WALL*E, the libertarian

July 5, 2008

Since it came out, the Pixar film WALL*E has generated great kudos. On the second night it was out, I took my entire family – my wife, my 9 year-old daughter, my 7 year-old son and their 2 1/2 year-old brother  – to see the film.

It is a wonderful, heart-warming and cute film, with incredible animation and a fairly good story.

Unfortunately, that has not stopped some knee-jerk, anti-environmentalist Randroids and slack-jawed conservative idiots from labeling it as “environmentalist, anticapitalist, and antitechnological propaganda” (sic).

Really?

**Spoiler Alert – do not read any further if you haven’t seen the film**

Lets see, we have an planet ruined by garbage, as the result of what appears to be the monopoly of a single company – Big and Large (BNL) – because they cater to every whim. They seem to be able to dump garbage because they seem to be able to externalize the cost of doing so. Now that could be a metaphor for pure socialism, but it seems more likely to me to be a metaphor for our current state capitalism.

Now, when faced with environmental disaster, what is the answer? why a more technological and nanny state existence on a cruise ship in space. Every aspect of life, from cradle to grave, is taken care of by the State – the cruise ship – and its minions – the service robots. Indeed, the humans become so lazy and distracted by this they do not realize they are always following the carefully controlled and laid out plans of the State to the point that they don’t realize the ship has a pool and that other people are more than just picture on a view screen.

It is not until the people of the ship are awakened and remember their past, fight against the agents of the state – the service robots trying to stop them from going to earth – shut off the “Autopilot” and leave the ship are they truly free.

They leave the control and comfort of the ship (state) and enter a fairly barren, despoiled land. It is not a paradise, but harsh – literally a garbage dump. But they courageously step forward, awkwardly, and start their new lives without the ship and its nanny-state society.

And if you stayed to watch the credits, the back story that unfold in the background animation, you’ll see they better their world not by taking orders from the “Autopilot”  but by cooperating and working together to plant food, recover from garbage and to rebuild without the over arching authority.

That certainly seems like a libertarian storyline to me?

I would also add that WALL*E indulges in a few verboten activities that libertarians would love and the MPAA and the RIAA would despise – he watches his pirated version of  “Hello Dolly” on his iPod and plays the ripped version of the music on his internal tape deck. He is self reliant, gathering and using spare parts he finds to fix himself and create his home, without relying on “the mother ship” to do it for him, like the bots on the Axiom do.

All that, but some people still call it a liberal propaganda film.

As others have pointed out, if you are so humourless as to be caterwauling about a kids movie like this, without seeing that obviously there are elements of both liberal and conservative politics, than how can anyone take you seriously.

“The fundamental story of the movie is about a culture beholden to a nanny state – in this case, a literal nanny state that coddles them like babies from the cradle to the grave, a world where individual initiative is destroyed and cultural history is entirely alien to the entire human race.  Basically, it’s the exact thing that conservatives have been warning us about for years, wrapped up in a movie with cute robots who rebel against it and lead humanity to a hunting-gathering-growing Earth.”

Indeed.

Environmental destruction happens and sometimes, the best laid plans of a statist, technological solution are worse. Only when people are free to face adversity and make free choices, not preprogrammed one, will the world be saved.

That is the message of WALL*E. That is the message to the environmentalists who think tha answer to state capitalist created pollutions and environmental destruction is more state regulation and exemption.

And it has cute robots, which will be used to market thousands of toys for the next two year.

But its anti-capitalist.

Right.

These people really need to get a sense of humour and get over themselves.


Anarchist Style Justice

April 22, 2008

In Canada, we have a dark, dirty little secret – our Government, in cahoots with the churches, specifically the Catholic, Anglican and United Churches, tried to destroy native Canadians. They did this through active cultural assimilation, apartheid-like political enshrinement of dependence (aka “The Indian Act”) and now, it seems, through crimes of outright murder and genocide.

Harsh?

Yes, but true.

The latest in this tragedy occurred last week when a group called the Friends and Relatives of the Disappeared (FRD) announced the locations of mass graves of native children who died while in custody of government-funded, church-run “Residential Schools” (a poor quality video of this grass-roots group reading the release is here).

The group alleges more than 28 mass grave locations across Canada at or near the locations of these schools. They also charge that many of those in these graves died not just of disease, but due to horrific neglect, abuse and outright murder at the hands of teachers, brothers and nuns that ran the schools. These include children beaten to death during floggings, killed in electric chairs or purposely exposed to tuberculosis by staff and government officials.

