Re: We luv the guv't

Charlie Stross (
Fri, 16 Jan 1998 10:08:33 +0000

On Fri, Jan 16, 1998 at 12:37:59AM -0800, Hara Ra wrote:
> James Daugherty wrote:
> > The govt's reaction to cloning is just a hint of how anti-extropian it is and
> > will continue to be unless a popular anti-govt memetic field can be erected.
> So why preach to the choir? I can't think of a single extropian who has
> any love for the government. IMHO being anti gov't is just another
> entropic hole anyway.

Me! Me! (Fx: jumps in the air wavimng arms excitedly.) I love the government!

At least ... er, they didn't soak me for as much income tax as I was
expecting this year. (Must send my accountant a bottle of champagne.)

Or do you mean the concept of 'government' in general, rather than any
specific administration?

Seriously, though. If you look at things from the perspective of social
darwinism, an argument can be made that Government -- as a concept --
must have been, if not beneficial, then at least a functiona, rugged,
and competitive concept at some time in the past. Otherwise it wouldn't
be so ubiquitous today.

I don't like facile generalisations like "government BAD" and "free market
GOOD". Both institutions may bring benefits and may be open to abuse,
depending on the specific implementation. What I want to know is WHY
governments at the end of the twentieth century have become bloated,
inefficient, and counterproductive monsters that are resented by many
of their citizens.

Anyone got any good ideas? (Preferably ones that haven't been hashed
over until they're dead meat already; if the Extropians list is anything
like it was in the old days, even _whispering_ the idea that government
isn't automatically evil is going to induce a Pavlovian reaction among
some of the less flexible libertarian subscribers.) Better still: anyone
prepared to put on their Devil's Advocate hat and pretend to be a
government employee trying to explain why what they do is _good_ ?

-- Charlie Stross