The Solving FAQ

Last Updated: 2006-10-19

Solving and its foundations

What is Solving?

Solving is a toolkit for gradually changing an existing democratic regime into a distributism without a trace of Fascism or Socialism or other types of force. Solving will operate by creating competing leaderships to the "official" elected leadership, which will be more honest and idealistic and provide an alternative for government officials and citizens to follow instead.

What documents make a good read as foundations for Solving

Here are the documents, starting from most basic and introducory to the most advanced:

  1. Open Source, Free Software and Other Beasts - an essay by Shlomi Fish that provides an introduction to the open source software world to people who are not entirely familiar with it. Read this first or at least scan it to make sure you know what it is talking about.

  2. The Neo-Tech Orientation and Definitions - a group of definitions proposed by Neo-Tech that explains the foundations of objective morality, and explain why evil is so common and so successful in the world. They lack a good examplifying, which is provided in the Neo-Tech Advantages.

  3. The Neo-Tech Advantages - these are the body of the Neo-Tech philosophy. They were available online as part of the Neo-Tech site but unfortunately were removed from the Net. They still can be bought as part of the book "The Neo-Tech Discovery".

  4. How to Become a Hacker Howto - a wonderful document by Eric Raymond that explains how to become an open-source "hacker", these enthusiastic developers who create and extend open-source software of a quality that's becoming greater and greater. (not to be confused with computer intruders) Even if you don't intend to become one, this is a good introduction to a hacker's state of mind which is essential for Solving as well.

  5. The Cathedral and the Bazaar - a series of articles by Eric S. Raymond (a.k.a ESR) that explains why open source works so well (management-wise, ethically, and economically). Read it after you are familiar and possibly involved in the open-source world. It is Solving's intention to bring similar best mechanisms of the open source world to govern modern countries.

    Note that Raymond is a bit obsessed with various kinds of pseudo-social science. Social science is invalid, and so what ESR says here and elsewhere should be taken with a grain of salt whenever he delves into such discussions. Nonetheless, they don't detract from an otherwise excellent analysis of the phenomena he covers.

  6. The Eternal Jew - an essay by Shlomi Fish that tries to summarize his philosophical creed. Do you think highly of yourself? Do you think highly of yourself enough? Do you think you cannot influence the world? It's all there.

Nevertheless, there are some places where Solving deviates from all of these, especially from the mainstream Neo-Tech view. More strategically than semantically.

Note that if you fell in love with a different philosophy, you are still suitable for participating in Solving. We need people who are honest and idealistic, not necessarily full-fledged Open Source Advocates and hard-core Objectivists.

What is the origin of the name?

I once wrote a document entitled "How to Solve all of Israel's Problems in Little Less than Two Years". I named the file solving.doc (it was an MS-Word file) I sent it to a friend of mine, who responded with a critique of it with the subject "Solving".

That "Solving" had an error of having a top-down-dependant approach. This Solving (version 0.2.0 and above) has no such constraints. But I still like the name.

Competing Leaderships

What are competing leaderships?

In modern-day democracies, a leadership is elected once every four years or so, using one means of voting or another, and is considered the official "leadership" for that duration. During that time, nothing can effectively stop it from gradually deteriorating the liberty, well-being and prosperity of the individuals in the country it governs. It is practically a temporary, elected dictatorship.

Solving, on the other hand, rules that any individual can at any point designate himself as part of a competing leadership or formulate a competing legal body or actively support it. Government officials and other individuals, in turn, can support whatever leadership or constitution that they see fit, instead of having to unwillingly support the "official" government.

Note that competing leaderships can co-operate and are even welcome to do so. If they can act together to promote a common denominator of their agenda, it would make their efforts more effective. This is similar to two commercial companies who cooperate on a certain product.

Why Competing Leaderships are not an Anarchy?

The Anarchical view is depicted by a desire to remove the entire existing governmental establishment, in hope that afterwards the individuals can organize themselves better, somehow. Solving does not support such a revolutionary change.

For once, the elements of the government that are necessary for proper functioning of the state (Electricity, Water supply, Police, Military, the Courts System, etc.) will remain in place and fully functional until and if they can be replaced by corresponding private services.

Moreover, Solving does not sanction balantly unethical and irrational legal systems that positively violate the individual rights of any individual. For example, if you propose a legal system in which any individual can kill any innocent individual without being prosecuted, this will not be a valid Solving legal system and you will not be a valid Solving leader.

Solving wishes for the Government to face the same competitive constraints as free-enterprise Capitalism or the open-source world. It does not want to abolish the government, much less law and order.

Why Competing Leaderships are not Feudalism?

The Feudal System splits the country into several regional authorities and then assigns a separate leader for each region, who controls it. Competing Solving Leaderships , on the other hand, attempt to lead the country as a whole, not a specific region of it. Thus, a country is not fractioned, but rather lead as a whole by a multit-tude of competing leaders.


How does solving deviates from Neo-Tech?

