1492

Column by Jim Davies.

Exclusive to STR

It's a bit difficult to compress a big slice of human history into a few hundred words, so if I omit some of your favorite details, I hope you'll forgive me.
 
I pick 1492 as being the pivotal year in that immense saga. One could of course choose from other good candidates: 50,000 years ago when mankind migrated out of Africa to populate the rest of the world, or 10,000 years ago when he discovered fixed agriculture, probably in what is now Lebanon though in considerably greener condition, since that was the time when the last Ice Age was receding. Taking the estimate of migration paths uncovered by Dr. Spencer Wells in The Journey of Man, by 10,000 years ago homo sapiens had already populated most of the world by several routes, and fixed agriculture made such elegant good sense that it was adopted almost everywhere, almost at once. The key here is that "almost" everywhere--because it wasn't any use to the herder tribes in frozen, Northern Siberia who migrated to America across the Bering Straits. In any case, most of that migration was already over and the Straits were melting.
 
Thus, those who populated the Americas had no knowledge of fixed agriculture, and it so happens that the Northern ones never discovered it independently. Some did further South, about 4,000 years ago, but its perceived advantages were less obvious where land was abundant in flora and fauna. Hence, the tribes that met European explorers following Columbus' 1492 landing were nomadic; they hunted and gathered and kept moving. A perfectly adequate way to maintain life, given plenty of land and a modest population. In contrast, by that date Europeans were quite experienced in farming, in maximizing the food that could be extracted from each acre to sustain a large population. That was the first contrast between these two branches of humanity, who had lived separately for about 40,000 years. It was one source of trouble later on.
 
There was another contrast, of vast importance here: the European newcomers were the product of 10,000 years of governed society. The native Americans had no government; when a communal decision was needed, they reached it by the peaceful method of talking it through and reaching consensus. This difference was profound, and is the source of all the violence of the next few hundred years.
 
So, in 1492, there began the momentous encounter between a governed society and a non-governed society.
 
It's very sad and quite curious that government was invented almost immediately after fixed agriculture. The latter has brought incalculable benefit, while the former has left an unbroken trail of misery and destruction. I can see no reason why government should have followed the establishment of farming; it did so, but it did not have to do so; this STRticle suggests how it came about. Human history could have continued without government; tragically, it did not. All the vast potential of fixed agriculture, of the use to which humans could put the surplus it brought, has been frustrated and delayed by the arrival of a parasitic, initiative-killing, kleptocratic governing class. It is our vast privilege and opportunity, in this very Century, to correct that dreadful error and restore mankind to the path of accelerating progress and wellbeing.
 
Since 1492, there's no denying that humans have blown it. The nomads (I'm reluctant to call them "Indians" because none of their ancestors ever lived in India and they don't resemble Indians) had the priceless advantage of a society with little or no government; had the newcomers adopted that mode of life, the prosperity of America would have been boundless and news of it would have spread rapidly back to the old countries for them to adopt also. At the same time, the nomads could have learned in a few generations what the palefaces had developed over 10,000 years; they had used the agricultural surplus to take science, engineering and culture to a level undreamed of by the natives. Both had much to bring the other. What a tragedy that each thought the other knew little worth learning!
 
The result is only too well known; the natives declined to give up their absurdly wasteful, inefficient use of land resources while the newcomers declined to reconsider their absurd intoxication with the institution of government. The inevitable result was conflict, and with their superior weaponry and numbers, the newcomers' government inevitably crushed the natives.
 
Fast-forward to 1988, when one of those almost-crushed native Americans met with some of those almost-besotted newcomers in Seattle, WA. He was wise enough to grasp that we former Europeans also have some useful things to teach, and that subset was wise enough to recognize that government is a disaster. His name is Russell Means, and the occasion was the Libertarian Party Nominating Convention.
 
Means had been the inspiring leader of the Wounded Knee rebellion of 1973, which shook the US government as it had not been shaken for a century, and in 1988, he bid to run for US President, so as to shake it a good deal more; his main opponent was Ron Paul, who also had merit. I was a delegate, and supported Means--because I reckoned our main need was for media coverage (it still is) and saw this flamboyant native American as a way to get some. I acknowledge that he would have needed a crash course in Misesian Economics and Rothbardian philosophy, but he was willing and able. He didn't win. Ron then did a creditable job, but the opportunity was missed. Not, mind, that it would have progressed far even if Means had won, for politics is a hopeless way to terminate government, as I realized later; even so, the publicity would have brought an educational benefit, a positive effect. But that critical reunion, the blending of native anarchism with modern technology, was postponed again.
 
However, a good deal more is needed than a mere blending of those two; for that would ignore the fact that each of the two cultures is seriously distorted from a rational standard. Ten thousand years of government has deeply ingrained the European one, and needs rooting out; even our technology is colored by the dead hands of the controllers, with their huge emphasis on killing machines and central funding for R&D. Equally, though, 50,000 years of tribal communalism (counting from that exodus from Africa, there's not been very much change) have ingrained the nomads with the fiction that technology is a bad idea, that everything in their culture is good, not just their consensus-based decision making process, and that everything in ours is bad. That is simply not true.
 
Some even say communities must be limited in size (how?) like the native tribes, to a few thousand. Nonsense; market anarchism will work fine in a society of any magnitude. Some say that intensive agriculture is wrong, that it "rapes the earth," as if the planet were a person in some sense. Again, sheer rubbish, and much worse than rubbish. Today, thanks entirely to the smart farming civilized societies have developed over the last few hundred years, enough food is produced for all seven billion of us. Tragically, a fraction of humanity never sees it because their governments interfere with the free flow of trade, but there is enough. If governments forced agriculture to become primitive again, there would not be nearly enough. The resultant mass starvation would compare with the Black Death, except that ten times as many would perish. The self-righteous, self-styled "greens" and "intellectuals" who would have caused it all as "friends of the Earth" would have far more blood on their hands than Wilson, FDR, Lincoln, Pol Pot, Hitler, Stalin and Mao Tse Tung combined. It is of paramount importance that these lethal sociopaths never get their hands on the levers of political power. The rats who occasioned that 14th Century plague had no way of knowing they were doing so; they were just going about the innocent business of being rats.
 
