Toward A Perpetual Peace
The guarantee of perpetual peace is nothing less than that great artist, nature (natura daedala rerum). In her mechanical course we see that her aim is to produce a harmony among men, against their will and indeed through their discord. As a necessity working according to laws we do not know, we call it destiny. But, considering its design in world history, we call it "providence," inasmuch as we discern in it the profound wisdom of a higher cause which predetermines the course of nature and directs it to the objective final end of the human race.1 We do not observe or infer this providence in the cunning contrivances of nature, but, as in questions of the relation of the form of things to ends in general, we can and must supply it from our own minds in order to conceive of its possibility by analogy to actions of human art. The idea of the relationship and harmony between these actions and the end which reason directly assigns to us is transcendent from a theoretical point of view; from a practical standpoint, with respect, for example, to the ideal of perpetual peace, the concept is dogmatic and its reality is well established, and thus the mechanism of nature may be employed to that end. The use of the word "nature" is more fitting to the limits of human reason and more modest than an expression indicating a providence unknown to us. This is especially true when we are dealing with questions of theory and not of religion, as at present, for human reason in questions of the relation of effects to their causes must remain within the limits of possible experience. On the other hand, the use of the word "providence" here intimates the possession of wings like those of Icarus, conducting us toward the secret of its unfathomable purpose. - “Perpetual Peace” Immanuel Kant
In keeping with a theme of Enlightenment I will discuss the ideal of a state of perpetual peace. The above quote comes from the essay written by Kant called “Perpetual Peace”. If you have not read it before I highly recommend that you do. It is almost prophetic in nature as it was written more than two hundred years ago and most of what it describes has already come to pass. This theme is pertinent to the idea of the Singularity because, as I understand it, exponential acceleration of technological and economic progress can only take place if it is accompanied by the spread of constitutional republicanism and transnational law based on the inalienable rights of Man. This is true for a number of reasons. The first being that if global war were to ensue the likely result would be the end of civilization if not the entire planet. And I maintain, along with many others that I am happy to take company with, that transnational federalism of some sort or another based on the ideals of constitutional republicanism is the only bulwark against this terrible possibility. Another reason is because economic and technological progress is a direct result of free and secure peoples inventing and building their futures. This kind of progress can not take place or long sustain itself in a state of lawlessness or tyranny.
Many see the current state of affairs with super empowered individuals, Islamic barbarism, post-modern western decay, the coming terrors of bio and nano weapons with powers that eclipse nuclear weapons, peak oil, and a myriad of other contemporary difficulties, and see the end of the world, or at least civilization, coming.
But this is short sighted for so many reasons. The forces arrayed against civilization are being matched by the forces of civilization. They will invent a super virus but we will invent a cure for all viruses. They will seek to spread lawless barbarism and terror to our civilization and we will bring law and order and justice to their lands of barbarism and thralldom. The powers of Civilization will grow exponentially while the viral memes of barbarism will fade away – chocked out by the forces of natural selection.
This will be accomplished through increased transnational cooperation among the free states of the world. As G.W. Bush says “Freedom is on the march”. As the near future unfolds the free world will put aside its petty differences. Global commerce is already a non-zero sum game, though many seem to not understand this fact. The interest of all free peoples is the same and this will begin to become more evident. The only enemy of any free state is an enemy of law.
I envision that over the next ten years the entire planet will be divided into regions of free trade with transnational laws that closer and closer resemble a weak form of federalism such as exists in the E.U. Also I believe that it is possible that more and more nations begin to join the E.U. to the extent that it becomes not just European but an entity that any nation who meets the criteria can join. Hopefully as this happens the U.S. And the E.U. will begin to see themselves more as partners than competitors because they will have exactly the same interests. The E.U., The Anglo-sphere, and a league of free Asian states all working together can defeat any enemy and overcome any problem. Non-zero sum means that what is good for you is good for me. For this reason nations in the free world (which is getting bigger all the time) will bend over backwards to make sure that their fellow nations are doing well because it means that they themselves will do better. This is the golden rule on a global scale
Perpetual peace will be accomplished when the enemies of civilization are defeated.
The enemies of civilization are the enemies of modernity.
If you believe in Global peace and not Global apocalypse then know your tradition -
The Enlightenment is based in Reason, Law, and Philanthropy
The endarkening of barbarism is based on irrationalism, lawlessness, and misanthropy.
As the accelerating forces of technology begin to really speed up look to see radical political transformations and the implementation of the infrastructure for transnational federalism in the coming decade.
Badass Micah. Just Badass. Keep it up.
wow. Futurism + Kant => heavy stuff, great blog.
Skepticism is in order about the fate of peace. The pace of man's spiritual and moral development doesnt match his technological development. Terrible things were done in Rwanda using mere machetes just 10 years ago. And the global communications network has spawned global terrorism as a kind civilization viral infection.
I don't think we will have peace on an international level without ridding ourselves of every vestige of the politics of violence. That means not just taking out a Saddam, but ending all tyrannies, dictatorships and corrupt regimes (eg China, Cuba, Byelorussia, Iran, N Korea).
The world today needs freedom first, then jutice, then peace will follow. (you know the line "no justice, no peace.")
Good to quote GWB and "Freedom is on the march." It is, and we should be more emphatic and positive about that fact, and also not be ashamed about the US contribution to that.
Alas, since 'freedom' requires active vigilance, aka "freedom isn't free", then we have the spectacle of "peace activists" calling for the protection of dictatorships who might be attacked by democratic countries. In the short run, they might be right, but for the long run, you are right:
"Perpetual peace will be accomplished when the enemies of civilization are defeated."
It may not take war to remove the obstacles to civilizational progress, and it is somewhat
Orwellian to talk of a 'war to achieve peace', but we certainly will not achieve peace so long as tyrants reign unhindered. The global 'pull' of the international order is a part of it, but active means to rescue failed states and drive tyrannies out of business needs to happen as well.
To retort to the peace activists (better renamed 'do-nothing activists'), one might need to make the
bumper sticker say: VISUALIZE WORLD FREEDOM.
Patric thanks for the great comments. I agree with just about everything you've said. I think it is correct to feel skeptical about world peace given the enormity of the problems which could stand in the way, but along with that skepticism I feel a sense of inevitabilty about progress in the direction of justice, then freedom, then peace. Part of the equation that I did not discuss involves the decentralization of power through the means of anyone to aquire or disseminate knowledge via exponentially growing information technologies. I believe these technologies will take the power of free speech and free press to the nth degree.
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