14A010 Revolutions Aren't Passive by Jim Davies, 5/14/2014


A zero government society will begin when nobody is left who will work for government. It can get along for a long while without taxes (by printing and borrowing money) and without full obedience (as the 1960s showed, it can survive quite a high degree of civil disobedience and protest) but it cannot survive without the kind of support provided by those it employs. It consists only of its workers; if they quit, it quits.

Therefore, the task of eliminating government consists of causing its workers to quit.

The top level of government junkies may never do so (think of Hitler in his bunker) but that doesn't matter; so long as there is nobody to carry out their orders, the job is done.

In America, about 20 million people work directly for government, and another 20 million or so are primarily engaged on government contracts in commercial firms. So the task is to change the lives of 40 million people - obviously far from trivial. Even more: after they quit, the other 100 million in the work force must be caused not to take their places! But there's no other way, that's what has to be done.

Some good people are in agreement so far, but claim that no special action is required to accomplish that task; that it will happen on its own, if government is left to implode - helped along, maybe, by various kinds of resistance here and there. They point out, correctly, that the FedGov is operating on a knife-edge of viability, that it is spending so much relative to its revenue that very soon it may no longer be able to borrow money, that already it is plainly incapable of paying back what it has already borrowed.

In recent years the alternative currency Bitcoin has been invented, and that will hasten the dissolution of government in two ways. Firstly, I'm reliably informed that it can be used for private transfers of money; which, being undetectable, cannot be taxed - hence, revenues to government will decline faster than otherwise; and secondly as the dollar inevitably inflates ever faster, Bitcoin will take its place in the market and that in turn will leave government employees working for paper money that will not purchase their daily needs, so they will quit - the desired result. So Bitcoin will turbocharge the disintegration.

By that view, then, there's not a whole lot we need do. Government will self-destruct. This revolution will be passive.

Sounds nice, but that fails my whistle test. During the last century there have been several examples of currencies destroyed by hyperinflation, but not one of them ended up with a walkout of government workers. In all of them, the State is still standing strong.

In 1923 the German government printed so many Reichsmarks that wages had to be wheeled home in barrows; but the week it announced that a new currency would be backed by the ultimate asset of "German land", the nightmare ended. That was a meaningless fiction, of course; all it really did was to turn off the printing press - but two decades later, its successor government dominated Europe.

Germany's was not the worst example: Cato has produced a hyperinflation table, showing over sixty with peaks of more than 50% per month. The highest was in Hungary in 1946, with 207% a month, followed by Zimbabwe in 2007 with 98% a month.

But all those governments survived and the countries eventually prospered more or less; not one of them has become a zero government society. It seems clear that passivity does not suffice; governments do not, in fact, self-destruct.

How, then, can everyone be caused not to work for government? - by persuasion, one at a time; and the motivation will be moral disgust. That seems at first sight to make the task impossible, for no anarchist I know has the kind of resources needed to re-educate 140 million people as above (and we might as well complete the job and encompass all 250 million literate adults, while we're at it.) But such pessimism overlooks the power of one.

It's really simple: each participant graduates from a self-study, interactive freedom course, then if he holds a government job he naturally resigns from it in moral disgust. Lastly he introduces one friend a year to the same course and helps him through it. Hence the number of anarchist graduates doubles annually, and all those 25o million are persuaded in less than 28 years. It's already in process; the only choice is to take part or stand aside.

So this revolution is peaceful, but proactive and not passive. Doing nothing will not cut it; but undertaking this very light task will change the course of human history.




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