Go Small Young People, Go Small

There is a movement afoot to make our kids content with less.  My sons, both of them, like their parents, unable to comprehend the fact that body and mind have limits, have always dreamed big.  Now mind you most of their dreams are not predicated on “I will own” but on “I will do.”  In that they also resemble us, aka “why we’re not rich”: because while we don’t want anyone to pay our way, our work has always been geared to what we want to do and what we feel must be accomplished than merely to “I must get rich.”

No, the two are not exclusive, and getting rich doing what you feel must be done is the ultimate objective, but my husband has the tendency to refuse advancement which means he can no longer do the work he loves and I… I refused to “sell out” in a way and it wasn’t all politics.  It was also that the books that make you a darling of the industry could put an insomniac to sleep and are, therefore, torture to write.  At least for me, your mileage may vary, void where prohibited, etc.  (And the laugh line in all this is that the books I’d consider selling out and the ones I consider following my drive are completely reversed for the people using those terms.)  As for the activities purely designed to make money, neither of us could ever stay with them for very long.

Which explains why we’re not rich, and why there is a very strong chance our children won’t be.  That is not what the school was preparing them from.  In “job day” after “job day,” my kids would listen then come home baffled with some variation of “My classmates want to be bureaucrats who make a median salary, marry a median woman, drive a median car and have one or two median children.  None of them wants to push, invent, take risks, or make any waves at all.  And I can feel the push to be the same.  It’s what they want for us.”

If this were planned, I’d say it was attempt to make us like Sweden where the world “enough” has double plus GOOD connotations.  I’d say that it was an attempt, in other words, to make the American people suitable to Euro Socialism.

I don’t believe it’s planned.  Not in most of the people pushing for that.  I think it’s part of fifty years of education that pushed “the world is overpopulated”, “humanity is a burden” and “diet for a small planet,” and other bits of insanity.  The teachers and others pushing this point of view honestly think humans are scary and dangerous and if they don’t outright go out and start mowing them down, they try to convince them to do the equivalent of curling up in the fetal position and pretending not to be there.  (And don’t get me started on the pledges not to reproduce pushed at 12 year olds.  Just don’t.  It won’t go well.)

This is not what I mean by going small.  I don’t mean destroying your hopes and burying your ambitions and “leaving light footprints” or any of that nonsense.  I believe humanity has as many rights as any other species to “Grow, multiply, and fill the face of the Earth.”  More, maybe, since we have the means to control our environment that other species lack.  More, because if Earth’s biome ever explands to the stars — its one chance at survival in the truly long scales — it will be because humans took it there.

IOW, growth is what life does and human life is not less than other life.

What I mean by going small is different.

I’ve confessed before that before 9/11 I was an INTERNATIONALIST Libertarian.  This tends to make people who know me look at me as though I’d grown a second, evil head, and I confess those ten years were a sort of holiday from reason and thought.  The fairytale was so pretty I wanted to to work.  Besides, I have friends in a lot of countries who could work in a “one world” sort of thing.

Oh, I knew better — duh and derp — of course I did.  I knew most countries in the world are kleptocracies and this is not just the result of bad politics, but of bad culture.  The culture infects the politics and makes them what they are.  The country I came from still gets its politics from Rome, aka “rule of law? what rule of law?” or “he who has no godfather dies in jail.”  And this is not overcome by selling them slogans.  Their form of government changed at least 3 times (in macro movements) in the twentieth century but “the way things are done” didn’t, as it hasn’t in at least 2000 years and probably more, because that’s culture and the only way cultures change that rapidly is through major trauma, like invasion or mass death and even then never that much (and also there’s a boomerang tendency to revert) as Portugal’s history is example.

But I wanted to believe.  Not in a whole world of brotherwood or a Coke commercial, but in a world of free humans working together.

I read Grumbles from the Grave and P.J. O’Rourke’s all the trouble in the World and Eat the Rich and foreign news and history, but you can picture me with hands over ears going “lalalalalalala.”

9/11 shattered that and at any rate I was always a bizarre sort of internationalist as I was an American patriot and for small governments and didn’t wish national identities to be abolished, only, somehow, for countries to work in harmony for free minds and free markets.  (And for my next trick, I shall make this elephant fly.  Fly, elephant, fly.)

9/11 shattered my “lalalalalala.” It shattered a lot of people’s more serious belief in “one world” government/polity/entity whatever you wish to call it.

This is a very old idea, a very old thought, that people came up with to “prevent war.”  i.e. “if we all were one nation, there would be no war.”  Which is stupid, given the number and nature of civil wars throughout human history, but never mind.

The generation that fought WWI embraced it with the fervor of desperate, shell-shocked children.  This is why so many of the early science fiction books assume it, and so many of the tv series use it not just as a background for humanity, but as part of what makes a world/breed/etc civilized.

This seems more plausible to America than anywhere else because, as noted here before, our states have a very different culture but the same, overlaying structures that ensure easy movement between states and communication between every citizen, as well as a sense of belonging.  It’s easy to think this means we could extend it to the world and make it the same.

It’s easy to think but impossible to implement.  I’ve heard that entire Italian villages moved en mass to NY in the early 20th century.  This might be true but I suspect it’s a bit of an exaggeration.  It’s more “everyone who was young and who had a mind to succeed moved.”  IOW those who came what was then (due to slowness of travel, and expense) an almost for sure one-way trip were of a different mind as those left behind.  They were also, consciously or not, willing to work to shed their centuries of culture and the things that made the land they came from what it was.

This is not the same now, because travel is a few hours and relatively cheap.  We see the problem of this in moves between states too.  Used to be you moved, you adapted to local ways of doing things.  Moves were always piece-meal anyway save for great migrations caused by massive disturbances.  And even then The Grapes of Wrath might have overstated the matter a bit. Now it’s easier to move between states for a job or an opportunity, and that means when states become inimical to job creation, they send vast hordes forth to get jobs elsewhere.  Hordes that bring with them their way of voting that made the initial state inimical to job creation.  Or as we call it around these parts, Californication.

Partly in reaction to that, and partly because it’s obvious attempting to get people to reject their country isn’t working, and partly because we have been pounded for a century, via all forms of media and education with the idea of “identities” hinging on totally insane things like skin color, food preferences and a myriad other incidental characteristics, there is a nativist/racial/statist movement afoot. Now that movement is more plausible than the one-worlders.  I never understood how, having determined that dividing people into economic classes and setting them against each other wouldn’t bring about paradise, the one-worlder Marxists convinced themselves setting people against each other by melanin content and what is between their legs and other more or less arbitrary characteristics would a) yield uniform classes and b) bring about utopia.  I think the underwear gnome was involved in their plans.  And it is also, invariably involved in the “national identititarians” plan.

There aren’t many of them, mind, but like the one worlders they are convinced the world is inevitably going to go their way and they’re the way of the future.  Look, guys, if you find an arrow in history tell me, okay?

And like the one-worlders, their conviction comes partly from the belief humans are widgets.  All they disagree on is what divides one set of widgets from the other.

Unfortunately for them and everyone else who has  sought to impose an arrow on history, humans aren’t widgets, and even if there is such things as an “average” woman or man, worker or intellectual, Masai cowherd or German goatheard, the “average” is a mathematical construction created by statistics and if you meet these people you find that each is highly individual.

And the tendency to view people as “average” and “median” and to divide them according to statistical characteristics is a twentieth century characteristic born of the typical industry of the twentieth century.  I.e. when the watchword of the century was the refinement of the previous century’s “mass manufacturing” and “mass production” one had to know what the average or median person wanted.

Because while people aren’t widgets, it is possible to produce something with the maximum appeal to most of them.  Surveys, statistics, etc, all reveal what’s the most acceptable to the majority of people.

If there are two TV channels (what I grew up with) none of them is going to devote three days to an extended documentary on dinosaurs, because the majority of people would be bored stiff by that, have their eyes roll inward on their skull, and go to sleep.

But if there are 300 channels, one of them can be the “dedicated dinosaur channel” and it will find enough audience to survive.

The technology of the time didn’t allow 300 channels, or personal 3-D printing, or authors to put their own books up for sale, worldwide.

For the two centuries before us, the economies of scale and mass production have tended to try to make everyone as close to the same as possible, so the industry could provide them with the means for civilized living.

And that’s where the one worlders’ dreams came from.  “Make everyone the same and everyone will be happy.”  (Not quite that way, but you get a whiff of this in early Heinleins.  Never that stupid, because the man had a brain, and knew there would be malcontents anyway.

The nationalists’ dreams come from seeing the obvious flaws in that, the persistent nature of culture, the horrors of trying to make many nations one.  Because that never ends well.  And it is aided and abetted by “the future and its enemies.”  Ie. the bureaucrats and other classes that have grown fat on the nation-state and who therefore long to extend and expand their power.  Mind, it’s much easier to be a kleptocrat over a more or less small and homogeneous nation.

And they come too from the fact that nation-states have been sold for what? three centuries now, as a form of uber-identity that replaced religion as Europe became industrialized.

Only nation-states are children of mass production, took off at the same time as the industrial revolution, and are, in the end, wholly artificial creations in human history.

Sure, humans identify with/are designed to identify with a tribe.  And the tribe is, as far as studies can determine, suppose to be about 50.  A couple hundred people, at the most. IOW “Me and my cousins.”

That means when the nation state “stole” tribal affiliation and put it to work for the nation state it had to pervert it.  It had to devote its not inconsiderable mass-media and mass education to make people think of the nation as a tribe.  This was probably (mostly) not done on purpose, though heaven knows I’ve read my shre of books approved of and designed by central states selling the idea of “the Portuguese race” or “the British Race” or even “The German race.”

Even in countries as small as Great Britain or Portugal, the regional differences are vast, the tribal loyalties often vivid and vociferous and the cracks the nation-state papers over momentous.  For “countries” like Italy or Germany, children of the nation state movement, itself, it is about as accurate to speak of a national identity as it is to speak of a Kenyan or Rwandan national identity.  The borders were drawn by bureaucrats, planners (or conquerors) and have bloody nothing to do with the “tribes” underneath.

