Decentralization and Freedom


governments are responsible for some of the greatest atrocities in history the 20th century was particularly brutal in this respect with tens of millions of people dying at the hands of their own government it is said that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it thus in this video relying on Leopold cores fascinating book the breakdown of Nations we will examine the factors that contribute to the rise of tyrannical government and with this knowledge discuss how the threat of tyranny can best be mitigated to account for the rise of oppressive government many explanations have been put forth however there are two theories which have been especially prominent these are the ideological and personal theories the ideological theory proposes that oppressive government is primarily the result of bad ideas infiltrating a society while the personal theory places blame at the feet of morally corrupt or even malevolent leaders who deceived their way into power and then rake havoc on the nations which they rule there is some truth to both theories as leaders such as Stalin Hitler and Mao to name but a few of the morally corrupt politicians of the 20th century were responsible for much suffering it is also obvious that when entire nations fall victim to corrupt ideologies be it Nazism or Stalin’s communism that the proliferation of these beliefs also assists in the growth of tyranny Leopold core however suggests that there is another factor more fundamental to the rise of tyranny than either ideology or the ruler and power this factor is the size of the social unit or in other words the population of a society ruled under a single governing entity that there are issues with large social units has long been recognized aristotle cautioned that to the size of states there is a limit while also stating that for laws order in good law is good order but a very great multitude cannot be orderly while Aristotle recognized that limitations exist on the size at which societies can properly function in the breakdown of nations core makes the related assertion that the larger the population of a society the more prone it is to tyrannical rule in the more brutal tyranny will be as the population of a society grows the potential power of its government grows with it for like a parasite whose growth is checked by the size of the host the growth of state power is checked by the number of subjects under its control as populations expand more economic resources are placed at the disposal of those in charge more bodies can be used as cannon fodder to fight their battles while an ever greater disconnect emerges between the citizens and government officials furthermore in the attempt to cope with the immense complexities of a populous society those in government always see the solution as more government control thus further increasing their power if this growth in government power is unchecked a dangerous tipping point is reached whereby those in charge come to believe they are so powerful that their actions are immune from any form of retaliation this is the point of no return or what core calls the critical magnitude of abuse as this amount of power corrupts even the most virtuous among us power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely Lord Acton famously observed while Alexander Solzhenitsyn echoed this sentiment writing unlimited power in the hands of limited people always leads to cruelty the combination of the corrupting influence of power and the immense social complexities of a large society makes tyranny inevitable when this power is placed in the hands of fallible beings who try and control multitudes of people if this hypothesis of cours is true that excessive size of the social unit is the primary cause of tyranny due to the growth in government power that it breeds then it follows that the best way to counteract tyranny is through decentralization shrinking the size of the social units which in the modern world would entail the breakdown of the massive nation-states would greatly limit the potential power of any one government but in addition to the limitations on power that arrives from smaller populations decentralization also checks the growth of power by creating competition between social units if a community becomes too oppressive residents can easily vote with their feet and relocate to one of a multitude other communities as people flee oppression the people doing the oppressing will soon lose their power and thus their ability to commit social predation this happens to a degree in the modern world of nation-states but clearly the competition will be far more impactful with a proliferation in the number of sovereign communities decentralization also minimizes the impact that morally corrupt or even psychopathic individuals can have on the world in Robert hares classic book on psychopathy without conscience he lists the most prominent traits of psychopaths psychopaths he explains our egocentric individuals who lack feelings of remorse and guilt lack the ability to empathize and are skilled at deception and manipulation in other words psychopaths possess traits very useful to those who desire power the best way to deal with the threat that these people pose is to limit the power they can obtain and thus the damage they can do and again this is best achieved through decentralization as cor explains there is nothing in the constitution of men or states that can prevent the rise of dictators power maniacs exist everywhere the only difference lies in the degree of tyrannical government which in turn depends once more on the size and power of the country’s falling victim to it while decentralization can help check the rise of tyranny it offers additional benefits such as the minimization of group conflicts not all people desire to live in communities organized under the same social institutions some people favor free markets while others believe that socialism is a far more just way to organize a society some want to live in communities primarily with people of their own ethnicity while others favor living with a diverse multitude of ethnicities in a world of massive nation-states these conflicting groups must battle for state power in order to have their views imposed on all but decentralization offers a far more peaceful option as poor explains why should not as many individuals have as many different institutions as they’d like instead of having all to use a single costume which half of them might consider not to their taste if freedom of choice is considered an advantage canonically why not also politically for with a great multitude of systems prevailing in an area inhabited by hundreds of millions of people it becomes mathematically inevitable that far more individuals are able to obtain what their hearts desire then if the same region were to permit only a single system even as in a restaurant many more people can obtain satisfaction if the menu includes a great variety of dishes rather than a single one which can be made palatable to all only through the propaganda of the cook in allowing for a multitude of social systems to emerge and people to experiment with a variety of institutional arrangements the objective judge of reality is awakened those societies which flourish will be mimicked while those that fail act as warnings for what to avoid this method of social experimentation is far more stable than the large-scale social experimentation seen today a radically decentralized world localizes the impact of institutional failure while centralization Universal eise’s it when a social experiment fails in a radically decentralized world the impact is primarily felt by a relatively small number of people who in most cases based on their decision to live in that community desired such conditions in contrast when a social experiment fails in today’s world of massive nation-states the impact is felt by many millions of people who had no real say in the matter while decentralization offers great benefits many still fear it as they believe it will lead to a proliferation of isolated communities this is a misguided view and the relative lack of Hermit kingdoms throughout history supports this assertion humans are social beings and great benefits emerge from trade and social cooperation thus in a more decentralized world most communities will operate in an open and cooperative manner with isolationist communities being the exception decentralization it must be stressed does not necessarily mean an increase in barriers preventing the movement of goods and people rather it means more boundaries and as core explains boundaries help maintain order and promote human flourishing all our instincts Drive us constantly to create boundaries not to tear them down we draw them around our gardens in the form of fences and within our houses in the form of walls separating our rooms boundaries our shelters and for that reason they must be close to us and narrow to tear them from human societies would be like tearing away the shell from the body of a tortoise or the shore from the ocean but boundaries are not barriers what we want to keep from the harbor is the storm not the sea it is the barriers then which are detrimental to human development not the protecting boundaries whose function is to keep things within healthy limits now more than ever the world needs more boundaries not fewer instead of forcing conflicting groups to fight for state power in the hopes that with such power they can impose their views on all why not let those who disagree live in peace in their own communities in so doing power will be dispersed among far more people and the risk of tyranny greatly diminished if on the other hand we continue moving in the direction of more centralization if we increasingly tear down boundaries we will not be creating a freer world rather we will only be permitting the concentration of power in the hands of ever fewer people and as cor wisely noted to the extent that government is strong the individual is weak with the result that even if his title is citizen his position is that of subject you