As horrific as these stories are, what is truly inspiring is how various native groups are banding together to work for justice. As the press release notes:

We have no confidence that the very institutions of church and state that are responsible for these deaths can conduct any kind of impartial or real inquiry into them. Accordingly, as of April 15, 2008, we are establishing an independent, non-governmental inquiry into the death and disappearance of Indian residential school children across Canada .

This inquiry shall be known as The International Human Rights Tribunal into Genocide in Canada (IHRTGC), and is established under the authority of the following hereditary chiefs, who shall serve as presiding judges of the Tribunal:

Hereditary Chief Kiapilano of the SquamishNation
Chief Louis Daniels (Whispers Wind), Anishinabe Nation Chief
Svnoyi Wohali (Night Eagle), Cherokee Nation
Lillian Shirt, Clan Mother, Cree Nation
Elder Ernie Sandy, Anishinabe (Ojibway) Nation
Hereditary Chief Steve Sampson, Chemainus Nation
Ambassador Chief Red Jacket of Turtle Island

In short, they are abandoning the state and its institutions and creating their own justice through cooperation. They are openly investigating the allegations independently, because those responsible – the state and its lapdogs in the churches – cannot be trusted to do so.

And for good reason, it seems. Since this was released on April 10, 2008 there have been no mentions in any of the mainstream, traditional media in Canada. These allegations are not new – most have been around, in rumour and whisper for decades. In fact, people like former United Church Minister Kevin Annett have had their lives and careers ruined over it. The IHRTGC intends to fight back just as hard:

Once these persons have been identified and detained, they will be tried and sentenced in indigenous courts of justice established by our Tribunal and under the authority of hereditary chiefs.{emphasis mine]

The IHRTGC should be supported and looked at as a model of stateless justice that is not our normal “Security Agency” idea, but one of true cooperative, community based justice. Anything that anyone can do to help would be appreciated.

For futher information please check out the facebook group. As well, please watch the documentary “Unrepentant”, which details Kevin Annett’s fight in Port Alberni BC and a little history of Residential Schools.

We need to work together to not only to expose these horrifying crimes of the state and the churches, but we need to work together to ensure that the IHRTGC is sucessful, to show that even in the face of ghastly injustice and genocide, the state is the problem, not the solution.


Evolution and Economics

January 15, 2008

Dr. Michael Shermer, of the Skeptics Society, has a fascinating article at Scientific American entitled ‘Evonomics‘. He postulates that evolution and economics are both part and parcel of the same phenomenon – complex adaptive systems.

In biological evolution, nature selects from the variation produced by random genetic mutations and the mixing of parental genes. Out of that process of cumulative selection emerges complexity and diversity. In economic evolution, our material economy proceeds through the production and selection of numerous permutations of countless products.

Quoting both Mises (“Socialism”) and Basitat, Shermer shows that top-down government “design” of the economy is a ludicrous as “design” in evolution.

As with living organisms and ecosystems, the economy looks designed—so just as humans naturally deduce the existence of a top-down intelligent designer, humans also (understandably) infer that a top-down government designer is needed in nearly every aspect of the economy. But just as living organisms are shaped from the bottom up by natural selection, the economy is molded from the bottom up by the invisible hand.  [emphasis mine]

He still thinks (sadly) some interference is necessary to ensure “free and fair trade”, but he is, at least headed in the right direction.

But what this really points to is yet another example of hypocrisy that seems to plague both the ‘left’ and the ‘right’, both so-called liberals and conservatives. Each has their own cognitive dissonance here. The conservative right, staunchly defends the idea (for the most part) that the economy is molded “from the bottom up by the invisible hand” of the market, while denying the identical process that occurs in biology.  Of course, the liberal left seems to have the opposite problem – while rightly defending the process of evolution and natural selection, they fail to see this exact same process in the field of economics and claim that the government is needed to manage the market.

One cannot support true free market economics and deny evolution nor can one deny the power of the true free market while vehemently supporting evolution.  Interference in the market causes unexpected distortions and unintended consequences just as interfering with evolution does.


Models for the Stateless Society

January 4, 2008

A few weeks ago, Brad Spangler did a post on how the Russian Business Network (RBN), a nefarious malware, spamming and phishing cybercrime organization, can be used as a model for private, consensual counter-economic activity that can undermine the state. Indeed, there have been studies that demonstrate that this grey market organization’s business practices, evolving clearly without state interference, hare highly effective, efficient and, ironically, “client centric.”

