We are all born into a world that operates on very old software. Software that was designed centuries ago and operates on principles and parameters that would be laughable if not for the human suffering and impediment to the advancement of the species it ensures.
Some people never really become aware of this, but one of the most important measurements of who you are as a person and whether or not you can be trusted, or have any value to a community, is determined by where your mother went into labor with you.
We used the term “where you were born” almost as if the individual in question had some say in the location. But none of us does. Where we are born is a matter of the latitude and longitude of our mother on a particular day in her life, and nothing more.
Let’s take two examples:
Norman Smith was born in San Diego, California. He works in Oregon as a truck driver. Sometimes. Most of the time he exploits various government welfare programs and insurance fraud schemes so he has enough money to drink and stay high. Norm is also an overt White Supremacist. He hates Black people, Jews, Muslims, and Hispanics. Norm is full of hate. He writes on social media about a coming Race War. He says he’s willing to fight. He’ll be a trigger puller. He’ll work the valves on a gas chamber. He can’t wait to start killing minorities when the big day comes.
Khalila Yasin was born in Kabul, Afghanistan. She’s a widow whose husband was killed when he drove his taxi past a hospital that was hit by a missile from a drone strike. He was ‘acceptable collateral damage’ and nothing more than a bystander. Khalila has two young children and works at home raising her family by running a small sewing business. She’s fairly religious but she sees every person’s beliefs as their own private business, and she deeply believes all people are equal and deserve respect and dignity. She’s known in her neighborhood as the person who can calm any baby and comfort any child. Her home is always open to anyone in trouble or in need of help. She speaks five languages. Khalila is known to hundreds of people in her community as a warm, decent, trustworthy person who loves people and does good wherever she is able.
Again, dozens or even hundreds of people can corroborate the facts relating to both Norman and Khalila. They have each left a lifetime of evidence regarding how they live, what they say they believe, and the nature of their character.
Yet, because our global social system operates on obsolete software, the sole measure of whether these two people can freely travel the world and remain in other countries for months or even years — is where their mothers went into labor. Nothing matters more.
Norm the Neo-Nazi, with his United States passport, is welcome all over the world. He can stay in Canada, Mexico, or the UK for six months at a time. He can tour Europe for six months out of twelve. He has travel and foreign residency rights that are about as good any anyone in the world. Yet he’s a Neo-Nazi, itching for a Race War, who has never supported himself financially for more than a few months at a time.
Khalila isn’t welcome in any Western country. She can’t visit a single country in the developed world without going through a long, expensive visa application process, and even then she’ll very likely be denied. She can only visit a relative handful of poor, developing countries, many of which are currently at war, and even then she can only stay for a few weeks. Yet she’s a wonderful person who works hard to independently support her family and contribute to the goodness of humankind.
Shiftless, hate-filled Neo-Nazi: welcome almost everywhere.
Productive, respected Afghan: unwelcome almost everywhere.
All of us, including Khalila, live in a technological world bristling with the ability to profile every individual with broad and deep data concerning their lifetime activities, beliefs, attitudes, and character. In any country, in any community, there are people who range from being peaceful, productive credits to humanity, to people who are a demonstrated liability and overt menace to society.
Yet we cling to an antiquated, ossified system of determining the value and desirability of people based upon where their mother went into labor many years ago, and therefore what their official citizenship is.
The reason we do this is because we also operate on an obsolete idea built upon medieval Feudalism wherein the self-proclaimed nobility made reciprocal arrangements between themselves that protected their financial and political interests and automatically bound the peasantry to their unilateral rules. This basic, low technology principle continues as the foundation of national sovereignty.
Frequent travelers and expats are keenly aware of the fact they are not only judged by where they were born, but that the documents, experience, abilities, and credentials they hold are often deemed meaningless as soon as they cross imaginary lines on a map.
For example, with my current foreign drivers license I am eligible to drive in my temporary home of Ireland for 365 days. If I want to continue a single day beyond that I need to take driving lessons as if I am 16 years old, rather than a person with 40 years and over a million miles of driving experience. And, presumably, have an entire year of experience driving in Ireland.
