By Nancy Thorner -
Hacking Leviathan: How entrepreneurs and individuals stay a step ahead, featuring liberty innovator Jeffrey Tucker, was an event hosted last week by the Illinois Policy Institute and CEO John Tillman. Tucker didn't mince words discussing how the state makes a mess of everything it touches. This has resulted in individuals and entrepreneurs finding new ways to get ahead of and around burdensome regulations and restrictions to get on with the business of civilized living.
With a broad and substantial resume, Jeffrey Tucker serves as CEO of Liberty.me a social network and community-based publishing platform for the liberty minded. He is also distinguished fellow of the Foundation for Economic Education, Executive Editor of Laissez Faire Books, and research fellow of the Acton Institute. He is the founder of the CryptoCurrency Conference, serves as economic consultant to the popular podcast Let’s Talk Bitcoin, and writes and curates for Praxis, the online educational venture.
A prolific writer, Tucker is author of Bourbon for Breakfast, It’s a Jetson’s World, and A Beautiful Anarchy, in addition to thousands of articles, introductions, and prefaces. It is in Bourbon for Breakfast that Jeffrey Tucker argues how the state makes a mess of everything it touches and that perhaps the biggest mess it makes is in our minds.
One of eight notable quotes by Tucker: "We really don't get all the government we pay for, and thank goodness. Lord protect upon the day we do."
Upon expressing his felt honor for having been invited, Jeffrey Tucker marveled over the beautiful room in which we were gathered known as "The Library." To be seen in the room is an amazing collection of law books filling two levels. These books were abandoned by a law firm after having decided that the collection of books was too expensive to move. Tucker's abandoned book comment then became the cornerstone around which all his remarks were directed.
As Tucker related: "Could it have been envisioned 10 years ago that this magnificent collection of books would now become worthless trash as the knowledge contained in the books can now be found on the web?" Accordingly, the law books are now reduced to a beautiful room decoration.
What brought about this progress? It was not central planning that brought it about, nor does central planning move in the world to push history forward.
At one time books were very important and valuable. Monasteries were invaded to gain access to books. One book took great effort and much time to copy. A huge advancement was when the Gutenberg Bible became the first substantial book printed in the West. Often it is not even possible to give books away. It all happened without central planning, but evolved because of what you and I did to shock and surprise the world; namely, because the key mover is not the state but private enterprise. Government is not the central actor of humanity.
This world is an undesigned product too vast to put together, yet order does exist. As such this unplanned world cannot not be made a better place through overtures and policies made by elected government politicians, even though many are quick to give government credit for their exploits.
An example given referred to an article distributed by Reuters (also appeared in the CT on Wednesday, Feb. 26), titled, "Americans still obese, but preschoolers dropped weight, study finds". Experts in the article presented reasons why obesity rate among children have fallen in the past 10 years: 1) The Wick Nutrition Program, 2) Mayor Bloomberg's crackdown of super-sized meals, and 3) Michelle Obama's emphasis on eating healthy. Nowhere among the experts was a normal response given that perhaps parents had figured it out and they no longer wanted fat children. Credit without exception went to government programs and policies.
Many Americans believe that government is the primary achiever in the realm of civilization. Why? Because embedded in this belief is that a final arbitrator is needed to make things run; things can only be held together by a central power because there within lies the smartest people, the resources, and the power to enact. It is, however, a fundamental mistake to have absorbed this message.
Such was the state of mind in the time of FDR when government programs were provided under his New Deal to improve condition. Instead, Roosevelt's New Deal programs, on a whole, slowed down the very progress they were designed to provide. Taylor offered this further insight: How the whole point of government policy seems to be directed at producing misery, "If you like it you shouldn't do it, such as eating fatty foods," further clarified by Taylor by Mayor Bloomberg's prohibition against super-sized drinks, etc.
Every government system has its flaw. The flaws must be found. This is what entrepreneurs do. It happened in the realm of security when perceived that government was no longer protecting us. This gave rise to entrepreneurs (including former policemen who left government) in developing start-up private security firms.