Of course, RBN is a criminal organization, so using it as a model makes many people uncomfortable. But in examining the RBN model, we can see in the response to RBN, and to malware in general, a model of a truly anarchistic “law enforcment” and protection agency – the IT security research community.

The Security Research community is generally made up of independent individuals and small groups that like to hack. They like to find ways to break software, to find ways to break in and exploit it. Many do it for the challenge, some for the profit. Indeed a market has arisen in vulnerability information just as the one for malware has arisen. It is used by individuals and major IT security companies alike.

Even with this kind of market, most researchers also share information such as malware binaries and source, intelligence, IRC botnet channel lists, malware hash rainbow lists and more.

The community is decentralized and redundant. If I don’t get good information or service from SANS, I can go to Offensive Computing. There is no central control. The idea of this kind of private enforcement and research can easily be applied to ‘meatspace’, physical security, for protecting not just IT assets, but homes, cars and lives.


theConverted, South Park edition

July 25, 2007

For Brad, who kicked it off:

Actually, Brad tells me it was Presto:

South Park Mike

Next?


Dispatches from Leviathan – The Ministry is a Harsh Mistress

July 18, 2007

I work as an independent contractor. I am not an employee except to myself and draw no wages except what I allow myself from my company. I try to live in the libertarian and anarchist way I think is superior – fair contracting for my services and knowledge in exchange for money, freely negotiated, with both sides benefiting from the exchange. I am responsible directly for my own success or failure and I happily help out others when asked.

That idealism is muted by the reality I face living in Ottawa, Ontario, the capital of Canada. If I want to feed my family, grow my business and expand my career, I must do business with the Federal Government. Everyone in Ottawa is in that position in one way or another. While some will look at me as some kind of traitor for somehow supporting the state and enabling it, I look at it like my opportunity to get back some small modicum of the taxes that have been taken from me in the past. I am using the opportunity to learn how to do some of those “services” the government supplies, in order to find private alternatives. I am see evidence on a daily basis that the state and government are incredible wastes or our moeny and time, examples of which I will share with you here.

Yeah, I’m rationalizing, but my kids gotta eat.

I fancy myself like Manny from “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” – a computerman contracting to the Authority to survive, while working for its downfall from within, mainly because there is no other real choice. I will start referring to my desktop as ‘Mike’ and I already know who my Prof. Bernardo de la Paz and Wyoming Knox are (and I only contact them through ‘Mike’). My success is yet to be determined…

I work at a particular Ministry that is responsible for the management of property, and a particular kind of property that I personally don’t consider property. I am contracted with them to help develop a few internal and external applications to allow them to search and display their massive records database.

Now, at this ministry, like all ministries, are two types of workers – contractors and employees. I work with 5 other contractors on the development team. We work great together, are efficient and have consistently delivered on time, on budget an with minimal problems. We are incented, of course, by being paid to deliver and by the pride of a job well done. We wish to deliver the best possible service and product to the client. The full timers, on the other hand, are not so incented. They don’t want to rock the boat. They are happy to extend deadlines in order to make work. We have had servers sit for months, while certain groups of full timers look for cables, where ‘success’ is merely plugging a box in. We have a team of 12 people doing a project which, quite literally, was completed by one of our team after his kids went to bed one night.

Now not all of them are that bad – there are a few who generally are good. They are usually younger ones and they are the creative one who find ways around the idiotic rules we have to work by (we aren’t allowed to use free, open source products of higher quality, we have to wait for IBM to deliver high cost, inferior ones).

The management is worse. Their style is not to deliver service to their clients, whether those clients are other government employees in other departments or the public, it is to create mini-empires to protect their existence, even at increased cost to those clients and the taxpayer. I have witnessed thousands, hundreds of thousands of tax dollars wasted, while the government pleads austerity to the public. The managers do not want what is good for the end users, but what maintains or increases their power, position and influence. We are there to make them “look good” not to deliver. We deliver only if it coincidently makes the manager look good. The hierarchy is everything. Creative thought is suppressed and punished.

Each day is nauseating. Each day I shake my head in disgust and disbelief. Each day, my belief in the total wrongness of the state and of government is reinforced.

I will be at this current contract for at least the next 6 months. I hope on a regular basis to send more Dispatches from Leviathan, based on my experiences and my observations. They will be true. Unbelievable, but, sadly, true.