The only way to keep the nation state cohesive and to sell them on the idea they are a tribe (and thus harness the instinctual need for a tribe) is constant propaganda by mass-media means, and the harnessing of people’s longing for a great tribal leader which was probably evolutionarily sane when we lived in hominid bands (IOW yesterday in evolutionary terms.)

This is why nation states are always and forever looking for the man on the white horse, the father of the nation, etc.  IOW it’s why the twentieth century was the twentieth century.

But the thing to remember is that the nation state on a large scale, itself, was a creation of mass industrialization.  Even the empires of the past were different.  Even the Roman idea of making everyone a Roman citizen was a different thing, because they had no mass media and no way to sell “we are tribe.”  So the Roman citizen might adopt a lot of the identity but it was overlaid on his local identity of Celt or Greek, and the underlying identity was made to work with the overarching one, instead of being crushed by it.

In the same way, even old and on an European scale relatively large countries like France, took centuries to eliminate — by education and identification, and ultimately by force — other linguistic/cultural groups within themselves. Because they couldn’t put on TV programs every morning telling children they loved Big Brother.

What I mean is that the last two centuries of civilized life have been profoundly unnatural for humans.  Look, not complaining.  Natural is sleeping naked in the Savannah.

But the point is that the type of industry and communication that brought about these massive nation states (the bigger the better) with their massive bureaucracies is being replaced by “smaller, more personal, more agile.”

This doesn’t mean the future is ripe for one-world.  On the contrary.  And it doesn’t mean the world is ripe for nation-states.  On the contrary.

Go small, young people, go small.

I’ve been watching this work in my own industry, where the most agile people are the ones doing well, and to the extent that publishers will survive (let alone thrive) it will be the ones who are willing to keep as small a staff as possible, subcontract/pay bounties on individual jobs that need to be done for books, and generally be capable of shedding/adding functions as the market conditions evolve.  (I’m not saying that the big publishers won’t stay around.  It takes a long time to kill a behemoth.  Just that they in no way are suited to the conditions on the ground now.)

It’s sort of the same with nation-states.  Nation states serve some vital functions that smaller groupings (and certainly our individual, tribal groupings) aren’t very good at: mutual defense.  Construction of large scale things, some of which will still be needed, like, say highways, and ultimately the suppression of tribalism.

But Sarah, you just said tribalism was good!  No, I said tribalism is natural, and you have to accept it’s there, and by tribalism I mean the fighting of groups of about 100 people against groups of about 100 people, whether the fight is financial, of words or physical.  We identify with an “extended family” of blood or not, and will defend it against all comers.  It’s what makes humans so admirable — and so screwed up.

The bad side of that is that left on their own anything larger than a medium city would be a nightmare of internecine warfare, and why the one-worlders and “governments will just wither away” people are nuts.

So the overarching government of nation or state is needed to keep the tribal impulses at bay and to guide the entity to the common good.

But what the twentieth century has shown us is that decisions should be made on as local a level as possible, not only because people accept that better, but because people closer to the problem are less likely to think it’s a great idea to sow wheat in the snow or to teach all the kids that the sky is made of green cheese.  Not that as small as possible rule doesn’t also go wrong.  We all know tyrannical families and crazy-cakes small cities.But when polities that small are completely insane, at least the damage is contained, while when an entire country goes batexcrement insane you get WWII.

So it would seem the ideal political organization for what our industry is becoming and what our technology is enabling would be a “nation state” loosely connected and with a relatively powerless central government whose only function would be to prevent inner strife, defend the nation (both in the sense of war and guarding the borders) and oh, I don’t know, provide for the common good by arbitrating those projects that must be large enough to span all the myriad states that otherwise comprise the nation.

And each of such states and each of the entities under them should be as free to govern themselves as possible, each unite, down to the individual, retaining as much autonomy as physically and mentally possible.

Such state would be very agile and able to change itself in an era when technology and industry are changing at an incredibly fast rate.  It would be a chaos dancer, capable of being both very large and very small, and flowing into the future seamlessly.

Of course, such a country would not have survived very well in the nineteenth and twentieth century when the ideas of the mass-industrialized “tribe” nationalistic state were ascendant and what every right thinking person “knew.”  And it would have trouble, being relatively powerless at the central level, countering the naked aggression of those nation-states. So it would change to fit the times.

It is probably pure coincidence that the way it was founded is now more suited to the coming technology and industry.  Or possibly because the coming industry and techonology allow for the emergence of very old tendencies in humans, it was designed that way by people who thought deeply about the nature of humans.

I’m not a materialist determinist.  I don’t believe that the material conditions determine the mental and emotional state of men by themselves.  In many ways not only doesn’t man live by bread alone, but man lives by belief alone, in that he is able to hold on to beliefs contrary to reality even when it destroys everything around a culture/nation/etc.  Look at North Korea or Cuba.

But by and large, and always providing for stragglers, the way the cultures of humanity are expressed, the way people LIVE is determined by the technology/industry of the time.

Thus, mass industrialization birthed the nation state.  And as mass industrialization is tottering, the nation state as we know it (which is not the same as tribal identification/regional loyalty, etc, but is an overarching bureaucratic entity selling itself as a tribal entity) is tottering with it.

This is not to say the one-worlders are right — I can’t imagine a HUMAN world in which they would be right. You can’t just blend all human cultures and come up with anything usable.  The only possible one-world government would be in a world settled exclusively by one culture.  And even there, as the world population grows, it will fragment.

In fact, both nation-states and one-worlders are ideas of the past, brought about by mass-everything.

I expect the world of more individualized everything will bring about a lot of small units — down to the individual — that connect upwards in ever larger/less powerful entities, till at the top of a large enough territory is one that just provides for the common welfare (ie. too big to be done in small scale) and common defense.

Where I differ from other people who see that and see “one world” is that there are common cultures and common geographic areas that must be respected, and people are not widgets.  The importation of say masses of middle easterners into Germany is not possibly while watching out for the common defense and welfare of Germany.  Not that Germany is really an ethnic entity (it is composed of smaller tribes, and since WWII it has absorbed masses of immigrants) but because it is a geographical and cultural entity and you can’t simply move individuals in and out of those.

In other words, I think we need nations.  I just think in the coming era those that survive, thrive and make their citizens rich will be those that are as decentralized as possible at their center, while defending themselves and understanding the cultures that comprise them.

How we get there is something else.  It will happen, because humans always adapt to the changes in tech and industry.

But it’s not straight forward or rational.  Which is why at least half (and possibly more) of the right AND left feeling we’ve gone down a wrong path are reaching back for solutions, but not far enough back, which is why there seems to be a growing consensus for national socialism.

It won’t work.  It’s like the publishing houses trying to solve their problems by pricing e-books higher and giving myriad interviews about how ebooks are vanishing.

The denial of reality is strong in humans and can be imposed for a period of time, but not on the whole world and not without consequences.

The future is small, more fragmented and overall (not accounting for small pockets of tyranny) much freer.

IOW in the end we win, they lose.

Getting there, OTOH, as any great movement in “how we live” in the history of humanity is going to involve convulsions and conflicts and mass-scale dislocations that will at times feel the world is coming apart at the seams.

That’s because it is. But it doesn’t follow, no matter how painful the process, that what results from that is a bad thing.

The important thing is to neither prematurely try to make the world burn nor (prematurely also) reach for a solution of the recent past.  Both of them are normal human reactions, but both of them will do nothing but delay the solution and create devastation and suffering.

In the end, the future is small.  And if we can get there it would enable the biggest and most glorious form of human civilization yet:agile and capable of rapid change and keeping the bad side of the human nature to as small a group as possible, while maximizing human ability to create and prosper.

Go small, young people, go small. And dream big.





273 responses to “Go Small Young People, Go Small

  1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    My question for “one worlders” has always been “Why?”.

    IE What Real Need is there for a World Government to exist?

    Sarah touched on the need for a national government covering the various tribes but IMO those don’t work unless there is some commonality between the various tribes (even if it’s just fear of the conquering tribe).

    It was interesting when reading the Federalist Papers to see that one of the arguments for a stronger (than the Articles of Confederation) US government was the concern of the Major Powers to get involved in North American affairs.

    At that time, there was real concern that the Thirteen Original States would go completely independent of the other States or create several “regional” governments.

    Thus the Thirteen would be unable to prevent the Major Powers getting involved and worse the Major Powers could “play” the States against the other States.

    But why should the Nations of the World join a World Government?

    There’s no known outside forces to interfere in our affairs.

    So Why?

    • The need for a World Government is simple: it is a goal for the ambitions of those who would rule us. It is the One Ring which binds all others to it.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        No disagreement but I doubt that they’d admit it.

        Of course, my “Why” is more for the people who “buy into the idea” and won’t be the rulers. 😦

    • Yep, I was already writing the world, but yep, some commonality of intent, purpose, agreement with funding documents or, for Europe, culture and language…

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        In one universe that I’ve been kicking around in my head, I had a Federalist World Government that was created mainly to defend humanity against a nasty outside enemy.

        Of course, it wasn’t Our Earth as some “meddlers” had been working behind the scenes to create National Governments that had enough in common that they could work together against a common foe on a long term basis.

        I started kicking this idea around before the Soviet Union collapsed and knew that the Soviet Union and the US would not join a world government where the other was strongly involved (for good reasons on the US part).

        • The only tenable reason for world government is for banding together to confront ETs. That is the only thing that will get a majority of the worlds people to see humanity as one tribe.

          • Back when I was in jr. high, I wrote a couple of stories set in vaguely alternate/future worlds in which there was a united Earth government, and both of them were worlds with aliens. Interestingly enough, they were both worlds with a political situation vaguely based upon that before WWi, so the world government was (or had been, in the case of the one that was in upheaval) monarchial in form. And there were airships and suchlike bits of path-not-taken technology. Effectively, I was writing steampunk before it became cool.

