Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Why Democracy Works

            Since today is Pi Day (3.14), I decided to write about something a little more intellectually challenging than the current topics of Trump/Russian influence and the replacement for Obamacare. I do not know about you, but I am tired of all the negativity in our nation since the election more than four months ago. I would think that the losers would soon get over the loss and start being productive, but I am not seeing it. I have a difficult time understanding how people can hate President Trump so much that they would be willing to destroy the country in an effort to destroy him.

            At any rate, I decided to stretch our brains today. I found an interesting article by John Conlin titled “The science behind capitalism”  posted at American Thinker. Conlin suggests that capitalism is individual economic freedom interacting with other individuals with economic freedom. He says that “Capitalism has transformed the world by producing more wealth than any other economic system in the history of civilization.”

            Conlin suggests that capitalism produces so much wealth because it has the “magic portion” of freedom. He quotes other people as saying that “free people will outperform any other economic system.” Conlin says that “the ultimate reason [that democracy works] is deeper and firmly based in science and fact.” In fact, it is based on what is called “swarm intelligence.”

            Swarm intelligence is something that “honeybees, schools of fish, herds of bison, flocks of birds, etc.” seem to have. When the group works together the “collective intelligence” of the group is magnified “beyond that of any individual member.” The idea that intrigues me the most about swarm intelligence is the fact that there is no leader or management.

   In fact, having no one in charge is a key ingredient to swarm intelligence. This incredible increase in intelligence is driven by countless interactions among individual members, with each following simple rules of thumb and reacting to their local environment and those members around them. That’s it!

   Perhaps counterintuitively, if an individual member did attempt to become a leader, the group intelligence would drop precipitously. And although it may be difficult to grasp, this self-organizing behavior has no cause and effect. It simply is.

            Conlin claims that “this same process is the scientific basis for the success of capitalism, and in fact the success of the human race.” He says that the “swarm intelligence has always been at work,” but it has become “truly astounding” because of “our highly developed communication skills and the ability to record and store knowledge.”

            Claiming that capitalism “is a scientific fact just as certain as gravity,” Conlin says that it is certain to work and “does so with no leader, no management, and no one seeing the big picture – no cause and effect. It just is.” He also suggests that this fact is the reason why economies go bad when government gets involved.

The science on this is clear. If we want to maximize our collective well-being and wealth, if we want to maximize our freedom, if we want to maximize our collective odds for survival, we must allow human swarm intelligence to do its magic. And governments are not the solution, but are rather the destroyer.

            President Ronald Reagan used to say that government is the problem, not the solution. I believe that swarm intelligence is a result of moral agency or the freedom to make our own choices. This gift was given to all of us in our pre-earth life, and it came with us to earth. Human beings are “herd animals” in that we need each other to fully meet our individual potentials. Swarm intelligence is a good explanation of why working together makes us all more successful. It would be great if our politicians learned this lesson.

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