From the August 2006 Idaho Observer:
Mut zur Ethik XIV
Laying the Foundations for a More Human Future
Note: I have accepted an invitation to speak at the MZE Conference for the fourth year in a row (Sept. 1-3). I must admit to being so saturated in the inhumanity of our present that I was, for weeks, at a loss of what to say as a foundation for the future. But the solution to my dilemma is simple: I must sow the seeds of Civilization Engineering in Europe by delivering the core principles to conference attendees in Feldkirch, Austria. The concepts are those of Dennis Riness of Seal Beach, California (See Hari Heath’s analysis of Civilization Engineering in the May, 2006 edition of The IO). Though I have a lot yet to learn to qualify as a "civilization engineer," I embrace fully the responsibility of understanding why all civilizations before ours have failed and why ours will also, inevitably fail. I accept the challenge of rebuilding from the ashes a stable civilization so that future generations may live in freedom—with justice for all. (DWH)
By Don Harkins, Editor, The Idaho Observer, Spirit Lake, Idaho, USA
I would like everyone to close their eyes for a moment. Take a deep breath and imagine that we are passengers in a very fast car with a full tank of gas. We are on a road with many turns. The throttle is stuck wide open and we have no brakes.
It is not a matter of if we will crash, but when.
That, I believe is a suitable analogy for our world today and the prognosis for the immediate future.
When we first met in 2003, I impressed upon you the value of pamphleteering as a means to educate people so they can develop informed opinions on critical subjects. A referendum to withdraw France from the EU succeeded last year because voters were educated with the help of an effective pamphleteering campaign.
In 2004, we opened the dialogue on the public health practice of vaccination. I explained that vaccines are neither safe nor effective in preventing the spread of infectious diseases. I even stated that vaccines are the root cause of chronic illness and developmental disorders epidemic in the world today and that the tetanus toxoid has been used in third world countries to sterilize women. You may have been shocked at the time but have since found that science and experience support my thesis.
Last year my friend and colleague Kevin Tighe and I showed how we are all guilty of financing our war-torn present by purchasing the products of corporations that produce weapons of war. We all know this to be true. Though it is often impossible for us to avoid buying petroleum products, for instance, that are the source of our present conflicts, Kevin and I hope that by pointing this out, we are now more conscious of what we choose to buy and from whom.
The theme for the conference this year is "Laying the Foundations for a More Humane Future." Since the entirety of our civilized past is defined by inhumanity, we must conclude that previous foundations have been structurally flawed. That means a new foundation must be engineered and built if we are to realize a more humane future.
Last winter I was blessed with receiving the work of Dennis Riness of Seal Beach, California. The three-disc DVD and syllabus was called "Civilization Engineering." If you think pamphleteering, medical heresy and our own guilt as financiers of perpetual war were radical concepts, wait until you see what it will take to lay the foundations of truly humane civilizations. To qualify as civilization engineers capable of building a stable, durable—and therefore humane—civilization that we discard most of what we believe to be the proper roles of community and government.
Civilization engineering, as described by Riness, is based on the following premises: That civilization must be built on the sovereignty of the individual; freedom is the societal condition wherein all interactions are voluntary and; justice is the societal condition wherein the rules are the same for everyone.
We are raised to believe that all men are evil and must be coerced into behaving properly. I reject this notion completely.
Civilizations fail for one reason. They institutionalize coercion because we have not recognized the difference between restriction and compulsion.
I also reject the notion that criminals and fluctuations in the marketplace cause civilizations to become unstable. First of all, the marketplace is self-regulating. Secondly, crime is an effect, not a cause.
Institutionalized coercion gives birth to a parasitic class of coercers, which leads to more coercion, corruption, internal decay, rot and failure. Civilizations built on these foundational flaws are inherently unstable, as history has demonstrated over and over again.
All men are born with an innate desire for freedom and justice. Aberrant behavior is learned because of institutionalized coercion—which is caused by confusing the roles of community and government.
When governments’ functions were limited to protecting freedom and providing justice, all other aspects of social interaction are handled at the community level.
The Adlerians in this room know that the only true deterrent to crime and aberrant behavior is social control. Therefore, the community is most suited for determining what is or is not acceptable behavior.
Community, and individuals within the community, may then contract with an entity we can call government, on a fee-for-service basis, to protect freedom and provide justice. If the government fails to protect freedom or provide justice, we merely stop paying for its services.
As it stands now, governments have usurped most community functions. They pass laws to coerce conformity. Laws enforced by government are, ultimately, backed up by the death penalty. Because we have forever given the responsibilities of community to government, government becomes powerful and the power inevitably corrupts.
Riness calls coercion "the worst idea in history." I agree.
In order to lay the foundation of a more humane future, we must base civilization on the sovereignty of the individual and correctly redefine the roles of community and government to reflect that central imperative. We should eliminate from our conceptual vocabulary such terms as "crimes against humanity," and "crimes against the state." If the individual is sovereign, there can only be crimes against individuals. Also, if the individual is sovereign, then he has no "rights"—only responsibilities.
How then, do we construct such a civilization?
Riness’ publishing house is "Glue Publications." He has considered the elements of civilization and determined whether or not the civilization could survive if one or more of them were removed. He settled on the six following elements of civilization that, when properly understood and in their appropriate place, are the essential elements, or glue, of stable civilizations:
"Money" and "clearinghouse" are specialized forms of community that are a study in and of themselves beyond the scope of this presentation. However, in brief, money must be utilized simply as a tool to facilitate the exchange of goods and services and the clearinghouse is a community function that processes knowledge, innovation and specialized forms of education.
The final point I will bring up today may be the most difficult for some, but I urge you to stretch your minds to give it careful thought: Government has nothing to do with God. God and spirituality are properly the domain of community. Government is purely a construct of man. Government is designed, built and maintained by people. Some governments claim to get their inspiration from God, or their version of a higher power. This is the birthplace of the "Divine Right of Kings," a concept that historically results in instability, death, destruction and misery. When functioning properly, the "products" of government are freedom and justice. When it is not functioning properly, we have everything you see in the world today.
As I go through life with my eyes and my mind wide open, I am continually reminded at how simple and perfect everything really is.
History is our guide for defining the proper roles of community and government to produce stable and durable (therefore humane) civilizations. The coercive elements of government are eliminated through proper identification of restriction and compulsion. The foundation for a more humane future will be built upon the sovereignty of the individual and government will be confined to protecting freedom and providing justice.
The task at hand is to change thousands of years of thinking to put those thoughts in motion. I encourage you to peer past the generalities of this brief overview to see that that the concepts I have advanced here are, indeed, the foundations of a stable, durable and humane future. I have donated a copy of the complete Civilization Engineering three-disc DVD presentation and syllabus to MZE. I also have a few additional copies of Civilization Engineering for those who are ready to actively participate in the intellectual exercise of laying the foundations for a more humane future.
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