Colin's Cornucopia

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Civilisation grew out of Man’s need for society. He discovered thousands of years ago that there was benefit from co-operation. Civilisation is the name we give to the forms of co-operation that enable men to co-exist without killing each other too often or too blatantly.

The first principle of civilisation is that Man’s prime tool of survival is his brain. Every animal has a survival technique and Man has many but the first is his brain. It is the use of his intellect that has set Man apart from other life forms. His brain may allow him to outwit most other species and kill and eat them but this is not civilisation. The unique essence of civilisation is co-operation by using brain power in an organised fashion.

Essentially this means perception, thought, conception, planning and application. Action without thought is mindless threshing about. Thought without action is aimless speculation. Application must follow thought to make a civilised action. Other species cooperate using thought but none has so far linked them to long term planning.

The obvious thing that separates civilised beings from others is the nature and amount of artifacts that they can make and use. Man the toolmaker was a Victorian conception that seems to have become unfashionable. But it is in essence exactly correct. Every artifact that man makes is a tool that performs some function. We have seen apes use a stick to harvest ants but men use sticks for a hundred other purposes and artificial sticks of various types for a million tasks.

The artifacts we make and use are collectively called wealth. It has become fashionable to consider money to be wealth but this is a fundamental error. Only those things that make life easier or better are true wealth. Money is simply a token of this wealth and has become interchangeable with artifacts – which is it prime purpose – but money is not wealth.

With wealth comes organisation. The purpose of this is to protect wealth. Men must organise a plethora of organisations from gangs, churches, armies, villages, towns and cities and collectives through to governments. The purpose of these gatherings is to stop others stealing or appropriating wealth. This purpose has traditionally been observed more in the breach than the application. 

Our modern civilisation has developed to the point that it is highly structured and depends upon a huge range of artifacts and technologies for its maintenance and a huge range of rules for its guidance. The body of technology we call industry and that is how we make our artifacts and create wealth. The body of rules to guide us is produced by our philosophy and we call law.

If a man is to use his brain to produce wealth he must have security. He must have a body of law to govern him that he can understand and obey and that protects him absolutely. The law must apply to all men equally and all must enjoy its protection equally. There can be no exceptions for any reason. The law must be rational. A rational man cannot survive in an irrational society. An irrational man is not civilised.

We must have a means of enforcing civil law that we call the Courts. This deals with arguments between individuals. We must have a means of enforcing statutory law that we call the police. This deals with breaches of a just and logical civil code. Both are branches of government controlled by a democratically elected executive. The Government is also democratically elected and its function is to make just laws and to protect us from the executive. The Head of State and the Courts protect us from the Government and the police who enforce the criminal law. The Armed forces are to protect us from external threats and are subject to the control of the government and the Head of State with clear rules of engagement.

The body of philosophy that guides our government we call a constitution.

The source of this arrangement is Human Rights. The essence of this is that each and every individual has equal rights. These are not given by statute or favour. They are the inalienable rights necessary for a human to survive. They cannot be given to him; they are his by right. They can be denied but only by the illegal application of force by another man.

The fundamental right is the right to be. No man asked to be here and no system of philosophy makes sense if it does not include the absolute right of every person to be here.

The second right is a corollary of the first and it is the right to work. That means the right to earn one’s living in whatever honest way one can at whatever price one can freely negotiate.

The third right is a consequence of the second right and is the right to retain the wealth you earn honestly. Your wealth is your wealth.

Another corollary of the first right is Habeas Corpus. This is the right to be free of unlawful restraint. In a just society this statement would be unnecessary but we live in a world with a long history of persecution and suppression and class warfare. The philosophical description of this matter involves Force. It is a fundamental right to be free from the Initiation of Force by another man. It is perfectly just to protect yourself by force used in self-defence. In practice the use of force is restricted to the police who may exercise it only under strictly applied rules and by individuals in an emergency.

This completes the list of Human Rights. You will find in our society a thousand things that people claim as rights but they are wrong. The above are the things that are yours by Right. They are not given but belong to you at birth. That is what rights are. Other men may claim to have given you your rights but they lie. They are either duping you or they have enslaved you and taken away your rights.

All other things have to be earned because they have to be produced by someone else who is entitled to be paid for his work. They cannot be yours by right. They belong to him until he sells them to you at a mutually acceptable price. This is another fundamental cornerstone of civilisation and is called trading.

Men have traded honourably for millennia. Firstly by direct barter and then exchanging trinkets that took on their own assigned value as the first money. If we did not have money we would have to invent it for it oils our civilisation. Control of the money supply is a matter of prime concern to all who value civilisation. The correct purpose of money is to aid the creation of wealth. 

There are many things in our society that are highly desirable such as education. It is clear that it is important to educate our young and enable all citizens to maintain their knowledge but this cannot be a right as knowledge has to be made by the diligence of another who owns it by right. If you want it you have to pay for it. There is now a vast range of knowledge that is in the public sector and comes relatively cheaply but it is not a right. You are just lucky. If you want more knowledge you have to invent or buy it.

In practice the society in which we live has become enormously more complex. But it should not stray, in principle, from these ideas. Judge everything you deal with in terms of these principles and you will not go far wrong except to greatly upset the thugs who abound in our society and will do whatever they can to maintain their privileges and your subservience.   

Summary of principles and ideas,

The right to be. The right to be here. The right to your life.
The right to work. To earn your living in the best way you can.
The right to keep your earnings. The right to property.
The right to be free from force. Not to be separated from your mind.To be free from impositions by others.
Wealth. The things that make life better.
Wealth creation. Manufacturing or Farming. Changing the materials of the earth into useful and saleable products.
Trading. Negotiating your place in this world.
Money. The means of exchanging values by a rational method.
Constitution, law and government. The rules and practice that protect our rights.

22 March 2010

Colin Walker

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