The Conspiracy of Self-Interest
There are forces working against the freedom of the individual. Forces wielded by those who gain power and profit by controlling the financial and physical behaviors of individuals through the manipulation of currency, markets, information, incentives, civic policy, and the built environment among other things.
These forces are those of behavioral psychology backed by the silent and ever present threat of bodily violence. They attack the mental, emotional, financial, and physical aspects of each human to produce outcomes that are probabilistically assured.
Regarding those who wield these powerful forces, human dependence is their most valued commodity, and all of their activities are geared toward creating the most predictable (and for them, profitable) outcomes. These predictably profitable outcomes are generally always achieved through the disempowerment of the individual, because they know that establishing a person’s bodily dependence on a system they control is the key to winning his or her submission.
Who are they who lurk behind the curtain of the Grand Conspiracy? It’s a longstanding and difficult question. Allow me a bold conjecture: They are you, most likely; your neighbors, most likely; your friends, most likely; and your countrymen, most likely.
However unlikely this may seem, it is so, nonetheless. Those wielding these forces, so abhorrent of individual choice, are not organized by any single political party, nor evil secret cabal, nor elite economic organization, nor spiritual goblin.
They are knowingly and unknowingly organized by no one in particular. They include both smart and dumb actors who are working somewhat innocuously in plain site to organize systems that satisfy their own self-interests at the expense of those most sacred human rights - the individual’s rights to self-determination, self-reliance, and self-sovereignty.
Therefore, I posit: The makeup of this oppressive structure does form a grand conspiracy; a Conspiracy of Self-Interest. And if you had not yet realized this fact, then you are almost certainly a cog in the machine of bad incentives and battle-hardened narratives both crafted over time to soften a person's fortitude so their behaviors can be most easily directed.
The Conspiracy of Self-Interest is the underlying driver behind every organization ever formed, and indeed very nearly every human action ever taken. It is a philosophical exercise to identify, out of all human actions, those that are not motivated by self-interest. Self-interest drives free and thriving open markets the same as it drives broken, corrupted markets. Indeed, one can count on self-interest almost to the same extent as one can count on gravity.
Conspiracy plays a role only insofar as there will always be those who best play the incentives to their benefit. In a pure market economy based on sound money, it is understood that the most clever and industrious will excel at accruing value, while others will be less successful.
However, given any flaw in the structure of a market or society, one can expect that flaw to be exploited to the utmost, producing lasting corrosive effects. Given a structural flaw of any significance, one can expect the structure to eventually collapse from rampant exploitation.
Structural flaws lead to corrupt incentives, and corrupt incentives corrode the structure. If ever a conspiracy is suspected, seek out the overt flaw in the structure and then trace its emergent corrupted incentives. Saying nothing of moral judgement, those men and women who are found closest to the source of corruption can be said to have been the best at playing the incentives in a market or societal structure that was flawed in that particular way.
Before we judge them for not seeing the flaw and having the fortitude to cease playing a corrupt game, we must ask ourselves how good of a job we have done in this regard? How far have we ourselves gone to ensure we did not advance the corrosion? Judgement that begins with introspection is most profitable to the individual.
Further, I posit: Conspiracy of Self-Interest is better than Conspiracy of the Cabal or Conspiracy of the Spiritual Goblin. Having Conspiracy of Self-Interest to assess for the past, present, and future state of affairs is, in fact, a good thing. It is good, because it proves the case that individual human action is paramount in all manmade systems, pristine or corrupted, and as such, a corrosive situation can be fixed by repairing the existing structure or by building a new one (which is most likely). While power might accrue to the unscrupulous few, such concentrations of power are nonetheless the product of individual action reacting to the emergent incentives of a given market or societal structure.
Celebrate the Conspiracy of Self-Interest! As individuals, we have had the power to change our plights all along. Any single action an individual takes in the directions of self-determination, self-reliance, and self-sovereignty, are the most beneficial to the advancement of Human Freedom. All such actions are force multipliers that have outsized effects on the field of play.
But… it will be a long time in this series of essays before we fully expose this shinier, more hopeful side of our shared, abandoned, and badly tarnished coin. To jump directly to this point would be to ignore the journey. And the journey is everything.