The Non-System


I’m a firm believer in the notion that all that society owes any man is the right to do as he pleases  —to work, not to work, to provide a service, to dream, or to create  —so long as he doesn’t interfere with another man’s right to do likewise. If I want to do an honest day’s work to support my family, I should be free to do so. If I don’t want to work, then I shouldn’t bother others who want to, nor should I expect that they owe me part of their earnings.

Man is a needy being. If I feel that I can provide one of these needs, then let me do so. Galileo was troubled that the time for the swing of a chandelier was the same for a long swing and a short swing. Others in the same church saw the same thing. Only he dreamt and created. Left to do so without outside interference, most men will create, even if only to provide minimum sustenance.

And all the while, where is the system? We need none. Indeed, we have few systems in our society that are doing for man. Producers seem to get by despite systems and plans, however well-inten­tioned, that for the most part im­pede free enterprise. We have sys­tems, systems that watch systems, and systems that overlap. We have planners, planners that watch planners, and plans that overlap.

Give me a chance to act with­out roadblocks, because in the process of trying to eke out a liv­ing—a single working man or a corporation—I’m preoccupied with obstacles. Let’s not make others live as we do, but rely instead on mutual trust and respect. We can very well take care of ourselves if not over systematized by others.


November 1969

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September 2014

For centuries, hierarchical models dominated human organizations. Kings, warlords, and emperors could rally groups--but also oppress them. Non-hierarchical forms of organization, though, are increasingly defining our lives. It's no secret how this shift has benefited out social lives, including dating, and it's becoming more commonplace even in the corporate world. But it has also now come even to organizations bent on domination rather than human flourishing, as the Islamic State shows. If even destructive groups rely on this form of entrepreneurial organization, then hierarchy's time could truly be coming to an end.
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