100 thoughts on “Decentralization and Freedom

  • I highly recommend reading The Breakdown of Nations – http://amzn.to/2gshKWG
    Become a supporting member, get access to exclusive videos, and help us grow!
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  • Government is only a corporate entity that has only administrative jurisdiction. Authority simply means author. An individual must be getting a wage, benefits, pension, and other necessary expenses to be under the jurisdiction of a corporate government body.

  • This is a very nice video and I am very impressed with and enjoying your channel; kudos!

    This distinction here between barrier and boundary is a very wise distinction and, at least in the United States, we suffer a great deal from a lack of definitions and distinctions. Though all of this to a great extent is imposed, we unnecessarily allow this to divide us.

    As to the centralized/decentralized question; whether a big Republic could preserve freedoms was a major question of the founding of the United States and the whole dichotomy /debate of Hamilton versus Jefferson has carried forward to this very day.

    What's unfortunate about all of that is that the United States was built on both principles, and putting aside all of the obvious inequities and bloodshed, very successfully.

    The USA comprises some 88,000 local governments and some 500,000 elected officials all of whom must answer to the people through an electoral process that is badly misunderstood and neglected.

    We can't blame centralization and suggest the breaking up/down of an approach that offered us the benefits of a single currency, a single language, and – despite the differences – a shared ethos that made us something not so terrible – at least on a good day – is an answer.

    It's a lot to give up and if we listen to these half- baked assertions we are going to give up everything. But that will be because people haven't showed up, not because our landmass is too big to protect and deliver on republican values.

    Only the eternal vigilance of an informed citizenry can do that.

