"What can one lone person do?"
This is a question raised often, especially when the frustrations are against government actions that do particularly heinous harm, such as wasting billions of stolen dollars destroying the lives and property of people who are uninvolved with anyone posing a threat. In the society that is the goal of the Self-Sovereign Individual Project, with its basis in the principles of the Theory of Social Meta-Needs, there is no government - social preferencing is the major method for influencing others. However, even currently when governments are everywhere, the tool of social preferencing can be used against those who actually do the harm in the name of governments, and if practiced by enough people would be highly effective. Evaluating the actions of particular others and deciding to associate or not associate with them on the basis of whether those actions are in the evaluator's own widest viewing and longest range thinking best interest is a practice everyone should be doing on a regular basis, if they wish to have any major reducing effect on those negative actions. This type of activity is simply part of trying to maximize your own lifetime happiness, the only reasonable purpose of your life. When you assess that the actions of another person are counter to the long range best interest of yourself and others, unless that person is providing some monopoly good or service that you simply cannot live without, then your next logical action is to not associate with that person and make known the reasons why. Even in the case where the good or service is essential, association should be as little as absolutely possible and the reasons why made clear. The more people regularly preference for or against others based on this evaluation of actions - rather than simply voicing or writing their amorphous disagreement with some practice - the greater the likelihood that change of those undesirable actions will occur. Interpersonal discriminatory actions are what hit home to anyone. Actions speak far louder and more consistently than words.
Social discrimination, which is simply the action on a decision whether or not to associate with another person (and to what degree), has for eons been and should continue to be a powerful tool for individuals. One person's decision to preferentially not associate with another is, in turn, evaluated by still others and if decided by them to be inappropriate, s/he will then be the object of discrimination to the degree that hir (his/her) evaluators consider the original social preferencing is counterproductive to their own widest viewing and longest range thinking best interests. If large numbers of people even within the current statist societies would perform this evaluative process and act on it by reducing their association with those whose actions they determine to be harmful in the widest view longest range, the potential for change would be significant.
At the time of this writing the US federal government has been waging a war in Iraq and Afghanistan for over two and a half years based on various premises that doing so is "protecting" the citizens of the US. This type of military action (and the many previous covert varieties which were instrumental in fomenting the supposed hatred of the US) has been the practice of the US government for decades and is not unique to the present administration; the mere changing of the political players has done nothing towards eliminating these activities. In fact, these practices are a major identification of governments everywhere - along with other agencies of force: police, border control, regulators and tax collectors. It is only that the US government has been for decades now and is currently the major instigator of foreign interventions.
The agents of force are not the legislators who enact the laws and regulations or even the politicians who sign the orders to be carried out by the military and various enforcement agencies. In the case of the military, it is the individual soldier, sailor, airman, marine (whether firing a gun, dropping a bomb, or performing any of the other directly damaging acts) who is the actual enforcer. And those who provide direct physical support to those who actually perform the harmful acts are to varying degrees aiding and abetting it by helping to make it possible. It is not difficult to imagine the scene of impotence in Washington DC (and other government seats of power) were large numbers of enforcers and physical supporters currently in the military (or working for military contractors) to resign their positions, refuse to continue their previous activities and be mostly unreplaceable by others for the same reasons. In addition, if the former enforcers make their refusals and the reasons widely public, it will create support for their action, influence others not to replace them and limit possible retaliation. It would then be necessary for the politicians and their assistants to take up arms and do the deeds of destruction themselves. Since few if any of these politicos would be willing to directly bloody their hands and risk harm to themselves - many are actually known to have avoided such activity in the past - and their numbers are relatively so few, the waging of foreign wars, not to mention the continuous violations of the personal freedom of all citizens within the country, would significantly diminish if not disappear completely. It is because large numbers of individuals become enforcers - after having listened to and accepted the reasons provided by politicians that a certain war is needed "to protect our shores", or particular laws or regulations must be enforced "to maintain order" or "to protect individuals" - that the enormous number of harmful actions can take place in the name of governments. The action of socially preferencing against the enforcers by those who recognize that the acts of initiating force are wrong is one which any individual can, and in good conscience must take.
