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Start A New Country -- Or Change The Old Ones?

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BurgessLau
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Should Objectivists work to change the governments under which they now live? Or should Objectivists work to create a "new country"? Or are there other options?

I searched for "new country" and found no thread. (My search skills are not strong, so please correct me.)

This topic could be a repository for the main question of strategy (change the establishment or start anew?) as well as for the secondary questions that must lead up to the main question. A few of those secondary questions are:

- How can one assess the state and direction of the present culture?

- Is it necessary or even desirable that all Objectivists move in the same direction on this main question?

- How much prospective change for the better would be enough to justify trying to

change the establishment (the existing government and the society that supports it)?

- If Objectivists generally opt for changing an established government, which one would be the best candidate and why?

- When is it too late to change a culture?

- What would be required to create a new "country" (independent political system)?

- How would Objectivists make sure they could maintain control of such a movement once it started?

- If a group forms a new country from scratch, how would it protect itself -- especially from weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons?

- How long might such a project -- either changing the establishment or starting a new country -- take, realistically?

- What are examples, from the past, of change -- radical or ameliorative -- toward a free republic? What are examples of starting new countries? How do those situations compare to the situation in leading Western countries today?

Whichever strategy you choose, if any at all, please be prepared to offer a plan for achieving it, at least in outline, and reasons for your choice, based on personal and historical evidence.

An alternative to supporting a strategy is to address one of the subquestions alone.

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In my opinion, we will never see a truly capitalist state on Earth. But I dont think this is quite as bad as it first appears.

With regards to changing what we currently have (for instance, in America), I dont think is at all possible. I would say that most of Western civilization is currently in decline and has been for the last 100 years at least - the steady slide towards authoritarianism doesnt seem likely to halt anytime soon. It's difficult to imagine what could actually reverse this slide - the works of Ayn Rand have had almost no real effect on the culture as a whole, and there arent many people able to produce better rhetoric than she did. Perhaps the best way to do things would be along the lines of the Free State Project - mass exodus to one specfic state, with the intention to change things locally. But I doubt that even this could work - the government simply wouldnt allow it. Back in the 60s, when the idea of 'rebellion' actually seemed possibile, we saw what lengths the state was prepared to resort to in order to maintain the status quo - most groups and rallies were heavily infiltrated by the FBI, and there were numerous incidents of state agents actively trying to break them apart through illicit means. The fact that it would be capitalist revolution this time rather than a 'leftist' one doesnt seem relevant here - I think a lot of people seriously underestimate the resistance that any movement for change would face from the current ruling elite.

The 'new country' plan is far more likely to bring results- not in the sense of taking over some uninhabited land, but in perhaps relocating to countries that are more supportive to capitalist ideals. For all the nonsense that often gets spouted about America being the 'land of the free', I would say that the most likely future bastions of market economy will be emerging states such as Lithuania and Estonia, many of which already have fast-growing economies coupled with low rates of taxation and a general preference towards capitalist economics. But Europe would be a problem here - there is a good chance they will sucked into the socialist policies blighting that part of the world. I think America would also be an enemy - it doesnt exactly have a good reputation when it comes to not interfering with countries which could potentially pose a threat, either economically or militarily.

But honestly, I would say the future lies in space. The first capitalist state wont be on Earth, and it probably wont exist within the next 150 years. But eventually, once space colonization becomes a reality (and to me, it seems almost inevitable), I think we will see a far greater diversity of governments simply because the amount of available land will increase beyond calculation once we are no longer tied to a single planet. When "leaving and setting up your own country" becomes a realistic possibility rather than a pipedream, I think you'll start to see the emergence of societies consciously based on a specific set of values, rather than being brought together by historical contingencies.

Edited by Hal
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With regards to changing what we currently have (for instance, in America), I dont think is at all possible. I

The 'new country' plan is far more likely to bring results- not in the sense of taking over some uninhabited land, but in perhaps relocating to countries that are more supportive to capitalist ideals.