  • It's a nice idea… but how can it can it guarantee that it won't result in the proliferation of anti-ethical nations…the statement in the end: "leave those who disagree live in there own nations", would give room for a white supremacist nation

  • Though slightly utopian, this decentralisation seems to me quite sensible. For one obvious problem with modern states is that they contain so many different and competing groups, yet they at the same time want to claim that the people are somehow united, one people. I think this self-deception retards human potential.

  • Ideological vs Personal theory = nonsense. Tyranny and oppression are the normal state. The question isn't how they arise, but rather, how they can be avoided.

  • Brilliant video. You changed my mind. There is an issue, though.

    You can only manage this IF everyone does it at the same time, or genuinely change everybody's mind so that they can live in a Federation and somehow know what parts of their politics not to vote into the Federal Government.

  • how could this be done in a nation wide scale tho? the average person is very ignorant and won't be able to deconstruct a government that KEEPS them ignorant

  • "Why not let those who disagree live in peace in their own communities?" My friend you have just preached to the metaphorical choir that is me.

  • While I like the ideas centralized military and law systems make it a lot easier to deal with threats and justice. That's where decentralization is weak.

  • The morally bad people you talk about are people who wanted the best for their country, but horribly failed. Their intentions were way better than the intentions of the people who rule us today

  • It should be way easier for people to move to abother country. Than, states will try to have the best circumstances for people, so that they come to that country. A capitalistic way of running a state seems like a good solution

  • No joke. This morning I thought hey, isn't it best for states to keep the government as small as possible because of the psychophats and dictators? Next video I click is this one 😂

  • Ah look, another display of Academy of Ideas inexplicable vendetta against governments.

    There are a few things which are wrong with this video from a discourse perspective. First, the appeal to ancient philosophers, particularly Aristotle. Aristotle is famously known as the philosopher who got literally everything wrong. His works are valuable because they are numerous, well-maintained and one of the earliest recordings of ancient thought from which we can get a picture of the beliefs at the time and their development. He's definitely not important due to him being so darn smart and correct about everything. So using Aristotle's drivel as an argument for anything other than the origin of a philosophical idea is intellectually bankrupt and makes me seriously question how this channel sources it's content.

    Secondly, halfway through your video you inexplicably conclude that "big states have the highest propensity to be oppressive, therefore the best way to prevent that is to decentralise". This argument is complete non-sense. It's exact equivalent is saying "adult men are the most likely to commit violent murder, therefore the best way to prevent violent murder is to kill all boys at 18" – you're not technically wrong, but if your "solution" is in and of itself a catastrophe then you have to consider whether it's truly the "best".

    You're again making the mistake I often see made on this channel – that all the good government does is a given while focusing only on the bad. Let's face it, today's world of big states and political units is the safest, most prosperous and least violent state that it's ever been in history. The only places where violence still persists are where states are weak and extreme actors can impose their views on others without the state being capable of preventing them to. So your assertion that "now more than ever" we need to break down the institutions underwriting our prosperity is non-sense from the get-go. I'd rather argue that the world wars were caused by decentralised European state units competing for resources, while a centralised EU has been a force for good and brought peace and prosperity to its people for 70 years now. The burden of proof is on you.

    Moreover, your idea of peaceful decentralised units relies on the crucial and inexplicable assumption that the way people want to conduct their units is always neutral and zero-sum to others. What if my unit believes all people of X ethnicity are scum that should be wiped off the face of Earth? What if I enslave all Xs in my unit and then wage war on neighboring ones? Pr to go back to reality, what if we allowed the US south to secede and continue enslaving blacks? Is the world better off that we decided people's right to determine blacks are subhuman is more important than black people's right to equality?

    Never mind the obvious fact that people are power hungry and a bunch of defenseless rich economic units will be a huge boon to whoever conquers them, which means it's an unrealizable scenario even ignoring everything above.

    Also, LOL at "people are social therefore no barriers would be raised". People are sociable with their in-group. The most basic reading of history would suffice to convince you that people have no trouble hating and committing horrific atrocities on out-groups. Which guess what, large centralised organisations have been by far the most effective at preventing that from happening.

    Finally, governments do loads of good. Highways, healthcare, scientific research, global aid, economic aid are all better the larger the government. Acting like these are a given and governments are purely predatory is at best misleading, at worst manipulative.

