Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Government more like unruly dog

Government more like unruly dog

(My Clovis News Journal column for April 27, 2012. So, is the more crude translation "Government's a b*tch"?)

George Washington is quoted as saying “Government is not reason. It is not eloquence. It is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.” Unfortunately, in spite of this awareness, he chose to be a part of the problem. That's the way the cookie crumbles.

His assessment still holds up, although I think government is more like a dog.

A big, poorly trained dog that forever grows larger and meaner. The bigger it gets, the more of your stuff it breaks and the more it consumes. It slobbers all over everything, has terrible gas, and is possessive of your property.

As a puppy he was manageable. He was given some rules and training, and seemed agreeable for a while. As he matured it was believed he made your home safe because he was so powerful.

Unfortunately, the people who gave him to you lied about him. They said he would only grow so large, then stop, and that he would obey the rules that were set out for him. He didn't stop growing, and the larger he gets the more he ignores the rules, which were never really enforced anyway. Now when you try to correct him, he growls- and sometimes bites. He takes what he wants from your plate and if you try to scold him, he goes berserk. He roams wherever he wants with impunity, and may well be rabid. This dog has become your greatest danger.

You know he has been attacking the neighbors, but some of your family members stick up for him no matter what he does. Those whom he has threatened or wounded are getting fed up. Some would like to see him put down. The neighbors blame you for the dog's behavior, though you really do try to be a responsible master. You are only one person and no one else in your household sees any problem with the dog. They still believe that the bigger and meaner he gets, the safer your house will be.

A common distillation of libertarianism is "maximum liberty- minimum government". Maximum liberty is having the freedom to do everything you can do without violating any other person's rights. Minimum government is arguable. Since this "dog" seems completely incapable of doing the only things that his few libertarian defenders think he should do- protect the innocent by protecting property rights and ensuring justice- my "minimum government" is self government, also known as "self responsibility", and involves no third party. How much beyond that do you want?


Lots of potential Libertopias

Here's some more sciencey speculation for you.

I am always seeing estimates of the percentage of stars which might have a planetary system surrounding them. (Current estimates range from 20% to 50%) I think they are all wrong.

I suspect it will eventually be realized that star formation includes planet formation just as surely as dropping a big rock into sloppy mud creates a surrounding pattern of splatter. Planets may be considered almost a part of a star. Beyond the chromosphere and the corona is the "planetsphere".

So, I strongly suspect the percentage of stars with a planetary system is 100%- with the possible exception of some stars which went through some cataclysmic event that stripped them away from their planets. (What percentage of humans have a head?)

Now, how many of those stars have a planet (or more) where life develops, and how likely is it for sapience to arise in those biospheres? The answers may turn out to be just as obvious.