            Which makes me think about revisiting those worlds and seeing if I could do anything with them. And then I look at just how many other projects I have in varying degrees of progress and shake my head. Maybe someday…

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Nod, but even there you’d have the problem of antagonistic governmental systems.

            How long would a Free Nation work with a Nation that suppressed dissenters?

          • Yep oldgriz, but not necessarily even as a wartime type of threat. Bradbury, the revered one, had a story along those lines from the bad old days before the end to Jim Crow, where a black character recognized that the landing on Mars and finding Martians changed everything for him.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Another thought I had on “One Worlders” is that they want a World Government that’s powerful enough to “make the US do what it wants”. [Frown]

        • Yah. One big problem with a world state is that it would require its constituents to ‘normalize’ their internal policies with those of the supernation. That would be alright, I suppose, as long as that normalization was in the direction of maximum liberty, but does anyone think for a moment that would be the case? Can you imagine what a WorldGov would do with the US’s right to keep and bear arms, for example, or our conception, however embattled it may be at the moment, of freedom of speech?

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            The only “Rights” recognized by the WG would be the “Rights” recognized by the UN. [Frown]

            • Again, Yah. Article 29 Section 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, “These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.” So, you like your freedom of speech? That’s cool, unless you’re speaking against the UN or UN policies . . .

              • The universal declaration of human rights originated in the soviet union, as a way to claim that free countries were also violating human rights. I have always hated it.

    • And the secondary question, “What if you didn’t like that One World?”

      Every time I try to visualize what such a world would look like, I see dreary Soviet apartment blocks…

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Many of them seem to have an utopian world view where the US doesn’t “dominate” the world.

        But yes, they never think about “what kind of world would have a World Government”. 😦

      • Stack-a-prol apartments. That.

      • Actually we just rewatched Our Man Flint last night, and it showed the dehumanization of even a “perfect” world that worked the way the “wise men” envisioned it. A very libertarian movie and much better than a preachy Ayn Rand movie. Not that what you say is wrong, but even if all their dreams came true, it would be a nightmare.

    • Christopher M. Chupik

      Someone has to make the sliding sidewalks run on time.

    • The destruction which will be caused by unsuppressed internal strife. I’m not a believer in “The Missile Will Always Get Through,” but in the long run, absent a world government, there will be many wars with weapons of mass destruction — chemical, biological, nuclear, nanotech, antimatter, reality-warping … you name it. And this will render the Earth a very unpleasant and dangerous place to live — if life remains even possible.

      • A world government will just bring that nuclear exchange faster. Trust me on this. A civil war is always worse than one between nations, and a one world government would have LOTS of civil wars at any given time.

        • You make an extremely good point, and one which One World advocates often miss. They assume that their political resolution will hold for all time — but it never does. Collapse into civil war is inevitable over long enough timescales.

          That’s one reason why an oppressive world government might be worse than none at all. A dynamically-stable world federation, on the other hand, might work better.

          In the longest of long runs, I think that any heavily-populated world is doomed. Though with advances in construction technology, it might be possible to restore even the most thoroughly-shattered world.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Oh Yes, the “World Government will prevent World Destroying Wars” idea.

        IMO there can be no long term World Government unless there is an over-arcing ideal accepted by the Major Governments that would “join” such a World Government.

        But if there was such an over-arcing ideal, the Major Governments could live side-by-side in peace with the other Major Government without going to the bother of a true World Government.

        The Major Governments could work together to handle the violent lesser governments without being one Super Government.

        Of course, there’s the very possible problem that the World Government might “accidentally” provoke the World Destroying Wars because of heavy handed treatment of dissenters especially those who never wanted to be part of the World Government.

    • Because the ones pushing it want to be the ones running it. Basically, world domination.

      (sorry, couldn’t resist)

      • Patrick Chester

        That and they might be blessed with some easily-duped lackeys.

        Cheap ones, even. 😉

    • Hmmm. . . international crime needing an international police force?

  2. But of course — promising more while delivering less only works a fairly short time. Telling people they are bad for wanting more — to do more, to be more — allows them to feel themselves virtuous for doing and accepting less, which distracts from the diminution of their dreams.

    Ultimately they’re told to go to the death chamber like good citizens, that their organs can nourish The Whole now that their productive lives have dropped below the cost/benefit baseline.

  3. Their form of government changed at least 3 times (in macro movements) in the twentieth century but “the way things are done” didn’t, as it hasn’t in at least 2000 years and probably more, because that’s culture …

    I have long believed that Russia merely replaced the hereditary Tsar with an “elected” one while the government remained the same, and that China under Communism is structurally indistinguishable from China under the Emperor (and all his various mandarins beneath him), wrapped in a thin candy shell of Communism.

    For that matter, compare Castro to Batista and you’ll see little difference beyond the use of state power to maintain a fiction — at great cost to the populace.

  4. It always comes down to individuals and the associations they choose or are forced to assume. And then people make life choices based on the value they place on those associations. The hierarchy we assign to our associations determines what we are willing to do or to give up to preserve them. Spouse, child, family, friends, etc. all have rankings often vastly different depending on individual beliefs and preferences.
    It always comes back to the individual, that single node at the center of a web of associations. And forever that web was mostly defined by physical distance. Your family was around you, your neighbors were… neighbors. But now that web truly is world wide. You can form associations with people next door and on the other side of the planet. And what determines the strength of those associations is not nationality, or race, or even religion, but compatibility. True, those other factors have an influence and can when extreme overwhelm any hope of association.
    Not to demean physical interaction, it is after all hard wired into our psyches, but much like tradpub vs indie, it’s no longer the only game in town.

    • One reason Marx’s theories of trade associations seemed credible was that people in a single occupation also tended to live in close proximity, often in “Company Towns.” This combination of trade similarity and physical proximity tended to create a unity of culture and identity.

  5. Quick question, because there’s a typo I couldn’t quite work out:

    But by and large, and always providing for straggers …

    Is that supposed to be “stragglers”? Or is it “strangers”? I could make the sentence work either way. I think it’s “stragglers”, but I’m not quite sure.

  6. People (overall? in general? some?) yearn for freedom, liberty and decentralization results in that, or at least vastly increases the possibility of that. Centralization makes control easier, and some do want that. Some with idea that they will do the controlling and some with the idea that relinquishing control relieves them of some effort.

    I prefer things to be as decentralized as possible.

    • IMO I would think it is only some. Most people want control in one form or another, either in terms of rules to oppress others or ways to guide them and protect them.

  7. I’ve been playing with an idea. How would the US change if any region of a certain minimum size (>= RI) or population (>= 1M) could vote to become their own state, citystate. New York city and state become separate entities. CA would shatter into several. Northern NV could divorce Las Vegas. The possibilities are endless. Each would get their two senators but I think the house would need to expand.

    • It might be where we end up going…

    • I suspect Texas would split into three large chunks. East Texas – DFW to Houston, Austonio and south (the old original Mexican colonial population region) and Panhandle-Low RollingPlains-South Plains-Permian Basin. Where the TransPecos goes . . . hard to say, because of the lack of population until you get to the City-State of El Paso. The Valley would likely go with the Austonio chunk.

      • The TransPecos; what do they identify as? Zir, hir, xir, noncis,
        nunoftheabove? What department do they shop in, or is it none of them? Will anyone bake them a cake?

    • Re US hypotheticals, there’s one I’ve been pondering upon for years: What if the original ratio of constituents to Representatives in the US were fixed at the founding level – What would be the impact of a US House of Representatives with thousands of voting members, each of whom probably has met personally each of their constituents? How would the need to create coalitions and enroll other representatives impact US law making? How would the concept of representative democracy within a republican framework work differently if the representatives knew that if they pissed off just a few of their constituents, they would be out of that job?

      I’ve always read “and of course they had to increase the ratio to keep the House at a practical number of Representatives”, but I’ve never seen that really proven, and the main counter, i.e. “Gee, that would make it hard to pass laws” really doesn’t sound like an actual negative to me.

      • It was probably the mundane matter that nobody wanted a smaller desk on the floor of the House. I don’t know why Congress couldn’t use a basketball arena today. Turn the Congressional building into a museum.

        • Do it like Louisiana did with the old Capitol and make it a museum of political history (which in LA really needs its own museum. And it is small but good.)

      • Eleven states have ratified the first article of amendment (from the 12 that were proposed to become the original amendments, the Bill of Rights). That article would cap the number of citizens a representative could represent at 50,000, giving us a House of about 6400 members. We need to get 27 more states to ratify the amendment (it has no expiration date, so it could be done). And then pass the the Bring Congress Home Act (proposed at http://www.americaagain.net), that will relocate all members of Congress to their offices back in their home state, using telepresence technology. This allows us to watch over our representatives at home, rather than letting them team up against us with lobbyists and regulators in D.C.. They would be limited to two terms of office, have only one office (located in their district), maximum staff of two for a congressman or four for a senator, and will be paid 50% of today’s congressman’s salary — with no benefits. It would be a good start. 🙂

        • Sounds good to me. But, a more immediate change should be taking each states population and dividing it by the smallest STATES population, to determine number of congresscritters. This is actually required by the 14th amendment section 2, and is not a reading of the invisible ink between the penumbras.

          “Section 2.
          Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed.”

          NY has a few of those Indians, but not many. Using 2010 census data, NY should have 34 congresscritters, not 27. Seems any citizen of NY should have standing to file a writ of mandamus directly to the SC forcing congress to raise the number of congresscritters since every citizen is underrepresented by having a fixed 435 in congress. But I can’t find a lawyer willing to help me out with it. I see it as a slam dunk case if you read the actual words of the document. And relooking at the census data, NY should have 35, taking into account WY has 2.6% native American and Alaskan only, and NY .6%.

        • One of my beefs is that Congressmen aren’t paid by their constituents. They pay themselves out of Federal money… which they also control.

