Like may Libertarians, my only real aim is to live as I choose, free from the interference of others, particularly the all invasive, ever regulating, ever taxing State. Some of us choose to go off grid entirely, growing our own supplies and becoming self sufficient in true Pioneer spirit (something I am actively pursuing) and some of us choose to expose the hypocrisy of a Government Mafia only designed to redistribute any wealth we may acquire to those who would vote for a Politician.
I blogged way back in 2009 about the remarkable "reprap" open source 3D printer that was capable of making an exact copy of itself and the threat to standard manufacturing that it presented. A machine that could build you stuff, on your desktop instead of engaging a huge value chain leading back to a factory in China with every middle man taking a cut of the profits and inflating the price. I predicted they would go mainstream and today, you can buy a variety of 3D printers in the High Street, although they are only really embraced by geeks and nerds to build World of Warcraft characters, but interest is still growing.
Then I listened to a childhood hero of mine on Radio 4 last week (audioboo here). James Burke. Remember him? He used to present science in a completely non academic way to the public and revisited a few of his predictions for the future. Well, forty years later, he was right. We have the Internet, transparent(ish) Govt, individual voices and endless information and data at the click of a mouse. It has overthrown Governments and empowered us all - just last week, twitter stopped the country from going to war by enabling all of us to instantly remind our "representatives" that they work for us, not the Party Whip. You are reading this on a mobile device, and can do so anywhere on the planet, at no charge to either of us - that's pretty amazing.
So, what does James Burke predict for the next forty years?
The End of All Government.
"Pardon?" I hear you exclaim. Well, the next logical step for the 3D printer is to stop printing stuff using plastics and start printing stuff using atoms - The Nanofactory. Add some air, a bit of dirt and a bit of carbon and yes, you can create anything you want. Anything. For free. Atoms make molecules and molecules make stuff.
His premise is that Government only really exists to redistribute stuff from one citizen to another who doesn't have any, either by taxation or simply invading another country and grabbing all their stuff. Well, how is that going to work when we don't need anymore stuff, because we can simply make it in our office. A bar of gold - easy. Diamonds - a doddle. An entire car and the petrol to run it forever - "press print".
Boom. There goes capitalism, socialism, communism, Marxism, corporatism - all redundant, overnight. There goes "work" - getting up at 6 am to work 8 hours to make something for someone else in return for payment - who needs it? Who is going to buy anything when the soil in your garden can be transformed into literally, anything your heart desires? No more consumerism, no more consumers, no more oil wars, hell, no more wars, no more property theft. No wars equals no borders, no more rich, no more poor.
If you want to live an autonomous life on a hilltop, there is nothing to stop you. Why the hell do you want to live in a city when you can live on a Caribbean beach? How soon? Well, Burke predicts the next 40 years. Preposterous? Well, just 20 years ago, 12 people on the planet had a mobile phone, now Amazonian tribesmen check the weather on a battered old Nokia, fed by a solar charger.
If Burke is only 50% accurate in his predictions, our children will be as free as nature intended them to be. Without all the hassle of hunting or gathering themselves to death to pay for Glorious Leaders they no longer need.
Now that IS human progress. Bring it on.