But honestly, I would say the future lies in space. The first capitalist state wont be on Earth, and it probably wont exist within the next 150 years.

I'm glad I waited a bit before responding to BurgessLau's question. Hal did a superb job of covering what needed to be said.

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But honestly, I would say the future lies in space. The first capitalist state wont be on Earth, and it probably wont exist within the next 150 years. But eventually, once space colonization becomes a reality (and to me, it seems almost inevitable), I think we will see a far greater diversity of governments simply because the amount of available land will increase beyond calculation once we are no longer tied to a single planet.

Not to mention, it may be very costly to transport and maintain a large military force from Earth in order to enforce any authoritarian law in an off-world colony. I suspect this is one of the reasons that the original American Revolution was successful-- England found itself fighting a gurella war a quarter of a world away, and couldn't adapt to changing circumstances as well as the colonists.

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- Is it necessary or even desirable that all Objectivists move in the same direction on this main question?

I think the simple answer to this is No.

In evaluating whether it's best to stay and fight it out against the decay of an existing system vs. attempt to relocate/create a new system, the most important factors are your own, personal goals and interests and what effect that particular government has on them. Consider, if your CPL is to be a research engineer, how are you going to DO that if you spend twenty to thirty years trying to build a colony up from scratch? Unlike Lazarus Long we cannot expect to live three thousand years.

There are other ways to shrug (if you find it necessary) than wholesale abandonment of an entire country.

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- When is it too late to change a culture?

Interpreted strictly this is an invalid question, btw. A "culture" is simply the sum total of all the achievements of a given group of men. So, technically, if you do ANYTHING new or different you have changed the content of a given culture.

It's never too late to change. (Even Nazi Germany and Japan changed, after all.) The question is more what would be required to change, which I think calls for two sub questions; how much effort is required to reach those who might be willing to change, and how much effort of what kind is required to render harmless those that REFUSE to change? In a Nazi Germany-syle situation, the answers to both of those questions are "enormous" and "huge, physical violence". In the U.S. today I think the answers are "quite large" and "large, possible force". Force has already become an accepted part of the political culture in this country. Anyone that balks at its proper use may, indeed, want to head for the hills.

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But honestly, I would say the future lies in space.

I couldn't agree more.

As a friend of mine once said many, many times: "We've got to get off this rock ..."

I couldn't agree less. There is one and ONLY one problem in starting a new country based on freedom: numbers. Once we have enough Objectivists, or at least freedom-lovers, starting this great new country and winning the revolution will be easy.

Meanwhile, there are a TON of empty, near-empty, or low price islands out there that can support hundreds or even thousands of pioneers and true freedom-fighters. What's wrong with all the capitalist and/or Objectivist millionaires? :)

Edited by Ariana Binetta
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There is one and ONLY one problem in starting a new country based on freedom: numbers. Once we have enough Objectivists, or at least freedom-lovers, starting this great new country and winning the revolution will be easy.

I am confused. If Objectivists are starting a new country, what revolution would be necessary to win?

Meanwhile, there are a TON of empty, near-empty, or low price islands out there that can support hundreds or even thousands of pioneers and true freedom-fighters. What's wrong with all the capitalist and/or Objectivist millionaires?  :)

If you were an "Objectivist millionaire," what would your plan be?

Specifically what are examples of "empty, near-empty, or low-price islands" and how would you acquire one or more of them?

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Should Objectivists work to change the governments under which they now live? Or should Objectivists work to create a "new country"?

I would say both. Creating a new, small country is probably the easier solution in the short term (relatively short, read: the next fifty years or so) but the ultimate goal should be to bring true capitalism to the United States. The new country could serve as a model and a "proof of concept" ; when Americans see its success, they will be much more inclined to adopt the same principles in the U.S.

Or are there other options?

There are no other options I can think of.

Edited by Capitalism Forever
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I am confused. If Objectivists are starting a new country, what revolution would be necessary to win?