          I think my district can pay for its own Congressman. And I’d like to see his pay fixed by law to no more than the average the district.

        • Oh, i think we can use an existing federal benefits package that supposedly works fine and is effective….


          *evil laugh*

      • AugustFalcon

        I’d even go a little further and not allow any representative or senator or their staff to leave the district or state they represented while they were in office. They could meet the governing folks in adjacent districts or states face to face by walking up to the border and talking across it. Congress can meet and conduct their business on-line. Basically, I am looking for a way to pop the “beltway bubble” of governance we have now.

    • Why would the House need to expand? The population would remain the same, the only thing that would change are the letters after the party affiliation.

  8. MadRocketSci

    Average man!
    Average man! Does whatever a statistical average of everyone does,
    Hovers around
    an empty dotted line that jerks around
    something something … Average man!

    • Patrick Chester

      I remember a reference to a comic some gaming magazine had featuring an “average man” who was subjected to various role-playing game rules systems to see how long it took to kill him, drown him, etc. Never got ahold of the magazine so didn’t have a chance to read the comic, alas.

  9. “Californication”. *snort* Californicators are a big reason I left Oregon.


    Re: The ‘Average Man’ – I recently saw an article on-line (if I can find it again, I’ll post a link if anyone’s interested) that told of how the Air Force in the 50s wanted to design an optimum cockpit for their pilots because they were experiencing an unacceptable loss rate due to the higher-performance aircraft coming into service. They measured 4K+ pilots for things like height, chest size. arm and leg length, hand size, etc., then went and averaged those measurements to make the ideal cockpit. As it happened, one of the investigators had a flash of inspiration and went back into the data to see how the measurements of the subjects checked against the average. IIRC, he found that when he went above seven criteria, NO ONE was ‘average’. At seven criteria @ 3% fit the average measurements, and so on. In an unusual fit of sanity, and over howls of protest from the manufacturers, the Air Force required all future military aircraft have adjustable cockpits.

    Fit the cockpit to the pilot, not the pilot to the cockpit. What a concept!

    And if this is true in a physical, anatomical sense, how much less so can it be in an intellectual, emotional, and experiential sense?

    • “Fit the cockpit to the pilot, not the pilot to the cockpit. What a concept!
      And if this is true in a physical, anatomical sense, how much less so can it be in an intellectual, emotional, and experiential sense?”

      Forget three dimensions. People’s intellectual, emotional, and experiential sense have N variables. Average may not even be human.

      • Reality Observer

        Yep. Even in a somewhat selected group – such as here – there is not an “average.” I know that there are places where I disagree with Drak, or Lar, or even Sarah. And vice-versa.

        Actually, I look at the “Trump Coalition” – and it is nearly as bad as the Democrats. Not quite the truly bizarre combo of homosexuals and the Islamists that want to kill them – but close.

        If he wins, there are going to be a lot of people denying that they ever, ever, supported him…

        • Life would be interesting under a Trump administration as opposed to definitely awful under a criminal Clinton cabal.

        • I’m not a member of the Trump coalition. If he’s nominated I’m going unicorn cavalry.

        • “If he wins, there are going to be a lot of people denying that they ever, ever, supported him…”
          Heck, those people are now angry at us now for telling them not to support Trump will be angry at us because we didn’t tell them to not support Trump.

          • Ain’t that the truth.

            • The same thing often happens when that friend/family member dates the wrong person or buys the wrong gun or similar thing against your advice. Inevitably they will ask “why didn’t you tell me?” and you say “But I did. Repeatedly. You idiot!”.

              • And if I only had a dollar for every time I’ve gone through this conversation:
                Friend: You know alot about guns. I want to get a gun! What should I get?
                Me: A Glock 19 and a training class. Learn to shoot it well, then you’ll have a good idea of what to get in the future.
                Friend: What about the Boomthumper in .4235 Unobtainum? It looks sooo kewl!!
                Me: Yeah, no, that probably not your best choice because [historically poor QC/ hard to obtain parts/ hard to obtain ammo/ massive recoilFriend: But it’s sooo kewl!!! I’m goona get one!!
                -time passes-
                Friend: Dood! Check out my new Boomthumper in .4235 Unobtainum!!! Want to go shooting!!!
                Me: (sigh) Yeah, sure, why not?
                -at the range-
                Friend: (BOOM) [flinch] *miss*-(BOOM) [flinch] *miss*-(BOOM) [flinch] *jam* {serious cursing}-(BOOM) [flinch] *part breaks*
                Friend: Man, this thing is a piece of junk!! I can’t believe I paid $900 for this {deleted}. You should have told me this was junk!!

                • Sometimes trying to help backfires. Warn a friend off from a bad girlfriend. He takes a second look and dumps her. Next week you meet his new girl who is even worse. You warn him off and his girlfriends keep getting worse. You think to yourself. Damn that first girl wasn’t so bad. By this time your friend has a rep as commitment shy and no one wants to date him.

                • Everyone knows you rent a Boomthumper in .4235 Unobtanium, you don’t buy it!

                  • True enough. But, after “Guns & Advertising” made it the weekly “Gun of the Year!!”, well, he just couldn’t hold back.

                    • Does “Guns & Advertising” nowadays print a disclosure at the bottom about how they were testing a tuned copy of the Boomthumper provided by the manufacturer at a manufacturer-sponsored event, or is this not the norm?

                    • Enh. Keep the Boomenthumper. If it kain’t be did with a .505 Gibbs, I’m not interested in doing it.

                      *pets Thumper* Thumper always go bang. Thumper always hit. Thumper smash. Thumper not always newest and sexiest toy on block, but Thumper can flatten any land animal on the planet, and do a one shot stop on a semi also.

                      And for varmints and small game, I have a poodle shooter: a .338-378 KTH…

        • It’s eerie how much the Trumpettes remind me of 2008 Obamaites.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Same desire for the “Man On A White Horse” to save the day.

            Sadly, a very human desire.

        • How many are denying voting for Obama?

    • When we were designing experiment hardware for on orbit ISS operations crew controls were required to be useable by a broad range of individuals. High end was a 6’2″ male while low end was what the books referred to as the 95th percentile Japanese female.
      Switches, buttons, toggles, electrical and fluid connections, color and font size of labels, all designed to minimize the possibility of human error or waste precious crew time.
      Learned more about ergonomics than I ever suspected even with an Industrial and Systems engineering background.
      And even then some highly educated extremely intelligent astronauts would still manage to insert a tapered sample module in backwards and try to force it in its receptacle with a mallet.

      • The guy must have slept through the day in Astronaut School where they covered “If it’s supposed to go in by hand and you find yourself reaching for a mallet, STOP. You are doing Something Wrong.”

      • Remember that Murphy’s Law was originally a design principle: “If they can do it wrong, they will, So design it so they can’t.”

        From ensuring that the answer to a Yes/No question is a checkbox to designing the plug-ins to have different shapes.

        • You are never able to idiot proof. They will just make a better idiot.

          • You can, however, make things more idiot-resistant.

            • I lean toward building in Idiot Circuit Breakers — flaws built into the system that allow idiots to delete themselves short of blowing things up really big. You cannot make a car be idiot proof, for example, but you can make it so that idiots drain the battery trying to start them, or lock the transmission in low gear. (One under-appreciated aspect of manual transmissions was their tendency to keep idiots to lower speeds.)

              BTW – I am declaring war on “idiot privilege.” “Idiot Privilege” is the tendency to allow certain categories of people to express utterly idiotic opinions (e.g., “fire can’t met steel” & “drinking your own urine is good for you”) without being soundly mocked for their expressed ignorance.

              • “BTW – I am declaring war on “idiot privilege.” “Idiot Privilege” is the tendency to allow certain categories of people to express utterly idiotic opinions (e.g., “fire can’t met steel” & “drinking your own urine is good for you”) without being soundly mocked for their expressed ignorance.” – RES

                *nod* I declared personal war on Idiot Privilege a long time ago. I don’t enter every single battle, but I reserve the right to mock at will stupidities of that sort whenever I care to.

                Everyone has a right to an opinion. They don’t have a right to not be mocked when they demonstrate that they couldn’t formulate a valid opinion with a mainframe and a panel of experts to frame it for them and make their mouths move via the hands up their posteriors.

    • One of the classic examples of “human factors design” was a company that had an unusual number of people missing work due to back pain. They called in Expensive Consultants, who wandered around taking notes for a while. Then they came back one night and sawed exactly one inch off the legs off all the chairs in the factory. Voila! Problem solved.

      They had determined that the chair legs were one inch too long, of course. And by their modification, they just made the chairs uncomfortable for a different group of people… my college instructor got rather pissy when I pointed that out.

      • Yup, that’s the one. And on a re-read I find it was worse than I’d misremembered – it was at just over 3% of *three* criteria where airmen started entering the ‘average’ range, defined as falling within the middle 30% of measurements taken.

        It sucks getting old(er), what with the memory starting to go and all. But I guess it’s better than the alternative . . .

  10. Christopher M. Chupik



  11. I’m reminded of Alvin Toffler’s book “The Third Wave”, published in 1980, one point of which is that due to technology, things were becoming more agile/smaller.

    As I recall, he said that corporations would adapt faster, but the slowest would be large institutions including governments. Seems he was quit prescient.

    • actually corporations are fairly large…

    • MadRocketSci

      What I remember from that book was a lot of nonsense about how the physical industries building actual physical things were so unhip and uncool, and would be swept aside and replaced by a more agile economy based around “symbol manipulation”.

      He may have read the zeitgeist right: It happened, after all. Which is why we now live in a world of crumbling physical infrastructure, while having nice software that the SV crowd is desperately trying to monetize.

      • MadRocketSci

        The entire time I was reading the book, I wanted to shout (didn’t, because it was 3:00 AM in my bunkbed in highschool): Symbols symbolizing what? Where does this finally ground in reality? Without referents, symbols have no meaning.

      • BobtheRegisterredFool

        That reassures me.

