The Authoritarian Point
Sat, 6 Sep 1997 09:53:00 -0400 (EDT)

If you, like me, you are an advocate of spontaneous order, then you have no
doubt tried explaining why anarchy has advantages over hierarchy. Most
pro-authoritarian people just don't get it, you could explain away for the
rest of your life and they'll simply never understand. I've been thinking
about this for a long time and have finally come to a conclusion; there is a
direct and measurable correlation between intelligence and pro-authoritarian

Everyone has an authoritarian breaking point, this is the point at which a
situation becomes to complex and the only apparent solution is to appoint an
authority figure. A coercive and authoritative solution has a direct
correlation with intelligence and knowledge. An average person's
_authoritarian point_ would probably be crime, most people cannot think of a
non-government solution to crime, and see the government as a 'necessary

If you're looking at society, then complexity can be seen as the potential
for disaster. If we presume everyone has the ability to kill one other
person, we have a stable situation. If you increase the potential for
disaster, everyone has the ability to kill 10 other people. At this point
with a lack of information and/or intelligence you may think everyone would
kill each other. You hopefully don't, but what if the disaster potential of
10 is increased to a hundred, a thousand, or a million? At which point does
the system complexity lead you to appoint authority?

Nanotechnology has a high disaster potential, so the initial reaction is to
use coercive or authoritarian methods to reduce this potential. But just as
we see alternatives to government, where millions fail to understand, we can
also find non-authoritarian solutions within the coming era of