I recently spent six hours with Alan Moore. I wrote this feature about it. But the total interview transcript ran to 30,000 words. So, on my blog, in daily instalments, I’m posting the edited highlights – as far as possible, all in Moore’s own words.
Yesterday, Alan Moore discussed Brexit and the small matter of exactly how to fix our broken democracy. Today Moore, an anarchist and rejecter of leaders by political persuasion, searches for an alternative to Government.
Alan Moore: “Democracy means ‘the people shall rule’, not ‘the elected representatives of the people shall rule’ – that is an entirely different thing. And that is what has got us into all this trouble. It clearly isn’t working. I say we have to do some serious thinking to move beyond our current model of democracy. There are lots of alternatives and they all work better.
“We also have to move beyond nationalism – we’re living in a world where, thanks to the internet, national boundaries are pretty much irrelevant… and, also, the concept of nationhood, which has not even existed for more than a couple of hundred years.
“Most of the immigrants turning up at Ellis Island seeking asylum in the 19th century… they knew which village they’d come from, not which country. Because why did they need to? They knew about their village, and maybe some of the nearby villages… that was their lives. They didn’t need to know about national affairs.
“If you look at the way the world is going at the moment then you have the emergence of post-national entities… well, ISIS. It’s not the kind of post-nationalism I was imagining, admittedly! But they are ignoring national boundaries. They are grabbing a bit of Syria, a bit of Iraq, and saying we can make all of this into an Islamic state. I think that all you need… it would be a much safer world if everything was divided into communities who were then in contact electronically.
“In fact, there is a traffic system in Hong Kong at the moment. It’s called a ‘niche A.I.’ This is not a full artificial intelligence, in that it is not aware, it’s not going to take over the world and send Arnie back in time. There aren’t self-aware machines, perhaps there never will be.
“What it is, is a very smart computer which knows everything about its particular niche – its niche being the Hong Kong traffic system. It knows where the work gangs are, it knows where there’s flaws being reported and it knows the quickest way to sort out these flaws with the least energy and man-hours. The Hong Kong traffic system works much better than it ever has done, and that is, I would imagine, quite a complicated system. So, niche A.I.s – why not? To work out all these things which don’t need votes or opinions.
“Leaders are never going to legislate for their own obsolescence. But unless we’re going to have a Weimar revolution, and we replace one power structure with another that will be as bad or worse, which never works… unless we do that, then we have to find a way around these people. I would argue that with technology being as it is at the moment, we have the means to do that. We can go round them. We can set up structures of our own.
“Let’s go back to those small communities. Let’s connect up those small communities, because we can do these days], and we perhaps have them all manage to buy a niche A.I, something like that.
“Also, a lot of government – they’re only the government because they control the currency. If you want to change the currency, which is something else I’ve been advocating… In fact all of the problems from 2008 onwards, there’s not any less material in the world than in 2008, it’s just that all the electronic impulses are distributed a bit differently now. So money that we used to have is now in the bank accounts of the richest billionaires in the world.
“Exactly the same amount apparently, that we lost in 2008. Funny isn’t it, how that happens.
“The thing is, we’re just feeling our way into this world, we’re just through the door. This world is 20 years old. Where were we 20 years after the start of the printing press? Yes, officially we were into the start of the Industrial Era, but it was 1570 and we didn’t know that [at the time]. So, now is the equivalent of 1570. We can see things starting to take shape around us, but…
“I think that the government over here, as with a lot of governments in a lot of places at the moment, round about 2008, they all started saying ‘yes, we don’t believe in big oppressive government anymore’. What they meant was ‘we’re not funding anything… you’re on your own. And we’re spinning this as if we’re giving you your freedom and liberation.’
“I thought, this could be good – if governments take everything away from us, then it’s up to us to replace those things, until we can run them ourselves. I’ve got a few plans…”
Jerusalem is out now in hardback from Knockabout in the UK and Liveright in the US. For the full interview feature, click here. Part 3 of the transcript highlights is a parable, in comic form. See if you get it.