It's tragic that the adventurers who rejoined the long-separated branches of our race after 1492 were not market anarchists. Had the settlers who followed Columbus all been fleeing government itself instead of just government of a particular religious flavor, the key ingredients for a successful merger would have been present. Natives wished to retain large swaths of land so they could continue as nomads? No problem. Let them stake the claim, leaving a small corner for immigrant farmers, perhaps in exchange for some of their produce. After a generation of successful farming, the latter would have shown the former how easily they could feed and clothe and house themselves and have much time left over for leisure and reading and design of ingenious tools, machines and medicines. At least the younger natives would have questioned parental authority and asked for their own little plots to do likewise. A few generations later, integration would have been a done deal. There might still have been some holdout nomads, and good luck to them; a free society would have had no way or desire to get in their way. The key is the axiom--and I insist that it's an axiom, an undeniable premise--of individual self-ownership. Acknowledge that, and any lifestyle goes. Deny it, and remain a flat-Earther.
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Jim Davies's picture
Columns on STR: 243

Jim Davies is a retired businessman in New Hampshire who led the development of an on-line school of liberty in 2006, and who wrote A Vision of Liberty" , "Transition to Liberty" and, in 2010, "Denial of Liberty" and "To FREEDOM from Fascism, America!" He started The Zero Government Blog in the same year.
In 2012 Jim launched http://TinyURL.com/QuitGov , to help lead government workers to an honest life.
In 2013 he wrote his fifth book, a concise and rational introduction to the Christian religion called "Which Church (if any)?"

Comments

John deLaubenfels's picture

Of course it wasn't all Garden of Eden in America before the government-loving Europeans arrived. The natives frequently fought with one another, and torturing people from another tribe to death seems to have been a favorite pastime. I am second to no one in my loathing of American government today, but must admit to misgivings about what life without government will be like.

Jim Davies's picture

John, it would be nice if an anarchist society were perfect, but I don't know anyone who makes that claim; rather, it is just by far the best possible form of society. Any time one person enforces his will upon another, there's a government in miniature. It may happen. That's why a justice industry will arise.

http://www.strike-the-root.com/81/davies/davies4.html shows how I think it will function.

Suverans2's picture

"This method was a cheap and effective method of slow death. The victim was bound and buried up to his neck near an ant hill. A sweet substance, usually tree sap, was poured over the victim's head. He was then left to be slowly eaten by the ants. this method was used by Native American tribes and sometimes involved a second captive who acted as a witness. The witness would see what kind of death the victim suffered and was allowed to go back to his village to report what he had seen. This was supposed to act as a deterrent of further white settlement. However, this usually produced quite the opposite effect and angered the whites."

Samarami's picture

John:

    "...but must admit to misgivings about what life without government will be like..."

Try it. You might like it. Sam

Suverans2's picture

"Some say that intensive agriculture is wrong, that it "rapes the earth..." ~ Jim Davies

Don't they say that because "intensive agriculture" depletes the soil, which is, in turn, propped up by the use of carcinogenic petrol-chemicals, which pollute the waters, the flesh of animals (including humans), etc.?

Hasn't it been proven that the food produced by this "intensive agriculture" far less nutrient-dense than the food grown by the Amish?

WhiteIndian's picture

And look at what a few thousand years of agriculture did to the "Fertile Crescent." Vast cedar forests of Mesopotamia have been transformed into the Iraqi desert.

Agricultural city-Statists call it "improving the land." Now that's rubbish.

Gwardion's picture

Actually it was caused by the bronze age.

Haven't you wondered what the forges that made the hundreds of thousands of bronze swords and such used as fuel?

The forests were destroyed to quarry rock and to smelt metals. Also to build the tens of thousands thousands of ships that the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, etc. used.

I am sure agriculture played a part, but the forests took their biggest drop when they were being clear cut for fuel for the forge fires and timbers for the ships.

Not saying agriculture doesn't destroy things when done improperly, but stating as a definitive something that is not so weakens your argument.

Jim Davies's picture

S2, if I may, beware of picking nits and failing to see the big picture.

My argument above against the "earth rape" morons was clear, I hope, and was that reversion to primitive agriculture would starve a larger fraction of humanity than were killed by the Black Death. Whether organic foods have more nutrients per gram than others is a detail. Absent government, happily the market will determine the price, demand and supply for foods grown with and without chemical assistance; I predict organics will continue a distant second.

That's because of the spectacular success of intensive agriculture. In 1798 Robert Malthus solemnly stated that "The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man" and few scholars have been proven more utterly, profoundly wrong. In the two centuries since, our population has grown from one billion to seven billion, and thanks to intensive, scientific agriculture there is so far no sign that future agricultural ingenuity will fail to sustain yet more.

BTW there's more on Malthus at http://strike-the-root.com/malthus-mistakes

Suverans2's picture

JD, I, too, predict organics will continue a distant second, particularly if the government continues to shield and subsidize "corporate farming"

    "...the ultimate goal of corporate farming is to vertically integrate the entire process of food production, up to the point of the distribution and sale of food to consumers."

Just wait until Archer Daniels Midland, Monsanto Company, and Cargill sew up the food market, completely...and they are well on their way to doing just that.

They, with the help of their government co-conspirators, are monopolizing food, by buying up all of the old established seed companies and replacing heirloom seed with their own, "patented", GMO seeds, with built-in "terminator technology", which is also known as "genetic use restriction technology", so that we humans can't save seeds to grow our own food, which, by the way, is against "their so-called-bought-and-paid-for law" in some places already.

And, I suppose, everyone here is familiar with the "Svalbard Doomsday Heirloom Seed Vault", which "places [through "years of manipulation and deceit"] Seed Savers Members’ Seed Collection under the control of the United Nations’ FAO Treaty, which was specifically designed to facilitate access by corporate breeders".

I predict that "corporate farmers" are not only raping our Mother, the Earth, but they are, at the same time, raping our children, our children's children, our children's children's children, ad nauseum.

Am I still "picking nits"?

Jim Davies's picture

No, S2, I'd not call this one a "nit" :-)

I don't have figures so could be wrong but my impression about the relation between government and the organics fad is opposite to yours. I see organic veggies being "pushed" at high prices in supermarkets, and the wealthier the neighborhood the harder the push. I have the firm impression that limousine liberals are promoting it, and they are in bed with government.

A year or two back I made a foray into the fruit trade and explored importing some from central America. One eager exporter there after another was quick to assure me that his plant practised "sustained" agriculture - as if I cared. All that mattered to me as a prospective importer was quality and price. Other growers told me that they had offered organic products but could not sell them into the US - the demand was not such as to compensate them for the much less efficient growing needed.