The empirical facts of the matter, in terms of demonstrated ability and common sense, have no gravity. All that matters is the Feudal agreement between two sovereign nations concerning all who were born in a certain place.
Again, at this time in our technological history, this one-rule-applied-to-everyone is a ridiculous throwback to an obsolete system. And imaginary lines on a map is another absurdity when it comes to evaluating the credentials of individuals.
By way of analogy, take the case of the United States and the fact it is made up of 3,144 counties and county equivalents in the form of parishes and boroughs. Each of these 3,144 counties has its own government.
Imagine for a moment that each county jealously guarded its own fiefdom the way nations do.
Here’s what might happen to a family from Buffalo, New York wanting to relocate to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The wife of the family can only visit Fort Lauderdale for 30 days because she was born in Erie County, New York. Broward County, Florida wants to keep those people from staying too long.
To remain over 30 days she’ll need an immigration attorney to file an application and that takes 18 months to process. And, in any event, she will need a living blood relative who is a current resident of Broward County or a parent or grandparent who was.
The husband was born 50 years ago in Los Angeles County and must apply for a visa to enter Broward for even one day. Broward hates people coming from California and “stealing” Broward jobs and “destroying the Broward way of life.” They don’t like lazy Californians coming into their county and going on welfare. Everyone knows people from California are lazy and can’t be trusted to work hard for very long.
Moreover, foreigners from Buffalo must pay quadruple for their kids to attend school in Fort Lauderdale, even after they begin living there and paying local taxes. After three years of probation, they might be considered legal local residents.
The husband is an experienced x-ray technician, however his education and certification from Dallas County, Texas is not recognized in Broward so he has to find work on the custodial staff of the hospital until he can be retrained to Broward standards. Even though his employer would happily accept his Dallas credentials.
Also, the husband and wife can only drive in Broward using their Erie County drivers licenses for 30 days, then they must take drivers education classes and be insured as new, inexperienced drivers.
Does all that sound absurd?
Because it’s no less absurd for Broward County to claim dominion over all of its inhabitants and all people from outside Broward than it is for the United States to claim the same thing.
And in China today, this is almost exactly what the rules are. A family from the city of Guangzhou, China does not have the equal right to move to the city of Beijing, China. If they have a ton of money they might be able to afford it, but there are legal and financial impediments at every turn.
Why should the residents of Beijing or Fort Lauderdale allow outsiders from 20 miles away? To paraphrase the genius social philosopher and champion of human freedom, Donald J. Trump, “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. Somebody’s doing the raping. I mean somebody’s doing it! Who’s doing the raping?” It must be the scum from Guangzhou and Erie County!
You Are Not Chattel
The government of the United States has no more moral right than the government of Broward County or Beijing to decree the nature of every resident’s character, credentials, and social desirability, let alone that of the remaining seven billion people on this earth.
This ridiculous, outdated system of sovereignty is a cause of needless hardship, lost opportunity, malinvestment, and conflict all over the world. In a hundred places like Northern Ireland, Basque Spain, Flemish Belgium, Muslim Thailand, Kurdish Iraq, and many more, people are keenly aware that an individual’s preferences as to where he lives and what work he does can and should be recognized and respected.
We can know the detailed specifics of individuals; there is no moral reason to operate on averages and generalities.
Why should any peaceful, reasonable person care what self-serving rules the feudal lords of Broward County want to impose on all the people of the world? Blanket sovereignty over the masses is a low technology, illegitimate, and coercive way to control good people who could easily reach voluntary agreement among all the parties concerned in their transactions.
It’s time for humanity to upgrade its operating software. It’s time to migrate to a system based on voluntary interaction between known individuals who agree on the terms and conditions concerning their life and property. It’s time to supplant the old feudal system of arbitrary and generalized control over billions of individuals by force and fiat.
Every individual owns her life completely. Nobody else owns her. Let’s start acting like it.