Putting Humanism First Row Center?

In my post about the eight spokes of information policy, there was a lot of constructive feedback. It seems to be enough on target that I have created a new page for taking this further, called The Pirate Wheel.

From the feedback in the comments and in voice, there was one thing I realized needed changing. While I’m fond of the model with a ship’s wheel with eight spokes, I think the Humanism entry deserves to move into the hub. At some point, most of our policies radiate from civil liberties and the individual human’s rights and diversities.

So what is Humanism?

The page of The Pirate Wheel says, in short form:

Humanism – at the hub. Everybody has the same rights regardless of where or how they were born. Everybody may adopt whatever beliefs they like after birth, political or religious: all shall be treated equal. Everybody has the right to access, perform, and use culture and knowledge. Society and authorities assume good faith when dealing with people.

In short, this says nine important things.

One, everybody is born equal. Two, anybody may believe anything, political, religious, scientific, or nonsensical. Three, the properties you are born with are not your responsibility; however, what you choose to believe is. (Hence, you may vote and take responsibility for the governance of the country.) Four, diversity is desired in society, both in inborn properties and acquired beliefs. Five, there is no principal difference between different sorts of acquired beliefs. The religious kind of faith should not enjoy special privileges before faith in a politician or in a scientific body. Science to one person is politics to a second person, religion to a third and nonsense to a fourth. Therefore, there is only “acquired belief”.

Six, it says that everybody is free to enjoy our heritage and legacy of culture and knowledge, and to build upon it.

Seven, it says that authorities and the state should assume good faith when dealing with people. This means that we as a society choose to trust people with bad intentions rather than mistrusting everybody, and pay the smaller price of a few underreported taxes rather than the larger price of authorities regarding everybody as criminal.

Eight, it says that everybody has certain inalienable rights, regardless of how they are born and what they believe.

Nine, putting humanism at the hub means that the individual and her rights, joys and privileges is at the center of all we do.

This is probably as much center as you can come to a pirate ideology. In the wheel, after humanism had moved center, I added Diversity at the spoke in its place on the suggestion from a few people. This is not just diversity from a populous perspective; just as much, it promotes a polyculture in technical infrastructure and in culture.

Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. He lives on Alexanderplatz in Berlin, Germany, roasts his own coffee, and as of right now (2019-2020) is taking a little break.


  1. Leif Ershag (@berinder)

    Tycker @Falkvinge för ett bra jobb med att definiera Piratism. – Putting Humanism First Row Center? http://bit.ly/fE3dXc

    1. Carley

      It’s great to read sometnihg that’s both enjoyable and provides pragmatisdc solutions.

    2. kjpusz

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    3. pwtbedf

      d3tBQV nikglteceheo

  2. Piratpartiet Live! (@piratbloggar) (@piratbloggar) (@piratbloggar)

    Falkvinge on Infopolicy: Putting Humanism First Row Center?:
    In my post about the eight spokes of informa… http://tinyurl.com/4f22agb

  3. Wayne Borean

    Nicely done Rick. Curiously it echos the IDIC ethos that Gene Roddenbury invented for Star Trek, and which is a central theme of most 20th century Science Fiction. Curiously in Science Fiction as portrayed in video, the only software used is Open Source (you will constantly see characters re-writing the operating systems of their ships), Digital Restrictions Management appears non-existent, and freedom is the goal of all.

    And the MPAA/RIAA/BPI/BREIN member companies wonder why the younger generation don’t accept their arguments…


  4. Christer Jansson (@kondensatorn) (@kondensatorn) (@kondensatorn)

    RT @piratbloggar: Falkvinge on Infopolicy: Putting Humanism First Row Center?:
    In my post about the eight spokes of informa… http://tinyurl.com/4f22agb

  5. infallsvinkel

    Excellent work on the Pirate wheel!

    But a note to Wayne Borean (and other of my nerd friends) about Star Trek…

    Immaterial rights in the form of patents are highly regarded by the United Federation of Planets, and the crew of Enterprise are upholding patent laws!

    “Somehow though, Mudd soon escaped. He then promptly began to sell the plans for alien technologies to various worlds — without bothering to pay any royalties to the actual off-world patent holders. This ended when an attempt to sell a Vulcan technology to the inhabitants of Deneb V backfired. The transaction was unmasked as a hoax when the Denebians actually contacted Vulcan to ensure that Mudd had the rights to sell the technology in question… which, of course, he didn’t.”


    So it is not a perfect utopia…

    1. Wayne Borean

      Not perfect, but it has it’s advantages. I assume that you’ve seen Star Wreck V, when they used the Windows 95 CD to disable the Korg cube?


  6. Galapagos

    An ideological document should be timeless and feel relevant after 200 years in all parts of the world.

    Even though I agree with most of this there is an annoying undertone of political correctness in the text. The part about diversity uses the word polycultures. This seems like a euphemism for multiculturalism, which is a term that future historians will date to 1990-2010. The idea of multiculturalism is discredited by the naïve way its supporters have defined it and is empirically falsified. It is on its way out in most countries. On the other hand, diversity and tolerance for other people’s lifestyles is something fantastic. Don’t tarnish this great idea with references to ideas pursued by aging 1968-left wingers.