So yes, it may well be that Big Ag favors chemical assistance, but I have no problem with that - on the contrary, it seems to me what has enabled the Earth to feed a dramatically growing population, and which will continue to do so.

My fingers are far from green, but I understand that a very efficient way to grow things is by hydroponics; a controlled environment (eg plastic greenhouses) and growing beds of gravel through which water is circulated, in which are dissolved specific nutrients. Clean healthy food results - but it's a highly chemical process. Any objection to that?

Suverans2's picture

G'day Jim Davies,

I am not familiar with the chemicals used in this "highly chemical process", so I cannot say, at this time, whether I object or not.

But, I can say that I would only object if these growers are violating the natural law, that is to say, if are they contaminating their neighbors, (such as with the highly dangerous "FrankenFoods"[1]), and/or if they are they contaminating their neighbors air and/or water supply. One can only be held to be "harmless", according to the NAP (non-aggression principle), if one, WITHIN REASON, causes no harm, either intentionally or through gross negligence, to one's neighbors, in my opinion.
___________________________________________________________

[1] A little bit of knowledge can be a VERY DANGEROUS thing. I liken "genetic tampering" to teaching a child how to take the safety off and how to pull the trigger, without ever teaching them what the end result might be.

golefevre's picture

The view that native peoples on this continent didn't have governments is a bit more interpolation that I think we can do with the evidence. Pueblos of the Anasazi indicate that some cities of the Anasazi were of significant size (likely in the 100K+ range for some in Colorado, for example). Other ruins suggest that city or nation states of natives were hiding from one another, possibly during a time of conflict over scarce resources as Jim suggests (strictly speaking as a layman here, of course). Other evidence suggests the Iroquois may have greatly influenced the U.S. Constitution.

It is much easier to sit around philosophizing when you have a few jars of beans stored for eating later rather than foraging with every spare moment for calories. Did agriculture lead to the rise of the city states that became the the nation states we suffer today? Sure, absolutely. We've become ever more productive and as any thief knows, you don't steal from your poor neighbors, you go to where there is wealth to plunder. I don't see any need to romanticize any aspect of history and I certainly can't get sentimental about what I haven't witnessed. I can, however, look to live as sovereign as possible and not participate in politics. This, in my opinion, is the way forward: divestment from the immoral and failing state. We see examples of this more often every day in agorism or market anarchism as Jim suggests here. We are not human because of the state but in fact human DESPITE the state.

WhiteIndian's picture

Nobody holds the view that North American natives never had State level governments. There have been several agricultural civilizations and agricultural chiefdoms rise and collapse in North America, and I've referred to them, several times.

And I've referred to "The Great Law of Peace" and how their Egalitarian Non-State sociopolitical typology influenced American ("all men are created equal") and then French politics (liberté, égalité, fraternité,) as described in "Indian Givers: How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World" by Jack Weatherford.

golefevre's picture

"Nobody holds the view that North American natives never had State level governments." Well, okay--perhaps I misunderstood you. Apologies. The finer point is that I think you are falsely blaming agriculture. When thieves became too lazy to work as highwaymen, they invented the state, IMO. Are we really going to complain that there is too much food now? Seriously?

WhiteIndian's picture

Are you really going to claim there is plenty of food now? Seriously?

Billions of people in agricultural civilization are either starving or suffering major food insecurity, and even those "well-fed" at the center of empire are suffering from agriculture with Diseases of [agricultural] Civilization.

High stress is endemic to the civilized population. It has become the leading cause of death in the United States. At the same time, while one quarter of U.S. citizens suffer from some form of mental illness, one would be hard-pressed to find any examples of mental illness among foragers.

Thesis #21: Civilization makes us sick.
by Jason Godesky | 2 January 2006
http://rewild.info/anthropik/2006/01/thesis-21-civilization-makes-us-sick/

P.S. Not only maladies like diabetes are diseases of civilization; Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, MD relates how Schizophrenia is a disease of civilization.

Schizophrenia and civilization
Torrey, E. Fuller
http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=acls;idno=heb02208
golefevre's picture

You despise agriculture which is certainly a very scientific industry, yet you quote scientific studies. I'm not sure if that is contradiction, but it is a bit odd. Yes sir, there is plenty of food in the world and people can in fact feed themselves. Feeding oneself is a time-honored necessity. I'm not convinced that I "suffered" because I was able to trade for two over-easy eggs, wheat toast and a piping hot cup of coffee this morning.

Samarami's picture

Golefevre:

    "...I don't see any need to romanticize any aspect of history and I certainly can't get sentimental about what I haven't witnessed. I can, however, look to live as sovereign as possible and not participate in politics. This, in my opinion, is the way forward: divestment from the immoral and failing state. We see examples of this more often every day in agorism or market anarchism as Jim suggests here. We are not human because of the state but in fact human DESPITE the state..."

To that, were I of religious bent, I would shout, "..AMEN!"

Well said. Sam

Mark Davis's picture

I agree, well said. People imprisoned by the way things "could have been" will forever be bitter and hateful. The outlook "to live as sovereign as possible and not participate in politics" is as good as it gets IMHO.

WhiteIndian's picture

State level politics is the way things are. Libertarian types constantly refer to how things "could have been" or "should be." Are libertarians the ones you refer to as "forever bitter and hateful?"

Mark Davis's picture

Some are, but not many here. I'm certainly not. My concerns generally seek ways to promote liberty in a statist world, but I am not "imprisoned" by history or my ideals. I enjoy life as I believe most libertarians do; indeed most libertarians I know are hard-working high-achievers that lead virtuous lives. Primitivists appear to want to do no work, achieve nothing and believe in the fantasy that all they need would be just laying about waiting to get picked up if only there were no property rights; basically live like an ape (except apes are territorial). This is silly no matter how many "anthropologists" may think it a wonderful ideal. Further, there is a significant difference between promoting an ideal that is based on non-aggression and individual responsibility (libertarian) and one based on a fantasy that requires the death of about 90% of the population. The cognitive dissonance in your brain must be unbearable.

Eliminating argriculture, civilization and most of the population as an ideal is, well, lacking perspective. Until you have at least one constructive contribution to any discussion on this board I will ignore you. I suggest that you go out to some big forest and try living off the land for a couple days to gain some perspective of reality.

golefevre's picture

Strictly out of curiosity, why pick the name "WhiteIndian"? Is there some significance to that user name?

