What Is A Self-Governor?

Code of the Self-Governor

The self-governor, simply put, is one who practices self-government.  The self-governor achieves his goals by trading, voluntarily giving, sharing, persuading, or associating with others. He never harms others to get what he wants.

This is an article about and for Advocates for Self-Government. If you’re going to advocate for something, you should know what it is.

Self-Government is the independent, voluntarily-coordinated action of peaceful, self-controlled individuals to address social problems, resolve conflicts, protect others, and make victims whole.

What is Self-Government

The Three Rules of a Self-Governor

The self-governor is a person with a code. The self-governor commits to three values…

  1. I will never use extortion or theft to fund the causes I value, nor will I force persons to live by my values or for my benefit
  2. I will oppose delegating aggression to others to use on behalf of my values and preferences.

Badges, robes, and titles don’t change the fact that theft is theft.

  1. I refuse to be a busybody, yet I seek opportunities to help others.

The self-governor recognizes “self-ownership” – the concept that no one is their slave. A self-governor acknowledges that each person has a personal definition of well-being and that everyone is pursuing happiness, to the best of their present abilities.

Make Your Bed

Psychologist Jordan Peterson caused a sensation a few years back when he wrote a book with a chapter that featured this advice: “Clean your room.” That was turned into a meme: “Make your bed.” Whatever you may think of Peterson, what he was essentially saying was, “Don’t save the world until you’ve got your house in order.”

That is sound advice. The self-governor believes that “governance begins at home!”

First, a person seeks to manage and even improve their own self – to develop self-control.

Then (and only then) can they care for a family, which is also a form of governance. Our homes are the primary Department of Health, Education, Housing, and Welfare. The self-governor also wants to leave a legacy of both wisdom and wealth to their progeny. And even more than that, they want their family members to know that they’re loved.

Once the home base is covered, the self-governor can turn his or her interest to the world beyond.

But as we leave our primary domain, something begins to happen. We become increasingly ignorant. Not stupid, but ignorant. Ignorance is a natural state, cured by learning lessons and understanding context. We begin by admitting that it’s hard to know one’s self, so how much harder is it to know others?

When we see the faults and apparent failings of others, we should view them with humility, and treat differences with tolerance. We lack a complete picture of another person’s values. We don’t know what’s driving them. If you or I were to have their problems and traumas, who knows how well we’d be handling the situation?

The further we get from home, the “stranger” a person is to us. Giving strangers unsolicited advice, let alone attempting to control their lives, makes one a busybody and meddler. The self-governor doesn’t dare help “govern” the lives of people he or she has never met!

If You See Something, Say Nothing

The saying, “If you see something, say something” has an authoritarian tinge. It means… Go to someone in authority, someone with the power to enforce the rules, and tell them you see something that deserves correction.

Sometimes, there’s a real and immediate danger, so this action is prudent. There are times to dial 911. But…

We’ve long been conditioned to believe that many things, including our safety and security, are someone else’s responsibility; just call the authorities.

A self-governor assumes personal responsibility wherever possible. The things we typically think of as government responsibilities, a self-governor tends to do.

This includes being mindful of one’s own security. When a self-governor senses something is wrong, he or she moves themselves and the people they care about to safety.

Indeed, there are a great many self-governors who are trained in and carry the tools of self-defense. This could mean someone carries a weapon or has martial arts training, but it doesn’t neglect training in first aid, CPR, or binding wounds. Yet the weapon-carrying, self-governor quickly learns that the number one tool of self-defense is learning how to de-escalate dangerous situations.

This also means NOT calling the authorities until we’re pretty sure it’s the only prudent choice. Too often, cops have shown up on a scene and the results have been disastrous.

  • Someone having a psychotic episode, who needs help, instead gets tased, beaten, or even killed.
  • An officer answers a distress call but ends up shooting the family dog.
  • The police show up too late to help.

Instead of impatiently calling authorities, we should remember we’re ignorant. When someone needs help, our first intervention should normally be learning why the problem exists. Given that we’re self-governors, maybe we have the solution. It could be that we know another self-governor who can be even more helpful, or maybe we discover that we should just butt out.

Talk Is Cheap

The huge problem with today’s so-called “government” is that it misuses the terms of service. In foreign countries, they call government managers “ministers.” Here at home, we mislabel governors, senators, and bureaucrats as “public servants.”

Do you really believe they’re doing spiritual work? Sacrificing for some greater good?

To answer that question, let’s revisit the second level of self-government: Parenting and family support.

Did you tax your kids for the services you provide?

Taxation is extortion.

Of course, no parent taxes their children. Part of their genuine service is to provide for their little people. Parents and guardians are “governors” who pay the bills.

Likewise, a real public servant or minister, doesn’t coerce others to do their good deeds.

In a word, the self-governor offers their time, their talent, and their  own resources. They can also engage other self-governors to join them, either by example or by directly asking for assistance. But a true servant rolls up their sleeves: They bind wounds or invest in helping the troubled.

The self-governor chooses acts of charity, a word that is equivalent to “brotherly love.”

The Polis

Self-government is a term that’s been used by some famous people over the centuries. Typically, it means being a good citizen. People say that such a person obeys the law, pays their taxes, looks out for the welfare of others, stays informed on the issues, and votes responsibly in a republican system.

Two parts of that description actually apply to self-government.

The law is Just where it says either “do no physical harm” or “don’t steal” or “do all you’ve promised to do.” The self-governor obeys those laws and assists victims who’ve been violated.

Also, if you resist the urge to be a busybody, and you voluntarily assist others with actual knowledge of the situation, then you are providing welfare.

But it’s high time to evolve past the superstition of voting and the myths of taxation and republican governance. These are the schemes of people who think they know what’s best for everyone else, and worse, that societies can be managed by central planners who allegedly have some expertise in controlling or “bettering” others.

Central planning schemes invariably require coercive force to implement. And coercion inevitably fails because it diminishes happiness, harmony, and prosperity.

Getting Fit to Govern

Modern methods of government are built on the failure to recognize that human flourishing is an exercise.

Becoming a self-governor is a hands-on, trial-and-error process that lasts the term of a lifetime. It’s like a muscle that must be exercised. Indeed, each act of self-government is like a workout that strengthens character.

On the other hand, individuals who appear to fail will not be made better by our intervention. We cannot make them stronger by compelling them to be what we believe they should be.

And if people are weakened, even crippled, by our attempts to control them, then we cannot maximize our security and prosperity.

At the end of the day, being a self-governor means recognizing the self-ownership of others and creating an environment where others can exercise their self-government muscles.

About The Author

Jim Babka is the Editor-at-Large for the Advocates for Self-Government, co-creator of the Zero Aggression Project, and the host of Gracearchy with Jim Babka.

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