Stay tuned for “Planning by Committee”, “If you don’t like it, you know what to do” , “Money is no object” and my favourite “You aren’t allowed to talk to the client”.


Conflating the Problem with a Solution

June 10, 2007

I am at a loss.

I am really at a loss trying to figure out why rational, brilliant and insightful anarchists and libertarians, who use history and reason to eloquently and forcefully argue economics and philosophy in favour of liberty, refuse to accept the science of anthropogenic global warming. Why is it they suddenly jump from rationality to paranoid conspiracy theorizing when global warming or the climate crisis is involved?

Take Lew Rockwell, for instance. He is incredibly insightful when discussing the over bearing power of the state to make war, or the intrusion of the state into our lives. But he happily links to articles such as this one by Alexander Cockburn at Counterpunch, regurgitates the most of the so-called scientific evidence against global warming, every single bit of which has been debunked and refuted before.

It is clear from the preponderance of evidence, from the vast majority of climate scientists (a number that is growing, not shrinking) that global warming is really happening and is caused by human activity. Why, then do libertarians and anarchists refuse to accept it?

It seems to me they are confusing the problem of global warming with the mainstream idea of the solution. They don’t want to believe the science, because, I suspect, they think this means they must accept the so-called solution – state enforced austerity measures, regulations and ‘carbon taxes’. What self-respecting libertarian could accept that? None, but the problem is that is how the debate has been framed – either doom and gloom or near complete economic regulation to prevent it. I also suspect there is a bit of confirmation bias and ideology involved. To accept global warming is to accept that our capitalist system, the free market is the cause. It is quite ironic that Lew Rockwell links to Cockburn then as the Marxist Cockburn seems to think that the climate crisis is a capitalist invention to create demand and forced scarcity to drive profit.

Let me posit an alternative view:

First, let us accept that global warming is real and created by human activity (if only for the sake of argument). That is the problem.

Does that mean that capitalism or private enterprise are to blame?

No. As I stated in an earlier post, it is in fact state interference and regulation, at the behest of mercantilist corporations, that are the one of the reasons. Think of the destruction of public transit systems throughout the US and Canada by city councils in cahoots with GM, so the latter could sell more cars and the former could run parking lots and get money from parking tickets. The result, as anyone who has read Jane Jacobs can attest, is our car-centric, just-in-time urban lifestyles. Cars, trucks and airplanes used for transportation of people and goods are a major source of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. In my city of Ottawa, there hasn’t been a new street built with a sidewalk in over 15 years, except, ironically, if the street was to have a bus route on it.

In Canada, the biggest producers of greenhouse gases are public power generation utilities and not the private sector.

Does that mean that the solution is  more regulation and state imposed austerity?

No. Ever since apple farmers were prevented from suing the factories destroying their crops with pollution, the state has been  interfering in, distorting and creating the externalities in the market that have created not just the problem with greenhouse gases, but with pollution in general. As Rothbard pointed out in “Law, Property Rights and Air Pollution”, only the free market, without state interference coupled with “collapsing crime into tort”, could this kind of pollution be effectively fought, as polluters would have to bear the full costs of their polluting ways, something they can now externalize on the rest of us.

In other words,  the state and regulation is the cause of the problem, not the solution. The solution is less state regulation and less (or no) state interference.

Does that mean that something can or should be done about global warming?

That is a debate that has not taken place. Ron Good’s post seems to be the first to even tangentially consider this. Global warming can be real and can be caused by human activity, but that does not mean that it is possible or even desirable to “do”  anything on the grand scale. It may be that we should use the science to help us prepare for, rather than prevent the future climate changes we have caused. It may not even be possible, at this point, to do anything. Should we spend our resources cutting down on carbon, taxing fossil fuels, or looking at what we should do when the ice caps melt, or when New York  or Los Angeles are underwater. It is hubris to think we can do something in 20 years to stop something we have been contributing to for over a century. It would be like trying to snap someone out of an overdose of Valium by injecting them with speed.

But then, it would be  just as much hubris to do nothing and not even try.  On this, I have not decided where I come down on this.

The bottom line is that it is not inconsistent with being an anarchist or libertarian to accept that global warming is real. The difference is how (and if) to deal with it. The climate crisis is caused by state interference and regulation and this should be the mantra of anarchist and libertarians when the subject comes up, rather than deny the problem even exists. Ironically, it is global warming and its cause that provide the greatest opportunity for libertarian and anarchist solutions to gain mainstream acceptance,  if only we took advantage. Accepting the reality of global warming and what if anything to do about it are two different things.

