On The Human Condition

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While human existence certainly changes, the human condition generally does not. We are more or less the same creatures that we were 100,000 years ago, with the same hopes and fears, and the same foibles and motivations that our ancestors had.

When we look at the history of human governance, we can see a distinct pattern. For much of our history, oppressive, top-down, nonrepresentative governments have been the rule. A relatively few wealthy individuals sat at the top of the socioeconomic structure, and the vast majority of individuals were stuck in the proverbial mire. It was this way for millennia immemorial.

Something interesting happened within the last millennium, though, and particularly within the last 3 centuries. Societies dedicated to the recognition of the individual developed. They started protecting property rights for everyone. They started ensuring mankind’s individual production. They started from the bottom up — meaning that for the most part, every citizen was seen as an equal in the eyes of the law, as an end in and of oneself, and not just as a means to the already powerful’s ends.

When this happened prosperity skyrocketed, across the board, for all individuals, and not just for the already wealthy. The average human started living longer, fuller, healthier lives. Where war and strife used to reign, peace and prosperity became relatively commonplace. The world for everyone improved drastically, and it all happened once social orders dedicated to individual liberty took hold.

The human condition didn’t change, the social order did. People are still just as likely to be selfish as not. People are still prone to abuse of their fellow man. People are still predisposed to looking after themselves and their own first. But with the new social order it became possible to serve your fellow man, and in doing such, to enrich yourself. It became possible to be selfish, and yet beneficent at the very same time.

So we are all still generally the same cretins that we have always been. But in recognizing that we are all individuals, with individual desires, dreams, hopes, fears, foibles, and motivations, we have freed ourselves from the tyranny of nature, of the natural world, but also from the propensity for centralized authority to exploit everyone else.

We should realize this, and keep our governments as small as possible, responsible for as little of our day-to-day lives as is logistically feasible. But our prosperity has stoked our hubris, and many have come to see the social order itself as the cause of our prosperity, instead of the individualism that our social order has allowed for. As more of us buy into this false notion, we sink slowly, day by day, into the mire of collectivism that will at first be our crutch, but ultimately our downfall.

All is not lost, though. New technologies have come into play that allow for circumvention of government overreach. The blockchain, mesh networking, encryption, the internet, and other digital wonders buck centralized control, and keep the power in the hands of the individuals that have always been their own salvation. A new day dawns — one with marvels yet unseen. If we are wise enough to keep government out of our lives, peace and prosperity will be humanity’s inheritence, from this day forward.

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