    Large governments are capable of terrible things yes. But your black and white depiction of them, focusing on the bad examples while ignoring the myriad of good ones and jumping to the conclusion that their destruction is the only solution within minutes is baffling and misguided.

  • But what insures that the decentralized states won't go into war with each other for resources?
    I believe conflict is necessary for actualizing peace. But this is basically either large tribes or small states. Conflict is bound to happen.

  • For the interpretation you made from 'The Breakdown of Nations' it would seem that the author could not surpass the brainwash inflicted by those who advocate for the existence of nation-states, or administrative regions, and he refugiates himself on the confort of that what is familiar, and relatable.

    In my opinion, this separations created by humans in power throughout history are in part the reason why tyrants existed, came to power and had the resources to increase control of population and wage war against other nation-states.

    The fact is that the UE has not been assailed by war in more than 70 years, after the borders were diluted, and the competition for resources decreased (and with it so did the nationalist rhetoric between UE associate nations).

    Also according to author, there would have to be 7 billion regions to accommodate all the distinguished prefered ways to be organized, as there are that many interpretations of reality.

    Not to mention the resources that had to be distributed by all those small countries, or would they starve because they are a failed experiment?

    So far, from i can observe, the best possible way to avoid tyranny is by education.As i think that the more informed and civilized and able to think are the people, the hardest is to fall into propaganda and ethics that negate life.

  • Would you surmise that globalisation works in a similar manner, insofar as the greater the extent of globalisation the greater impact of its failure??? Or would say that globalisation is just an extension of a more centralised system??
    (Awesome subjects and videos by the way)

  • Surely Marcus Aurelius is a notable counter example to being corrupted by power. He was the ruler of the known world yet behaved far better than most of the Roman leaders.

  • But what happens when you get a polarizing group of tyrannical warmongers bent on creating an empire? How would big business function? This is a great idea, but there are many hurdles. Hurdles both seen and unseen.

  • Given that Russia in early 20th century had less population than the USA, yet developed into a tyrannical regime, as has Cuba and various African nations, I highly doubt that the size of the population is related to tyranny. The first two concepts; definitely.

  • Decentralization is only one side of the coin. It certainly has its benefits; but, as with centralization, it has its shortfalls. For example:
    https://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2016/09/economist-explains-economics

    Each tendency (centralization and decentralization) must always work in tandem as a constraint on the other. Their balance must be dynamically "fitted" between any living system and the dynamic open indeterminate environment it finds itself in order to remain sustainable. Centralization, along with decentralization, are fundamental attributes of any living system at any arbitrary level of complexity.

    One may argue that a system has over- or under-cohered at some specific time and place w.r.t. to sustainability in an open system, therefore needing more or less centralization for some finite time. However, to claim that one attribute is globally superior to the other is like saying hot is ontologically superior to cold.

  • But how avoid scenarios similar to the warrings states of pre imperial china, the ever fighting of renaissance italian city-states or the familiar game of thrones struggle between the great houses. A side effect of decentralization is the squable between petty nations. I am not saying decentralization is bad. I am saying it has considerable disadvantages.

  • I disagree. The failure of massive nation is stemmed from bad ideas. Large nations just become harder to maintain, a solid democracy and system of checks and balances addresses this issue. America is a great example

  • What about the rohingyans? They have no territory to establish a community and are being kicked out from wherever they go? Establishing boundaries only work when you have somewhere to go.

  • Please make a video on Jürgen Habermas and his book 'The Theory of Communicative Action'. I don't have much knowledge about it other than what I vaguely remember from some introductory texts my teacher once gave me. I remember the concept the so-called system world that colonizes what is called the life world. What caught my interest was institutionalization of communicative action. For example: a mother taking care of her child contra a daycare institution. I see institutionalization as one of the most prominent causes of alienation in a society.

  • Decentralize now! Anarco Syndaclist Federations forming in Colorado!!! Please consider cooperatively organizing today.
    Thank You,
    Equity, & Logic

  • He's incorrect about tyranny. Humans will always be embroiled in conflicts, even before established government. No idea or system will get rid of that. Tyranny isn't from individuals, it's from groups of people. In the past larger groups pushed smaller bands out of territory. You are wrong in that it's individuals who are the problem, it's groups.