We must fight the inherent statism of the global warming debate  without abandoning the field of reason and pretending the problem doesn’t exist. That just makes us look stupid and drives people away from us.


George Reisman is an idiot

April 26, 2007

Or maybe a liar. Most likely he is merely a knee-jerk dogmatic conservative who likes to wallow in confirmation bias. He is a self-admitted Randian, after all.

Normally he makes cogent argument on economics. When he ventures beyond that, however, he really shows his shocking lack of critical thought, bordering on herd-following, non-thinking collectivism.

Take this bit of tripe, for instance. In it, Reisman basically ignores the science on Global Warming and stampedes directly into near paranoid fantasy, so unfounded that if you were to say it out loud to someone, they may seriously consider having you committed. His entire argument for conspiracy rests on this quote from Maurice Strong, founder of various UN eco-summits and a fairly heavy hitter in Canadian politics, from 1992:

“Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring [that] about?”

He attributes this quote to The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism (Washington, D. C.: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2007), p. 6. Yes, quite an unbiased source there.

Admittedly, that looks like a pretty damning quote. When I first read it, I was shocked. Of course, I don’t believe everything I’m told or read, so I did a little digging. Turns out, this is the real quote:

What if a small group of world leaders were to conclude that the principal risk to the Earth comes from the actions of rich countries? And if the world is to survive, those rich countries would have to sign an agreement reducing their impact on the environment. Will they do it? The groups conclusion is “no.” The rich countries won’t do it. They won’t change. So, in order to save the planet, the group decides: Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about? This group of world leaders forms a secret society to bring about an economic collapse. “[emphasis mine]

That makes it a bit different, no? Seems he was talking about hypothetical eco-terrorists. Seems further that Strong was making the remarks about an idea he had for a novel, a novel whose plot (as described above) that seemed to parallel Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. You would think that Reisman, being a Randroid, would have noticed? Ah, the irony.

In other words, the quote is not about the UN’s or any other groups wishes or plans, it is a discussion of a hypothetical, fictional situation. Any attempt to imply from this quote that the UN or any other environmental group’s “real agenda” is to destroy civilization and return humankind to a pre-industrial society is not just false, its a bold faced lie.

So why did Reisamn make it?

Well, it is possible that he didn’t know the full context of the quote. I mean it took me a whole 5 minutes to find it on Google (its the 2nd link in the list of 279 000 hits) . I suppose that while it takes a while to type a blog post and transcribe a quote from a book that is not online, that extra 5 minutes to actually do research to confirm the facts and premises is just too much to ask a University Professor.

Perhaps he couldn’t be bothered because it happened to fit with his ideological world view. I mean he is a Randian and thus anything a private business does is by definition good because private business does it, and every thing the government does is bad by definition because the government does it. So when a pseudo-government official is quoted saying something juicy like that, there is no critical thought needed, since a priori is it bad and therefore must be true. Down on the farm, we call that “confirmation bias.”

Or maybe he knew all along the full context and decided to selectively use the quote to imply Strong, and by extension the environmental movement and the UN, hold a position and have a hidden agenda which they do not, in fact, hold. That would be intellectual dishonesty and propagandizing – lying by any other name. All so he can remain convinced that this whole Global Warming thing isn’t real and is some “socialist plot” to send us into living in caves. That, without evidence to back it up, is delusional.

Don’t for a second think I’m siding with the statist position on this. While I accept the reality of anthropogenic global warming, based on the overwhelming scientific evidence, I don’t accept the solution is more state regulation and interference. As I have stated earlier, the state is actually one of the problems when it comes to global warming and pollution, not the solution. As a market anarchist, it think the market in the total absence of the state is the only good way to deal with the problem (as Rothbard himself pointed out in Law Property Rights and Air Pollution).

That being said, I cannot abide by dogmatism, intellectual dishonesty and lying to “help” our cause, whether it is by a slack-jawed blogger from Horsefly, Texas or one of the icons of the libertarian movement.

If Reisman thinks global warming is baloney, he ought to get some scientific backing and refute the evidence for global warming that has been presented and accepted by the scientific community. If he really thinks there is some vast UN-led conspiracy to cause the collapse of Western civilization and move us all back to pre-industrial society, he is going to need more evidence than a 15-year-old quote taken out of context and purposely spun to mean something it never meant. In other words actual evidence, or he will sound like a mouth-breathing, paranoid conspiracy theorist.