WhiteIndian's picture

Benjamin Franklin describes a White Indian who abdicated a "good Estate" to live a Non-State lifeway, as follows:

When an Indian Child has been brought up among us, taught our language and habituated to our Customs, yet if he goes to see his relations and make one Indian Ramble with them, there is no perswading him ever to return, and that this is not natural to them merely as Indians, but as men, is plain from this, that when white persons of either sex have been taken prisoners young by the Indians, and lived a while among them, tho' ransomed by their Friends, and treated with all imaginable tenderness to prevail with them to stay among the English, yet in a Short time they become disgusted with our manner of life, and the care and pains that are necessary to support it, and take the first good Opportunity of escaping again into the Woods, from whence there is no reclaiming them. One instance I remember to have heard, where the person was brought home to possess a good Estate; but finding some care necessary to keep it together, he relinquished it to a younger Brother, reserving to himself nothing but a gun and a match-Coat, with which he took his way again to the Wilderness.

~Benjamin Franklin
Philadelphia, May 9th. 1753

James Axtell has a whole chapter in the following book describing such White Indians, as follows:

Chapter 13. The White Indians
The Invasion Within: The Contest of Cultures in Colonial North America
by James Axtell
Oxford University Press
http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/HistoryAmerican/ColonialRe...

The White Indians of Colonial America
by James Axtell
The William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series, Vol. 32, No. 1 (Jan., 1975), pp. 55-88
Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture
http://www.shsu.edu/~jll004/colonial_summer09/whiteindians.pdf

golefevre's picture

Fascinating! Thanks for the explanation.

Samarami's picture

(I hit the "post" button twice -- this is to erase one of the entries. Sorry)

Samarami's picture

Jim, this essay and those past ones of yours to which you link are examples of why I hold you up as a mentor in the discipline of self-ownership. I may not always totally agree with your facts (although one of the things I like about your writing style is that you are not a "fact-dogma" writer -- you suggest your observations and allow the reader to make conclusions), your presentations are informative and educational. Thanks for another #10 (my rating)!

As Golefevre commented above, I can only speculate upon that which I have not seen with my own eyes and experienced with my own senses. I'm perhaps a few years older than most on here (76), and I look at it thus: I have a valid time frame of reference of somewhere more than 70 years. I have an older sister (80), and anything previous to 70 years ago that I think I recall is difficult for me to accurately discern from stories she has relayed to me about our lives in the mid to latter 1930's on the various farms. I can't be certain an event or object is actually something I remember, or whether it is something about which she or a peer has told me.

Suffice it to say I'm limited in my active knowledge of time and space. When historians talk about "discoveries" indicating "man" as having accomplished this or that 10,000 years or so ago and longer I can only believe what I have the confidence to accept as far as their credentials and/or abilities to make those determinations (knowledge of and access to carbon dating, etc). And I'm acutely aware that the number of doctorates one has written has little to do with that human limitation of time and space. Education and "scientific" study helps one to be capable of locating tools to measure, based upon what "we" know here and now of carbon depletion (and presume it has always depleted evenly across time -- the key word being "presume"), but I still have to rely solely upon my confidence of "science", much of which is funded by parasites of state through stolen resources.

I always have to laugh at scientific proclamations of distance in terms of "light years" and my confidence in any of their capabilities to grasp such tidbits of time/distance. As a professional truck driver I know something about cramming 862 miles of flat land driving into the white man's 11-hour daily drivers' limit on his log books, but light years???? I read once that light is supposed to travel at 186,282 miles per second -- (that's not miles per hour, mind you -- there are 3,600 seconds in an hour last time I counted).

It's a good thing those guys are government funded I say.

I do not disagree with White Indian's assessment of the historical blame for today's crises in food and economics. But I have to once again side with Golefevre: I only have today to become free. If I'm going to be free I have to become so with the cards I hold in my hand today. I don't have time for hand-wringing about how it came to be this way. I only have to proceed with what I know.

And Jim, your essay has improved what I know to become free. Thanks!

Sam

golefevre's picture

Aw shucks Sam, thanks. That is very kind. I am humble to learn from anyone. I think WhiteIndian's perspective is important too, even if I don't understand it completely nor agree with his conclusions.

Evan's picture

As far as I can tell, despite all his fiery rhetoric, it seems like WhiteIndian wouldn't mind if you engaged in agriculture, as long as it's "permanent," (i.e. permaculture.) This may seem paradoxical, because if "agriculture creates government," then wouldn't permanent agriculture create permanent government?

But I digress, because while I disagree that agriculture inevitably results in government, I too see permaculture as a way forward. Permaculture is land-use design that seeks to work with nature, rather than against her, to create stable, productive environments that provide for human needs. Waste is transformed into food, work is minimized, and yields increase.

I must strongly disagree with whoever it was earlier in this thread that predicted that a truly free market / free society would favor non-organic agriculture over organic farming, considering the vast state subsidies that currently prop up such unsustainable systems and allow them to externalize their costs onto their organic competitors.

Permaculture is a tool that belongs in every good agorist's bag of tricks, and I would even go so far as to say that the success of the agorist strategy depends on how effectively agorists integrate the insights of permaculture into their activism.

When it comes to individual sovereignty / personal autonomy, I have to say that I'm not a fan of the "self-ownership" terminology. I think phrasing it that way isn't very good marketing, and as a market anarchist, I think we should be marketing anarchy as effectively as possible.

To some degree, I think a "taboo on ownership" (when it comes to land and other living beings,) is a good idea in that it's a peaceful voluntary way to promote a culture that values individual autonomy and maximizing liberty. Regardless of "legal status," I strive to be a good steward of the land and the plants and animals on which I depend, and I try to keep in mind the interconnectedness of everything.

Suverans2's picture

"...vast state subsidies...currently prop up such unsustainable systems [non-organic agriculture] and allow them to externalize their costs onto their organic competitors." ~ Evan

Amen ["verily, truly"]

Samarami's picture

Evan:

    "...To some degree, I think a "taboo on ownership" (when it comes to land and other living beings,) is a good idea in that it's a peaceful voluntary way to promote a culture that values individual autonomy and maximizing liberty. Regardless of "legal status," I strive to be a good steward of the land and the plants and animals on which I depend, and I try to keep in mind the interconnectedness of everything..."

The question on a forum such as STR is, "in a 'free society' who emerges as the enforcer(s) of such taboos?"