    Also the quotes about power simply isn't true just because we can find a few examples of it.

    Again, tyranny isn't the problem. It's just a symptom of the actual problem, that conflict is in our nature and inevitable. It doesn't matter how many groups you have, the larger one will be able to subjugate smaller ones. It's happened before and will happen again.

    To believe this will solve anything is just dreaming. Humans are social, but they are only so with people who share their values and we are also very violent. In all of human history, people have not been content to just live in communities with our own values.

    This won't solve anything. Sure nation states failing have larger consequences but at least their downsides are made public to all. Decentralization would just be a step back to our violent past. One need only look at the internet to see how decentralization will fail.

    You can't blame government, you can blame the people. Government is again just a symptom of the actual issue.

    On a side note, I noticed how you dodged the issues that nihilism raised in your earlier videos. Neitzche isn't the best person to use to defeat it, he failed and ended up running from it because he couldn't beat it. Camus at least did something about, even if it wasn't much of a solution.

  • Idk. Decentralization in my opinion has 1 flaw and it is its greatest. the lack of a military force. This harmony of rethinking power distribution can only work if nations lay down arms. Carthagre was one of romes greatest foe. But not having a standing army I thought was one the major contributong factors it has when confront with the republic (nation-state) conquest. Great vid u got a subscriber.

  • Im not saying i disagree, i would just like to know about solutions to the inevitable problem of centralization of power though the form of corporations and big businesses

  • I don't know what to think of this video… Even if all tyrannies were linked to a centralized government, which is not true (Russia, Burma…), it doesn't mean that all centralized governments are tyrannies…
    Then you are misunderstanding the EU : it's not a centralized institution, but it rather intends to federate (it does not erase cultures and mentalities) different nations united with common interests…
    And it supports globalisation and free market ; you can't really compare it with centralized regimes like hitler's socialism, mao's China, or even stalinism…

  • Interesting. Thanks for sharing. However I think you haven't addressed the main argument against it, not that isolation will result, but that war will result. If centralisation is the natural result of big entities forcefully swallowing weaker ones and if there's is no 'central' or 'superior' watchdog to stop them then how many decades will it take before a bomb or two or three explodes? If you decentralise military power (or think of simply deleting it by a wave of a wand) I think it will lead to heightened a heightened risk of nuclear war (arguably a small one but if just a few bombs are required to change climate then it's no good…). Don't get me wrong, I love the concept of decentralisation but with the safeguard of a central military command and maybe other regal functions too. Confederatio Helevetica style 😉

  • My only concern with decentralized systems is that problems such as multinational corporations and the environment cannot be solved by a bunch of small, localized states. Many American state governments are corrupt to the core, far more than the federal government is. It's very easy for simply large companies, not even multinationals, to just buy off loads of politicians in different states and basically create a ring. The only way to solve this is with a larger state institution, such as the federal government, intervening through regulation to check this. The same goes for multinational companies; the only meaningful way to solve this is a larger, supranational or international organization to intervene. We already see inklings toward this with organizations such as the WHO and the European Union. Not saying that these insitutions are cleaner than the localized ones, but I'm simply stating that some problems are simply too large for small states.

    I think the Swiss example is quite good, not because it happens to be very decentralized, but because every level from municipal to the federal, there is feed-back mechanism that allows normal citizens to keep politicians in check. It's different for each canton and municipality, but for the federal level, anyone can start a petition against any federal law they disagree with and if it gets enough signatures, then the entire Swiss population votes on the law in a year or so. There are about four of these referenda each year, so it's a tool the Swiss people utilize quite often with politicians often checking with social groups to make sure that there is broad support for a bill before passing it.

    Note this mechanism is basically a popular veto; there is another mechanism to initiate amendments to the constitution and this tool has been mostly used to create some of the uglier sides of such a populist system. The ban on minarets and reintroduction of immigration caps on European states are some of the more recent ones. The popular veto mechanism is such a simple and elegant solution to the problem of state power.

  • This racism of this person is amazing he mentions everyone but the White Americans who terrorized Blacks and natives in the 20th century.

