Armchair Mutineer is a collection of essays, articles and fictional stories that advocate for a better kind of civilization, one of absolute individual freedom, voluntary societal participation, peaceful coexistence in a borderless world, and the continued advancement of science, technology, arts, and commerce. This kind of world is only one possible outcome in the next 500 years. While certainly not a perfect world, it is possibly the best outcome given human nature and planetary circumstances. While by no means a determinist position, evolving toward a borderless world with a single human civilization, a multifaceted, amalgamation of cultures within a common super culture, is feasible and, arguably, a necessary adaptation for species perpetuation.
When Armchair Mutineer uses the terms “society”, “culture”, and “civilization” without any specific modification (e.g., Roman society, or Japanese civilization), it means these concepts as applied across humanity. Armchair Mutineer takes the position that ethnic, religious, and national identifiers are social constructs that will continue to be diminished as history progresses. Linguistic barriers will eventually be bridged via technology, bringing people closer together as technology has done for physical distances and communications.
Armchair Mutineer seeks no alignment with any organization or person seeking political power. Support for or opposition to, and praise for or criticism of, a person, policy, organization, or nation is grounded upon Armchair Mutineer’s worldview. This is not a conspiracy theory website. There is no group of powerful villains humanity needs to be warned about. There is no contention that the rich and the powerful deem to make the world a certain way; rather, people merely respond to the incentives presented to them, and most do so in a legal and rational manner.
Armchair Mutineer’s polemics will largely address the forces that are obstacles to a better civilization: centralized national governments and mass organized religions. Essays may deal with an array of topics related to the website’s point of view. Frameworks may be historical or futurist, theoretical or empirical. In all cases, Burgett Capital strives for intellectual honesty and acknowledges its limitations in terms of understanding every subject touched upon. This is an exploration of issues and a search for a coherent outlook, built on certain strains of political, economic and moral theory. This website is very much a journey toward more understanding, constructing a more refined viewpoint. Constructive feedback is welcome.
Governments played a vital role in human history. Armchair Mutineer believes governments will continue to be central to history over the next 100 years. This website advocates for the dismantling of government based upon the desired end state for humanity; like everything, reaching that end will be a process that takes time. However, there are many signs of the beginning of the end of the nation state and its centralized authority.
Mass organized religion has shown itself to be another chaotic force to plague humanity. The predominance of religions has waned in the last two hundred years, but religion is still a divisive force. In the United States, pressure to subscribe to a Christian belief system and values remain socially coercive and have figured into non-sensical “culture wars” over basic human rights of marriage, medical research, expression, and reproductive choices. Armchair Mutineer believes adherence to organized religion is a voluntary activity and is perfectly fine so long as that activity stays away from direct and indirect coercion of others. Nevertheless, the world will be a better place when the vast majority of people stop believing in myths and fairy tales.
Are we standing at a crossroad in the evolution of civilization? The high quality of life in the developed and developing world rests upon the achievements of the industrial, scientific, and information technology revolutions of the last 100 years. Despite what we see in the media, today there is more economic, political and religious freedom, and less war, than at any other time in history. Living standards have improved, people have become more educated, poverty has declined, people live longer with better overall health, and racial and other forms of discrimination have rapidly dissipated. By all accounts, society is rapidly evolving and our human civilization on this planet is improving.
The United States, offering a partially free market economy and a relatively strong individual rights, emerged as a superpower after World War II. Engagement through commerce has been the primary linkage between nations, and many new markets opened under US hegemony, primarily to benefit the West with cheaper goods and resources, and with an unintended consequence of laying a groundwork for an interlinked global economy. The late 20th century saw the end of the Cold War, the predominance of the US as a sole global superpower advocating freedom and trade, and the evolution of China toward a freer society. The emergence of a worldwide economic system that transverses national borders and the rapid development and modernization of what used to be called “the Third World” shows more barriers coming down. Burgett Capital believes these are all historical signals of a world that could keep changing for the better.
The Malaise of the Early 21st Century
The troubled Presidency of George W. Bush saw that established power structures never let a crisis go to waste. The 9-11 terrorist crimes resulted in a larger military and surveillance state, capped off with two foreign wars and rhetoric about clashes of civilizations, creating the terrorists of tomorrow and more reasons for blowback and revenge. Central bank meddling, foolish government policies, and crony capitalism led to the 2007-08 financial crisis, with an end result being a set-up for an even larger crisis in the future thanks to massive banks, huge public deficits, more government regulation favoring existing players, and intervention in the economy through a hyperactive Federal Reserve.
President Obama’s administration saw Washington DC become gridlocked at a time when budget deficits and national debt are at record highs, entitlement programs near insolvency, there is low economic growth, and a growing perception among citizens that there is not equal opportunity to succeed in this country. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have an ideology that may address these issues because, in the end, this is a systemic failure of the government both parties built. National wealth led to centralized public education, health, and welfare programs supported by Democrats; while Republicans may complain about social safety nets, there is no serious movement to do away with them. At the same time, low taxes and a global military presence are staples of the GOP that are not seriously challenged by the Democrats. Both parties are statist and assume centralized government is a permanent fixture, holding the debates of yesteryear and offering voters no real choice. Both parties will never disrupt the true purpose of a two party structure: predictable policies that maintain a crony capitalist system that perpetuates big business, big unions, big banks, big military and big government. The “Dempublican/Repocrats” system garners the voting support of most Americans who benefit from that system (directly or indirectly), or simply support it because they do not know any better. The average citizen in the US pays the price for these bad policies by having a diminished life, and in time there will be consequences for this.
The US is only one example of the lack of positive momentum in the developed world. The financial crisis facing the European Union led it to be mired in an inward facing debate. Japan’s economy has been in a deflationary spiral for twenty years due to a failure to deregulate and open its economy to non-Japanese players. Policies in most countries appear to follow an outmoded thought system, still thinking in terms of a “national interest” when people are linked in a global economic system. Instead of getting closer as world citizens, there is still a tendency to cling to national, racial and religious identities.
Burgett Capital’s Hypothesis
The malaise of the early 21st century allowed statism to return and make itself central to our lives. The crossroad we are at seems to be either going back to the world we had in the 20th century, or allowing individuals to have more control over their fates, no longer dependent on social, political and spiritual betters to tell us how to live. Hopefully we will return to the path we were on in the late 1990s.
Putting aside the technological advances, could a European living in the early Middle Ages imagine a world without royalty or alternatives to the Roman Catholic Church? In five hundred years, European society outgrew those two institutions, once seen as eternal. Similarly, government and large organized religions are coercive forces that have caused war and deprivation throughout history, and will continue to cause conflict and chaos in the future. While democracy and capitalism are enlightened systems, it is not hard to see we still have a long way to go. While many fear a dystopian future, Armchair Mutineer prefers to believe humanity’s best days are in the future.
Armchair Mutineer argues our best bet to evolve to a condition where we do not need organized governments or large, organized religions. Civilized people can live without commissars and clerics. We will have an advanced civilization when nearly all people may live peacefully and freely without these coercive forces.