With enough supporters of freedom we could all just move to some section of a (presumably small) country, buy up the land legitimately, and then declare independence. :) With enough military power and a just ownership of the (largely contiguous) land, the rest of the country would have to aquiese to this revolution.

If you were an "Objectivist millionaire," what would your plan be?

Specifically what are examples of "empty, near-empty, or low-price islands" and how would you acquire one or more of them?

As above. Buy as large and remote an island as possible, populate it with as many people as possible, and then declare indepedence from the old country. Also: use moral persuation, diplomatic skill, and military power to make the former state go along.

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As far as I know, changing a culture takes a really long time--short of the use of massive force--and usually that does not create a culture shift as great as is required to sustain capitalism. The shift will take place once the intellectuals gradually become Objectivist.

So then the issue is whether you can work and achieve your central purpose in some far-flung island as an example, since creating a sovereign state will be the fastest way to achieve liberty (meaning in one's lifetime). A culture shift in America will take much longer than overrunning some small democratic state with Objectivists.

For most people, their careers, relationships, and daily necessities are all in America or their home country, so it makes moving impractical. The proper way to decide on whether to move would be measuring the benefits vs the gains of living in American society vs some small state. I think the New Hampshire project the libertarians are doing lessens the losses of moving, since the individual remains in America. It will still take a long time to sway the politics and the culture there.

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I too have looked at the Free State Project, and I think with the right people it could work. Unfortunately, it's a Libertarian project, not an Objectivist one.

The model I think would be the most successful has been practised already - by Christian conservatives. In large numbers spread out across the land, they inserted themselves in seats of local government, school boards, and state legislatures. The foundation was created at the local level. Of course, it didn't hurt that the ideology of these elected officials was tied to one of the two major political parties in what has ostensibly become two-party system.

Once their local base was entrenched, all it took was the election of a right-wing administration to go from the top down. President Bush's agenda is largely supported throughout the nation, and by securing neo-conservatives in Federal administrative positions, the Republicans have both local and national presence.

This is the model I see happening with Objectivists. It has to start with conscientious Objectivists willing to insert themselves into politics at the local level, establishing local small-town Objectivist cultures, moving on to State legislatures, and so on. I can't imagine that career would be terribly enjoyable for an Objectivist - constantly voting down local referendums every time someone shouts "there ought to be a law!" - but that's just my blythe opinion on local governments.

Another method is in practise by more fundamentalist conservatives. There are many communities being built around churches, and they operate as self-contained small towns. These Christian communities exist in Texas and other western states, and their entire towns are based around church life and teachings. Everyone works, goes to church together, and the local council makes sure that unwanted elements (gambling, pornography, dancing, science text books, etc.) stay out.

Don't get me wrong - I'd sooner debase myself for Mark Burnett Productions than live in one of these microtheocracies - but the model is familiar. Instead of trying to get freedom lovers to move into the bitter north, how about building little towns all over the country?

Why not take a hint from Atlas Shrugged and start little Galt's Gulches everywhere? It would take massive resouces and initiative, but if the TBN crowd can do it, surely we can ...

... now will someone loan me about $25 million to get one started in central Florida?

... after I spend a few years studying rural land development?

B)

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Why not take a hint from Atlas Shrugged and start little Galt's Gulches everywhere? It would take massive resouces and initiative, but if the TBN crowd can do it, surely we can ...

I wouldn't be happy living in a tiny community, even if it was filled with Objectivists.

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I wouldn't be happy living in a tiny community, even if it was filled with Objectivists.

Your position is clear, but you have not stated any reasons for it. Why could you not be happy in a tiny community (isolated or not from other communities)?

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I too thought that the first truly Capitalist society won't be on Earth. I'm thinking of Mars to be a more likely place. Then again, we have yet to get there, but IMO, we will manage to colonize the planet once people start making/acquiring their own, private space ships. I think that when new worlds are conquered, it would be better to create new Capitalist countries there, instead of trying to repair the old ones. However, until we do, it is best to try and do something about the existing ones.