        I was sorting some books from my childhood into keepers, dispose of with other people (both of which went into storage) and trash. An example of trash being a very basic reference on computers from the nineties.

        Someone had given me a Toffler book that I’d never read. From an adult perspective, it looked like trash, especially after I looked the fellow up on wikipedia.

        For a little bit, I thought I’d been a bit too hasty.

        • Toffler is a bit like Freud: utter twaddle, but it was important to start thinking about and discussing those issues. The answers count less than opening that discussion.

  12. In “job day” after “job day,” my kids would listen then come home baffled with some variation of “My classmates want to be bureaucrats who make a median salary, marry a median woman, drive a median car and have one or two median children. None of them wants to push, invent, take risks, or make any waves at all. And I can feel the push to be the same. It’s what they want for us.”

    To bang my usual drum– I have no doubt your kids’ classmates would only admit to this.

    No idea how many of them actually desired it; expressing an interest in any of the non-median things is a vulnerability.

    To love is to be vulnerable.

    That’s why I loath the hipster-irony-smirk-pose junk. It even fakes love, and will eviscerate those who actually do make the mistake of showing that they care.

    See also, my reactions to movie directors who “explain” dumb mistakes they made with “it’s a movie!”

    • “The next real literary “rebels” in this country might well emerge as some weird bunch of anti-rebels, born oglers who dare somehow to back away from ironic watching, who have the childish gall actually to endorse and instantiate single-entendre principles. Who treat of plain old untrendy human troubles and emotions in U.S. life with reverence and conviction. Who eschew self-consciousness and hip fatigue. These anti-rebels would be outdated, of course, before they even started. Dead on the page. Too sincere. Clearly repressed. Backward, quaint, naive, anachronistic. Maybe that’ll be the point. Maybe that’s why they’ll be the next real rebels. Real rebels, as far as I can see, risk disapproval. The old postmodern insurgents risked the gasp and squeal: shock, disgust, outrage, censorship, accusations of socialism, anarchism, nihilism. Today’s risks are different. The new rebels might be artists willing to risk the yawn, the rolled eyes, the cool smile, the nudged ribs, the parody of gifted ironists, the “Oh how banal.” To risk accusations of sentimentality, melodrama. Of overcredulity. Of softness. Of willingness to be suckered by a world of lurkers and starers who fear gaze and ridicule above imprisonment without law. Who knows. ”

      ― David Foster Wallace,

      The problem is — the ironist can always be ironical about those who are sincere, even if they are right.

  13. > I can’t imagine a HUMAN world
    > in which they would be right

    I’ve seen some of them blog about that very thing. A few genetic fixups, and New SJW Man would be a reality.

    Well, for values of “man”; the typical rant tends to go off expounding the benefits of getting rid of that nasty Y chromosome too.

    • So, all you’d need first would be a regime powerful and tryannical enough to impose those genetic fixes forcibly — because if it couldn’t, then whoever didn’t get the fixes would run roughshod over the castrati-minds around them.

      And of course, this powerful and tyrannical regime would only impose fixes for the good of all, rather than, say, ones which automatically produced submission to people with certain dominance cues, which would just happen to be the ones possessed by their lineages, because … ?

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        I found it interesting that RAH’s “utopia” in Beyond This Horizon was descended from people who stopped two different “attempts” to better humanity.

        First, there was an attempt to create non-aggressive humans which failed when aggressive humans refused to be pacified and fought back.

        Second, there was an Asian Empire of “Master Brains” who ruled over specialist servant sub-species including a warrior sub-species. This Empire was defeated as the generalist humans targeted the “Master Brains” and none of the servant sub-species were able to survive the death of the “Master Brains”.

  14. Look, guys, if you find an arrow in history tell me, okay?

    The only Arrow of History is the one printed on every Arrow of History believer’s clothing – it says “I’m with Stupid” with an arrow pointing up at their head.

    They just can’t see it since it’s printed on their backs.

  15. Dream big and go small – support Texas secession and independence.

    “The teachers and others pushing this point of view honestly think humans are scary and dangerous… “ – Sarah Hoyt

    But humans are scary and dangerous. See our discussion from the other day in the other thread for all of the evidence to prove that.

    The problem is that the teachers and others pushing that point of view honestly think that that’s a Bad Thing.

    I happen to think that humans being scary and dangerous is one of our virtues.

    “I’ve confessed before that before 9/11 I was an INTERNATIONALIST Libertarian. This tends to make people who know me look at me as though I’d grown a second, evil head… “ – Sarah Hoyt

    *shrug* Prior to 9/11 I was a hard core libertarian with strong anarcho-capitalist and fiscal conservative tendencies. I just then, as now, was not a believer in open borders, what is mislabeled “Free Trade” in most libertarian and other circles, nor an internationalist or transnationalist. Which tended to set me apart from other anarcho-libertarians, and got me frequently denounced as being No True Scotsman.

    I really haven’t changed much either, except that I’ve gotten more conservative in some areas, and my fiscal conservative tendencies have gotten stronger.

    • No, scary and dangerous in the sense that without us the animals on Earth would gambol freely and love each other. Gag.

      • And the peaceful Native Americans would all be living in blissful and Nobel harmony with each other and all of the nature around them, too.

        Double gag.

        We are on the same page, Mrs. Hoyt.

        • The Nobel harmony, maybe… have you seen to whom they give Nobel prizes?


          • Perhaps by “Nobel harmony” he was alluding to Alfred’s other famous invention: dynamite. 😀

            • William Newman

              Make a crater and call it peace! (and harmony for good measure)

            • Yeah yeah. Fat fingered the keys and it was a typo that spell check wouldn’t catch. Bite my shiny metal ass. *grin*

              Heya, all. I have an OT question that someone may be able to field if they want to.

              Whatever happened to Statist Josh? Did he just abruptly drop off the face of the blog here or something and not come back?

              Seems like the discussions here on “Go small and dream big” would have been just the sort of thing that he’d of sunk his teeth into.

              • Maybe his reality got a bit too onerous to include blog visiting?

              • He got on FB where he still follows, echoes, and often answers. BUT FB is eating his social media time. I miss him too.

                • Yeah. Once he learned how to communicate, he was a lot of fun to have around.

                  • Ah. Okay, thanks. Answers that.

                    As I said, I’ve been reading for quite awhile before I ever commented. He was kind of a fixture here for a long time, it seemed, and then he suddenly vanished.

                    I always enjoyed his comments, and I always enjoyed the resulting scrum when all of you would pile on and eat him. *grin* What can I say: I’m easily amused, and not nice people.

                    As another anarcho-libertarian I found him reminding me of myself from 16 or so years ago as often as not, only not quite as bolted down on the arguments and positions as I was then. (But I’d probably been at it a lot longer too.)

                    Oh well. As long as he’s okay and nothing ad happened to him. It’s all good.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Well, I wouldn’t have minded his stubbornness (I can be stubborn) if he’d just listen to what I was saying.

                      On the other hand, I’m not always sure that I can come across clearly. 😉

                    • I like him. he reminded me of myself too. No, he stopped posting the day he got an FB account. Sigh.

            • The grave is a very harmonious place.

      • without us the animals on Earth would gambol freely and love each other.

        You mean in the way we love bacon, right?

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          There was a documentary about some endangered animal and I loved the scene where a “ranger type” was trying to protect a colony of that animal from a predator which was also endangered.

          IE the ranger type couldn’t kill the predator because it was endangered but had to stop it because it was threatening an animal that was also endangered. 😈 😈 😈 😈

          • The Ibex is the national animal of Qatar. They are endangered in the wild. They were saved from extinction by Texas ranchers devoting land for Ibex hunting preserves. The government tried to abolish hunting the endangered species but had to back off after the ranchers said they would kill them off for meat and go back to raising cattle.
            Funny how free enterprise works better than non-profits or government at preserving wildlife.

          • The old saw about what does an activist do if he/she/it sees an endangered animal about to eat an endangered plant?

            • What about an endangered, and starving, carnivore?

              • Especially those big, white, cuddly, northern, maneaters.

                • I’ve seen those much closer than comfortable in the wild(Resolution Island), Griz, big and white they are – except for their noses and bloody paws and muzzles – but cuddly they fer damn sure ain’t. ‘Cepting maybe to fools and drunks – neither of whom would last very long out there where they roam, heh.
                  And another thing, the ones in captivity ain’t near as big as the wild ones.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                Especially if the endangered, and starving, carnivore is eyeing the activist. 😈 😈 😈 😈

                “Somewhat” serious, there was a documentary on the Komodo dragon which is an endangered carnivore.

                The narrator was talking about how nervous he was going down this trail because the Komodo has been known to attack humans.

                Later in the documentary, the narrator was upset that the people living near the Komodo’s range were not concerned about the dragon’s endangered status because of the danger of the dragons attacking them!

                IE the narrator/activist was only concerned about the Komodo dragon attacking him not about the dragons attacking the people living near the dragons. [Frown]

                • Of course, because he is an activist, and therefore an Important Person, while the people that live neat them are just the little people.

        • I’ll remember to discuss this with NeighborCat when he brings his usual dead, thoroughly killed, mangled bit of meat offering sometime this week. NeighborCat is a very loving feline- he loves ear scratching, bacon grease, warm flat spots to lay on, and killing anything smaller than him*.

          *Being part Cape Buffalo, part cat, smaller than him has a somewhat larger than normal range. *shakes head*

  16. I think that either a World Federation or a World Empire is practical and possible in the medium run (and almost inevitable in the long run, with the only real alternative being annihilation of our ecosystem by continual warfare). However, neither of these is the sort of World Government proposed by most modern intellectuals.

    First of all, either would have to be willing to ruthlessly crush any polities not willing to acknowledge its overarching control, or willing to use unprovoked force against other polities (and it would have to enforce its concept of legitimate “provocation”). Secondly, the World Federation would have to work a lot like a classical-liberal 19th-century federalism, or it would degenerate into a World Empire.

