This is part two of the transcript of my interview with Robert Steele.
Here's the link to the podcast.
Rob: My guest tonight is Robert David Steele. He's a former Central Intelligence Agency clandestine services case officer, former Marine, and US co-founder of the US Marine Corps intelligence activity. He's the author of Open-Source Everything and numerous other books, and he's Amazon's number one non-fiction book reviewer.
Here's where the transcript left off:
Rob: Okay, now you...the next phrase that I was going to ask you about it "gift societies." That seems to figure in pretty closely with what you described about one third of our livelihood depending upon our community.
RDS: Well let me...I realize I didn't answer panarchy. Panarchy is essentially informed, direct democracy. In panarchy everybody has all the facts, they share all the facts -- there are no secrets, and everybody gets to have voice and vote on any issue that they elect to take an interest in. so anarchy is 'don't tell me what to do;' panarchy is 'we'll all decide together, in the open, transparently, based on having all the facts on the table.'
Now coming back to a gift society, I think money has corrupted us. Money has turned us all into slaves, and I was just reading some English history and I was reading about how the people who had a very, very rich culture in their kinship-based farm economies were violently opposed to being shifted over into being wage laborers in factories. And among the points that this piece, which I regret I cannot recollect the citation -- among the points being made is that wages essentially strip you down to a tiny fraction of the value that you received for your labors under a non-wage system. In fact, there's...I strongly recommend a book called Stop, Thief! which is about the fencing of the commons and the criminalization of so many things that in the past were part of The Deal. For example, in the past, forests were commons and people could go into the forest and harvest fallen limbs as firewood. But then people started fencing in those forests, saying, 'Well you know this Earl' or 'This Duke owns this forest,' and 'Oh by the way, you're no longer allowed to come in here and get firewood for subsistence.' So what we have, I think, over time, is an industrial era in which we have on the one hand privatized things that have no business being privatized because they're part of the commons that must be governed and held in trust for future generations. And we have on the other hand criminalize -- let's take marijuana for example. I mean I view marijuana as a personal function, smoking a natural weed; nobody has any business getting in your face on that. So we've criminalized marijuana; we've created a prison industry -- judges are being bribed to send black people and young people to jail where they are turned into slaves creating furniture for some contractor that has got a contract with the prison to provide slaves. That to me is absolutely...it's beyond words. And there's a wonderful book called Nobodies, which is about slavery in America and I strongly recommend it. Essentially I think America has fallen asleep -- people are blind to the obscenities and the crimes against humanity that are a natural everyday occurrence of our present system of governance and corporate management.
Rob: Let's talk a little bit about the commons. You say that commons is a concept that has come to cyberspace, and we have to take back the land and the spectrum. What are your thoughts about the commons?
RDS: Well let me give credit to David Weinberger, who has taught me everything I know about open spectrum, and I commend his writings on that. We had a chapter by him in the book, Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace.
I was very impressed by some of the speakers at HOPE, including those that spoke about the Mexican case study where there are communities that are not only not allowing any ownership of property, but they're actually pushing back successfully against the Mexican federal government and they are getting federal government acknowledgement that the airwaves, like their land, cannot be owned by the national telecommunications authority. Those airwaves are theirs, and they're setting up these $10,000 boxes that provide free cell phone service to everybody within a hundred miles or whatever the distance is. And those airwaves, because they're not occupied by the national telecommunications authorities, they are now established as locally owned. I see the next big revolution in information technology as being mixture of dark fiber that cuts out the criminally incompetent service providers and free local Wi-Fi. I believe that we need to reduce the resistance between individuals and between individuals and the internet to zero. And we do that with locally funded dark fiber, and locally funded free Wi-Fi.
Rob: So what is dark fiber?
RDS: Dark Fiber is essentially the very high speed cables in the ground that allow for the internet to be at its most effective. And what most people don't realize is that dark fiber is an infrastructure service that is then sold to carriers who then dilute it to impossibly inefficient speeds and feeds, and overcharge for it. So I would look at...I would say take a look at Allied Fiber -- just look up dark fiber. But dark fiber is like...I don't know what the right analogy is...but I think dark fiber should be a public service. If I were President, I would provide dark fiber across the United States of America using the railway bytes of...lines of access and I would make internet access a free public good.
Rob: Alright a little bit more on the commons and where we are and where we should be?
RDS: Well we don't have a common. We have essentially privatized profits, externalized waste, and I will say that I believe all federal land should be reverted to the state. The federal government is an administrative entry -- we're called the United STATES of America. The federal government should not own land. All of the land that is now claimed by the federal government should revert to the state, subject to some common understanding among the states as to what the consensual limitations they might have with respect to retaining natural areas and so forth. But the federal government should not own land. Period.
Rob: It's a scary thought with people like the governors of New Jersey and Texas currently in power.