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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Hacker Interviews A Tyrant

Most of you have read the free online novel Hacktivism End Game - Complicit Simplicity. Many have read the short story prologue, *hacktivist*. It seems right to add an interview as an epilogue, a story of slavery and extortion:

A Hacker Interviews A Tyrant

His Nibs was on a rant, and he was mostly right – just a bit extreme; as usual. I knew when I walked in and saw him drinking port instead of wine as his evening glass of thought provoker, he was working up to something big.

“Tell me I'm Wrong;" he started. “There are two types of governments.”

“You were on this last week,” I replied. “Tyrannies formed by elites manipulating the masses by installing puppets in a democracy, and dictatorships that skip the appearance of fairness and rule directly.

He waved me off. “The purpose of argument is to get your premise accepted as a given -- so I simplified and overextended. I'll assume for now you finally accept at least part of that idea. Lets go a dualism deeper.”

“Isn't dualism a bit inaccurate, there is no complementary balance to your idea, both forms you mention are malignant, neither positive.”

“You're right. There is coffee in the kitchen, let me think on how to rephrase that.”

I settled down with my coffee, and waited him out.

“Your point illustrates why I've searched deeper. No duality; and other citizen management tools are available besides democracy and totalitarianism. It's too vague an argument to gather a consensus.”


“And that's why I needed to go deeper, exploring the origins of governments. The idea that people need to be manged by people that can't manage their own lives is ludicrous on the surface. You would have to be carefully taught to believe that.”

I looked at my notes and prepared questions, "Y
ou've covered that in The Case For Coercive State Education: 'States can not afford to ignore the propaganda value of indoctrinating captive children, starting with loyalty oaths and on to rewritten histories. Let children starve before allowing them to grow up thinking for themselves.”

“I sometimes forget you've read my books. During court proceedings I had time to write them, I didn't expect my enemies to take time to read them.” He paused a moment, then continued. “Let's consider the two ways governments first formed. We will exclude small family and tribal units that were assimilated into larger units.”

“Such tribes and families still maintain their basic functions, balancing individual needs against group survival.”

“Good, you understand. It's larger groups, preying on natural instincts to create artificial unity in dissimilar peoples, that interest me today.”

I prodded him a bit, “That sounds like a good thing.”

He reacted to that, “What?" Then he paused before: "Oh yes, it sounds good. Like most such arguments, forgetting differences and assimilating all into a common culture always feels right. That's why governments publicly pursue such ideals regardless their real goals. Their populations unite behind them: 'As long as it's our culture others are forced into.'”

“Forced is a loaded word, what about choice?”

“Hah! Well challenged. That would be natural, for individuals or tribes to want to migrate toward something better. Unfortunately that's not how governments work. Governments are not the individuals they represent, the societies they rule, or the nations of like individuals they divide with intentionally contentious borders. Just like corporations, governments are artificial constructs for managing livestock.”

“I think I see where your ruminations are taking us.”

“Quite right. That is one of the two divisions of government origins.”

“People as livestock? That would be slavery.”

“It was and is slavery. Today we have found free range livestock is healthier and more productive – but they are still slaves. My house arrest is a reasonable example. My jailers and those confined in smaller cells may call it freedom, but I don't. Freedom is not relative. You are either free or a captive.”

“And the second origin of governments?”

“Extortion: hunter gathers collecting any perceived surplus of farmers and merchants.”


“Perhaps, but many barbarians were of more ethical stock than the population centers they sometimes looted.”

'Define ethical for me.”

“Causing minimal damage, doing what you said you would do. That second part requires any counter-parties to do what they said they would do; or any agreements are voidable without notice. That's why an ethical reputation is important: your reputation argues for your actions.”

“That's okay for now, but does ethics align with raiding barbarian hoards?”

“More frequently than with leaders of governed masses. The first sack of Rome was limited to one day of souvenir and gold grabbing. It was pay, and pay back, for the conquering soldiers. Compare that to the prolonged enslaving of entire civilizations by Rome.”

“Granted, if for no other reason than to progress in recording your memoirs.“

“An accurate history of our times must have a summation of current power-politics. Taxes and fees increase political influence by extortion.
Laws and regulations create piecemeal slavery. "


“Both the debauched Romans and the steadfast Huns have their analogs today.”

“These are your slave-masters and extortionists?”

“No, but they are stones of prior edifices from which current castles are fashioned.”

“How encompassing is your vision of history and current politics?”

“I'm still considering, but I believe all current governments will fall under both of these categories. The Federation of Liberated Cantons and King Jacob's Elldee are but interesting experiments. If the FLC endures another century we will call them a success: but they won't be mentioned as free states in next millennium's history books.”

“There are un-noted historical exceptions to your theory?”

“Many. Parts of the Hanseatic League, The Vikings in Iceland when it was warm and fertile, some North American tribes such as the Iroquois and Apache, The USA for eleven years between the Declaration Of Independence and the Constitution, the CalBaja Free State. There were others.”

“Historians will argue with the short time frame for the USA.”

“Most intellectuals ignore or argue against all truth that contradicts what they have accepted. Those that lived then knew what happened. Richard Henry Lee authored the Bill Of Rights to correct the constitution. Too little, too parsed before passage, too late. The errors of limited people's rights and expanding government privileges were already propagating. Jefferson said something like: 'Tyranny is when government has powers denied to citizens.' He knew, but still, he was human.

“So your indictment is I am either slave or slaver, extortionist or co-dependent victim.”

“Not really, I'm speaking of governments, not individuals. There are free people, but no free peoples. As I recall, Voltaire said 'Man is free when he determines to be free.”

"And a counter quote as long as we are playing history: 'I freed thousands of slaves. I could have freed thousands more if they had known they were slaves.' - Harriet Tubman. But I'm here to record your thoughts before your execution.”

“Ouch. Direct as usual Jon, that is why I requested a hacker as my biographer. I also know my biography will be read, especially if it is banned throughout the world like my other books. If nothing else, write a novel to reveal these truths. You have always been an ethical barbarian.”

“And you have always been the puppet master of the governments you are now revealing. Your story needs to be told and understood. That I have known your methods and fought your bureaucracies does lend credence to your insights.”

“You ruined a good thing for me. Perhaps your Friends Of Hacker Jon will change the way the world runs. The international court has ruled I will not see that day.”

“That the court would not condemn your policies until you were ousted from government shows little has changed.”

“Slavers, murderers, and thieves travel together, but leave their wounded to be devoured by following wolves.”

“I still hope that ethical hacker's proactive actions, as were applied in Elldee, will spread and at least genocides and repressive regimes will decrease.”

“Don't count on it. What King Jacob is accomplishing in Elldee is amazing, but it is easy to imagine it not lasting past his death. The world is full of pragmatic egotists like myself. We will find a way to enslave and steal once he is gone – perhaps sooner.”

“With that our time is up, your jailer approaches. I can envision a day when instead of hoarding and stealing, the mindset will change to allowing increasing abundance.”

Scar closed the interview; “Good luck with that. It argues against history. But maybe that's your point.”

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