Goal 16 of the UN SDGs is Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, sadly however in too many parts of the world the military and the arms industry associated with it, are amongst the strongest institutions and as a result there is scant peace and justice to be had. The word democracy is derived from the Greek δημοκρατία /dēmokratía/, literally “rule of the people”. Today, however, the people do not rule, instead they are ruled over by an extremely wealthy and powerful ‘elite’, with a thin veneer of ‘democracy’. The Dark Triad personality type (psychopathy, narcissism and Machiavellianism) is common amongst the individuals and groups of this narrow clique, this ‘elite’, and the methods they use to remain in power are based on a range of tools and strategies including, but not limited to; dumbing down the masses; controlling the prevailing narrative in the mass media; divide and rule by religion/class/race/gender etc; debt based currencies as part of a fractional reserve banking system; proxy wars; coups; and targeted assassination when necessary.
Although ‘Limited Democracy’ does exist in much of western Europe and to a lesser degree in other parts of the world, in reality it merely represents a wider class of technocrats, a more complex system of financial corruption. Thus “rule of the people” does not exist in any meaningful sense today on planet Earth. This poses many questions, for example; What changes are needed to allow true rule of the people whilst simultaneously consuming planetary resources at a sustainable level? How can we guard against corruption? How can we bring about Dynamic Equality? What are the most effective forms of electoral politics to truly represent the human majority and build strong, just and effective institutions? Is the state the only viable form of human organisation or do Non-state Societal Forms (NSFs) have a role to play in human organisation?
For the majority of us the state is so readily accepted as ‘normal’ and/or ‘natural’ that we rarely, if ever, question its very existence, but do we really need it? Jared Diamond makes this observation of the state in his work The World Until Yesterday,
“… states need police, laws, and codes of morality to ensure that the inevitable constant encounters between strangers don’t routinely explode into fights. That need for police and laws and moral commandments to be nice to strangers doesn’t arise in tiny societies, in which everyone knows each other. Finally, once a state tops 10,000 people, it’s impossible to reach, execute, and administer decisions by having all citizens sit down for a face-to-face discussion in which everyone speaks his or her mind. Large populations can’t function without leaders who make the decisions, executives who carry out the decisions, and bureaucrats who administer the decisions and laws.”
In principle then, states exist to organise groups of around 10,000 people or more, make various decisions, prevent violence between strangers and administer/provide/organise many other aspects of human life. Given that the human population of planet Earth has passed 7 billion people it would seem inevitable that we humans need states to organise ourselves. However, Canadian philosopher Stefan Molyneux makes a very solid logical argument against the existence of any form of state; the most pertinent in the early twenty first century being,
“[One possible option is that] …most people are good, and only a few are evil. This possibility is subject to the same problems outlined above, notably that evil people will always want to gain control over the State, in order to shield themselves from retaliation. This option changes the appearance of democracy, however: because the majority of people are good, evil [ii]power-seekers must lie to them in order to gain power, and then, after achieving public office, will immediately break faith and pursue their own corrupt agendas, enforcing their wills with the police and military. (This is the current situation in democracies, of course.) Thus the State remains the greatest prize to the most evil men, who will quickly gain control over its awesome power – and so the State cannot be permitted to exist in this scenario either.”[iii]
The logical extrapolation of Molyneux’s argument is that states cannot be allowed to exist and that society would be ‘organised’ under libertarian / anarchist lines and that this would indeed be the form of ‘human organisation’. This might be feasible with communities that are the size of a chieftain (up to about 5,000 people) or smaller, where there are much fewer non-personal relationships than in a state and encounters with complete strangers are uncommon. The real or imagined threat of violence from strangers is perhaps the single biggest argument in favour of the state where a police force has a legal monopoly on the use of physical force / violence.
In a zero-sum game, where debt-based currencies are the norm, the military industrial complex is strong and corruption is common, Molyneux’s argument is valid. In the zero-sum linearist game there is no logical justification without mass violence for states / government and we must turn to an illogical, trans-logical, non-logical or fear-based justification, which is of course what the masses are fed by the ‘elites’ in order to justify their domination of the state. Or we may change the paradigm so that we are no longer in a zero-sum game. Molyneux’s further expands on his opposition to the state by saying.
“Thus the existence of evil can never justify the existence of the State. If there is no evil, the State is unnecessary. If evil exists, the State is far too dangerous to be allowed existence (my emphasis) …. Why is this error always made? There are a number of reasons, which can only be touched on here. The first is that the State introduces itself to children in the form of public school teachers who are considered moral authorities. Thus is the association of morality and authority with the State first made – which is reinforced through years of repetition. The second is that the State never teaches children about the root of its power – force – but instead pretends that it is just another social institution, like a business or a church or a charity. The third is that the prevalence of religion has always blinded men to the evils of the State – which is why the State has always been so interested in furthering the interests of churches. In the religious world-view, absolute power is synonymous with perfect goodness, in the form of a deity. In the real political world of men, however, increasing power always means increasing evil. With religion, also, all that happens must be for the good – thus, fighting encroaching political power is fighting the will of the deity. There are many more reasons, of course, but these are among the deepest.”
These criticisms of the state are valid and a fair reflection of realpolitik today and unless we change the nature of the zero-sum game then this will continue to be the case. In a zero-sum game Molyneux’s argument against the existence of the state is logically valid and this places humans in a paradoxical situation. Over 7 billion humans populate planet Earth today and NSFs are currently incapable of supplying the basic needs of this many people. Therefore, humans require states to allow for such a population level and yet it is a tool of their oppression, largely under the control of competing factions of various psychopathic and narcissistic local cabals and/or a globalist ruling class. Intra-state and inter-state violence, facilitated by a thriving arms trade, is justified with a variety of propaganda (control of the prevailing narrative) and fear. Unless there is some type of global consciousness change of humans there is little reason to suppose that history will not continue to repeat itself and wars between states, civil wars between competing factions within states and disappearances, sexual abuse, torture and murder of private citizens by the security apparatus will continue.
