Peace in the New Year

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Here's a simple resolution for the new year (and every New Year): World Peace (or at least heading towards it).

While, "no war at all" is a near impossible, we could certainly strive to make the world (or at least our part of it) a better / more harmonious place. And contrary to what many will tell you, this isn't even that hard of a goal.

Q: How?
A: First, think about what causes conflict: then stop doing it. It's not rocket surgery.

Q: So what causes all conflicts?
A: One individual or group, trying to tell another, what to do and/or how to do it.

That's kind of it. You can't stop them from resisting your rules, but you can stop making them (and trying to enforce them). And if you don't try to force them into doing something they don't want to do, there's almost no conflict.

It's not them, it's you

Now conflict runs both directions. They could still try to force you (and there would be conflict). But you have no control over them. The only question is what you're going to do. Are you going to be as bad as them (and try to force them back), or better than them (a leave them alone)?

So every single rule, law, tax, regulation, mandate, policy you make, causes conflict, and conflicts escalate to combat (War).

Q: But don't we need rules, or society would crumble?
A: This is a straw-man fallacy. If we should stop creating 99% of the new laws we make, then that's saying there can be NO laws (and we should tear down everything), civilization will crumble, yada yada. Great way to shut down the conversation. Lousy way to learn or discuss.

Of course that's not what I'm saying at all. 99.9% of the rules we make, don't need to be rules, they could be requests, suggestions, guidelines. 80% of the rules we have in place could be removed, with few deleterious effects (and a removal of much conflict). So let's do that, and no more.

Ultimate, yes, of course there needs to be some rules, but far fewer than you think, and far fewer than we have now. But if every new rule was looked at with the attitude, "is this ABSOLUTELY necessary and worth the risk of war/combat? Is this as small, focused, localized as possible? Is this giving as much freedom as possible (while still protecting the right folks)?" then there would be far fewer rules, far less intrusive rules, and thus far less combat.... and a little less compliance, with what you want. But that's the price of ending war, you getting over it, and learning you can't always get what you want. The problem isn't them, it's you. You wanting control of them, is why they fight.

Q: But how will progress happen?
A: The same way it always does, by them choosing to learn and grow (education, experience, choice). It almost never happens by force.

Most people don't just comply with a law because there's a rule (that they don't agree with). People do mental calculus and figure their odds of getting caught/punished, and if that outweighs the risks, then they do what they want. The more laws/rules you add, the less chance they have of getting caught/punished (because the cops are busy enforcing one of the other laws you made), and so on. So if you want to increase the costs of breaking any one law, reduce the number of laws conflicting/distracting from it, thus you get more compliance with the ones left. So fewer laws, is more compliance. The simpler and more focused the laws, the more compliance. The more laws and more complex the laws, the less compliance. Criminals are created by progressive laws.


Human nature is a little like toddlers: they don't like to be told what to do, and they like to test boundaries. So when you make a rule, you increase non-compliance (backlash/resentment), they do the opposite of growth -- because, "Fuck you!"

If they "get away with it", it will encourage others to follow. If they don't, you destroyed a life. (You knew a percent would not-comply, or you're an idiot). So the question is, was this law, worthy of destroying a life over?

Often, Laws are so bad, that they get the opposite effect of what they were written for. Look at the drug war, prohibition, and so on. (You can tell by the street prices, that it's not effective. And the bloodbaths and drug seizure laws, that it's made things worse). I could list examples all day long.

The one I often use is ESA (endangered species act). We started saying, "certain species are endangered and so important that if you have some of them (or good habitat for them) on your property, then the fed is going to tell you what you can do with your property, and fine you if you don't comply".

So what happened? Every farmer or land-owner (with a lick of brains), made sure if there was any of those endangered rats, flies, birds, etc, on their property -- or even habitat that was welcoming to them, that they were killed/destroyed as quick as possible (before government found out, and "protected" them and started butting into their lives).

There have been a few studies that showed we lost far far more of these animals and habitat to the public backlash, than the lash ever saved. The ESA protecting something, usually meant the mark of doom for them. The few that went the other way, were because of education and voluntary compliance. Birds like Eagles, that people liked -- not endangered flies or kangaroo rats, which people did not. Maybe if they'd asked (offered best practices & education), and just used publicity and peer pressure, they would have had 80% compliance, instead of 80% non-compliance. With people, a little flexibility and common sense goes a lot further than jack boots and riding crops.

In order for them to grow, they need a choice in the decisions, and to think about the consequences and decide like adults. Thus something that just encourages them to think about it (not tells them what to do), stands a better chance of long term growth, even if that means a certain amount of short term non-complaince.

The excuse is always "Tragedy of the commons" -- that if you trust humans, they are incapable of controlling themselves or working together. What they forget, is that Tragedy of the Commons almost never happens with open communications among the people impacted, and it almost always happens when government takes over and shuts that communications down.


Which is likely to get more conflict and resentment:

  1. Could you please put on your seatbelt? I care about you, and don't want to see you get hurt if anything happens.
  2. Put on your seatbelt, or I'll have guys with guns ticket/fine you. And if you don't pay the fine, I'll have them take your car and throw you in prison. And if you resist that, they have permission to forcibly subdue or even shoot you.

Some see the solution to every problem as force, "if I don't make them, they won't comply". Maybe, maybe not. But their compliance is not your problem, your demanding that they do what you want is the problem. Grow up. Get over it. The root of conflict is not their non-complaince, it's your intolerance to any choice but your own. What happens if they don't comply? If they're only endangering themselves, then it's not YOUR problem.

