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Semiformalishmaybe

Relative Importance and Corruption

I've been thinking about Fix Congress First, an effort (heavily promoted by Lawrence Lessig, a public intellectual I greatly respect) to create campaign finance reform. Their preferred tactic is a pledge, signed by as many voters as possible across all parties, not to support any candidate that won't support electoral reform.

I think this is well-intentioned but foolish. Campaign finance is indeed a major issue that impacts every other area of politics, and it limits our ability to address other issues as it currently stands. However, it is not the only issue we should care about, and any pledge of this sort should only be signed if we can agree that it is more important than all the other issues put together in our politics (or we're sure that there will not or does not need to be motion on other issues until we can get this issue conclusively solved). That's not the case.

Given the choice between electing a tea party candidate who is for campaign finance reform (possible; there is no doubt common ground on this issue with some of them) and an old-school politician who is largely status quo, I prefer the status quo. Electoral reform is important, but it's not so important that I'll set aside the remainder of my political philosophy to pursue it. For that reason, I oppose Fix Congress First's pledge campaign.

In other news, someone I know is getting into Plan9, which has inspired me to take another look at it (I played with the OS many years back). I'm not sure if I like the level of minimalism/purity that's in the system; the slow growth of vines in Unix has given it a VMS-like richness, and Plan9 feels kind of bare. Still, the design of the windowing system is awesome, making me wish that ... well, I don't think I want to run Plan9 as my main OS, but I want to see the vines and moss of Unix translated onto a Plan9 base. I think Ubuntu's future move from X11 to Wayland is a terrible move (and that ideally this will kill Ubuntu), but a move to Rio (suitably spiffed up with attractive window managers and proper X-style terminals as options) would be a huge plus. In sum, Plan9 is awesome, but I will likely continue to admire it from afar.

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