Rather than "support our troops" - which means in essence to support the enforcers and their direct physical supporters - I urge those who have concluded that the US and its allies are wrong and unjustified in their military action in Iraq (and Afghanistan and everywhere else) to instead "influence the troops" via social preferencing, to cease their actions, resign their positions and openly announce their objections. Reduce association with individuals in the military and let them know why. Make it clear that when the enforcers of government harm (all of it actually is such) refuse to continue to act, governments are impotent to do harm. Offer to provide support emotionally and physically towards an enforcer who becomes an ex-enforcer, but shun anyone continuing in that role. Support individuals who make decisions that maximize the lifetime happiness of everyone (and not merely US citizens) using the widest view and longest range thinking, and discriminate against those who do not. Act in your own best interest using that same criteria.
I (Kitty Antonik Wakfer) do not simply type words with a rousing tone in an attempt to persuade others to act. I make the same type of evaluations for myself using the same criteria that I recommend to others. In full consistency with the above argument for using social preferencing to influence others I have very recently sent the message below to one of my nephews (with copies to his mother and his stepfather):
From: Kitty Antonik Wakfer [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Sunday, September 25, 2005 4:45 PM
Cc: Graham; Mary
Subject: Purposeful Social Action
Aaron, you may have been wondering why I (and Paul) have not stopped in to see you
since your move to St. Louis since we drive through it at least 4 times yearly. It has
not been an oversight or because we are lazy. I have purposely avoided opportunities
to visit with you since Madison's christening in New Jersey in September 2002. Had Paul
and I been successful in timing our drive through St. Louis for Mary's arrival at the
airport in July, we would have unavoidably been in your company for that time. However
it was our intention not to visit her in your home.
My (and Paul's) reasons are centered on your continued participation in the US Air
Force, with at least a periodic piloting support role in the non-defense military
action by the US government in Iraq (and Afghanistan). In actuality it has been a very
long time since any military *action* (as opposed to preparation for action) by the US
government has been one to truly defend residents and US citizens *in* the US. This
same is true for the military forces of virtually all governments whether elected or
self-appointed. Even more basic in my reasoning is that as a part of the military, you
are a willing agent of government force, as are all those who work in the various
police, taxing and regulatory agencies by the US (and other countries') federal, state
and local governments, or even those who do contract work for such agencies.
None of the enormously numerous harmful actions to persons and property could take
place in the name of governments if those currently doing the enforcing - whether
directly or in support roles - refused to continue doing so. Those who give the orders
and/or enact the legislation making such actions "legal" would have to themselves take
up the guns (or fly the planes) doing the forcing of others. Under those circumstances
it is highly likely that very little forcing of others by governments would occur.
Individuals in Washington DC (and federal, state and local government seats everywhere)
could debate and pass bills and give orders all they want, but without individuals who
are willing to actually carry out those orders to kill/imprison/destroy, the
politicians and their appointees/assistants are powerless. Were the active supporters
of the direct enforcers also to refuse to participate, the impotence of the government
power wielders would be seen even faster. It is the continued participations of the
individual troops on the ground, pilots in the air, seamen on the waters in actions
which are not absolutely defensive of a country *in the country and its immediate
territorial waters* that allows governments to wage wars overtly and covertly. At the
same time within the boundaries of a country, each government creates more opportunities
for each limited thinking individual to become dependent on its largess (stolen via tax
money) and to be suspicious of "them" - particularly those of other countries.
In truth, those who "serve" in political office via elections or appointments seek
power - the ability to force others to do what those others would not have chosen to do
without the threat of injury, imprisonment, property confiscation and even death. It
does not matter to these government politicos that the vast majority of the actions
chosen by others are being voluntarily done and to the mutual benefit of those involved.
The legislators and order-givers - and others convinced by them - think that government
rules (laws and regulations) are necessary for an orderly society and prevention of
attack by "those who hate us".
Paul and I have actively spent the last two years writing on the foundational ideas
for a minimally restrictive society of maximally free self-sovereign individuals
(http://selfsip.org ). One of the most powerful mechanisms in such a society is
preferencing against those whose actions/behaviors are contrary to one's own lifetime
happiness, the maximizing of which is in reality the goal of any individual's life.