I think a major factor in the combative nature of the white man's incursion onto this land centuries ago is contained in this question. The natives [stupidly called "Indians" to this day] who had already been settled here and had, for the most part, gotten along fine with each other save skirmishes over such things as stealing each others' women and horses; simply could not understand the white man's proclivity to think he had authority to mark-off segments of spirit-given land and claim private "ownership" thereof. That made no sense in the world to them. They did not mark off fictitious lines in the sand and call them "borders". They had no "states" or "counties".

If my history is accurate, there were Cherokee "nations" and Choctaw "nations" and the like. But even the term "nation" was white man's vernacular, not natives'; and they did not celebrate boundaries or borders. As I understand it there was little objection by natives to sharing with the white man. He (the white man) even to this day commemorates a political holiday in the fall ("Thanksgiving" -- a classic misnomer, I perceive) where his teachers chirp stories to the kiddies about the original "Thanksgiving" and how the natives helped by bringing wild turkeys, etc., to the feast. Of course in the collectivist ("public" ha ha) schools they have to interject the idea that the "governor" or the "president" declared this to be a "public holiday", and therefore it is a holiday.

Many of those tribes planted, harvested and preserved certain crops (herbs) for their own consumption and in cases to exchange for goods with neighbors. They, like any of us, had to contend with defending their harvest from neighboring tribes and bands of ne'er-do-wells and predators (the precursors to what we now lovingly call "policymakers").

White Indian is correct, however, that agriculture as we know it gives rise to state. Before even progressing to lobbies of farmers demanding of state predators to rob citizens in order to "subsidize" farmers for the fickle nature of cash crops; the way the white man wanted to farm seemed to demand the farmer have "title" to the area of the earth on which he would plant. The white man had all kinds of "legal" reasons for that -- also a complete mystery to the natives here.

If you can't sit down together, make agreements you intend to keep, smoke a pipe together and have a trust relationship, you might as well fight each other to the death of the loser and be done with it. As I've said before, my favorite American politician is Aaron Burr. He fought the only just war in US history. He didn't drag US citizens into the forray. He challenged Hamilton to a duel and shot his ass.

Sam

Darkcrusade's picture

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VbYZDohsHk

The First Thanksgiving

The early settlers of America, who braved the privations of those incredibly difficult years, were a fabulous lot, indeed. We can hardly imagine the burdens they endured to make a new life for themselves in a new land. Their turning point began one Friday in the middle of March,1621.

Samoset

An Indian, wearing nothing but a leather loincloth, strode up their main street to the common house, and to their startled faces boomed in flawless English, "Welcome."

His name was Samoset, a sagamore (or chief) of the Algonquins. He had been visiting the area for the previous eight months, having learned his English from various fishing captains who had put in to the Maine shore over the years.

He returned the following Thursday with another Indian who also spoke English, and who was to prove "a special instrument of God for their good, beyond their expectation." His story was to prove no less extraordinary than the saga of Joseph being sold into slavery to Egypt. His name was Tisquantum, also called Squanto.

Squanto

His story began in 1605 when Squanto and four other Indians were taken captive, sent to England,and taught English to provide intelligence background on the most favorable places to establish colonies. After nine years in England, Squanto was able to return to Plymouth on Capt. John Smith's voyage in 1614.

Lured and captured by a notorious Capt. Thomas Hunt, he, with 27 others, were taken to Mlaga, Spain, a major slave-trading port. Squanto, with a few others, were bought and rescued by local friars and introduced to the Christian faith. Thus, it appears that God was preparing him for the role he would ultimately play at Plymouth.

He was able to attach himself to an Englishman bound for London, then he joined the family of a wealthy merchant, and ultimately embarked for New England in 1619. He stepped ashore six months before the Pilgrims landed in 1620.1

When he stepped ashore he received the most tragic blow of his life. Not a man, woman, or child of his own tribe was left alive! During the previous four years, a mysterious plague had broken out among them, killing every last one.2 So complete was the devastation that the neighboring tribes had shunned the area ever since. The Pilgrims had settled in a cleared area that belonged to no one. Their nearest neighbors, the Wampanoags, were about 50 miles to the southwest.

Stripped of his identity and his reason for living, Squanto wandered aimlessly until he joined the Wampanoags, having nowhere else to go. But God had other plans.

God's Provision

Massasoit, the sachem (or chief) of the Wapanoags, entered into a peace treaty of mutual aid with the Plymouth colony that was to last as a model for forty years. When Massasoit and his entourage left, Squanto stayed. He had found his reason for living: these English were helpless in the ways of the wilderness. Squanto taught them how to catch eels, stalk deer, plant pumpkins, refine maple syrup, discern both edible herbs and those good for medicine, etc.

Perhaps the most important thing he taught them was the Indian way to plant corn. They hoed six-foot squares in toward the center, putting down four or five kernels, and then fertilizing the corn with fish: three fish in each square, pointing to the center, spokelike. Guarding the field against the wolves (who would try to steal the fish), by summer they had 20 full acres of corn that would save every one of their lives.

Squanto also taught them to exploit the pelts of the beaver, which was in plentiful supply and in great demand throughout Europe. He even guided the trading to insure they got full prices for top-quality pelts. The corn was their physical deliverance; the beaver pelts would be their economic deliverance.

The First Thanksgiving

The Pilgrims were a grateful people-grateful to God, grateful to the Wamp-anoags, and grateful also to Squanto. Governor Bradford declared a day of public Thanksgiving, to be held in October.

Massasoit was invited and unexpectedly arrived a day early-with an additional ninety Indians! To feed such a crowd would cut deeply into their stores for the winter, but they had learned through all their travails that God could be trusted implicitly.

And it turned out that the Indians did not come empty handed: they brought five dressed deer and more than a dozen fat wild turkeys. They helped with the preparations, teaching the Pilgrim women how to make hoecakes and a tasty pudding out of cornmeal and maple syrup. In fact, they also showed them how to make one of their Indian favorites: white, fluffy popcorn! (Each time you go to a movie theatre, you should remember the source of this popular treat!)

The Pilgrims, in turn, provided many vegetables from their gardens: carrots, onions, turnips, parsnips, cucumbers, radishes, beets, and cabbages. Also, using some of their precious flour with some of the summer fruits which the Indians had dried, the Pilgrims introduced them to blueberry, apple, and cherry pie. Along with sweet wine made from wild grapes, it was, indeed, a joyous occasion for all concerned.

The Pilgrims and Indians happily competed in shooting contests, foot races, and wrestling. Things went so well (and Massasoit showed no inclination to leave) that this first Thanksgiving was extended for three days.