Statistically, seat-belts usually help in accidents, and infrequently make things worse or kill. I think the rewards outweigh the risk, and I've had injury increased because I was wearing a seatbelt. But even if I didn't, as an adult, it's MY choice. Just like other bad choices; drinking, sexual choices, smoking, eating, lack of exercising, work, hobbies, and life. The conflict only comes when you try to force YOUR life choices, on others. So the solution is to only force the things that are ABSOLUTELY necessary.

So why does conflict happen? Who is the root cause? How could we make it better?

It happens because Californians want to tell Texans what they can do in Texas. It doesn't happen (or happens a lot less) the other way, because Texans want to be left alone to make their own choices for Texas. If Texans ruled, Californians would be free to do what they wanted (in their state), and the only ones upset are the moral busy-body know-it-alls (because they aren't getting to tell others what to do). But if Californians ruled, they would make rules for everyone else. They'd tell Texans they have to give up their guns, must give abortions on-demand, must not turn toxic waste (oil) into valuable fuel and plastic goods, like the evil plastic bags they would ban, and tell them how to raise their cattle, or to go raw-food vegan, and so on. And each of those things, makes a little bit of conflict, until it culminates in battles/war. Thus California are the problem, not Texas -- and everyone but California can see it.

NOTE: Of course, I'm not implying that Texans are perfect and Californians don't have good intentions. Texans can be obnoxious too, and decided things I don't agree with. Like making it too hard to get abortions, or too difficult for gays to get married, and so on. But it's their state and their choice. They are growing. Urban Texans are more tolerant than rural (or urban) Californians, just not always on the same things. Texans are mostly trying to self-govern, Californians are mostly trying to rule over everyone else, for their own good. And that makes all the difference on which is the bigger problem.


So the solution is what's it was when this country was founded:

  1. Learn to live and let live.
  2. When you have a conflict, figure out if it is really them, or your desire to control that's the problem.
  3. Learn to pick your battles -- you can escalate a conflict, or de-escalate it. And escalation leads to combat. Is this issue, really worth going to war over? Yes/no? If no, then pick a better fight later, than this one now.

Statists (progressives, fascists, communists, socialists, all variants of the same thing) are the cause of almost all conflict. They try to use force (laws, regulations, etc), instead of persuasion -- and that escalates conflict more than the alternative -- they resort to their fists, when their words and patience would work better. So if we accept that truth, then the solution is to fight the statists.

NOTE: In the 40 years, I've brought this up, and asked for people to prove me wrong, nobody has been able to mount a cogent defense. But I'm still looking. Find me good examples where the a more passive aggressor would lead to less resistance and backlash, and I'm all ears. (No straw-men allowed).

Once in all conflicts, there are always two choices :

  1. Use their methods: Force (and just be better at it) -- the ends justifies the means, and might makes right. Just try to force them back. And this can win -- but at what cost?
  2. Use our methods: Education/words/patience/forgiveness - the means define you -- better to lose doing the right thing, than win doing the wrong one. (So you have to accept their failure and your own).

Their method is always force, so they HAVE to kill you if you resist arrest (for not paying a ticket, for failure to wear your seatbelt). Then they blame the cops for enforcing the laws they wrote -- ignoring that if they never demanded such a retarded thing, it would have never escalated in the first place.

❝ Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies (progressives). The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals. ❞

You can win, by being the bigger bully. Force meeting force. But if you win (and eliminate the opposition), you can have peace for a while (peace through tyranny and superior firepower), but is that how you really win? And war to end war, is as dumb as racism to end racism, or sexism to end sexism (affirmative action), or classism to end classism (progressive taxes), or tyranny to fix the problems with injustice/liberty. It's winning by failing harder harder than they did. Future growth is traded for short term wins, ignoring that long term, it teaches them to resent and rebel (react in kind), which is bad for everyone.

So I advocate education and tolerance.

Both sides want progress and think that they're right, and every move away from liberty, comes with a sincere belief that it'll fix things. I'm pretty sure Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao, Obama, all thought they're good guys. Again with the C.S. Lewis quote: > "We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive."

Thus both sides think they have the moral high ground. Now the only question is which one is going to act like it, and which is going to compromise it (and use force to get their way)?

So the choice of being progressive and tolerant is by choosing education and patience (the tenets of real classical-liberalism), or by choosing force/lies/intimidation/polarization/legislation/regulation (all the tenets of impatient progressivism/fascism) ?


Thus the answer to world peace is easy.

Getting people to ask themselves the right questions and consider their own actions (and consequences): that is hard.

But steps towards peace, are education (share this article). Leading by example (don't do anything that you would resent others doing to you). Accept that your means matter, thus bullying (taxes/laws/regulations) isn't winning, it's just getting your way and sowing the seeds of backlash, hate and resentment.

If we want peace in the new year, it's the same solution it was for last year.... and the same as it was for the last few thousand years. Learn to tolerate things you do like. Embrace liberty. Teach others the same. Use persuasion and your words (not force and laws). And when they ignore you (and many will), give them love and forgiveness, then try again. Rinse and repeat until they're dead or you're dead, and then try it again with the next generation. Become Libertarian. You'll lose more battles, but change more minds and fight fewer wars.

Written 2014.01.01