The Democratization of Violence
One of the hallmarks of a fully fledged and functional civilization, is that the legitimate use of violence is limited to one institution, one group of people, rather than being dispersed throughout the whole of a given society. While this may appear to be dictatorial to some, it is necessary in order to produce peaceful conditions within a society, such that one person cannot just go over to kill someone just because they perceived an injustice or had some disagreement or another with another person. This is a state known as anarchy, and no one who has ever experience anarchy has ever wanted to go back towards it (even if they are forced, due to circumstances, within their given geographical and sociological territory).
What is happening to manufacturing technology, especially with regards to 3-d printing, is that it’s going to give yet another avenue for citizens to use violence against each other for either socially legitimate or illegitimate reasons. Ordinarily, the government has been the sole institution which has the legitimate right to use force against members of our society in order to ensure that there are peaceful and socially acceptable means of realizing some notion of social justice. However, when the government fails to dole out social justice to its people, and instead gives favoritism to a private elite or to themselves as public elites, they run into the issue of unrest within their given societies as services, programs and policies don’t work as they optimally can (and, quite frankly should) work for the sake of the members of the general body of society. Historically, this has meant that legitimate uses of violence can slip out of the hands of the government and its officials, if it and its members are not using their “power” appropriately or respectfully towards the general public. When violence is considered legitimate against the government and other members of our social body by at least some members of our society, conditions are created wherein the government, through over-extending and over-exerting its power, can easily cause the whole of the social entity to turn against it, and thus, be overthrown in the course of a violent revolution. The only way to deal with civil war conditions is to keep the factual narrative on your own side while constantly pointing out how the rebels are in the wrong. It isn’t enough to SAY that you’re the “good people”, you also have to BE the good people, honestly, openly and truly, in order to keep society at peace and under your legitimate authority.
Anarchists are always going to exist. The question is whether or not they have a voice, a following, a supply of means and some kind of moral/ethical grounding in society in order to wreak havoc in a given society. Ideally, a government should be behaving in such a fashion that the general public will not listen to the anarchists, or to the political extremists or the conservatives who wish to usurp everything into the hands of the unaccountable private elite, whether they acknowledge it or not. 3-d printing will enable them to have a supply of means, more readily available than anything we could imagine to date. All they need is a small following, a voice and the moral edge in the narrative of our social dynamics in order to cause massive amounts of damage with very little cost to themselves (if they’re intelligent about how to do it).
The traditional ways of government enforcing laws over people is coming to an end. Governments, and their members, are likely to be forced to negotiate on a more equal footing with the general public and its members, as they always technically have had to do (even if their members don’t like the idea of doing it for some odd reason). A people have a right to determine how they are governed and by who. The joke of the matter, is that it’s likely all going to end up being more or less the same, depending upon the conditions that are experienced and are in constant fluctuation throughout time, space and culture. The only question that’s relevant to the governed is “which faction actually does a better job” while the only questions that are relevant to the governing is “what is there?” and “what works/what doesn’t work?” That’s the joke that’s played on the species when it comes to governing and intra/inter species governing: it doesn’t matter who’s in charge, since the consequences of their actions are going to remain, the circumstances in which they find themselves is always going to be (albeit it, in a constant fluctuation) the same and they’re still going to have their biology and psychology which may or may not be conducive to the production of positively effective policy. Policy-making is about letting go of your ego, such that you’re able to realize something better for the other that is subject to your influence; it’s not about your ego, or your beliefs, or your opinions about what is and what works and what doesn’t. The process of policy-making is about stepping back from all of that to know what will work and what will not; what is grounded in solid facts and evidence and what isn’t. From there, you achieve better results for the public, which then leads to better results for your own self, as a policy-maker or legislator or law enforcer.
Therefore, we are once again, entering into an age where violence is becoming cheaper and harder to control by traditional centralized means and methods. Governments are going to have to work with the general public and maintain the moral upper hand, rather than the iron hand. Any further attempts by the elite to cut these corners or dodge these natural laws is only going to result in worse situations for themselves, even if they’re able to corral the cheap and democratic manufacturing of goods, services and weapons. Society will just develop alternative means, and the fight will continue between the two.
Why not move beyond the fighting; to work WITH each other rather than over one another, such that everyone’s core interests are being served (which isn’t the same as what it is they explicitly want or desire)? What is so difficult and abhorrent about this basic, fundamental concept of human social nature? And, how do we get those who can’t, won’t or don’t get these concepts into places where they’d lead happier, healthier and less disastrously dangerous lives for their own sakes, let alone, for all of our sakes?
Think about it.