  1. Works Bottom-Up as well as Top-Down.
  2. Much more proactive.
  3. Bazaar Style.
  4. Not trying to keep or maintain purity of interests. (implication of Distributism and the bazaar style).
  5. A breeze let's act now, but take the time to do it right view.
  6. Money/Power/Love? %-) Most people just want to be happy. I'm not addressing titans. I'm addressing the masses. Making them small-time titans.
  7. No ostracization of Mystics. A mystic, however harmful, guilt-full and pathetic is still a conscious individual with the capacity to become a value producer. It is my intention to convert them into such instead of taking the more effortless route of ostracizing or sentencing them to death. Justice is by no means revenge.

Generally, Solving wishes to make Libertarianism, Objectivism and Neo-Tech into a hip, cool and popular trend, that everyone will know about, and many people will want to join. At the moment, Objectivism is mainly recognized in the U.S., or among the intelligentia of other countries. Neo-Tech is a relatively unknown idea system, that many people dismiss as a cult instead of recognizing the wonderful insights it gives to a person. (this is due to bad marketing on the part of the Neo-Tech publishing house)

Solving aims to change all that. We will make Objectivism and Neo-Tech a pre-requisite knowledge among everybody, as everyone will need to understand them in order to understand what's going on in the world.

Why Neo-Tech? Why not plain Objectivism?

Objectivists who don't know Neo-Tech are bound to re-invent it, and many times badly. Sometimes, they are so busy blaming the world (including business titans) for their own problems.

Nevertheless, you are welcome to join Solving even if you do not agree with Neo-Tech or Objectivism in general. If you feel that the regimes of democratic states are abusing their power in many ways and deviate from Liberalism on any chance they get, then Solving is the answer for you.

Why a different name?

Shlomi Fish says: "The September 11 Neo-Tech Note was laughable. It made me shiver and afraid for a while. The pulling of all the Neo-Tech material off the Net was also a step backwards, in comparison to the general trend in the world to make more and more things publicly available and accessible. So I call it Solving to distiniguish it from Neo-Tech. I call the "maintstream" Neo-Tech folks as well as everybody else who wants to change things for the best quietly and nicely to join the Solving architecture."

I don't entirely agree with everything Neo-Tech says?

That's OK. We need people who after reading the Neo-Tech Orientation and Definitions say to themselves "wow" or at least "interesting". We need people who believe in at least one libertarian cause. We need people who like to think, and accept unorthodox views. We simply need people with attitude.

BTW, if the Neo-Tech Orientation and Definitions did not teach you anything you did not know, then you are definitely the right guy for us.


What is Distributism?

Distributism is the best organizational model to exist in the history of man-kind. It is the one exercised by the Linux/open-source world and has proven to be very stable, resistent to failures and such in which bad decisions are very limited in affect, while good action benefits everyone.

If you wish to know why Distributism is so successful, then "The Magic Cauldron" by Eric Raymond will answer all your questions.

What is wrong about Linux?

The main thing wrong with the Linux community is that they don't realize their power and restrict themselves to software. Keeping things professional and apolitical as possible is not necessarily wrong. Still, we wish to harness the ambition, integrity and idealism of the open source world for advancing the "real-life" material well-being of people world-wide.

Solving aims to be Linux' answer to Politics. I chose a different name in order to satisfy the people who just wish to get their job done and/or write code.

Linux is Communism, isn't it?

Linux is about organized voluntary sharing. Communism puts a gun to your head and tell you: share. Many companies, especially Microsoft, would like you to believe that they are the last hope of Capitalism fighting against a non-centralized mass of developers, users and people who benefit from Open-Source. However, two things must be remembered:

  1. Most software produced is internal software, embedded software, or such that is bundeled by hardware. Linux aims to be a replacement for commercial shrinkwrap software.
  2. Even in a world where there are many open-source alternatives, there is still some room for proprietary software. (see for example what Joel Spolsky says about FogBUGZ at the beginning of Rub a dub dub.)

Free software saves people time, money and frustration. Communism causes people to lose time, money and makes them very much frustrated.

Democracy - What's wrong with it?

Why can't Democracy ensure Liberalism for a long time?

Democracy is the tyranny of an elected leadership. While it theoretically cannot violate the rights of the minority or more generally the individual rights of the citizens - it will. This is because a dictator will always abuse its power, and can modify the law if it wants to.

The separation of authorities helps very little. The parliament will pass anti-liberal laws, the government very much likes them to be passed. It all comes down to the supreme court that has to decide if to accept them or not. It may accept them or it may not. Even if it does not, similar laws will be brought up at a later stage. So who will watch the watcher?

In a Distributism-based system no-one holds absolute power and bad decisions cannot affect distinct entities. For instance, Linus Torvalds decided to use BitKeeper, a proprietary product with many restrictions, for maintaining the Linux kernel codebase. Many co-developers of the Linux kernel joined him. This did not cause open-source projects to convert to using BitKeeper en-masse.