The moment that stood out the most in the Pilgrims' memories was William Brewster's prayer as they began the festival. They had so much for which to thank God: for providing all their needs-and His provision of Squanto, their teacher, guide, and friend that was to see them through those critical early winters.

by Chuck Missler
1The Pilgrims lived that first winter aboard ship and suffered the loss of 47 colonists.
2This epidemic, from 1615 to 1617, is believed to have killed 95,000 Indians, leaving only about 5,000 along the coast.
3Canada first adopted Thanksgiving as a national holiday in November 1879, and it is now celebrated there annually on the second Monday in October.
http://www.mayflowerhistory.com/History/BiographyTisquantum.php
For many Native American people, Thanksgiving is cause for mourning rather than celebration? Although the First Thanksgiving included the Pilgrims' Native American neighbors, that spirit of cooperation did not last long between the native people and the colonists. The land and lives of the native people were pillaged and destroyed countless times during the early history of the United States of America. Racism and bigotry persist until this day. As a result, Thanksgiving has taken on greater historical significance for many Native Americans, who view that First Thanksgiving as the beginning of centuries of oppression and discrimination.

Jim Davies's picture

Sorry, I can't get used to this Drupal "Edit" thingie.

My original comment seems to have vanished; it was to thank Sam for his generous remarks and to concur that government-funded research tends to be suspect.

It also said my source for the migration dates in the article was Spencer Wells as it says, and he's done some good work with DNA tracking.

PECB's picture

Contrary to this article, quite a few Native American tribes, prior to, & extant to the arrival of Europeans on the continent practiced agriculture and had what we would call sophisticated governments (though many were arguably more Libertarian in nature -- and it should be noted those past Indian societal/governing structures in no way resemble the socialistic ceaspools that many surviving U.S. Tribal Govs. have become). If I remember correctly, the Iraquois ("Haudenosaunee"?? and some related tribes) in particular were quite sophisticated & very prosperous & practiced farming, hunting, gathering, and fishing -- and some historians have argued that the Iraquois' Political & Philosophical Ideas played a major role in shaping early European-American political thought (despite the settlers Eurocentrism & Bigotry) and in the drafting of the Articles of Confederation and eventually the U.S. Constitution.

Unfortunately the two cultures did not have a peaceful coexistance for long (though from my reading; the Iraquois really did try, because they did see value in some of our ways and wished to united with the Europeans for mutual benefit. However, the extreme racism of many European settlers (especially those of influence) prevented this & the many diseases Europeans brought with them effectively wiped out the Iraquois.

NOTE: Some current Indian decendants in Upstate NY claim to be Iraquois, trying to grab past glory maybe??? but I highly doubt it -- measles, small pox, & chicken pox is devastating to the uprepared immune system & wiped the Iraquois off the map & those that disease did not get, the blade and bullet later did in. And even if by some lucky chance there actually are direct Iraquios decendants, it is irrelevant as the Iraquis Culture & the potential it offerred is long dead.

[As a foot note, so to speak, I'm note making a noble savage argument. I simply trying to give credit to what I view as a great tribe/culture/society that actually did achieve a lot and had a lot of potential, and were not savages. From reading about the Iraquois, I strongly feel that had they had an extra hundred years or so of being left alone, or had they gotten a foot hold as a culture a couple hundred years earlier, they very likely would have developed their own written language and various technological toys like metal working, wheels, true sea-faring craft, etc. As a matter of fact, the Iraquois' technical and intellectual precociousness with European gadgets and such bothered many European settlers, and they felt threatened by it.]

Jim Davies's picture

It's probably not so, but just in case any visitor to this page has been confused about the self-ownership axiom by the incessant ranting of WhiteIndian, perhaps a clarification will help.

The 2005 STRticle by David MacGregor is a fine place to begin; "Self-Ownership: The Foundation of Freedom" at http://strike-the-root.com/51/macgregor/macgregor2.html . Another excellent introduction is Ken Schooland's superb, 9-minute animation, "The Philosophy of Liberty" at http://www.jonathangullible.com/mmedia/PhilosophyOfLiberty-english_music...

These establish that the right of every person to own and operate his own life is absolute.

Another Root Striker, Per Bylund, has probed the axiom a little further, to deal with the possible objection that "self-ownership" implies a dual nature, as in "I own myself" where "I" and "myself" are two different entities in the same skin, with the latter being some form of property. His reasoning is that on the contrary, the "selfowner" is an integral whole, a person whose very nature is to direct his or her own actions. That insight helps us further understand why the axiom is indeed undeniable; if the selfowner is prised apart somehow, the organism is damaged and becomes less than fully human.

This close integration will be familiar to graduates of TOLFA, for in its first segment we deal with the question of whether a person can volunteer to be a slave, perhaps under a contract for sale, should he be so misguided as to wish to do so. Our conclusion is no, it's impossible; because at the instant before the alleged transfer of ownership he would be a self-owning human being, _and the instant after_ the alleged transfer he would also be a self-owning human being, and therefore the contract and transfer would be fraudulent or void; the buyer would in fact not receive the goods he had attempted to buy. The bond can't be broken; to try to forcibly break it would be like splitting a person into two physical halves, left and right.

John deLaubenfels's picture

I'd like to explore the question "whether a person can volunteer to be a slave" further. Where can a line be drawn between offering oneself for hire in a typical employee relationship vs. a slave? Certainly if the "master" has a legal right to terminate my life, then I'm a slave. Anything short of that seems to be a matter of contract, however. I haven't read the discussion at TOLFA; could you provide a link? Thanks, JdL.

Jim Davies's picture

Fair question, John. My take would be that in applying for a job, one is offering to enter a contract. All contracts involve specified obligations by both parties. No job contract I've heard of say that the employee will do whatever the hirer wants, without limit, and all of them say employment can be terminated by either party on certain notice. Clearly, therefore, the employee retains control over his own actions.

One sometimes hears phrases like "debt slavery" but it's really not. You take out a loan, you undertake an obligation. It may become tedious to fulfill it, but that's what obligations are. (Though if there was fraud by the lender, the obligation would be void. Different subject.)

TOLFA is at http://tolfa.us - begin with the "Benefits" and "Entrance" pages, and decide whether you want to undertake the whole course. Don't cherrypick, it's not designed for that.

Suverans2's picture

If we use Noah Webster's definition for the word "slavery", i.e. "the state of entire subjection of one person to the will of another. Slavery is the obligation to labor for the benefit of the master, without the contract of consent of the servant", then I have to agree with Jim Davies assessment -- voluntarily agreeing to work with/for someone, whether it is for babel bux or not, is not slavery.

