"The most common characteristic of all police states is intimidation by surveillance. Citizens know they are being watched and overheard. Their mail is being examined. Their homes can be invaded." ~ Vance Packard
Freedom Is Never Up
The socialist anarchist movement has realized something we should really take to heart: the idea of decentralization. Even though socialist and communist anarchists tend to favor forceful decentralization in federations of labor unions'and the abolishment of voluntary exchange of services in the marketplace'we should really turn to them: for inspiration and guidance. The lesson they have learned but we libertarians seem to avoid is that freedom is not a bird: it cannot fly.
As a matter of fact, freedom cannot move upwards. When power does, freedom is necessarily violated. Many societies have tried to implement freedom and liberty in institutions and power structures, so as to guarantee that it will last over time. Their move was fatal, and the effect: the total death of every syllable of freedom. Why? Because freedom cannot move upwards.
The State is a good example of this, as is the rising evil in Europe : the European Union. The latter is built on the Internal Market, which is supposed to guarantee economic growth and prosperity for the European peoples. It is rather the opposite. The Union could theoretically force the power of the state back and reinstate the market and the rule of natural law through the four freedoms and institutional competition. But where power goes in, reason and freedom goes out. Instead of a working market, we've gotten continent-wide regulations, instead of economic growth, we see cemented stagnation.
A few days ago I received a message from my Swiss bank saying a new regulation is coming into effect July 1st. It is an 'agreement' between the European Union and the Swiss federal government 'enabling the taxation of savings income of persons domiciled in a member state of the European Union.' So much for the Swiss banks. And so much for the European Union.
The founding fathers of America were as ignorant to fact as were the founding fathers of the European Monster. Making power an institution can never guarantee or protect freedom. As a matter of fact, power is the very opposite to freedom and should be kept to a minimum and as far down as possible.
The total amount of freedom enjoyed is increased with each state seceding from a federation, and freedom is ruthlessly butchered with every politician instated. This is where the knowledge of the left is essential: power has to be pushed down. All the way down to the individual at best, but every step on the way is a small but necessary victory. Thus, the creation of supra-state unions such as the European, and federations of states such as the American, are all great failures for freedom. The same is true when political 'competence' (Why the hell do they use this word when what they mean is simply 'power'?) is moved from the individual to the neighborhood, from the neighborhood to the municipality, from the municipality to the state, and from the state to the federation or union.
Every time the power over some aspect of my life is moved away from me, I will have to suffer. It has been true through all of history; it is true today; and it will be true tomorrow. Freedom is whatever control and power are not. This is where we have to learn from the socialist anarchists: decentralization is the only perceivable way to bring freedom back alive. Pushing the state back means pushing its powers down its hierarchy. This will increase the individual freedom of all, and it will cause tensions in the power structures between the centers of power. And eventually the state will fall.
We need to take back the power of our lives, and perhaps disassembling the federation or union is the first step'we cannot expect for all power structures to simply fall apart. Even if they would fall due to their own destructive powers, it will not be a happy ending, and freedom will not see the light of day for years after the state is gone. Pushing power down means bringing it closer, and it is certainly easier to bring down a small enemy that is close, than a large enemy at a distance.