Unless that is what he really is.


Walking the Walk

April 13, 2007

Posting has been terribly light of late for a few good reasons:

1. Wading through the daily e-mail blast from the LeftLibertarian2 Yahoo Group eats a lot of evening free time that doesn’t involve playing with my kids, eating or sleeping. Don’t get me wrong, I love the list and it has some amazing threads, but there are a lot of them. Great reading.

2. I have given up being a wage-slave and started my own consulting business. I’m still doing what I always did, but now I am an independent IT consultant with a long-term contract and a great per diem. More money, more freedom, less taxes. Why didn’t I do this years ago? (Oh yeah, I wasn’t a market anarchist back then)

So I am quite busy between these two things, especially establishing my business and taking a small step to living the anarchist and agorist ideal.


Enabling Anarchy

March 25, 2007

Cross Posted at the Carnival of Anarchy:

In my relatively short time as an anarchist, one of the biggest areas of resistance form the idea of a decentralized, voluntary society has been the seeming inability of such a society to deliver basic services like power and communications. Many people believe that only a central authority can deliver these.

But the same technological advances that have been previously used – via Fordism and Taylorism  – to make us dependent on such central authority can be used to free us. There exists today technology and technological solutions that can enable decentralized, independent services to free us from central control and to begin enabling anarchy as a true, acceptable alternative for the common person.

The first such example is now nearly three years out of date. Andrew Grieg, a Toronto Open Source consultant with Starnix, has outfitted his home to be the model of a decentralized communications and entertainment service for his community, something previously thought to be the exclusive pervue of large telecoms and cable companies:

“Andrew uses his WiFi network for Internet, television, and telephone. He cancelled his telephone line and cable TV service. Then his neighbors dropped-by, saw what Andrew had done, and they cancelled their telephone and cable TV services, too, many of them without having a wired broadband connection of their own. They get their service from Andrew, who added an inline amplifier and put a better antenna in his attic. Now most of Andrew’s neighborhood is watching digital TV with full PVR capability, making unmetered VoIP telephone calls, and downloading data at prodigious rates thanks to shared bandwidth.”

Andrew does this perfectly legally by buying his shows via the C-channel, just a hotels and cable companies do, for pennies per show, per subscriber. He able to get the high quality VOIP phone service, PVR service and network connectivity to his community using fully, freely available open source products like MythTV, Asterisk PBX, Wifi, and Linux. He freely subscribes to other services like the C-Band, Vonage and other cellular systems. Each of these can be swapped out and interchanged if and when the technology changes and improves. If this were to happen today as opposed to 3 years ago, one might choose Skype over Vonage or FreeBSD over Linux. The components can be replaced with something better, fostering competition and giving maximum flexibility.

So not only has Andrew’s set up duplicated the services offered by the big cable  and telecom companies, he has improved them. His service offers on demand TV(of any show ever made at any time, with the ability to pause, rewind and fast forward) as well as live feeds, always on phone service and the ability to have access to your computing and entertainment resources via a small hand-held device. That kind of service is not available from any current service provider, even 2.5 years after Andrew created them himself and serviced his neighbourhood.

This solution is usable in both an urban and rural setting, providing the kind of communications services to rural Canada right now, that they can only dream of getting from the telcos and cable companies.

And the user is in control, voluntarily cooperating with their provider, getting what they want and not what the don’t.

But what about the power for all of this? Surely Ontario Hydro is still needed?

No.

As the Make Magazine link shows, it is entirely possible to use a combination of decentralized power sources – wind, solar, local hydro – to provide off the grid power solutions to your home and your neighbourhood (although not in any of the links, the author of the first article from Make 05 reports that he powers his entire home with the wind turbine described and a 1000 watt solar array). Home heating can be provided nearly anywhere using geothermal technology.

So clearly, much of our needs in power, heat, communications and entertainment can be provided by individuals themselves, in a decentralized fashion because of advances in technology, especially in open source software.

And that is the first step. Once people are able to get much of their immediate infrastructure needs without the state or their cartel corporate monopoly accomplices, they will realize they need them for little else. They will become anarchist in an anti-climatic, matter-of-fact way and the revolution will not come with a bang of guns and change, but the whimper of a dying state that has been found to be useless.

And rather than some Utopian future vision, this is something that can be done, now today, in order to create the new world in the shell of the old.