    We’ve seen World Empires. The Roman Empire, and various Chinese dynasties. All right, none of them ruled the entire world, but they ruled their local civilized world, expanding to natural boundaries which were easy to defend.

    And they were, of course, of necessity more ruthless than the World Federations.

    In short, world government is not as nice as its proponents imagine. And its only chance of being halfway nice is if it’s determinedly, fanatically Western.

    Otherwise it’s just going to be Huge Thug Empire of Oppression.

    • Heaven forbid we get a Caliphate. They want a World Government more than either the Libtards or Eco-fascists. They have been working towards one for a millennium and a half.

      • Precisely. The One Worlders tend to admire something vaguely like the European Union and hence imagine their One World would resemble it. The fact that the real European Union is getting politically bitch-slapped around by the Terrorists, to the point of its governments telling European women essentially “If you don’t want to get raped, hide. If you don’t hide, don’t defend yourself or we’ll prosecute you” to avoid angering the Muslims, should be a wake-up call to the One Worlders as to just how well this would work.

        Their best hope would be an American-dominated global empire or federation, but they are so used to despising America that they can’t see this clearly.

        • They are also prone to overlook the degree to which the European Union was only able to hang together is that they had a “Big Brother” in the United States who was willing and able to say “Start anything with them and answer to me.”

          • Yep. I noticed the last to join (former Warsaw Pact) are the first to fold their arms, stick their tongues out, and say, “We’ll decide who comes to Poland/Czech Republic/Slovakia/Croatia. And We’ll protect our borders. Thppppth. Who’s gonna stop us?”

            • I don’t blame them. They just got rid of the latest invaders, and now here come the next wave… but at least they can *do* something about this one.

          • I’m still amazed by people who believe world peace will break out if the US military will just get out of the way.

      • If you have two Caliphates, do you have calipers? Are they useful?

    • As Sarah alludes, if we end up with One World Government we’ll also get One World Government Civil Wars 1 through n. There’s nothing in history writ whole that indicates anything else.

      And the more centralized control, the more civil wars – see Rome as a Republic and as an Empire for civil war frequency data.

      • I suspect a One World Government would end up working about as well as the One Rwandan Government worked for the Hutu & the Tutsis.

    • The proponents of 1WG expect to be in charge or, at the very least, the kapos trusties for those in charge.

      Because the one thing they’re really good at is sucking up to power.

  17. The generation that fought WWI embraced it with the fervor of desperate, shell-shocked children. This is why so many of the early science fiction books assume it, and so many of the tv series use it not just as a background for humanity, but as part of what makes a world/breed/etc civilized.

    Free to a good home:
    This CAN work… but turn it inside out.

    The really civilized worlds/cultures/whatever have “one government” because it does so incredibly little– it sets the really big issue definitions, like “murder” and organizing wars or treaties, and all the other stuff is done by “intermediate organizations.” (extended family, church, social clubs, businesses, sane versions of the HOA….)

    • That’s pretty much how a non-tyranical world government would have to work — as a loose federation.

    • The really civilized worlds/cultures/whatever have “one government” because it does so incredibly little– it sets the really big issue definitions, like murder’ and organizing wars or treaties, and all the other stuff is done by ‘intermediate organizations.’ (extended family, church, social clubs, businesses, sane versions of the HOA….)” – Foxfier

      Jame H. Schmitz’s Federation of the Hub, perhaps?

    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      Imagine such a world government with both the USA and the Soviet Union as part of it. 😉

      The problem Foxfier is “how do we get there from here”. 😈

      Note, in one of my unwritten story universes, I have such a government but the Major Earth Powers have more in common than any current Earth governments.

      • Organically speaking? Same way we got to the US.

        Story wise–heck if I know.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          The Original States had lots in common and there were still problems forming the US.

          It would be more difficult to form a Federal system uniting even the Western Nations let alone uniting the Western Nations with Russia & China.

      • Isn’t that Pournelle and Niven’s CoDominium?

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          Yes, IIRC it “worked” only because the US & the Soviet Union didn’t anybody to challenge their power.

          While, it’s been awhile since I read those stories, I suspect it also only continued to work once the Anderson Drive was discovered and the other countries could somewhat escape the CoDominium’s control by sending their people to colony worlds.

          Of course, Pournelle’s Earth was also highly over-populated so that caused problems.

          • And it eventually fell apart in a rain of ICBM’s.

          • Also they stomped hard (as in commando raid hard) on any tech development that *might* upset the CoDo world order.

            Imagine the US and SovUnion descending on all the tech factories in China and India for a taste of the rollout festivities.

        • Exactly.

    • I has plotted a.. pastiche i guess, of John Lennon’s Imagine, in a very high tech world where people who were unhappy had the events which made them such erased (involuntary) and the rebellious were killed, and everyone else’s memories of them erased….

  18. Hey, Diet for a Small Planet is a really good vegetarian cookbook, in that it explains how complimentary proteins work. (We didn’t like all that many of the recipes, but the techniques! Those were what I needed.)
    Really helped when we were newlyweds and had $100/month for groceries, and I use the methods I learned then to help fill up teen boys now.

    • but the idea behind it is stupid. “we all have to be vegetarians because ZOMG large population and it won’t feed everyone.” Poppycock. We were vegetarian when broke too. Wouldn’t work now. because low carb.

    • “A really good vegetarian cookbook?” Why would anyone want to eat a vegetarian?

    • MadRocketSci

      Maybe I’ll look at it. The few times I’ve tried vegetarian things (for experimental purposes, not out of any ‘social duty’ moral sentiment), I’ve had to stop within a few days. Without protein and carbs, I start feeling very ill.

      • Carbs are totally vegetarian. Plants haven’t got the set of amino acids we need, so it’s a matter of pairing them up correctly, like bean dip and corn chips, to make protein. It’s poor folks’ food, and you can see the combinations used as staple foods pretty much anywhere. Lentils and rice, split peas and rye bread, kidney beans and corn bread . . . but you need whole grains not white grains, to make it work right.

  19. Look at “Brave New World”. Sure, you got a happy, peaceful, post-scarcity one world government. BUUUUT, you need genetic manipulation, life long social conditioning, and drugs to make it work… and even then, some islands to toss the occasional odds that just don’t fit.

    • MadRocketSci

      I sort of hope the opposite of “Brave New World” happens. In fact, it’s getting worked into my cyberpunk future sci-fi setting I’m working on. A sort of inverted and twisted take on the war on drugs. (And yes, I realize other people have done similar things in fiction before.)

      People develop drugs and modifications to make themselves smarter, more energetic, and more capable. Not hobbled and less capable. The elites desperately want these nootropic drugs, and at the same time desperately want to keep them from the proles, so they cannot simply kill the scientists who have developed them, or destroy the labs which produce them.

      For a while there, every possible drug to make you dumber, addicted, and less capable becomes ‘socially responsible’, and almost mandatory, while any of the useful things like antibiotics, disease treatments, and the new nootropics become ‘socially dangerous’ and those who use them brutally hunted, When you can cram an organic chemistry textbook in a week or two though, and learn glassblowing even though laboratory glassware becomes illegal for civilians to own, the cat slips out of the bag. A brief war develops over who exactly gets to decide how capable your mind is.

    • MadRocketSci

      If society needs your mind altered, or if society needs you hobbled, then far from being something that supports you against a hostile state of nature, it is instead your most implacable and mortal enemy.

      Having been drugged into submission in early elementary school, this is a topic I have some rather strong sentiments about.

      • Praise the Lord I escaped that fate. Had I been a few years younger, I would have also been drugged.

        • valium. And I am older.

        • Two couples we know had kids who were “unruly in school.” They didn’t see anything wrong with the school “helping” them with drugs. After all, the school knew best, right?

          Both kids are now adults. Addicts with felony records. It seems to be a fairly common result. But hey, the teacher didn’t have to exert herself to maintain order in the classroom, so it’s all win, right?

        • There’s one boy I’m watching, because he’s at the age where Ritalin becomes an upper. ‘Twil be an interesting next year or so.

          • There’s also the possibility that it won’t happen. I was initially diagnosed with “hyperactivity” (1968) and put on Ritalin. After a month of me being a zombie my mother essentially said no more.

            Today, caffeine doesn’t really affect me and I metabolize sedatives and anesthetics VERY fast. I never am groggy after anesthesia. I suspect my metabolism is still flipped.

  20. One thing that’s different about the United States vs all those other countries is mobility and acceptance of “others”. In my case, it falls on the extreme side. I don’t have a direct line ancestor on either side of my family who has died within 50 miles of where they were born since their arrival in North America. As a result, I have no close knit family of cousins and aunts and uncles nearby to rely on. I grew up mostly in what central planners refer to as “bedroom communities” where the family lives, but Dad goes off to work somewhere else. I remember each years class had a bunch of new members, and others who were missing. There was a sense of community, but there really isn’t a way to call it tribal.

    And my time in the Navy? My oldest kids saw a 20-30% turnover in classmates each year. And were part of that turnover every 3-4 years. Can pretty much guarantee loyalty of most was to the nation as a whole, and not just the people near them.

    That kind of rapid population turnover while civic functions such as churches, Scouts, Masons, Rotary, and others continue to function smoothly simply don’t happen elsewhere.

    OTOH, there’s where I live now. My youngest was born here. His graduating class is about a hundred or so. He says there are 5 people in the class he didn’t go to kindergarten with. And as far as relations go, I have been tracing all the branches of my tree, in particular my mother’s maiden surname. Started out near Powhaten, VA. And as I’ve been tracing, the family has had a continuous presence there from the 1700’s until this very day. There’s another few spots where they’ve been camped out since 1800 or so. Very prolific bunch.

    Don’t know how it is in Powhaten, but here, with a very large percentage of the population being related by blood or marriage, I note that the sheriff’s department shows up percentagewise more often at homes where families live that have been in place for generations rather then at the homes of us relative newcomers. Just because you’re part of the same family or tribe doesn’t mean you get along. It can mean conflicts that are generations old that have never been resolved.