These criticisms of the state are valid and a fair reflection of realpolitik today and unless we change the nature of the zero-sum game then this will continue to be the case. In a zero-sum game Molyneux’s argument against the existence of the state is logically valid and this places humans in a paradoxical situation; over 7 billion humans populate planet Earth today and NSFs are currently incapable of supplying the basic needs of this many people. Therefore, humans require states to allow for such a population level and yet it is a tool of their oppression, largely under the control of competing factions of various psychopathic and narcissistic local cabals and/or a globalist ruling class. Intra-state and inter-state violence, facilitated by a thriving arms trade, is justified with a variety of propaganda (control of the prevailing narrative) and fear. Unless there is some type of global consciousness change of humans there is little reason to suppose that history will not continue to repeat itself and wars between states, civil wars between competing factions within states and disappearances, sexual abuse, torture and murder of private citizens by the security apparatus will continue. How then can we reconcile the apparent paradox of choosing between lawless violence with government controlled by a narrow selfish elite?
When we recognize that it is in fact a false-dichotomy, then logically the paradox can only be reconciled through paradigm change and a higher state of consciousness of humans. Only when we move away from the present zero-sum game of the acceptance of the global arms trade by western liberal Capitalist ‘democracies’, brutal dictatorships and all other, religious and secular, governments, terrorists or revolutionaries in between, can we have any hope of realising sustainable postcapitalist societies. Although consciousness change is a fundamental and necessary aspect of the transitions needed it is not the subject of this essay. Instead this will propose a system of electoral politics that has the best chance to eliminate corruption.
Single Transferrable Vote (STV) must be the basis for our voting system, voting must be a legal obligation for a well-informed participatory citizenry with a small fine payable for those who fail to vote and RON must always be on every ballot in every election. Re-Open Nominations (RON), alternatively referred to as “None Of The Above” (NOTA) would be the preferred option for those who wish to participate in the political process but consider than none of the candidates, for whatever reason, deserves their vote. For electoral politics to claim genuine political legitimacy from a well-informed empowered participatory citizenry there must always be a RON or NOTA option available on the ballot paper. ALWAYS. Political legitimacy can only be given by an emotionally / mentally well balanced, informed and empowered participatory citizenry. Elections at different levels would still occur and for governmental bodies to have political legitimacy particular criteria would need to be met. At election times well-informed and empowered citizens would be required to make one of three choices.
Vote for one of the candidates standing
Vote for RON (Re-Open Nominations)
Abstain from voting / spoil their ballot[v]
If a majority of an empowered participatory citizenry cast their votes for one or other of the standing candidates (option one) the vote would be considered to have political legitimacy. In which case all first preference votes are counted and the candidate with the least votes is eliminated. The second preferences on the ballots for this candidate are then redistributed to the remaining candidates and the candidate with the least votes is again eliminated, this continues until there are only two candidates. The candidate with the most votes is then elected and sworn in. There are other manners in which STV can be organised if multiple candidates are being selected in a particular constituency. Genuine political legitimacy must be the primary goal of a transparent, effective and egalitarian electoral system of a state and it would demonstrate a high calibre of standing candidates. Checks and balances must still exist within the system but would have to be as transparent as possible; particularly with regards to salary and expenses of representatives.
Option three would be for those who are entirely indifferent to the political process and have no desire for any sort of political engagement whatsoever, for whatever reason. Assuming that RON or NOTA is an option on the ballot, this would not be a necessary option for those who feel disenfranchised, but it should still exist as an option nonetheless. Well-informed empowered citizens would be required to vote and a small fine might be imposed for those who do not; it being a reasonable expectation of a transparent, effective and egalitarian state to have its citizens vote in some type of (local) election on a yearly or (national) 3-5 yearly basis. Those citizens who do not wish to participate and/or believe that none of the candidates represent them in any meaningful manner, may vote for RON, or opt to not vote, or opt to live in a NSF.
If option one does not command a majority, then we look to option two. If RON commands a majority, or option one & two together make up the requisite majority then a new election with new candidates would be held. If this fails then lots should be drawn at random to determine office holder, from either the entire population or an agreed select group. In this case it may be that the new office holder does not have the same level of political legitimacy as someone elected and their term of office, and possibly their political powers may be limited to an interim period while a new election with new candidates is organised. Or they may not.
If option two and/or three together carry a majority then there is no legitimacy of office holders and the society in question would then be organised under some sort of libertarian / anarchist lines, with no government and with all relationships voluntary. Thus there is no guarantee that one of the standing candidates will be elected and this fact alone should contribute to a higher calibre of candidates and political parties. Only with such a system of voting can office holders claim to hold any type of genuine political legitimacy. Only with a transparent system where individuals and parties running for office are held properly accountable will we be able to eliminate corruption and come as close as we are able to guaranteeing that candidates will stand to represent the will of the people rather to enrich themselves and abuse their position. In order to achieve goal 16 of the UN SDGs Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, there must be paradigm change and human consciousness change. One aspect of this paradigm change is an effective and representative electoral system.
Diamond, J (2012) The World Until Yesterday Penguin books
Molyneux, S (2008) Everyday Anarchy Freedomradio.com
[i] Diamond P. 11
[ii]For those who are uncomfortable using the word ‘evil’ it may be substituted for psychopathic or sociopathic.
[iii]The other possibilities are; all people are good; all people are evil; the majority of people are evil and the minority of people are good.
[iv] Ibid Molyneux
[v] Of course many of these people might simply leave the state and move to live in a NSF.