Libertarians think otherwise. Are they wrong?
Restless activists of crypto anarchy keep spreading an idea about self-governing communities seemingly capable of replacing States in a foreseeable perspective. They provide numerous arguments to persuade a wide audience that Nation States are getting obsolete and ineffective in the present era of digital interactions. They bet on advanced technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence whose functioning has no human-inherent shortcomings. They believe in a global decentralization when the current massive Nation States give place to small independent communities where people gather to create specific agendas capable of meeting their interests in the most consistent manner.
At first sight, nothing wrong is with their logic. The States, as they are, need to be modified in order to fully comply with the zeitgeist. The massive bureaucratic structures full of talentless parasites graze down national budgets without giving any meaningful contributions to society. Corrupt governments are powerless against challenges of the new times since they have enough personal interests not to oppose mighty transnational corporations whose only modus operandi is profit-seeking by any means.
The growing social inequality, global warming, migrant movements, economic crisis, and many other threatening factors witness for the urgency to invent something more vibrant and flexible than the traditional forms of social organization. And here ardent propagators of radical libertarian values step on the stage.
If we put aside for awhile the very idea of changing States for communities to focus on the mechanisms with which such a change can be executed, we may find a certain degree of thoughtlessness and even childishness that libertarian anarchists oftentimes demonstrate. They describe a paradigm shift from Nation States to decentralized communities as mostly an organic process which can hardly face any significant resistance from the old rotten capitalist system. They claim that new decentralized models of social organization are so attractive, rational, and charming that the transformation will supposedly happen in a natural way of an inexorable evolution.
Such a naive belief is based most probably on a well-known bias called the aberration of proximity. This is when you stay too close to an object to notice a background behind it. “Not to see the forest through the trees” is just about it. Numerous meetups, conferences, and groups in social networks where crypto-anarchists exchange their marvellous social breakthroughs create a wrong image of the mental status of a global population for the activists. Continuous communication with their own kind is obscuring them from the sad reality where the vast majority of people throughout the world prefer right the opposite of what libertarianism implies.
The emerging right-wing movement in many developed countries is one of the indirect confirmations of public demand in strengthening the nation state rather than in replacing it with self-governing communities. Even a quick look at a daily news digest delivers quite a telling picture of what numerous protesters all over the world are calling for.
They always demand their Governments to follow principles of social justice in one or another form. They need better protection of their civil rights. Even while calling for dismissing the present government they never mean a self-governing regime — they just want the more humane leaders to come. Nobody’s heard about mass demonstrations of anarchists who called for the total abolishing of the State.
The thing is that radical anarchism is too radical (pardon the pun) for the overwhelming majority of the global population. The way common people think shows that the Nation-State paradigm is far from being non-viable any more. It works, as Americans used to say about something that kept moving despite everyone was expecting it wouldn’t.
Namely misperception of what common people basically want makes various anarchy movements self-isolated. Any radical transformation of a normal lifestyle merely appals the consciousness of philistines. The human flock is keen to drift over calm flows. Everybody is too busy making money. And money, as we know, likes silence.
Any turbulence in a habitual “home-work-home” cycle can only raise resentment against even the most progressive social transformation. In the famous motto “make America great again” namely “again” is a keyword since it appeals to nothing new and unusual. Let’s get back to the old glory times when the unpretentious and hard-working middle class lived frugal happy existence protected by a powerful Government.
The self-governing anarchy implies a total social activity. And this is where libertarians make a mistake in terms of elementary human psychology. Individuals can be active, but the mass is always reactive. And it wants to stay reactive forever. The human flock relies on outstanding “good shepherds” — brilliant entrepreneurs, illustrious government leaders, experienced managers, and economic executives. Such super passionate individuals must push the whole society forward. The lack of leaders makes an inert mass of the majority stagnate. But leaders are always available in every crowd. Otherwise, a crowd disintegrates.
Libertarian activists see the crowd through the lenses of their own activism. They want everybody to become leaders in one role or another. It seems they do not understand that no place is available for two leaders in one room. Their attempts to insert too much leadership into a limited space of a small community can hardly provide it with any sufficient self-governing capability. If everyone is driving, who is to be driven then?
Libertarians and crypto-anarchists demand too much of the people. They undermine the holiest pillars of social organization. They try to question the sacred right of the State to issue money. They deny the centuries-long legitimacy of using violence against citizens. They don’t respect the very symbol of a national patriotism — the state borders. They spit on traditional forms of family. They want (what a scandal!) to free people from bank debts. They are going to eliminate (OMG!) any bureaucratic structure from pure peer-to-peer relationships. And what they need to fulfil all that stuff is not a revolution. They will have to design a new breed of humans.
What could be a suggestion to libertarians in this regard? Look for existing groups of passionate people. Try to reach the ones who have nothing in common with the chewing majority. Invite super active individuals from around the world. In fact, there is a huge transnational army of your potential followers. Who are they?
Criminals, hackers, mercenary war dogs, freelancers, religious cult members, anti-globalists, anarchists and revolutionaries of all stripes, digital nomads, protestants, volunteers. In addition, don’t ignore less passionate people who, nevertheless, appeared beyond the conventional social strata — various anti-social elements (drug addicts, street kids, hobos), jobless, migrants, minorities, ex-prisoners. Even though every one of that sort doesn’t look too attractive, yet with such dough a new community bread can be baked. The important thing is to stay in the game without expectations for quick results.
Who knows, maybe in a few decades, self-governing communities will occupy a specific niche somewhere in between the traditional nation states and some different post-modern social structures such as corporate cities, for instance. “From a spark, a fire will grow” as the most productive revolutionist of all times Vladimir Lenin used to say. Worth keeping in mind along with a more selective approach to an audience — the majority won’t be of any help, that’s for sure.