Darkcrusade's picture

Voluntary slavery is alive and well. Employee = EMPire + LOYalist. If every means of sustaining your life is cut-off and you have to submit(apply) to one of the States fictions(CORPoRATIONs) for the means(Babelbux) to obtain sustenance.;after laboring for the Fraudulant Reserve Nots you have to again submit back to the Fictious State your 'voluntary' exchange becomes not so voluntary and you are indeed a slave that 'owes his soul to the company store'.(like the folk song states.And the old Book of Genesis unequivocally teaches. )

Gen 47:15 And when money failed in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came unto Joseph, and said, Give us bread: for why should we die in thy presence? for the money faileth.

Gen 47:16 And Joseph said, Give your cattle; and I will give you for your cattle, if money fail.

Gen 47:17 And they brought their cattle unto Joseph: and Joseph gave them bread [in exchange] for horses, and for the flocks, and for the cattle of the herds, and for the asses: and he fed them with bread for all their cattle for that year.

Gen 47:18 When that year was ended, they came unto him the second year, and said unto him, We will not hide [it] from my lord, how that our money is spent; my lord also hath our herds of cattle; there is not ought left in the sight of my lord, but our bodies, and our lands:

Gen 47:19 Wherefore shall we die before thine eyes, both we and our land? buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants unto Pharaoh: and give [us] seed, that we may live, and not die, that the land be not desolate.

Gen 47:20 ¶ And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine prevailed over them: so the land became Pharaoh's.

Gen 47:21 And as for the people, he removed them to cities from [one] end of the borders of Egypt even to the [other] end thereof.

Gen 47:22 Only the land of the priests bought he not; for the priests had a portion [assigned them] of Pharaoh, and did eat their portion which Pharaoh gave them: wherefore they sold not their lands.

Gen 47:23 Then Joseph said unto the people, Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh: lo, [here is] seed for you, and ye shall sow the land.

Gen 47:24 And it shall come to pass in the increase, that ye shall give the fifth [part] unto Pharaoh, and four parts shall be your own, for seed of the field, and for your food, and for them of your households, and for food for your little ones.

Gen 47:25 And they said, Thou hast saved our lives: let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh's servants.

Gen 47:26 And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt unto this day, [that] Pharaoh should have the fifth [part]; except the land of the priests only, [which] became not Pharaoh's.

It is interesting to note that their is an escape for the diligent. :)

http://loveforlife.com.au/content/08/07/30/standing-upon-land-john-josep...

http://books.google.com/books?id=MemsAAAAMAAJ&dq=right%20of%20conquest&p...

Suverans2's picture

Fortunately, as an individual secessionist, I am not an EMPLOYEE (an artificial entity), I have not submitted (or applied) to any of the STATES' (artificial entities) CORPORATIONS (artificial entities), since seceding from the body politic, (but not from society), however, I do work for a living (food, shelter & clothing). And, as a non-member of the body politic, I don't "owe my soul to the company store". I use no "Taxpayer Identification Number" to obtain benefits/privileges, or for any other reason; I, therefore, am not a "taxpayer", which is legally defined as, "one who is subject to a tax on income, regardless of whether he or she pays the tax", though I do voluntarily choose to pay most "sales taxes", and certain "use taxes".

Darkcrusade's picture

Suverans2, I suspect that this was not always the case,tho-you might be one who utilise an 'escape for the diligent'?

Care to share the details? Work? Labor? Payment? &c.

Are you sulf-sufficient;Energy,food production,Heat/cool,property tax?

Do you patronize the Government monopolies?

Jim Davies's picture

"Voluntary slavery is alive and well. Employee = EMPire + LOYalist." - Darkcrusader.

This seems to me not correct. Check the online etymology dictionary, and see that to "employ" is shown as having derived from Latin, via Old and Mediaeval French, for "to make use of." Unrelated to empires or loyalty.

Employment is a _contract_. We take a job by _choice_. Freedom comes with responsibility; if we make a bad choice, we have to deal with the consequences.

The lament of the folk song is that the coal miner was "deeper in debt" even after "loading 16 tons" a day, but that too was his choice - both to take the job and to incur a debt. We can empathize - maybe even help out - but his situation was his own doing, unless "the company store" had in some way deceived him about the contract(s). He was not a slave.

As for Genesis, who wrote that book? - but let's suppose the story is accurate. So the farmers of ancient Egypt got in a pickle, and begged the government (Joseph, for the Pharoah) for assistance. He provided it, but took title to the farms in exchange. What's the background, here; how did the pickle arise, and _where did the bread come from?_ And what was meant by "the money faileth"?

Anyway, how does the story relate to voluntary slavery? - which my reasoning above showed to be impossible, since a self-owning human being cannot change his nature even if he wants to.

Suverans2's picture

I agree that man is born "self-owning", but I fail to understand why he cannot, (or who could forbid him to), sell, trade or give away, that which he "owns"? For example, could I not contract with someone, thus?

"I will become your voluntary slave, for as long as I live, if you will take good care of my wife, for as long as she lives."

Darkcrusade's picture

EMPLOYment is a term of art meant to ensnare those who are beguiled. (I think S2 could have enlightened that subject, if he had wanted to.)

Would you have me to argue over what i have submitted in an earlier posting?
http://www.strike-the-root.com/entanglement-of-compassion-and-liberty#co...

Perhaps we ought to consider the Law of Necessity?
http://img406.imageshack.us/img406/3843/inalienablepolicepower.jpg

Is the caged monkey free to not pull the handle to get the sustenence? (and starve? maybe?)
Maybe that is the wrong question,but i think we are advancing.

We are all victims of what information we have been exposed to.
The studies have been done and we are likely to conform to a consensus.
This braintraining can start with parents,to teachers,and than what we are exposed to from the manipulated media(movies,books,press &c. all manipulated information.) We are all a product of this mind/information controll, that is why the world is in the situation it now is.The killing fields seem to be on the very Horizon.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgDx5g9ql1g

We are stupified at the elephant chained from youth who is now fully grown and still thinks he cannot pull
a little stake out of the ground;but that is the nature of the training(mind konTROLL).It would be a major misconception to think that we do not suffer from this same defective atitude.(although we may rage against it.)