  • The history of the world for at least the last few thousand years seems to demonstrate that a patchwork of small states is just not sustainable in the long term. One of them always emerges as the more warlike and the others are soon conquered or subjugated. Take Italy 2500 years ago. There were literally hundreds if not thousands of separate communities but one emerged dominant and within a few hundred years the whole italian penisula was ‘Roman’ (and it didnt stop there). The same process happened all over the world throughout history. History doesnt lie. The only exception are those areas where natural geography prevented it and allowed communiities to remain isolated. Or where population densities were sufficiently low to allow nomadic / hunter gatherer modes of existence to continue. With time however, these too became subjugated by external ‘conquerers’.

  • Absolutely brilliant! Best channel on youtube IMO. Great depth and not a hint of an ideological slant.

    It's so rare to hear combined the deep understanding and respect required for the individuals development without it being antithetical to any kind of socialistic system. For a long time it's been apparent to me that a system, strongly socialized but decentralized in terms of power, might be the best means to to acquiring optimal psychological freedom for the individual to flourish.

    Fair to say the Anarcho-syndicalism espoused by Chomsky is very much a parallel to this kind of decentralization?

  • Thx! Learning so much from this channel. I really like the idea of a decentralized world with small nation-states. How small would be optimum? Would it be the size of a city, the size of Luxemburg, The Netherlands, England, bigger? Canada is huge, but has few citizens, would that be oke? What's maximum size?

  • If decentralization and unique states would happen we would really see a person doing a "Kino's Journey"(A good anime about a traveler venturing through all the countries with unique systems on each country).

  • Milton Friedman said; it is in our best interest (the people) to make government lucrative not for the right people to do wrong, but for the wrong people to do right.

  • Decentralization makes total sense for the whole issue of gay rights.

    As a Muslim, for years I was always stuck on how society should be structured to satisfy those who're against homosexuality and those who are. Obviously, all human beings deserve human rights regardless of their orientation, and being gay should never be an open invitation for hostility.

    For years I thought that this system never worked in our favor and was never supposed to, I feel like people being able to set up their own sovereign communities makes the most sense.

    This topic was also explored by Youtuber Digibro's analysis on the anime Durarara.

  • The main problem with decentralisation is that it would have be simultaneous across the world, just like with pacificism.

  • Yes..we have free will…and God Given rights…We want communities..hamlets…
    as it were..of no more that 200 people ideally…so we can build relationships!

  • Hello, May I suggest that a government as a system is inanimate just like a rock, knife or gun. It is only humans who want power. So where does this power urge come from? Rudolf Steiner, academic and clairvoyant, said this "when humans act through anger and selfishness, through like and dislike, when they drag themselves from prejudice to prejudice, then they act by virtue of their relationship to animal nutrition" Herodotus said something similar way back in 453BC. That statement gives we humans a very clear cause effect picture which we can choose to explore if we so desire. cheers Peter

  • You have blow my mind a million times before but this is seriously the best one yet.

    I have never heard of a better reason to unite every nation in the world, than this. 4:13

  • Only 35k for this video???Either this was deplatformed or too many people are globalists who don’t want to hear an opposing viewpoint

  • I'll have to disagree on this one. People are not simply social beings but they are prone to forming tribes. Tribes that would be looking to assert power over other, weaker tribes. Yes, nation states concentrate quite a bit of power. But the global balance of power makes for a pretty stable planet. In my opinion, a decentralized world would be a step back instead of forward. Let me end on a quote:

    You know how the English conquered Wales? One village at a time. Because no Welshman would run to the next Welsh village to warn them that the English were coming. You all went down warm in the knowledge that the next village would get it too and that they deserved it for being foreign.
    – Warren Ellis

  • I really enjoy your vids. But I have noticed when speaking of leaders and people who caused great suffering, demoralization, and tyranny, you never speak of the men in tiny hats.

  • So, we should make each state its own country, community or whatever. Texas used to be its own state.

  • As the last stage of Capitalism reaches it's inevitable conclusion Fascist Totalitarian rule will cast the world into a darkness not seen since the dark ages. Marx was totally right. So was Orwell.

  • If we become a nation of many smaller nations that all had their own systems and ideas, do you think that will decrease our willingness to learn from different structures? (If we all have the choice to be where we deem comfortable and discomfort often leads to greater understanding, then would our capacity for understanding become less?) 🤔

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