As would be expected, I am still depressed and still trying to sort out my trilemma from Monday. The plan is to taper down off caffeine again, over the course of two-weeks. It’ll give me time to be a lazy meat puddle and introspect. Besides which, I’m missing the old buzz and needing only a shot or two to get it.
A More Perfect Union
I discussed previously how I was impressed by our current analyses of First Past The Post voting and the side effects it has on government (which are observable today in the US), and this inspired me to look for other bugs in the system — ideology-neutral* changes we could make that would naturally result in better representation of the public by the government.
After the Trump election, I’ve been in damage control mode, which I don’t think has been more productive, though among my many rants about specific events, I was able to get across some of the several ideas that might make for better governance. Most of my notions never became an essay because I was writing about something else at the time. Others are kinda incomplete.
One of the things I will try to do in the near future is enshrine them here. That way when some future archeologist finds my work and is still dealing with government corruption and decadence problems, my ideas may still serve, much the way the scholars of Rome have informed modern philosophies.
I should clarify and disclaim: In 1945, Einstein reflected on the dropping of the atomic bomb and his contribution to that event. If only I had known he thought I should have become a watchmaker. I’m not Einstein. To be fair, Einstein wasn’t Einstein (in that way) either. If he hadn’t discovered relativity, eventually someone else would, maybe not in time for the end of WWII, but it would have happened, and someone probably would have dropped a couple of nukes before we decided this was a really bad idea and we should avoid using them. My ideas on how to build nations that hold together are not unique to me, and if I am doing anything unique, it’s juxtaposing ideas together so that they make a certain sort of sense. (Such as our objectification of actresses and our objectification of football players.) Nothing that I say is new, but is only expressed in one more way, by one more person.
One incomplete idea that a nation should have crazy extreme sunshine laws. Air Force major reports a UFO? You’ll have the transcript tomorrow. A senator is writing up an abortion bill? The current version is available on his website. Arkansas woting machines are getting new software? A link on the government site will direct you to the code. Clinton and Trump both colluded with Russia? Any of us can look up their email history and see who said what to whom. There’s no executive privilege: state business is the people’s business.
Our government agencies are addicted to overclassification, which not only covers the butts of our officials, but also conceals their corruption. By keeping government action hidden, it doesn’t have to be explained to the public. It also allows for subversive activity that more serves the personal interests and intra-state political interests of our officials than it does the the interests of the public. Overclassification, insufficient oversight and obstruction to FOIA requests have lead to some really scary official policies (such as torture and mass-surveillance). It’s allowing the United States to turn monstrous in ways it couldn’t (at least without a fight) if these policies were forced into the public eye via extreme sunshine laws.
Granted, that would make all the states seem like Florida, where weird shit happens all the time. Some Floridians suspect that it’s not that Florida is where weird shit happens, but that sunshine laws assure that they get made public when they happen, which news agencies comb for and report. A greater concern is operational intelligence: where our military units are, and what they’re doing. But these can be often declassified in a matter of days or weeks after the fact. Our police would complain because their methods often rely on security through obscurity which causes problems by disallowing for public penetration testing also leaving the police open to espionage by organized crime.
But in this case, I don’t know everything, and while I can’t think of other reasons we might need to keep secrets, that isn’t to say they don’t exist. Hence I can’t fully endorse extreme sunshine laws, and I don’t know if endorsing such a thing is even possible. But if it is possible, it’s a thing government by the people needs to stay by the people.
* Curiously, some things that I imagined once-upon-a-time would totally not be ideologically neutral have become full on identity-flagging platform positions: Support for the US policy of Extrajudicial detention and torture of alleged enemy combatants (in violation of the Fifth Amendment as well as the Geneva Conventions) is now a GOP and conservative flag. Strict gun control (in violation of the second and ninth amendments) is now a DNC and progressive flag, even though it runs contrary to liberalism (that is, the preservation of liberty). Right now identities are more important than platforms, and voters are willing to condone atrocity when it targets political-identity enemies or is endorsed by identity leaders. Our politics are getting very culty.