Re: We luv the guv't

Eugene Leitl (
Fri, 16 Jan 1998 22:09:34 +0300 (MSK)

On Fri, 16 Jan 1998, Charlie Stross wrote:

> [...]
> 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.

That certainly seems true. The Gubbermint(tm) may have had an origin in
the mafia, the mafia certainly converges towards the same state (anecdotal
evidence, but then look at my current domain). The ecological niche
certainly seems to be very real. Corollary: if attempted now, from a
sudden power vacuum a a state very much resembling the current one will
spring. The only way to combat this would seem to boost education, which
is intrinsically difficult, the nature of your clientele considered.

> 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.

I dunno, it seems the attitude of the people has lots of impact. The
reason current power semimonopoly in Russia exists is a function of
recent-to-mid history. Certainly long-duration patches of strong state
select for mindrot among its (granted, sometimes unwilling) subscribers.
Globally/on the long run, strong state should have not much chance due to
its limited competitiveness, however.

> 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

Good ideas, and NOT extropy-rehashed until they are rotting carcasses?
Utterly impossible.

> 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

Woof! W00f! <SLABBER>

> 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_ ?

Oh no, not me. Ah, wait, two Leviathans (M$ vs. AntiMonopolyTrust(tm)
bashing each other, perhaps?