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Smash the… state?

A li’l over a year ago I posted a couple of essays where I was expressing some hesitancy over the “smash the state” crowd of the traditional federating / decentralizing / bottom-up ancom where I made my political home during the 00s.

In the year since, it’s gotten increasingly and embarrassingly obvious to me that the state is setting itself up as the denialist protectors of the fossil economy.

So the state is firmly in the hands of fossil capitalism.


Conclusion: smash the state?
Weeeell… How about skipping the middleman and smashing the big corporations directly instead? Always with an eye on leaving the fossils in the ground, don’t go and cause oil spills and methane leak, that’d be pretty bad. I also haven’t been fond of super temporary reprieves like occupying a drill site for a few weeks that just drains even more resources and ultimately is unsuccessful.

But I’d be so stoked to see punks trying to more seriously regulate where the state won’t step in. Fossil fuel extraction and distribution is something that needs to end.

Why are you still shilling for the gov’t, Sandra?

It’s just not the state that’s the problem. Even autonomous administrations have succumbed to selling oil. The issues are systemic because of the perverse incentives caused by market capitalism.

In order to fix climate change we need global cooperation and organization. Yeah, yeah, we are very far from that in a serious and productive way. The East & West getting sucked into wars plural isn’t exactly making me more hopeful. Sweden seems pretty stoked to start spending way more money on military than on preventing the cinder.

I get that it’s tempting to scrap it and start over. And if you do manage to start over I’ll be joining you. But I’m so wary of scrapping what we have. Government, as messed up as it is, is the biggest serious effort at actually regulating and reigning in the most broken and buggy resource distribution protocol of all time: market capitalism. Capitalism is just waiting to get unleashed. Figuratively speaking. I do understand that the emergent behavior is systematic and incentives-driven rather than teleological. All the Galt gulchers are chomping at the bit to not even need permits to drill.

Coming from the world of programming, I know how much work has been obliterated by endless cycles of NIH and wheel-reinvention. Usually going from something bad (like XML) to something worse (like JSON). I’m typing this essay in an editor from the seventies, for crying out loud, for all its faults, since none of the jenny-come-lately replacements have been able to pull off what Emacs can do.