After 100 years the *"Leviathan" experiment of government designed from the top to bottom to make the world a better place is now unraveling at a rapid pace. Having reached the end of its line, it is no longer working. As a consequence, government is decades behind the times and is no longer able to keep up with the breathtaking level of change that is happening at breakneck speed. Already noted is how 30 years ago it was incomprehensible that something called the Internet would replace books.
*The word "leviathan" seems to be a general term for any large sea animal. The name "Leviathan" occurs 6 times in the Old Testament." Some account say that it had seven heads.
The world has been in a massive state of upheaval since 2008. The Smartphone app, an application that can be downloaded for your cell phone to do different things -- a flashlight, google maps, Uber, etc. -- happened without government. No one set the prices for the app. A wide range of prices existed in the beginning as the app was thrown out in a market economy and through a system of trial and error it captured attention and took hold.
[Recently reported was of a danger inherent for attendees at a recent RSA security conference in San Francisco who installed a smartphone app dedicate solely to security conference. One app disclosed the name, surname, title, employer, and nationality of people who installed the app.]
2008 also saw the reinvention of the institution of money stuck since 1913. The new money system Taylor referred to is "cryptocurrency," a new form of money that uses cryptography to control its creation and transactions, rather than a central authority. Bitcoin is the first consensus network implemented under the concept called "crypto-currency" that enable a payment system and a completely digital money. From the prospective of the user, Bitcoin is nothing more than a mobile app or computer program that provides a personal Bitcoin wallet and allows a user to send and receive bitcoins with them."
[As reported in The Hill, Senator Jo Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Wednesday, February 26 called for financial regulators to ban the virtual currency bitcoin after a collapse of Mt. Gox, a Japan-based website that allowed users to trade bitcoin for U.S. dollars and other currency. Manchin's concern was over the criminal use of the currency to launder money and traffic drugs, and warned it could pose a threat to the U.S. economy if other countries got ahead of the .S. in banning or regulating it. Meanwhile, a few days later a WSJ article of Friday, February 29, quoted Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janel Yellen as saying: "This is a payment innovation that is taking place entirely outside the banking industry."]
As governments are geographic, they can't compete. There is now a decentralized knowledge base. As Tucker expressed: "Living in today times we are looking at something unbelievable and beautiful in an atmosphere where we are able to abstract information from all over the globe."
Every sector of society is presently being reinvented on behalf of all of us, as we are living in a world that is decentralized -- one not planned for. Consider education where decentralization is taking place. On-line learning possibilities are popular and a good alternative (in contrast to physically being on a college campus) and causing concern at the university level.
Pithy and perhaps somewhat controversial thoughts by Jeffrey Tucker:
- The only reason government was invented was to think our way around life without technology.
- We are living through an unbelievable migration to the digital world.
- Government has no power that can match the power of the single idea. Once an idea enters the realm of knowledge, they leave the control of government.
- Government will become a big pain in the neck after migration takes place.
- Government will not go away without a fight. Jeffrey Tucker spoke of some of the most creative people he personally knows who are now in jail. Naivety existed in believing that society would celebrate them for good things. As such hackers are victims of the age we live in and are suffering. Although government can continue to jail people, many more of the same will rise up.
- Government can create all the institutions it wants, but it can't innovate. Government eats up stuff, rather than to create history.
- The state is aggressive, while on the other side there is beauty in a market economy. Nothing can beat a great idea. This is the great struggle of our time as government is seeking control over our lives from the top down, in contrast to a free market system (free enterprise), where ideas lead to innovation through entrepreneurial endeavors.
- Illinois is now in the belly of the multiheaded "leviathan" sea monster, barely limping along as the result of bad and ineffective government policies. Illinois can change if Illinois is able to extract itself from the hold and power of its inapt leviathan government. Needed is school choice, real healthcare and pension reform, and greater transparency.
Out of solidarity to Jeffrey Tucker, whose trademark is his bow tie, CEO John Tillman and Jonathan Greenberg, Vice President of External Relations at the Illinois Policy Institute, also sported bow ties.