- Is it necessary or even desirable that all Objectivists move in the same direction on this main question?

It is certainly not necessary.

- How much prospective change for the better would be enough to justify trying to change the establishment (the existing government and the society that supports it)?
I think banishing compulsory tax would do. This implies banishing a lot of other things (like welfare and many other evils that need not be mentioned right now).

- When is it too late to change a culture?

When it is obliterated. Bad culture will always die sooner or later, one way or another, if you let it destroy itself.

- How long might such a project -- either changing the establishment or starting a new country -- take, realistically?
How long did it take America to come into being?

Whichever strategy you choose, if any at all, please be prepared to offer a plan for achieving it, at least in outline, and reasons for your choice, based on personal and historical evidence.

As I said, we would have to conquer new worlds. It sounds like science fiction, but I see this as a more viable solution than trying to start a new country on Earth. As for the detailed plan of how to do it, step one is - get to Mars.

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Why not take a hint from Atlas Shrugged and start little Galt's Gulches everywhere? It would take massive resouces and initiative, but if the TBN crowd can do it, surely we can ...

There already is a "Galt's Gulch," only it is open for everyone. It is not as organized as the one in AS, and it exists only in cyberworld. It's name is Objectivism Online, although we should call it Greedy's Gulch. :)

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If you all sincerely believe that Western Civilization is inexorably in decline, then a capitalist civilization on some other planet is out of the question for at least the next 500 to 1000 years, because technological progress will soon stop (it has already slowed down in many ways) and then retrogress, as it did in the West when the Roman Empire collapsed. An interesting question then is, to what level could Western Civilization collapse? Back to Medieval feudalism? Or even more primitive tribalism?

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If you all sincerely believe that Western Civilization is inexorably in decline, then a capitalist civilization on some other planet is out of the question for at least the next 500  to 1000 years, because technological progress will soon stop (it has already slowed down in many ways) and then retrogress, as it did in the West when the Roman Empire collapsed.  An interesting question then is, to what level could Western Civilization collapse?  Back to Medieval feudalism?  Or even more primitive tribalism?

This is a good question, and one that has also been on my mind as well. The key point to establish here is what "soon" means. How long will it take for the west to decline beyond the point of where technological progress is still possible, and what will humans have invented by then? Will we manage to colonize Mars by then, or not?

All this depends on too many factors to predict. Had we at least landed on Mars, things would be much different. However, we haven't. As you said, this could cost humanity 1000 years of retrogression. To where? There are a lot of evil social systems to choose from, but still room enough to create new ones.

Is there a way to save Earth? I really can't answer that, but if there is, I'm all for it.

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I do not know about the other folks on this thread, but I definitely do not believe that.

Should I comment on the usage of the word "believe?" I wouldn't adopt any beliefs here.

I don't see it as possible, although I would like someone to show me how if it is, to say whether it is too late to save the Earth or not.

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I do not think Western Civilization is lost either.

I personally think there is a crucial period of time coming very soon. Now you might call me crazy but I think the two party system in this country has come to a final showdown. Has anyone seen the Liberals this frantic before? Something is up. It seems the conservatives have started making in roads with the minority vote. My numbers might be off slightly but I think Bush picked up something like 5-8% of the African American vote last election. Remember Gore barely won the popular vote in 2000 with 90% of the African American vote. That number is shrinking and it has the liberals nuts-- or more nuts then usual :D.

If the republicans gain more of the minority vote this election, I think the democrats might be severely damaged. If this happens I think it is absolutely crucial that a second "option" materializes or it will be disastrous. Now I'm not saying lets go out and form a political party. We all see how far public perception is from our ideas, and how the modern political machine has ended campaigns, such as Goldwater and Libertarians (not that their ideas are perfect, just similar in some ways to ours). However I do think it is the absolutely crucial that we get our ideas into the mainstream and present a valid alternative to the status quo.

Feel free to rip my theory apart. I'm interested in your thoughts.

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