A little bit back Tesh suggested that there's some sort of division in America best summarized as Statist vs. Libertarian.
I offer to you the story of cheese and liberty. It is 1940 and Britain needs an army, because of Nazis. Armies need food and cheese is an excellent one, so the British offer this excellent idea: ration and tax cheese, in order to have enough to fight the Nazis. Alas, there are a few too many libertarians. "Cheese and Liberty!" they cry. They explain that liberty, not more statism, is the source of freedom, and it sounds good, so we all agree to resist the oppression of the British government and reject the cheese rations.
There is no army and the Nazis win the war. They in turn take all the cheese. And a few people as well. We write to the Nazis and explain freedom, but they reject the idea, no matter how convincing our arguments. Perhaps we would have been better off with a bit less cheese and a lot less Nazi, but alas, we wanted our liberty, and all of it, now.
Libertarianism is founded on the absurd notion* that we can all just say "freedom and liberty" and it will be so. But it will not. If the government does not tell us what to do, the market will, or the corporation, or the mob boss. People desire power and inevitably some are better able to gather it than others, and from that comes oppression. We cannot eliminate it, but we can minimize it. A representative government can exert power, but in turn the people have power over it.
It's not a nice idea, that we cannot have total freedom, but it is true. Someone or something will always attempt to control us, so what we must do is ensure that we choose carefully, to pick leaders who are powerful enough to protect us from those who are too powerful.
I don't think we're in this situation right now. In fact, we're caught in a worst of both worlds, with corporations taking control of government, and through it, acting as the powerful leader.
This isn't a new idea. Once upon a time Americans opposed both big government and big business. They understood that both can take excessive power, to our detriment. Somehow the narrative was re-written and anything non-government became untouchable. Anything that wasn't government was classified as market, and you cannot question the market.
I like representative systems. Equal representation. This is why I don't buy into the notion of "voting with your wallet", because we clearly do not have equal wallets and never will, since communism doesn't work well beyond very small groups. In other words, wallet voting is unequal and therefore undemocratic. And it's self-perpetuating inequality. If I have ten votes and you have one, do you think I'd vote for anything other than myself? Perhaps I'd vote to give myself more votes.
So how about this for a different polar division: representative vs. non-representative. Now we don't have to make arbitrary distinctions between market and government, but can instead focus on what matters: not being horribly oppressed by non-representative leaders.
* I lied. Libertarianism is actually founded on the popular notion of "why should I care what happens to the sewage that I dump in your drinking water?"
P.S. I would have written about Civ V, but I was playing a game I just got called Homefront. I might write about it instead, because there is a lot to complain about.
1 day ago