Statelessness: They Say it Like it’s a Bad Thing

For two centuries, anarchists have treated the state as a cancer. Maybe we were wrong. Maybe it was actually a viable organ. But if so, it is now a vestigial organ — humanity’s appendix, if you will. It serves no worthwhile purpose and is best surgically excised and thrown in the trash before it ruptures and kills humanity with the poisons it has stored up for 400 years.

Yours for freedom in our lifetimes. — jtl, 419

by via Center for a Stateless Society

Last November, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) launched a ten-year drive to end “the scourge of statelessness.” In December,  UNHCR Senior Regional Protection Officer on Statelessness Emmanuelle Mitte appealed to journalists (in west Africa and worldwide) to promote the effort, citing the press’s “responsibility to carry out advocacy, and sensitisation on the issue.” But the campaign, starting with its name (“I Belong”), tells us more than its creators and promoters might want us to know about the relationship between the UN, political governments and those they govern.

In truth, the United Nations might be more accurately called the United States were the name not already taken. It is dedicated to the preservation of a system not quite 400 years old and still not quite globally adopted: The Westphalian system, which replaced the old feudal ties of dynastic family rule and shifting servile fealties to specific individuals with “states” defined by fixed geographical borders (“national sovereignty”) and sporting bureaucracies which survived individual (and increasingly titular) rulers to maintain continuity of political government within said borders.

To put it a different way, the Westphalian system evolved feudal serfdom into a more sustainable model of chattel ownership. Serfs belonged to specific, mortal lords. Citizens belong to immortal bureaucracies. The UN’s “I Belong” campaign aims to herd missing slaves back in their pens.

Fortunately, the effort is almost certainly in vain.

Over the last 20 years or so, the Westphalian ruling class has found itself increasingly beset by the existence and efficacy (in everything from unregulated commerce to irrepressible warfare) of “non-state entities” which recognize neither the legitimacy of its bureaucratic rulers nor the sanctity of its borders and “sovereignties.” While it’s not a given that all those non-state entities represent an attractive alternative to the Westphalian model (I doubt most of us want to live under the rule of a  “global caliphate,” for example), it’s clear that the model is in tatters. And history is unlikely to run backward on its behalf.

Fortunately for most of us — and unfortunately for projects like “I Belong” —  a funny thing happened on America’s way to permanent primacy in a post-WWII Westphalian hegemony: A system designed to preserve the pinnacle exemplar of Westphalian nation-statism by maintaining bureaucratic and military continuity even under the pressures of nuclear attack got released into the wild.

The Internet has enabled billions to uncouple themselves from national loyalties in various and significant ways. Hierarchical political government rooted in geography is giving way to self-organized horizontal networking rooted in mutual personal interest. Economic systems crafted by and for the state’s ruling class are coming apart at the seams and leaking tax revenues at the joints as more and more of us trade without state permission and without paying the tolls the state demands.

The Internet and other technologies continue to eat at the state’s connective tissues. Technologically reduced capital requirements make it possible to locally manufacture goods once centrally produced by state-boosted industries and distributed over the state’s ubiquitous road networks (making regulation and tax collection increasingly difficult). Cell phones with wi-fi capabilities and “mesh networking” apps allow non-state networks to continue operations when the state pulls the plug on its centrally controlled utilities.

“I Belong” focuses on bringing a few million refugees back under ownership of the states which made them refugees in the first place. But many more millions than that have consciously (and billions unconsciously) begun the process of escaping those states, becoming stateless by choice.

For two centuries, anarchists have treated the state as a cancer. Maybe we were wrong. Maybe it was actually a viable organ. But if so, it is now a vestigial organ — humanity’s appendix, if you will. It serves no worthwhile purpose and is best surgically excised and thrown in the trash before it ruptures and kills humanity with the poisons it has stored up for 400 years.

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A Handbook for Ranch ManagersA Handbook for Ranch Managers.  In keeping with the “holistic” idea that the land, the livestock, the people and the money should be viewed as a single integrated whole: Part I deals with the management of the natural resources. Part II covers livestock production and Part III deals with the people and the money. Not only would this book make an excellent basic text for a university program in Ranch Management, no professional ranch manager’s reference bookshelf should be without it. It is a comprehensive reference manual for managing the working ranch. The information in the appendices and extensive bibliography alone is worth the price of the book.

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Land and Livestock International, Inc. is a leading agribusiness management firm providing a complete line of services to the range livestock industry. We believe that private property is the foundation of America. Private property and free markets go hand in hand—without property there is no freedom. We also believe that free markets, not government intervention, hold the key to natural resource conservation and environmental preservation. No government bureaucrat can (or will) understand and treat the land with as much respect as its owner. The bureaucrat simply does not have the same motives as does the owner of a capital interest in the property. Our specialty is the working livestock ranch simply because there are so many very good reasons for owning such a property. We provide educational, management and consulting services with a focus on ecologically and financially sustainable land management that will enhance natural processes (water and mineral cycles, energy flow and community dynamics) while enhancing profits and steadily building wealth.
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