In the open-source world one can usually chose between several alterantives. A bug that exists in one will not necessarily affect the other. Furthermore, even if one alternative dominates a large percentage of use, it is by nature of very high quality. Also, alternatives tend to copy important features and strategies from other alternatives so the total state of the art is advancing very rapidly.

Do you advocate a Minimalistic Government? How about Voluntary Taxes?

Taxes that are used for non-basic things like sponsoring public education, enhancing the science and arts, social welfare, etc. are unethical, because a person is forced to give away for causes that he can either do himself voluntary, or simply avoid spending money on. It is a grand-scale government-induced theft.

Nevertheless, the government should be allowed to provide such services. A competing government may actually own several companies, and can use their profits to provide more services to its citizens. Furthermore, if citizens pay voluntary payments to sponsor these services it is also legitimate. Solving does not want to turn the countries worldwide into a libertarian government-less Utopia. This is not a good cause in itself. Instead, government-sponsored services will all function perfectly until and if they are going to be superceded by private ones.

What we do oppose are laws and regulations that outlaw or hinder free-enterprise alternatives to government-services. Free Competition must be maintained at all time regardless of what the government does or does not do.

OK, I got you. Now what do I do?

How will solving operate?

Start a Solving user group (SUGs), or join an existing one. Start voluntary alternatives to government monopolies. Write an article, lecture, etc. about either Solving or Neo-Tech, Objectivism and Liberatarianism or Open-Source/ Free Software and put it online and/or try to get it published. A lecture is preferable because teaching is the best way of learning. Seriously.

Become part of a competing leadership or voice your support for an existing one.

Don't debate for debate's cause. Debate to reach conclusions. Avoid half-truths and half-ways. Avoid Objectivistic Dogmas. Ayn Rand is often misinterpreted. And "Altruism" is not necessarily a bad word as it can mean both contributing to society and telling people that it is important/compulsory/whatever to contribute.

Don't be afraid of life and don't be afraid of living. I don't mean go skidiving. I mean saying what's on your mind, and aiming to be a torchlight for society rather than a reflection of it.

Produce, but don't be worried if you don't "produce" anything for days. First, do not harm. After that, everything else is optional. Your product is not your worth.

"Live as if your were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever." (Munhandas Gandhi).

I don't have time to get involved?

In that case, you need better time management. Did you wonder how Holywood stars have time for giving all these interviews? That's because they know how to manage their time properly. If your job demands you to work extra hours constantly and stuff like that, then maybe you are better off finding another job. As far as software is concerned, the Peopleware and Extreme Programming methodologies suggest an employer to make sure the employee works always a 40 hours week no matter how much pressure he has at work. Working overtime has proved to be very ineffective.

If you want to get inolved, then you would better make sure you find the time. People with good time management are rarely busy 100% of the time. Usually, they have enough time to do the things they like to do, and to enjoy themselves. Extremely busy people usually don't manage their time well.

Why should I bother?

Refer to the Modified Parable of Yotam:

The plants have gone to elect a king. They went to the vine and asked him: "would you be our king?". The vine replied: "I have grapes to grow , so I don't really have time for being your king. Sorry" They went to the Fig and asked him the same. The Fig replied: "Sorry, but I need to grow figs and big leaves, so I really can't.". And so it went on. After the ten or so plants, the Vine said: "This is getting ridiculus. Fine, forget the grapes. I'll be your king."

The Vine was very quickly able to organize the plants that well, that they did not have to consult him on anything. Ever. Thus, while he was still technically the king, he had plenty of time to grow grapes, without missing a single season.

I do not agree with everything that Neo-Tech says

You don't have to. If you think something that Neo-Tech suggests is good, you are welcome to act for it. We will not force people to do something against their will. But you have to be open to different views, and not think left-wing, right-wing, the Bible or whatever is necessarily the "absolute truth".

Neo-Tech does not wish to make everybody believe in what it says. Moreover, it does not wish to make everybody business titans. Its only purpose is to make sure everybody are value producers: happy, productive people who do not methodically harm anybody or poison people's mind with a lot of dogma and non-sequitors. If at time infinity, there would be some people who actively oppose Neo-Tech, but otherwise don't harm anyone, they will be left alone. Solving does not try to make everybody into Objectivists. It tries to make sure everybody are happy. And I mean everybody.

Anything more concrete?

First of all, we will maintain alternative versions of the constitutional canons of the countries we operate in that will be corrected according to more liberal principles. I welcome people to "fork" the canon and create their own canons, and do not necessitate one united alternative canon.

Secondly, we will perform highly-financed, public court trials, to protect several selected individuals that violate the law forced by the state but not the objective one. E.g: protecting an "illegal" alien who wishes to stay at his new homeland, on the premise that forcing him to leave is unconstitutional; protecting a drug abusers by claiming that the prohibition of illegal narcotics is unconstitutional and destructive; etc.

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