    My loyalty is towards the Constitution, which binds us all together. It irritates the hell out of me when judges read the invisible ink between the lines of the emanating penumbras to find things that aren’t there. Whether they be Roger Taney or William Douglas. Finding things that aren’t there diminishes it, and diminishes the respect that people must hold for it in order for it to unify us. If it simply means anything nine justices declare it mean, regardless of the words, then it means nothing.

    • Worse, it doesn’t take nine. Five of the Supremes (when fully constituted) can have major impact on society. That’s why I’d like to see, at least in criminal cases, unanimity on questions with the potential to punish citizens.

      Re: Things that aren’t in the Constitution – One of my gripes with Rash Limbaugh is his contention that the right to privacy isn’t in the Constitution. Sure it is, in the Ninth Amendment, which states that just because a right isn’t specifically mentioned in the document itself doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.

      • MadRocketSci

        I have this discussion with some more conservative friends of mine sometimes. They don’t seem to feel the need for privacy quite as keenly as I do.

        Without privacy, as the totalitarian left is fond of crowing, the “personal becomes political”. Anything and everything becomes subject to social reprisal and coercion.

        There is a reason why the secret ballot is secret, after all. Could you imagine what would happen to people who voted ‘incorrectly’ if it wasn’t? Our republic wouldn’t last very long, IMO.

        I’m in graduate school – lefty central. I keep a mask on tight. I’ve sat blank faced through dinner party political discussions where “my kind” were talked about like some kind of disease that needed to be dealt with. (Well, I spoke up a bit in defense of my country, the 1st amendment, and that our ‘degenerate backwards nation’ was one of the first bastions of religious freedom – that kept things from going completely fascist. But still.)

        • MadRocketSci

          As far as I’m concerned, it would be a major victory for the safety of a free society if the “going dark” scenario that the FBI/CIA/NSA crowd has been fearing and fighting for the past 20 years finally manifested.

          Bad guys probably will do bad things with communications devices, if no one can break into anyone’s computers without their permission and spy on them. But we’d avoid the rapidly approaching nightmare world where your amazon reading list comes up in a job interview, or gets you identified for harassment by the IRS, or where you’re hauled into a kangaroo court and it is demanded that you prove you didn’t knowingly have “criminal information” on electronic devices that were confiscated from you and broken into. (Yes: With cyber-crime, it is unreasonable to expect the court to prove your guilt. You have to prove your innocence.) Or where, as in China, your “political reliability” credit score decides whether or not you get a permit to travel outside of your city – a score which is dependent on who you associate with, and for how long, and what *their* political reliability is.

          • MadRocketSci

            PS – the salient thing about bad guys isn’t the bad things they do with their cell phones and forums (which, however horrible and sad, is still *within their rights*), it’s the bad things they do with *bombs* and *weapons*.

            • I am… probably as hard core on the privacy thing as any anarcho-libertarian.

              That said, we had a rule of thumb back in the BBS days that ran: it’s a given that the NSA/FBI etc can eavesdrop on any electronic communications that they want to, whenever they want to. Cell phones/radio phones too. Electronic intercept is what the NSA does.

              Therefore, if one is doing anything that one doesn’t want the Gov to know about,then don’t post it online, anywhere, no matter how good you think your encryption is.

              Meet in person, have walk and meets where there’s crowds and crowd noise to help render shotgun mikes less accurate, and don’t have them in places that you or the other guy usually frequents. Don’t put it on a computer, and don’t send it over a phone.

              *shrug* If you don’t want it listened to, read, or seen, don’t post it online.

              And this was back in the days of Bulletin Boards when cell phones and mobile phones were the size of a brick, or mounted in cars.

              I think that it’s Bad and Wrong (in the true hackish sense of the term) that we have to worry about this from the Gov. I also think that if I’m going to engage in criminal or subversive activities, then it’s my job to do it smart and not get caught – and their job to catch me.

        • I remember an “Honors” seminar back in college where this speaker was explaining how America was still uncivilized. That we had much work to do to catch up to Europe. Everybody was nodding along with him. We had to turn in a review of the lecture to get credit. My critique earned me a C- because I obviously hadn’t been paying attention.

          I think graduate school would have driven me ‘Postal’ as we used to say. Good luck with your studies.

        • > secret ballot

          [waves hand] Not in my precinct, as of a few years ago. Not that they can make a reasonable assurance of, anyway.

          With the old system we had cardboard ballots and fat laundry markers. We marked our choices and dropped the ballot into a box. Later, some local “senior citizens” sat at cafeteria tables and sorted them.

          As a former IT security guy, I thoroughly approve of that system.

          The new “electronic” system involves identifying ourselves to an election official, who enters the data into a laptop with what looks like an 8-track tape plugged into it. She disconnects the box and hands it to another election official, who walks you over to an easel with an electronic voting machine. She slides the box into the side of the machine, then stands behind you to “help”, whether you want any or not. When you’re done she disconnects the box and takes it back to the first official, who plugs it back into her laptop and downloads the data before preparing it for the next voter.

          My vote is secret? Really? I’d be upset, except I’m pretty sure the information they collect has no relation to what the “official” count is going to be.

        • And the sad part is that IIRC where you are is one of the saner ones. Never really had any feeling of ostracization at Tech

      • Actually, it’s definitely there in the 4th amendment:

        “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

        No, it doesn’t use the word “privacy,” but what else could “to be secure in there persons…against unreasonable searches and seizures” mean?

        • No, “a right to privacy” would be one of those “positive rights” things, while the 4th is a negative right– we’ve already got at least the possibility for privacy, we can’t have a right to force others to ignore us or not bother us.
          The 4th just says that the gov’t can’t actively violate our privacy without specific reasons and in a limited way.

          Sort of like how “right to life” is actually more like “a right not to be killed.”

          • If the government can’t actively violate our privacy etc. etc., how is that not a right to privacy? Now if you’re arguing that these amendments only apply to the federal government, that is possibly true, although the 14th amendment is generally taken to extend the constitutional limitations down onto all subsidiary governments. We do have a right to freedom of association, from the first amendment, which must necessarily include the freedom to not associate if we choose not to do so. Between these two amendments (one and four), we have a right to privacy.

            • If the government can’t actively violate our privacy etc. etc., how is that not a right to privacy?

              Privacy is a thing you may have or not, depending on your own behavior you can gain it or lose it.

              The 4th just prevents the gov’t from taking it away without a really good reason.

              We do have a right to freedom of association, from the first amendment, which must necessarily include the freedom to not associate if we choose not to do so.

              Each of us has it; that means that we are free to pursue privacy, but we can’t force others to give it to us– if we choose to associate with person A, who is associated with B, we can’t make B not associate with us. We can choose to keep our privacy, or we can choose to be involved with person A.

              Privacy is a result— rather like “happiness” or “success.”

              • You say, “The 4th just prevents the gov’t from taking it away without a really good reason.” I would have to ask, take what away? If the answer is, “your privacy,” then you are agreeing that we have a right to privacy. Do you see how your argument really doesn’t make much sense?

                • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                  Privacy (and the desire for privacy) can exist without a “Right To Privacy”.

                  Of course, the major threat to privacy has always been nosey friends/relatives/neighbors not the government.

                  I suspect that when the Founders thought about “threats to Privacy” they thought more of private citizens intruding.

                  IRRC the 4th amendment was originally more about abuse of government power than privacy.

                  According to English Law, an officer of the State could search your home for the littlest reason but if said officer found nothing, you could sue him and would likely win.

                  However, according to English Law, if the officer had a warrant, then you could not sue him.

                  Apparently, warrants were easy to get in England and had been used to harass people that the officer didn’t like or his superiors didn’t like.

                  The 4th was originally intended to make issuing of warrants more difficult by resisting the issuing to when there was good reason to suspect that the person the warrant was issued against was involved in illegal activities.

                  Oh, apparently in England if a warrantless search found evidence of illegal activities on your part, the evidence could be used against you in your trial.

                  Mind you, I have no problem with the more modern legal view of the 4th regarding “warrantless searches”.

                • So you are declaring we have a right to a result, rather than a right to attempt to achieve it and to not have the government prevent the result?

                  • So having a right to life, or a right to liberty, isn’t a right to a result? Of course we have a right to privacy. This is a natural right, not one conferred by government. The first and fourth amendments just prevent government from interfering with that right without just cause. I think you misunderstand just what rights are and where they come from.

                    • So having a right to life, or a right to liberty, isn’t a right to a result?

                      Life is a starting state of being. So is liberty. Privacy is something you have to work to try to get — like “pursuit of happiness.”

                      I think you misunderstand just what rights are and where they come from.

                      I think you misunderstand the argument I’ve been making; I’ve rephrased it three times, and you’re still responding either to things I didn’t say, or ignoring things that I did.

                      That usually means that what you’re hearing is not what I’m saying.

                      If you’d like to keep going, please re-read what I actually wrote; if you’re not that into it, just stop, too. Sometimes things can’t be argued out without having to define all the terms, build up the definition of world-as-we-know-it, and then it just identifies exactly where we disagree.

                    • I’m happy to end this discussion. And I agree, there’s a misunderstanding here. I just think it’s yours rather than mine.

              • “Each of us has it; that means that we are free to pursue privacy, but we can’t force others to give it to us– if we choose to associate with person A, who is associated with B, we can’t make B not associate with us. We can choose to keep our privacy, or we can choose to be involved with person A. ”

                But the government can force you to disclose information to it, and make it public. See Brandon Eich for the result of that.

                • Check out the bullies up here in Washington that sued for a list of targets, ie those who had signed a petition for a cause the bullies did not like.

      • The right to privacy would be far less controversial if the Roe v. Wade decision hadn’t used it as a pretext: “[the] right of privacy … is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.” Even if I supported abortion (I don’t: I’m against the deliberate killing of innocent human beings), I’d think that that is some of the most twisted logic I’ve ever seen. There’s just nothing inherent in the right to privacy that says anything about abortion.