This discrimination - currently a "dirty" word but previously quite an exemplary
practice of carefully evaluating and distinguishing - makes it clear to all just who is
not being associated with, and *why*. In the society which is the goal of the
Self-Sovereign Individual Project, entered into by contract and where all property is
private so that no "tragedy of the commons" can occur, social preferencing, organized
and automated by means of global communications, is the major method by which those
individuals who do not, in the estimation of others, use widest viewing longest range
thinking in their choices for gaining happiness can be negatively affected by others
and, thus, receive the necessary direct feedback to change their practices.
The pressures/influences of others by way of such social preferencing to either
associate or not associate is a negative feedback mechanism and can be highly
influential even now with everyone still under government domination. If the
government enforcers were encouraged by their relatives, friends, neighbors and
acquaintances to leave their positions, and these enforcers were associated with only
to the degree that they actually proceeded toward this change, I think the number of
enforcers would drop significantly and rather quickly. Even a modest decline in the
number of military enforcers (with few willing to replace them) would very soon make
the waging of foreign wars impossible. (A *true* attack by outside forces would
readily bring forth volunteers to protect each other's lives and property. When was
the last time that Switzerland, the government of which has waged no wars, was the
object of attack by "outsiders" (hating them)?)
So, Aaron, I have been following through on my convictions - based on the facts of
reality which includes that a human's life purpose is to maximize hir (his/her)
lifetime happiness - by significantly limiting my association with you under the
current circumstances of your military participation. Until now I did not make clear
to you and others that this was purposely taking place and the reasons why. I have
done so now and truly hope that it is understood by you to be done with the desire
that it will stimulate others to consider more widely and longer range for their own
individual lifetime happiness.
It is my hope that you will seriously think about what I have written and also
read and consider deeply Paul's writings (the most immediately pertinent, "Social
Meta-Needs: A New Basis for Optimal Human Interaction"
http://selfsip.org/fundamentals/socialmetaneeds.html ) I want no harm to come to you.
I would like to know that you will in the future (after you have well familiarized
yourself with the concepts) make choices to maximize your lifetime happiness using
the widest viewing longest range thinking. Looking back over the few emails you and
I have had, I came across a line from you (8/5/02) which is encouraging in this
respect, "However it's the sign of a mature individual who can see the big picture
and not be pressured into doing something foolish."
PS I will be making public to others the contents of my message to you (without the
inclusion of your email address) on SelfSIP.org and other venues to demonstrate that
I don't simply recommend actions to others, but also take those that I have concluded
are correct (for maximizing my lifetime happiness) even though such actions may not
be initially well received by some others. Hopefully, others who already think or
are persuaded that my reasoning is proper will take similar action.
******end of message******
So the answer to the original question: "What can one lone person do?" is "Actually, a lot!"
10/4/05 Note: Follow-up email dialogue between Kitty and her nephew Aaron can be seen.
3/16/07 Note: A few weeks ago a friend and member of MoreLife Yahoo was visiting us and during one of many conversations throughout his 3 day stay he mentioned to me that he had been somewhat surprised at my strong approach to my nephew Aaron, by announcing to him that I was socially preferencing against him while at the same time trying to persuade him that remaining in the US Air Force was not beneficial to him or anyone when viewed in the wide and long range. This friend's comment, coupled with my many readings in the past several months (on cognitive therapy, discussed at MoreLife Yahoo) and thinking about it further, prompted me to compose a new message, one that I would send now if contacting Aaron for the first time on this matter, instead of what I sent 1 1/2 years ago.
Since the 4th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq comes within a few days, I thought it most appropriate to tie my improved message to Aaron with this date. The essay, which includes the alternate and improved message to my nephew, is entitled "Incremental Approach - A Better Method for Effecting Change". The file itself has the name "smallsteps" - something I realized, belatedly in regard to approaching Aaron, is very necessary for many people all of the time and likely all people some of the time when faced with ideas that are radically different from what they hold to be true of reality.