A guest post from Austen Erickson:
Congratulations on obtaining your new country! Whether you were elected by a majority of citizens who could be bothered to vote, appointed by the previous (and outgoing) party elite, or you have just staged a military coup, be assured that you have not only the power to rule – but the right to do so! The people – your people – have implicitly agreed to a social contract listing you as the ultimate authority, so be confident in your reign!
The pivotal question that is most disagreed upon by everyone in politics is “how much power should the state have?” Answers range from: totalitarianism, with the argument being that a state must control everything to maintain order, nothing can be entrusted to private interests because they might make mistakes; to anarchy, where all necessary services can be provided by the market. Most people that call themselves libertarians lie between a tiny state and no state, in a sort of limbo about whether the state should exist or not, I call them anarcho-curious.
Most statists see the state as a Santa Claus figure, giving goodies out to all the poor people and not giving any critical thought as to where those goodies really come from. I would imagine most people reading this would have some sort of critical thought and know that the government doesn’t magically great goodies to hand out. I would imagine that most people following this blog would be against a Santa Claus state. However I too believe that government should be like Santa, but in another way: unseen, unheard and questionable as the whether it even exists or not. This is a model that the anarcho-curious can quite easily grab on to and help perpetuate. Surely it’s harder to convince the statists that their belief in mandatory government is false than it is to tell them that the government is actually secretly in charge of everything and everything good that the free market does is actually the government. Just like Santa Claus and the tooth fairy, children can grow up believing in government and when they come of age we can reveal to them that everything they thought the government was doing is being handled by private individuals working in the market. The statists will be happy thinking that government controls everything and will not seek to ruin our lives because they’re scared that if someone doesn’t control everything bad things will happen.
Of course there will have to be some changes, even the most die hard capitalists will admit there are some things that a free market cannot fix and naturally people will go looking for the government to get it to try and fix the unfixable as well as satisfy their need to vent their frustrations, I propose having a fake politician go around and pretend to listen to people, just like a department store Santa. People can come and air their grievances to these people. It would be a hard job listening to socialists whine all day, but it would be a necessary public service that I would gladly do to keep the socialists from bothering us and I could probably convince some of them that they owe taxes to me. As for voting, fake elections would be held every 3 years the voting would all be done online and all the candidates would be the same person in different disguises. Anyone wanting to run for office would have be given a 1900-number to call, an automated answering device would pick up and have them follow a never ending series of prompts and they would eventually get fed up and hang up. Parliamentary TV broadcasts like Question Time could just be a bunch of actors, some people might protest to ad breaks in parliament, but you can always fund it through product placement in speeches, and by the level of discourse you see in Question Time it would be more believable. Welfare is a bit trickier; trying to guilt recipients out of it hasn’t worked in the past; a better solution would be playing on their dogmatic faith in government and fear of the free market and say that welfare is actually capitalism in disguise.
The only downside to all this is that we will be forced to lie to our statist friends and family about what is really going on lest they become despondent and confused because they’ve just found out their whole world is a lie. You may have a friend that you really want to tell, but exposing them to the idea that they are actually responsible for their own actions and have been their entire life is a concept too shocking for most people. Just like a parent taking their hands off a kid’s bike when they’re learning to ride, it’s something that has to be done silently lest the rider lose confidence and crash. It’s up to you to keep your statist friends and family ignorant so they don’t freak out and actually try to govern us.
Clearly the Santa Claus model of government is the best. It allows everyone the level of government they want, all they have to do believe in it. The best thing is it’s not that different from the model we have now: A group of people that pretend to fix problems while wasting a lot of money, the only difference is we’re just adding another level of pretend. One day we may not have to keep the ruse, but until society is ready to accept our right to self-governance, we will just have to perpetuate the myth that the state exists.
In Australia, universities are currently on their summer holidays. This is a time where instead of allowing students to finish their degrees earlier, universities allow their lecturers to do their “real work” without all those pesky students to teach. In the absence of formal education students need to find fun ways of learning more about economics. In response to this need I have created the Paul Krugman drinking game. The rules of the game are simple.
1. First one person is chosen to read articles from Paul Krugman’s New York Times blog, the Conscience of a Liberal.
2. Everytime Prof. Krugman refers to one of his own papers or claims to have written about something before anyone else you have a drink.
3. Don’t drive home after this game as you will be very drunk.
Just to be fair to Paul Krugman I have enjoyed reading many of his papers, blog entries and his book return to Depression Era Economics.
There has just been another instalment of the old “24 Hr media cycle” lament from Canberra. This time it’s from Julia, who is fretting that that the Internet and pace of the news cycle were working against in-depth discourse. Don’t get her wrong, she jurst lurves the opportunities of the Internet and rejoices in its influence in the “democratization of public space.” (This may put her at odds with Communications Minister, Conroy, who is obsessed with censoring it.)
The gist of these arguments is that the constant need to feed the cycle results in a lack of depth in debate with the result that politicians appear to be shallow and puerile. No explanation is given of why they appeared that way before the rise of the 24 hr cycle which has retaliated by blaming the government’s 24-hour spin cycle.
In an example of the problem, Federal Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten called for Australians to respect the census and not kid around. He feels that the question on religion should only be answered in ways that the government recognizes. He has specifically banned Jedi’s, and Pastafarians, none of whom will be counted. The Jedi faith responded with a press release today: Read more »
Today, Nixon’s War on Drugs is celebrating its 40th birthday. Nanny staters everywhere are joining with sadists, wowsers, police state groupies, and dog haters in raising the odd glass, while thinking up new ideas to get tougher on the population at large. After all, ‘if it saves one life….”
Some of the images here are sickening to the point where most of our current crop of authoritarians will probably get off on it:
Australians remember Rudd’s War on drugs, but compared to these guys, he was not really taking it seriously. Of course, his was just one of the campaigns in his wider “war on everything.”
FEE has a fitting tribute to the occasion here including Nixon’s ‘mission accomplished’ statement.
Meanwhile, Arlo Guthrie credits the Narcs for his rise to success in his own inimitable way.
Al as you all probably know invented the Internet, or at least claims to have done so, or maybe it’s an urban legend he has somehow not gotten around to correcting.
In the ultimate case of the application of the law of unintended consequences it is now claimed that in the process he has doomed humanity and all furry and cuddly critters to extinction.
For those of you are probably going to dismiss such a claim as rubbish, you will find that you are on the wrong track. Try to use the logic, (or what passes for it) of the climate tragics who see doom at every turn.
Lets face it, in the good old days before Big Al unleashed the power of the net on an unsuspecting left, if you had the politicians eying off a new source of plunder, (check), the media in the bag, (check), and a large body of scientists on government grants to prove your disaster scenario, (check), you had it made. If some idiot had contrary evidence, it didn’t matter; nobody was going to hear about it anyway.
Richard Glover in the Sydney Morning Herald is on to it though. The Internet is allowing the unwashed hordes who don’t even read Dostoevsky to express their ignorant and dangerous views for all to see. Worse still, there is no one out there to counter their outrageous claims. Read more »