        But now, any time someone mentions the right to privacy, pro-life conservatives are going to think it’s a run-up to arguing for abortion, and will be inclined to a kneejerk reaction. Which is, I think, what’s going on with Limbaugh. The right to privacy certainly is inherent in the Fourth Amendment’s ban on unreasonable search and seizure, and the government violates it all the time. But Limbaugh is thinking specifically about Roe v. Wade when he hears “privacy”, when he should instead be thinking about (to pick just one example among many) traffic cameras.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard


        • Or he’s thinking of it as more active.

          Kind of like the difference between a right to health care and a right to not be prevented from accessing healthcare.

        • It amazed me, when I took History of the US Constitution, to learn that the right to privacy started in response to a law making it illegal for married couples to have contraceptives (Griswold vs. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 [1965]) and turned into, er, all sorts of stuff.

          • To add, how Griswold et al tested the law is, yeah, I’m not thrilled by, but the Comstock Laws were destined to go away or be heavily modified anyway.

  21. … in the end we win, they lose.

    I dunno ’bout that. I see a lot of adherents to the Samson Solution, aka: If I Can’t Have It, Nobody Else Can.

  22. Travel between states: I’ve read there used to be an Oregon bumper sticker that said “Don’t Californicate Oregon”. I read now comments about people leaving their deeply Democrat states for “Red” states and then agitating to implement dem/leftist/liberal policies. Oregon got Californicated, NewYorked, Massachussettesed, Joisyed, etc.

    • There is a very good and sufficient reason why damnyankee is a single word in the south, and it’s no longer just about thee war of northern aggression.

    • The Other Sean

      In defense of the state of my birth, New Jersey got NewYorked first. Droves of residents of the Big Apple not wanting to pay an arm and a leg for a house (or a decent apartment) have been moving to New Jersey since at least as far back as the 1860’s, when steam ferries and railroads made it viable to live in NJ and work in Manhattan. It only got worse with trans-Hudson rail tunnels, and the automobile tunnels and bridges – that made it viable for the lower middle class and working class! There’s no end in sight, either.

      • Even worse than that. Before I left PA (back in 2009), the New Yorkers were moving into the Poconos en masse, and then complaining that the beautiful rural areas they were infesting weren’t the City they just left. They were pissing off a lot of the locals, as usual, with their constant whining arrogance.

    • I think PowerLine’s Week in Pictures some months (years now?) back had a photo of a bumper sticker and a TX plate in the shot. The sticker read: “Vote conservative. If liberalism worked, you’d still be in California.”

    • Just don’t go there and pronounce it Ore-gone. You’ll be instantly pegged as a Californicator. It’s Ore-gun.

      • Oh-ree-gone.


      • Hm – born and raised in Silicon Valley and I’ve never said it any way other than “Ori-gunn,” and that’s the way I’ve heard it visiting folks up there, wither for work up outside Portland or family and friends around the Ashland-Medford area.

        Frankly, the weirdest most culturally jarring thing about Ori-gunn for this Californian is that they won’t let you pump your own gas.

  23. Kinda On Topic: Mutti Multikulti (Chancellorin Angela Merkel) has a problem.
    (I wouldn’t call AfD far-Right, but compared to the CDU and CSU, well, OK)

    • I wouldn’t call AfD far-Right, but compared to the CDU and CSU, well, OK

      I was noticing just this while reading openly alarmist coverage of the German regional elections in the english language DW stories online (umm…here’s one example) so I dug in a bit – the AfD’s continuously-repeated “far right” label seems to be based on A) their opposition to open-borders no-questions-asked no-limits immigration, which is the issue that is getting them votes, along with B) skepticism of the EU, and C) opposition to the German bank bailouts of Greece.

      No “stabbed in the back,” no “living room,” no “superiority of the aryan race,” no “look out France!” and no trace of “kill all the !!” – just “Whoa, why do these people all get to come here?” and “Gee, should we be giving all this money to the Greeks?”

      It is possible, as DW seems to believe, that these positions are all just a clever ploy masking the true evil AfD leadership inner thoughts that only DW has magically divined. I certainly don’t have any inside knowledge. But the “far right” label seems to be something just assigned and repeated continuously by the German press without much backup, and when the press anywhere hammers something like that I am suspicious.

      I also noticed that, per the DW coverage anyway, there does not appear to be any such thing as a “far left” party in German politics, and even “left” is seldom seen in their stories, even when fully earned as re the Green Party.

      • When did Right become synonymous with evil instead of correct? Personally I believe Left is synonymous with wrong, not good. Anyway the MSM and I use different dictionaries.

        • Well, the words mean what they tell you they mean, right?

          Also, as per the recent revelation on their New Years assault coverage, the German media are much more closely controlled by the German government than anyone thought.

          Those two thoughts together paint a very different picture of “modern Germany” than had previously been the case.

        • It’s in part a German thing, when the social and political conservatives (19th century style) and middle class allied against the Communists in 1919-1920, then didn’t stop the NSDAP in the 1930s. So Right = not-real-socialists = bad.

      • Interesting insight from the German-language Swiss press (relayed via a roundup of foreign press coverage in DW here):

        The Neue Zürcher Zeitung similarly saw a “warning shot towards Berlin” and next year’s federal elections in Sunday’s results, calling them a “clear signal of [voter] dissatisfaction.” The paper says the established parties have two political responses open to them: either to recognize “that the majority of the voters for the fast-climbers [the AfD] are not merely a bunch of grubby racists, extremists and simpletons, who are best ignored” or, alternatively, to launch into “an indignant outcry in the media and politics about the threat from the ‘right-wing-populist’ AfD.” The second scenario, Peter Rasonyi writes, seems the most likely reaction, “but it’s not too late to reconsider.”

  24. “…decisions should be made on as local a level as possible, not only because people accept that better, but because people closer to the problem are less likely to think it’s a great idea to sow wheat in the snow or to teach all the kids that the sky is made of green cheese.” I am suddenly reminded of a Kelly Freas Analog cover: a man, facing a wall of weapons (clubs to blasters), is picking up a…file folder. Which IS a weapon of personal destruction.

  25. Small is nice. But the dynamic of empire is you can defend your circumference with the resources you generate from your area. Generally speaking, the pi r bigger the better.

  26. You little people and your damned dreams! Just knock it off, will you, and enjoy your basic living stipend. For chrissakes, we’re paying for your vapes, wifi and lattes, what the hell more do you want?!


  27. Christopher M. Chupik

    My parent’s generation was promised the stars. Mine was promised the selfie-stick.

    • Your kids will be beaten with that selfie stick after they get done with you.

      • OTOH the selfie-stick is replacing lions, leopards, and bears as the #3 way to remove the terminally clueless from the gene pool (after motor vehicles and self-medication with unknown pills, mushrooms, and berries.)

  28. I would like to point out that there’s nothing *wrong* with wanting to live an average life.
    However, there’s nothing in there that says you have to live an average life in an average way.

  29. And if you want to see what an actual word governemnt would look like then cast your eyes across the pond tothe EU. And note that a significant portion of the UK wants to leave for reasons that in many respects come from this blog post (e.g. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/eureferendum/12192893/Americans-would-never-accept-EU-restrictions-so-why-should-we.html )

    There was an argument a decade or two back in the EU about the concept of subsidiarity, which was a way to say that decisions shoul dbe pushed down to the lowest/smallest level/group that needed to take them and not all be micromanaged from the top. In fact IIRC subsidiarity is mentioned in one or more of the EU treaties. However the EU, while it may preach subsidiarity, completely fails to practice it and I believe that this is, essentially, a consequence of Pournelle’s Iron Rule of Bureaucracy. Essentially that if you are a faceless Eurocrat you can’t grow your empire if you keep letting other people make their own mind up about things.

  30. The problem is the people who want to run the show are the same ones who always want to run the show: the Student Council, the Church Board, the Townhouse Association, the City Council. The supposed saving grace in the Go Small system is that the busybodies’ area of control is small so the damage area is limited. Except every area is under the control of the same type of people – different individual busybody units but all busybodies – so the damage is universal. Plus, they’re mobile which is why Colorado is facing Californication. The solution, of course, is to ruthlessly exterminate busybodies but they’ve thought of that and shamelessly made it illegal, creating a real conundrum for the law-abiding.

    • Or to stop being lazy and don’t let them run things up to the point where they annoy you, and then object.

      Yeah, it’s a lot of work. No, throwing your hands up and declaring the work doesn’t need to be done at all doesn’t magically make the dishes get washed.

      My family has been volinteers for ages– most of my volinteering these days is digital, in the form of being a guild leader or (more usually) Guild Management. It’s pretty much like running any other social club. People whine, complain and throw fits, and nine times out of ten the only ones who are willing to complain and willing to help are the ones who will take over the guild and run it into the ground when you get exhausted.

      So a responsible adult has to get involved– even if most of it involves either standing athwart yelling “STOP,” or doing some of the jobs nobody wants to do, because you can be trusted to just do the bleeping job– and then keep the control freaks from taking over.

      It’s almost never as satisfying as getting to yell or complain, either; usually you have to actually adult and be the person quietly telling someone with a bright deal like: “we’ll have the entire club work five hours every first Saturday to do work and give the money to the club!” that while it would mean a lot of money, nobody will actually willingly do it. And you have to do it in a way that will actually persuade them, which will depend on the person themselves.

      The number of “busybodies” who are absolutely useless and in a position of authority in the lower level systems is pretty dang low. They have to be granted their authority directly by those they’re working around, and there aren’t nearly as many people who will do it without paying any attention as folks seem to believe. (I blame how hard it is to start a new group from scratch, and how an awful lot of existing formal groups are under the control of the same folks who’ve been there the last 20 years– so most of the ‘clubs’ people think about, they’re actually relative newcomers who want to change things, rather than founding members where someone is going nuts.)