    Another sign of political correctness is in the section about humanism with the text “Everybody has the same rights regardless of where or how they were born.” Why tie the notion of universal human rights to where you were born? I view this as an indirect way of arguing against national citizenship and in favor absolutely free immigration. Free immigration is another absolutely unrealistic idea and an example of political posturing. Just because there is a provincial debate in Sweden with some support for absolutely and totally free immigration does not mean that this idea has any kind of universal validity.

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      Dear Galapagos,

      you are right that the text probably needs rewriting to make it more timeless. This is a very important point that I take to heart.

      However, I will defend the word “polyculture”. There is an important distinction here from the word “multicultural” referring to immigration-related issues: “multicultural” has no opposite. Multi- is a Latin prefix.

      In contrast, polyculture is a word formed from the Greek prefix poly- to indicate opposition to the likewise Greek prefix mono-, as in monoculture. Monocultures (seeds, infrastructure, etc) are generally accepted to be long-term vulnerable and harmful, even if short-term gains of scale can be achieved.

  7. Ann Markström (@Annoula64) (@Annoula64) (@Annoula64)

    RT @Falkvinge: on #infopolicy: Putting Humanism First Row Center? http://goo.gl/fb/vg0cz

  8. Isak Gerson (@IsakGerson)

    Dock att kommunitarianism och multikulturalism inte är liberalism enligt annan kommentator hos @Falkvinge http://is.gd/9TDgFL

  9. Karellen

    “Science to one person is politics to a second person, religion to a third and nonsense to a fourth.”

    Sorry, how is science either politics or religion?

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      If I say the words “climate change”, for instance, that will be science to one person, politics to a second, religion to a third, and nonsense to a fourth.

      How the beliefs are constructed is not relevant to this discussion; the distinction here is whether they are given at birth or acquired later.

      1. Horace Rumpole

        Or you could substitute ‘evolution’ for ‘climate change’ … but I have a problem here. This all seems highly relativistic and post modern, can we really treat the views of the person who claims that the world (including humans) came into existence during 7 days in 4004 BC as equal to the views of an evolutionary biologists? The former is certainly entitled to his/her opinion, but, as far as we are discussing science (and evolution is science, biology to be exact), we can not say both views have equal validity. The ‘7 day’ view is simply factually wrong…we cannot, in the public realm, allow both views to be understood as having equal claims to scientific truth – or am I missing something?

      2. NingúnOtro

        Unless mind patterns are inheritable… the whether part of your statement is completely irrelevant, Rick. Beliefs can be but acquired LATER. The only before or after is considering whether this acquisition happens only through intellectual transfer of ideas or if the impressions on the five senses since the very day of birth constitute orientations in terms of belief.

  10. Nyhetsbrev 2011-03-31 | Anna Troberg

    […] Sammy skrev redan förra året om sina tankar kring den inneboende humanismen i piratrörelsen. Göran Widham och Henrik Brändén snuddar även de vid de här tankarna när de funderar på piratrörelsen ur ett historiskt perspektiv. Rick är inne på en liknande linje i sina försök att konkretisera piratismen mer visuellt. […]

  11. Martin Tiberg

    Rick, I have a suggestion for changing the visualization to make it more meaningful, powerful and apprehensible. How about keeping humanism at the center, then having 1-5 (privacy, transparency, culture, knowledge and swarm economy) as spokes radiating from the center, and having 6-8 (pragmatism, quality legislation and diversity) circling around making up the steering wheel?

    The visualization idea would be to start with the “means” at the rim and have the “ends” in the center.
    I posted several suggestions, comments and questions to your last blog post without receiving a reply, so I’d appreciate to hear your views on this one.

  12. opassande » Blog Archive » Motion till Piratpartiets årsmöte

    […] med ett parley. Funderingar och diskussioner har sedan dess skett lite varstans och tanken har växt fram att identifiera vår grundläggande inställning och definiera den. Flera av varandra oberoende har kommit fram […]

  13. Burz

    The article confuses postmodern philosophy with a term (humanism) which stands for something very modern. Given the faux-humanistic posturing here, we might as well accept the IP industry’s prevailing values as equally valid as those who argue for greater balance and give up.

    Humanism is merely the idea that humans are not sinful or unworthy by default, that we are capable beings and worth celebrating and studying in our arts and other pursuits.

    Secular humanism extends that idea by holding that we are one species, evolved through natural processes, and we therefore share not only our biology but also our emotional responses (and therefore a large chunk of our basic values). Our commonalities ensure that one group of humans can learn another group’s language and specific customs, and the advent of math and science enhance that ability. The upshot of this is the notion that all people deserve a certain amount of respect regardless of their background because underneath we’re all still human and share many good attributes.

    But none of that ought to translate into equality for any person’s beliefs — definitely not in public policy and discourse.

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