monopolized by territorial states.
Individuals and communities should be free to organize for themselves or to choose among freely competing providers, concerning:
- utilities: gas, water, electricity, telephone, etc.
- services: educational, medical, for retirement, etc.
- agencies: for protection, for justice, etc.
Only in recent times has the way been opened for a free choice in utilities providers, with unquestionable benefits for the consumers. There is no sensible justification for not continuing the process, finally reaching all sorts of services and agencies still under state monopoly.
In societies characterized by choices, everybody should be committed to pay only for the services he wants and uses or for the package deal of services that he and the community of which he is member have contracted for. Further contributions should be made only on a voluntary basis, according to the assessments and preferences of the individual.
The sooner we realize that self-help and free choice between different providers in every field can produce better services at a better price, the sooner we will put an end to the mental and material hold that states have exerted on the provision of (quite often appalling) services, compulsorily financed by everybody irrespective of their quality and desirability.
One of the central aspects of free choice is the setting up and running of voluntary protective agencies for assisting in providing security and resolving conflicts.
The course of history has shown over and over again that when individuals rely for their protection on territorial monopolistic organizations (the army, the police, the judiciary) over which they have either minimal control or no control whatsoever, their security and freedom is at great risk.
For this reason individuals and communities will replace the monopolistic state agencies with a number of different protective agencies, with very limited and circumscribed power and under the control of the individuals, in the same way as people control the performance of a utility provider and can change it if unsatisfied.
These protective agencies, to which everybody could contribute in various ways, are meant to provide help and facilitate self-help for the safeguard of life, the respect of contracts and the prevention of any infringement of personal freedom.
Apart from that, anything goes, that is variety, optionality, and discretionality.
The basic principles here advocated characterizing the life of individuals and communities are those of:
- variety (many different life styles and forms of social, economical and political organization).
- optionality (existence of many actual and potential choices in all fields).
- discretionality (individual free-will and personal power of decision).
These principles can be fully implemented only after the abolition of all monopolistic territorial powers and in the presence of free competition and cooperation in political, social and economic communities and activities.
Competition and cooperation are two sides of the same coin; they strengthen those who practice them (producers, performers, etc.) and benefit those who enjoy the results of them (e.g. consumers, spectators, etc.). Cooperation in total absence of competition means a rigged game and a static society because it would block the emergence of competence and competent people as a result of competition; competition in total absence of cooperation means paranoiac behaviour and a destructive society because it would block the implementation and diffusion of the results achieved through competition.
An essential condition for the proper interplay of competition and cooperation is the freedom of movement of individuals, ideas, goods and services.
At the same time, as already pointed out, the principles of variety - optionality - discretionality demand that everybody accept and respect also those communities whose members voluntarily decide to live in a way that does not allow, internally, for the free movement of individuals, ideas, goods and services.
The solution, as usual, is to accommodate every possible type and style of life in every kind of political, economic and social community of free members (variety), enhancing the range of choices of individuals (optionality) and accepting the autonomous decisions of each and every one concerning their own lives (discretionality).
This leads to the parallel development of cosmopolitanism, localism and personalism.
Cosmopolitanism, localism and personalism are views and ways of life that are variously shared by all human beings.
We should accept every possible mix or lack of mix by every individual as long as it results from his/her own voluntary, i.e. not imposed, choices.
In other words, acknowledging the existence of a multiplicity and variety of communities and individuals, each free to develop specific distinctive features, means accepting and respecting every possible type and style of freedom.
This includes also, for reasons of logical and factual consistency, the freedom not to be free, e.g. the freedom to choose to be under a protective master or to live within restrictive barriers.
Love of freedom and fear of freedom must both find expression at a personal level and through political and social organizations (i.e. parallel societies even within the same territory), with nobody imposing one or the other upon dissenters but everybody accepting or realizing only for himself what he thinks most suitable and desirable.
In other words:
To each the government or non-governmental society of his/her choice
For every human being, freedom consists only in acting according to his own inclinations and desires without being coerced or manipulated by anybody and without coercing or manipulating anybody. For some, freedom can be the acceptance of voluntary servitude or seclusion in the name of a faith or belief or for any personal conviction and motivation.
The only aspect that is not acceptable is to forcibly subject unwilling individuals, even if this is presented under the deceitful labels of democracy, public interest, national sovereignty or, alas, the promotion of personal freedom and welfare.
The individuals imbued with the ideology of territorial statism believe, consciously or unconsciously, that it is acceptable and highly desirable to force all people in a territory to be identically free or equally un-free.
This is the source of every irrational, intolerant and incapacitating behaviour.
We should allow full development to variety, optionality and discretionality, i.e. the plurality of forms and ways of thinking and behaving according to one's own desires and choices.
This would result in the flourishing of cosmopolitanism, localism, and personalism to suit every human being.
Only then will we achieve a long overdue aspiration:
To each according to his own will - desires
From each according to his own evaluations - decisions
In a not so distant past many considered religious freedom for the dissenters and social emancipation for the powerless as a sure way towards immorality and chaos.
Presently some or many hold the same views with regard to the freedom of individuals from territorial state sovereignty and the attainment of universal personal empowerment.
On the contrary, we think that it is not only desirable but also advisable that the principles of religious tolerance should be extended to include, especially, political tolerance. The acceptance of many different churches within the same territory should be paralleled by the acceptance of many co-existing governments and non-governmental communities, each one presiding over and regulating those who have chosen them and feel represented by them. Given the fact that the basic rules of civility are universal (i.e. not based on or determined by territorial governments) and are likely to continue prevailing amongst civilized individuals, and that any individuals who commit crimes can still be dealt with by the various communities through their various aterritorial governments and protective agencies, there seems to be no reason why experiments of political freedom cannot be undertaken with the same success as the ones that promoted religious freedom. The only obstacles are in the furrows of our own mind and the blinkers we put around our own eyes.
For all these reasons, if you have an open mind and your mental and perceptual eyesight is strong and sharp, you should explore and contribute to the principles and practices of
Panarchy - Polyarchy - Personarchy