“The populace will not be allowed to know how its convictions were generated. When the technique has been perfected, every government that has been in charge of education for a generation will be able to control its subjects securely without the need of armies or policemen."
- Bertrand Russell, "The Impact of Science on Society", 1953

“Education should aim at destroying free will, so that, after pupils have left school, they shall be incapable, throughout the rest of their lives, of thinking or acting otherwise than as their schoolmasters would have wished."

A revolt of the plebs would become as unthinkable as an organized insurrection of sheep against the practice of eating mutton."
- Bertrand Russell, "The Impact of Science on Society", 1953, pg 49-50

Empire does RULE the LOYalist.
Moses is said to have been inspired to write that Scripture.
I submit that ''the money [will again] faileth'' in your lifetime, so you will not be many years in Re-learning that lesson of history. See> http://www.amazon.com/New-Money-None-Willard-Cantelon/dp/0882703889

The folk song points to the ''indentured servant'' another term of art. > http://www.amazon.com/They-Were-White-Slaves-Enslavement/dp/0929903056/r...

Jim Davies's picture

S2, as I perceive it such a promise would be fraudulent. You _could not_ become a voluntary slave.

I tried to spell this out in the post above (locate it with a search on "Bylund") by noting a human being is a selfowning person. That which would hypothetically get transferred in such a deal would therefore necessarily still be a selfowning person. Yet you would be representing yourself as being a non-selfowning person, ie someone owned by your wife's caretaker.

Sorry if I can't express it clearly enough. Best I can do is to repeat that a person is not two entities, "I" and an owned "myself", but a single entity that is _permanently_ self-directed.

Perhaps we can try to imagine what it would be like. We're through the looking-glass, now no longer selfowning but controlled by another, as if our own brain had been bypassed by wiring that led directly to that of our new owner. May we speak? - only by permission. May we think? - likewise. This is impossible; we will think thoughts whether the owner allows it or not - whether he even knows it or not.

Consider: even black slaves, although enslaved in practice in most respects, were still selfowning human beings. They had their own thoughts, they spoke and sang with each other, worshiped, had kids, developed a culture - and one with a strong influence on America. None of that activity was directed by those who had stolen them. They were viciously restricted human beings - but they were still human beings, selfowners.

One other thought: you suppose a person might "sell" himself into slavery. Okay, so he has a million bucks as contracted, but now he's enslaved. Oops! Being a slave, should his owner require him to return the fee, he must do exactly that. Or should he wish to spend it, he must obtain his owner's permission for every penny. Or if the deal is to become a slave in exchange for care for one's wife, what recourse does he have if the wife is not cared for as promised? - being a slave, none at all.

Suverans2's picture

As I understand it, it is your opinion that there can be no such thing as a "slave", because no living being can be controlled, in every respect, 100% of the time.

Using this same rationale, would we not then also have to conclude that there is no such thing as a "free man", because no man can be "free" in every respect, 100% of the time?

I am not, in every respect, a "free man", I am not, in every respect, "free of THE SYSTEM", the simple truth of the matter is, I do not consent to be a frickin' "member" of THE SYSTEM. Therefore, in every respect, 100% of the time, I am not a "member" of THE SYSTEM.

    "What would We the People be like if all would take the high road of walking away from our evil would-be masters?" ~ Claude Armstrong
Jim Davies's picture

Never mind "my opinion", S2, just consider the reasoning. Is it sound or not? What I said was that no human being (no reference to "living being") can be enslaved totally (not with respect to "time", but with respect to his nature.) Yes. And yes, thank you, it does follow that he cannot therefore be 100% enslaved, regardless of whether or not he volunteers.

This is quite a discovery! Total slavery is impossible. This fits well with the accounts of people who have been tortured, yet survived. The tyrant took everything but their spirits, their inner persons.

However, I can't see that the converse is true - that 100% freedom isn't possible. Indeed, it certainly is possible! All that's required is that the enslavers (yes, the "system") vanish. Let's help them do so.

BTW, you and others manage to use _emphases_ in STR forum posts - bold, italics, etc. How do you do that? When I see a window to post, the only option seems to be Notepad-like text.
'

Suverans2's picture

Hi Jim,

If you go to private messages, click on "Write new message", at the bottom of the text window you will see the html tags that can be used here on STR, to close one of these where you want to, you simply use the same html tag but with a backslash in front of the html letter, letters or word. The word "strong" is bold, "em" is italicized, "a" makes your text blue, and ul indents the paragraph. If this isn't clear enough let me know and we can do a bit more by e-mail. Also, there's a trick to embedding a link, so if you'd like help on that, just let me know.

p.s. Almost forgot; if you create your post in that private message box you can preview what you have done, by clicking on, yep, "Preview message", then copy and paste it into the comment box when you are satisfied with it. For some weird reason there is no "Preview message", with "Comments". You can, I believe I have already mentioned earlier, go back and "edit" your comment.

Paul's picture

"I can see no reason why government should have followed the establishment of farming"

I suspect it was the presence of accumulating surpluses, fixed in place. And the fact that theft is easier than farming. So yeah, the association of government (big parasitic government anyway) with agriculture makes lots of sense. And that association will continue until countervailing factors (such as personal firearms and communications tools) break that association.

Also, there is protection. Say you are an early farmer and you have planted a field in wheat and vegetables. Come harvest time you find both deer and humans have raided your fields so your harvest is reduced. You hire a "protector" to keep them out. Eventually your protector owns you, because protection implies submission.

Rather than asking why government resulted from agriculture, we should wonder whether it was even possible for agriculture to fail to produce government.

Jim Davies's picture

Paul, this is explored in my article on "Origins" [of government] at http://www.strike-the-root.com/92/davies/davies5.html

You say that theft is easier than farming, but as I see it theft (the mounting of a successful raid on defended stores) would be prohibitively difficult.

That's because in warfare, attackers need about a 3:1 advantage in resources, over defenders. Yet a village or other community that had diligently accumulated resources and had time to spare as a result of the agricultural surplus would have enjoyed a substantial resource advantage over potential attackers who, by virtue of being hunters and gatherers or herders living from day to day, had nothing in reserve.

True, during the period of growing and before harvest-time, that might not be true. But at those times, there would be no harvest to steal.

In addition, there is the ethical question. If mankind can turn on a dime from being honest hunters to being dishonest thieves (ie, original sinners) then I suggest there is no hope whatever and we might as well give up. I don't. There is a rational (non-superstitious) basis for ethics, and it is that self interest is best served by acknowledging the self-ownership rights of everyone else.