by Nathan Barton
Despite the fact that it has been 34 years since the last human walked on Luna, and those pitiful few who have so far (a mere 12!) are now dying of old age, few people would challenge the claim that we are in the “Space Age.” And more and more people – though still a measly number – are getting into space. Although, frankly, near-earth orbit is about equal to how far you can wade into the water with your pants’ legs rolled up and not getting the pants wet. Of course, we are able to do the equivalent of building an RC-boat and sending it waddling across the water, not just to that little sandbar of an island within a stone’s throw (so briefly occupied by the world’s most expensive tourists), but even to those more distant islands we can barely see.
But in nearly 250 years, from 1776 to 2017, we’ve really changed AND improved the way we travel: from rowboat and sailing ship and horseback or horse-drawn conveyances to aircraft that cross in a hour what ships took days and wagons took weeks. And perhaps MORE important, today information, communications, that once took that same length of time as a ship or wagon, now travels in fractions of a second. And in very large quantities (whatever the quality) rather than the dit-dash speed of a telegrapher’s hand or the speaking speed of an Edward Murrow or a George Burns.
But at the same time, we are disappointed by the failure be able to travel faster and farther – things that the old futurists and science fiction writers of a half-century and more ago expected to have been achieved long ago.
Perhaps it is because despite the advances in travel and communications and medicine and growing food and purifying and distributing water… we still have the same sort of government that we had 250 years ago (more or less).
By we, I don’t just mean the Fifty States or Americans, of course, and I don’t mean that every group of people has exactly the same sort (flavor) of government that they had then. But the same basic elements of government as existed way back when.
Even if you believe these Fifty States are still a republic, or a republican democracy, the basic elements of those sorts of governments have been around for a lot longer than just 250 years. (And, as an aside, you will NOT convince me that we have the same republic that the Constitution put into place 230 years ago – the evidence is too strong for me to ignore however much I wish to.)
Indeed, both “democracy” and “republics” can be found back in history to at least the Bronze Age. Or so most historians claim. Me? I have my doubts. I think it goes right back to the adulthood of the third generation after the flood, when that (and younger generations) decided that everything their elders had been telling them was a bunch of hooey and they knew better. Good old Nimrod, who discovered that you can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time. And that “might makes right.” And when others, including the first rebels against human government, who discovered you can also be a parasite off of other people by promising to protect them against the rulers and the powers that be – or even help them to become those very rulers.
Since that time, government has been one big shill game for most of humanity. Human government has a totally horrific track record. Start with that first strongman who rebelled against the older generations (and God) and formed an empire out of a bunch of families and clans and tribes, scaring them into following him because “they” are out there and out to get us. Count in every lazy bonehead who persuaded enough other people to follow him (either for protection or to share the loot) in every tribe or village. Every king or emperor or supreme leader who could claim to be a god or beloved by the gods or annointed by the gods or to destroy the gods. Every wardheeler and union steward and fake priest and bishop and pastor. Every phony prophet and celebrity and “servant of the people.”
The methods change, the paint on the wagon changes, the make-up and the weapons and the communications change. But the “me boss-man, you lackey” doesn’t it. Even when they proclaim that “the people rule,” it is still the same old politicians and oligarchs and opportunists.
And the same people who look constantly for “a better government,” and try very hard to find or devise or experiment to produce a better government.
Unfortunately, the product of these efforts is usually “successful” – they produce a government that is BETTER at governing: better at telling people what to do, stealing and spending other people’s money, and going out and starting and fighting wars with other people and governments (and their own people). The same sort of success as you get when developing a “better predator” (who is better at tracking and killing prey) or a “better virus.” You won’t necessarily like what you get.
But the answer to this is staring us right in the face, and has been for just as long. What kind of government do we need to invent and have for the Space Age? For the Internet Age? For the Automation Age?
No government can cope with the challenges of space. No government can deal with the problems that arise with and in the internet. No government can manage automation or any other new inventions. Just as no government could keep economies from being destroyed, civilizations from collapsing, or thugs from beating up on and stealing from people (just change what they were called).
That’s right. No government can. And that is what we need for the 21st Century and beyond. In space AND on earth, in developed countries and undeveloped lands and wilderness and on the ocean and under the ocean. We need NO GOVERNMENT.