Political bundling - rider bills attached to larger ones that would not stand on their own, scale up to ideologies that serve immediately the will of the people but in their fullest extent might not be accepted. The latter - Mao's revolution against the old order brought a form of democracy and egality to a highly controlled society - the rider being Communism. Likewise with other revolution - the ability to bundle something that may not be popular on its own with meeting immediate needs of the people is an important tool -- although questionable from democratic values it is practically valuable to achieve the content of the rider. I've been thinking further about China's experiment with partial car bans - a general question: to what extent and under what circumstances should states go against the (emergent or expressed, although we can entertain splitting these) simple will of the people (by simple, I mean not what they should or would want from any ideal perspective, e.g. socialist ideal or original position)? Driving in Beijing (or other crowded cities, worldwide) is a decent example - people seem to be drawn to driving rather than taking public transit for a number of reasons - apart from addressable issues like PT availability/QOS, there are psychological factors involved such as a feeling of independence, having some breathing space from other people for awhile, cars as a status symbol, etc. Assuming the state were to adequately address the adressable issues, we still might expect a fair number of people to drive because of these "human factors", and also a fair number who would not try PT unless forced to (but who might, once the adressable issues are handled, not go back after a brief forced trial). Are forced trials ok? Are permanent shifts ok? Is using economics to slowly make it too expensive for anyone to afford to drive-to-commute in the city more acceptable? (For an extreme example, if the cost of a license doubled every year....) If we accept forced permanent shifts, can the state afford to commit itself to stand against the public will (were it not to shift) indefinitely?
For me, I think all of these should be up for specific consideration, depending on the issue and values involved. Whether preventing tragedy of the commons (if acknowledged by society as a game they'll play of necessity but not desire, then their will becomes complex) or correcting human nature (I would support environmental safeguards that would be unpopular with the masses and nonemergent from whatever markets might exist, as just one example, even were this to last forever). There is a cost to putting things outside the realm of democratic consideration, both in stability of the state and its credibility/effectiveness in being part of the evolution of society (consider as well the added difficulty in insuring that people needed to administer that part of the state in the face of public opposition can be found - if the opposition is too through, say 95%, it may become effectively impossible to find qualified people) - in some cases we might decide that to be worthwhile, but reducing that tension through argument and the educational system (remember civics classes? same thing) becomes important.
A sort-of example: The Turkish military has given a warning that they may not accept Turkey's likely next president because his ties to groups promoting Sharia threaten the secular nature of the republic. The topics for these kinds of thing are often woven into the nature of the state - religious/ethnic tolerance (or intolerance), notions of justice, economics, nationalism, etc.
The server room disaster turned out not to be so bad - no computers were lost - the fatalities being an expensive KVM switch and a keyboard. Opening/cleaning/giving a day to dry to wet computers worked out pretty well. We lucked out, and I am relieved.
I've been wondering how much more the American political system would resemble that of Canada or other commonwealth realms if we had split off later - would we have a Conservative, Liberal, and possibly a Labour party like the Brits and Aussies do nowadays in that case? If we plot political/cultural unities/splits as a tree, the United States split from Britain at an unfortunate time, and rooted fairly far from the parent tree. Something to look into: Are the Conservative and Liberal parties of Canada historically tied to those of the UK, or did they split too early for the parties to have developed and gone across the governmental ties? (I know that "split" is a more muddy concept given Canada's different history and status as a Commonwealth nation).. I should learn more about Canadian political history... Canadian history was never covered (beyond things that touched strongly on the US) in my pre-autodidactic period..
It looks like there shall be RHPS this weekend - I might attend.
- I don't think anyone enjoys the measures themselves so much as ideally their results, but Sikhs are upset when their turbans are searched in airports. In this, I think they need to put up with being searched like the rest of us - their dislike should not give them special consideration beyond other people who don't like what comes from being searched. Avoiding their discomfort more than others' because it is part of a religious tradition favours that tradition and favours them in a way that should be unacceptable in a secular society. "But my faith says I should not" should be given equal weight to "I do not wish to".
- There's an International Butler Academy in Nederland - I think it's interesting that they list which countries their students come from.
- jwz noted that GreenDimes worked well for him in getting rid of junk mail. Spiffy. They give $5 for referrals too.
- Obama on Energy and the Environment
- Neat post/repost of a news story, pointed out by a friend.
My hopes/needs are too often unreasonable demands on other people. Not pressing them has a cost, but I don't feel that it would be fair to do so. Sucks.
I might use the word "interesting" too often on my blog.