… once you have a chief executive chosen by popular election, you are in trouble. The “extreme” measure of the legislature removing the head of state happens much more readily in parliamentary systems … we are just about the only country without a parliamentary system that isn’t pretty far along on the autocracy spectrum.
… the problem with popular election of Prime Ministers, and especially of Presidents, is that they become much more powerful than legislatures. They have national legitimacy, they can present a unified front, and they can dominate the news media. Separation of powers is a pipedream.
As the 2.0 state fails, we are seeing increasing awareness, urgency, and activism in response to a deepening crisis. The emerging America 3.0 will reverse several key characteristics of the 2.0 state: decentralization versus centralization; diversity and voluntarism rather than compulsion and uniformity; emergent solutions from markets and voluntary networks rather than top-down, elite-driven commands. Strong opposition to the rise of America 3.0 is inevitable, including heavy-handed, abusive, and authoritarian attempts to prop up the existing order. But this “doubling down” approach is doomed. It is incompatible with both the emerging technology and the underlying cultural framework that will predominate in America 3.0.
the NSA and their fellow swimmers in the acronym soup of the intelligence-industrial complex are increasingly reliant on nomadic contractor employees, and increasingly subject to staff churn. There is an emerging need to security-clear vast numbers of temporary/transient workers … and workers with no intrinsic sense of loyalty to the organization. For the time being, security clearance is carried out by other contractor organizations that specialize in human resource management, but even they are subject to the same problem: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
… when countries like Russia and Iran say the US is simply too untrustworthy to manage the Internet, no one will be able to argue.
We can’t fight for Internet freedom around the world, then turn around and destroy it back home. Even if we don’t see the contradiction, the rest of the world does.
Repeat after me: Government is power. Government is not to be trusted. Ever. Even if you believe that some government is and will always be necessary, that ‘necessary’ piece of government should always be regarded as a prudent lion tamer regards the big carnivorous cats that are ‘necessary’ for him to make a living. To imagine that seemingly subdued purring lions can be trusted to be dealt with in any ways that do not include the use of strong cages, leashes, ceaseless and deep suspicion, and escape hatches is the height of romantic absurdity – wishful thinking of the most extreme and inexcusable sort. Government is by its very nature a dangerous, untrustworthy, dishonest, arrogant, slippery entity – characteristics that are by no means reduced anywhere near to insignificance by a wide franchise, regular elections, and sturdy ink-on-parchment documents called “constitutions.”
Unless you are a high-ranking government official, government – no government – is ever “Us.” It is always “Them.” And They are not to be trusted. Ever.
via Some Snowden Links.
The way things are supposed to work is that we’re supposed to know virtually everything about what they do: that’s why they’re called public servants. They’re supposed to know virtually nothing about what we do: that’s why we’re called private individuals.
This dynamic – the hallmark of a healthy and free society – has been radically reversed. Now, they know everything about what we do, and are constantly building systems to know more. Meanwhile, we know less and less about what they do, as they build walls of secrecy behind which they function. That’s the imbalance that needs to come to an end. No democracy can be healthy and functional if the most consequential acts of those who wield political power are completely unknown to those to whom they are supposed to be accountable.
(Emphasis in original.) Via On whistleblowers and government threats of investigation | Glenn Greenwald | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk.
I have had increasing difficulty in understanding why someone would remain a classical liberal, rather than making the further move to embrace genuine self-government in place of the classical liberal’s objective, “limited government.” My difficulty arises not so much from a dissatisfaction with government’s being charged with protecting the citizens from force and fraud, but from a growing conviction that government (as we know it) does not, on balance, actually carry out these tasks and, worse, that it does not even try to carry them out except in a desultory and insincere way—indeed, as a ruse.
Truth be told, government as we know it never did and never will confine itself to protecting citizens from force and fraud. In fact, such government is itself the worst violator of people’s just rights to life, liberty, and property. For every murder or assault the government prevents, it commits a hundred. For every private property right it protects, it violates a thousand. Although it purports to suppress and punish fraud, the government itself is a fraud writ large—an enormous engine of plunder, abuse, and mayhem, all sanctified by its own “laws” that redefine its crimes as mere government activities—a racket protected from true justice by its own judges and its legions of hired killers and thugs.
This is a view I have not yet embraced. Having now seen it, I find it intuitively appealing. Via Classical Liberalism’s Impossible Dream | The Beacon (and be sure to read the comments).
Both parties have luxuriated in the drunken power of government, at our expense. Mr. Obama did not build the IRS, nor did Richard Nixon, but both wielded it as a weapon. Now the IRS is poised to become the hammer of even our health care. Democrats are furiously converting the welfare state into an authoritarian state right before our eyes, and most in the GOP establishment are too seduced or intimidated to stop them.
Germany, the ECB and rest of the EuroThieves did something innovative.
They simply ignored Parliament and came up with a scheme that didn’t require a vote.
We’ll see how this works out for them.
This, incidentally, is exactly what happened here with GM. It was blatantly unlawful to protect the UAW’s pension fund, which had no senior standing while trashing senior bondholders. The government did not care and did it anyway — and the courts permitted it.
This has been the repeated means by which you are stolen from. When you enter into an investment, whether you make a deposit in a bank or buy a bond or something else, you are buying into a capital structure in a given place with a given and declared level of both risk and potential reward. You price that risk and your willingness to enter into the transaction with the full understanding of where you are in that capital structure.
When that is unilaterally changed retroactively you are being stolen from.
the most important lesson of economics is that no one has ever washed a rental car. An excellent point, but the problem is worse than that: Without an incentive to preserve, many of us will gleefully destroy.