1. Tyrant dictatorship
2. Party dictatorship
3. Authoritarian oligarchy
5. Individual sovereignty
I propose an exercise whereby we think of how free society is, or the proposed values of an individual or group are, by thinking where they stand on a five point scale of freedom. The lines between each may prove blurred in reality, but this should still prove an illuminating exercise. To identify which of the five points apply, think where sovereignty would lie for control of an individuals life. Do they have sovereignty over their own consciousness and body, or does the balance of power lie with some other group?
1. Tyrant dictatorship
In a tyrant dictatorship, a single individual holds the sovereignty for everyone. The tyrant is not themselves subject to the rule of law, and the ultimate law rests on their every decision. In such a system, no one is free (in law) except the tyrant themselves. The tyrant themselves can not legally be disposed, and even discussing the possibility would be considered treason, and probably punishable by death if the tyrant so desired.
2. Party dictatorship
In this system a single group, probably sharing a given ideology, with limited room for disagreements, rules and makes the law. They may appoint themselves a leader, but ultimately the party may veto some or all of the leaders decisions, or even vote them out of office. Sovereignty then rests with an organisation rather than an individual. Opposition to the party view is outlawed and suppressed, possibly resulting in execution, imprisonment. In theory the party leadership is subject to the rule of law, but in practise this is only enforced on members that become a liability to party interests. Ultimately, like in level 1, corruption tends be widespread throughout society.
3. Authoritarian oligarchy
This system provides a little more freedom than the first two, since not only does sovereignty not rest on a single individual, but also no single party has ultimate control. Such a society probably, but not necessarily, poses as a democracy, but only with very limited voting options. The main political parties in such a democracy will actually be fronts for a cartel of corporations that actually control finance, industry, agriculture and the media. Through their puppet politicians they maintain control of the legal system and the military. In all likelihood they also control the criminal underworld, probably via their secret services. In order to maintain the illusion of democracy and freedom, such a society allows for freedom of religious and political expression, but may still persecute minorities in more subtle ways through refusal of employment in key positions, disenfranchisement with the political system, media smear campaigns and unjust laws. Corruption is more often exposed than in levels 1 and 2 as the different factions compete for power, but often little actually done about it as all factions serve the same interests. Sovereignty in such a system often lies with the business cartel, and the elected politicians often seem impotent to challenge their business interests. Individuals probably enjoy some legal rights and protections, but still lack sovereignty over their own consciousness and body.
Such a society probably has a flourishing democracy with wide array of parties reflecting a wide range of positions. Government is likely formed through a coalition of parties rather than swinging between overall control. It becomes more difficult, although not impossible, for the business cartel to control policy, but they mostly have to resort to manipulating public opinion via their control of the media rather than relying solely on their monopoly of available political parties. Ultimate sovereignty over the fate of an individual lies with the democratic government, which includes an independent judiciary and trail by jury. Individuals may have guaranteed legal rights that an elected government cannot pass laws against without them being thrown out in a court of law. However, laws may still be passed that contradict the sovereignty of an individual over their own body and consciousness. The parties controlling the balance of power are more likely to represent the interests of the middle classes rather than the very rich, as would be the case in level 3.
5. Individual sovereignty.
Similar in many ways to level four, except that such a society would guarantee complete individual sovereignty. This would include ensuring a base line of poverty that no-one need fall below (either through government intervention, private charity or grass roots organisation or some other means not known to me) such that everyone is housed and fed. This means no-one is coerced into doing the will of others by the threat of starvation or homelessness, as might be the case in levels 1 to 4. Further, the individual has a legal right to pursue any state of consciousness and body changing activity they so wish, be it through mystical techniques, sexual and sado-masochist practises or the use of plant, fungi and chemical derived entheogenic substances. Rape is fully understood a violation of the individuals right to sovereignty over the destiny of their own body, acts against their consent to activities that affect their body. The sovereignty of the individual over their own body and mind is seen as inviolable in law. Only in a level 5 society is everyone free.
On this scale, where do you think the world is now? Where do you think your nation is? What factions are pushing for changes in what direction and which are fighting to maintain the status quo? Where were the super powers during the cold war? Where are they now?
I release this scale and all its text as public domain. Feel free to distribute and translate into other languages as you see fit.
Most of you are probably aware of TED. They do conferences with talks by ‘inspirational’ speakers under the slogan of ‘Ideas worth spreading’. These ideas are mostly spread by creative commons videos that they release online. KIA participants have shared some of them here on this website over the years. But how are they funded? Well a significant part of their income comes from the conference itself.
Originally attendance at the conference was invitation only and cost $4400. Something for the rich elite then. In 2007 they shifted to an annual membership model of $6000. This means they are financially dependent on the continued support of a wealthy elite.
As tends to happen with successful brands, they felt the need to expand, and they achieved this through the TEDx franchise. These were smaller conferences not organised by TED itself, that took place throughout the world.
One TEDx conference took place in Whitechapel, London and was organised by a group of students. This included a talk by Graham Hancock entitled ‘The War on Conciousness’. This proved quite a popular talk that generated a lot of discussion, but when TED central found it, they decided to take it down from their site. Of course, since it was released on a Creative Commons license, it can still be found all over the internet.
Here is the talk TED don’t want you to see:
It seems, in the war on consciousness, TED have chosen to side with authoritarian repression. Bare that in mind next time you watch one of the talks they approve of.
Whilst most of the ‘so-called free world’ struggle with whether grown adults should be allowed to smoke weed, Graham courageously takes a stand against the very idea that government should have any right to limit the ways in which a grown adult can alter their own consciousness.
In effect he takes an important stand against the tyrannous authoritarian idea that our minds are owned by the governments we elect from a choice of corporate sponsored leaders, and says ‘No, I own my own consciousness, and what I do with it is not a government concern.’
The war on consciousness is to my mind a subset of the war for control of our bodies, but more on that later…