The Upward Surge of Mankind

Well, ladies and gentlemen, we're not here to indulge in fantasy, but in political and economic reality. America, America has become a second-rate power. Its trade deficit and its fiscal deficit are at nightmare proportions. Now, in the days of the Founders, there was accountability to the citizen. The Jeffersons, the Washingtons, the men that built this great republic, made sure of it because it was their own liberty at stake. Today, politicians has no stake in the nation!

All together, these men and women sitting up here represent less than 0.0000001 percent of the country.

You own the country. That's right — you, the citizen.

And you are all being royally screwed over by these, these bureaucrats, with their steak lunches, their hunting and fishing trips, their private jets and golden parachutes.

The United States has 33 different agency heads, each earning over two hundred thousand dollars a year. Now, I have spent the last two months analyzing what all these guys do, and I still can't figure it out. One thing I do know is that our country lost one hundred and ten billion dollars last year, and I'll bet that half of that was spent in all the paperwork going back and forth between all these agency heads. The new law of evolution in American seems to be survival of the unfittest. Well, in my book you either do it right or you get eliminated.

I am not a destroyer of countries. I am a liberator of them!

The point is, ladies and gentleman, that revolution — for lack of a better word — is good.

Revolution is right.

Revolution works.

Revolution clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.

Revolution, in all of its forms — revolution for liberty, for money, for love, knowledge — has marked the upward surge of mankind.

And revolution — you mark my words — will save the malfunctioning nation called the U̶n̶i̶t̶e̶d̶ States of America.

Thank you very much.

(with apologies to Gordon Gecko)

Last 5 posts by Clark

Comments

  1. Cheshirelion says

    I am not sure if I agree or not with this blog post, but it reminds me of a short story on the technological comfort cage we have built around our lives. In short that cage may be able to cancel out a revolution. Also good to see Clark again.

  2. says

    In short that cage may be able to cancel out a revolution.

    Indeed; I entirely agree with this. Not only may it be able to in the future, it has done so for the last 100 years.

  3. Geeklaw says

    A nice parody, but I'm not sure that it serves as the vehicle for the message.
    Yes, the U.S. Trade deficit is high, but historically this has led to growth in real GDP and falling unemployment.
    Yes, the fiscal deficit is high, but it is currently shrinking and not in any way unmanageable.
    The lack of accountability in government, now that's something I can get behind. We the people are getting screwed by our elected representatives. We live in gerrymandered districts where the primary elections determine which candidate gets elected and those elections are a race to the most extreme positions to cater to an ever more radical base. The amount of speech that the wealthy can afford to purchase vastly outweighs the speech the average person is able to articulate and thus policy overwhelmingly favors those who fund the election of the policy makers.
    Getting to bureaucracy and government agencies, we need to demand accountability, but let's talk real numbers. Where is there waste in the government and where are agencies failing because they lack the resources to complete their appointed tasks? In recent years there has been a refrain from a section of the population that says if something cannot be done perfectly then it shouldn't be done at all. What is wrong with incremental benefit? Show me government waste and I support fixing the problem, but don't give me baseless accusations and expect me to jump on the small-enough-to-drown-in-the-bathtub bandwagon.
    That brings us to Revolution. It's well and good to call for revolution, but what does that mean? Should we burn an imperfect system to the ground and start from scratch? Should we work towards making change at a local level and grow towards national improvements? Calling for revolution without a plan or clear goal is little better than complaining that someone else's speech offends you. It tells the world that you disagree but not why your idea is any better than the next guy's.

  4. ketchup says

    Geeklaw,
    Commenters have been asking Clark "and replace it with what?" for as long as he has been posting. He never answers.
    I agree with the vast majority of his complaints, but after a while, complaining without offering any tangible solution besides "not the current system" gets tiresome.
    Still, it is nice to have Clark back!

  5. Steve says

    Geeklaw put it well.

    Congress has a long shaped system where integrity basically must be thrown out the window if you hope to get something done. To elaborate: Local newly elected arrives in Congress with high hopes of improving conditions.

    Firm view and stance as to what is right and wrong.

    First thing you discover is that to get anyone behind your ideas you need support from others. To get their support you invariably end up supporting something you don't actually support. You justify this with the thought that you can sort that out later. Except for every step forward you are taking a step in some other direction, never getting close to your actual goals.

    Over time, and it does not take much, you have entirely lost sight over why you got involved in the first place, and you integrity is not even a memory as that would pain you too much to look at.

    This means the only way to hope to solve the "inbred" situation is to replace all, maybe the last year elected can aid in pointing on things, but probably cannot be trusted any further.

    Personally I would rather have a random selction of people who agreed, after being selected, to run the show.

    Standard pay, with no special benefits such as insider trading and fund raising. They should be paid by a measurement of how well they do their job. In other words how agreed upon conditions are raised and the overall well being of the country, not just their area.

  6. Geeklaw says

    Ketchup-
    I agree it is good to Clark back, I always appreciate his desire to see change.
    I just want more people to give me the next sentence. We all have things we do not like, but for the most part I'll take a flawed system over "anything but the current system" or "burn it to the ground and start from scratch."

  7. HamOnRye says

    Jerry Pournells "Iron Law of Bureaucracy" applies here.

    So the question becomes how do I seperate out those focused of the bureaucracy and retain those focused on the mission?

    I have had success via year over year reduction of budget while placing heavy emphasis on the core mission. A 10% reduction of budget year over year will become the necessary catalyst you require to begin reform.

  8. SirWired says

    Revolutions in which the existing government is largely discarded usually do not end well. There are some basic governmental functions that must continue in order to prevent a period of near-anarchy, which most people are not a fan of.

    During a "revolution" (vs. an orderly change in laws/government), it's awfully hard to pick-and-choose the parts of the government you want to stay in place, and the ones you throw out/replace.

  9. says

    Revolutions in which the existing government is largely discarded usually do not end well.

    Year Zero is a terrible idea in theory, even worse in practice.

    The good thing is that the US has a wealth of civic organizations and lower tier governments.

    I hinted at this above:

    And revolution — you mark my words — will save the malfunctioning nation called the U̶n̶i̶t̶e̶d̶ States of America.

    Note that the strikethrough took out the word "United", but left the word "States".

  10. Etaoin says

    I was really hoping that once I got to the end there would be an M. Night Shyamalan twist where Gordon Gecko was actually a cow.

  11. says

    The part where it's revealed that Clark is actually Angus is actually Ken (…IS ACTUALLY PATRICK !) comes later.

  12. Matt says

    Isn't this basically why MAYDAY and Lessig's Rootstrikers exist? As a method to at least attempt to provide a sane revolution here?

    The humor to me is that I have seen a large amount of people I know who have a lot of interest in politics (no knowledge, mind you) assume that the focus/agent of Mayday and Lessig's rootstrikers have a political lean/focus of democrat or republican, depending on who talks and whether they agree or not. When they agree, it's a value of their party. When they disagree, it's a value of the other party!

    I'm not sure people can even agree on what the issue is here, let alone expect someone to fix it or have a magic answer. I can say for certain that our state of US politics is so terrible that it is something I wish we could genuinely opt out of without having to live in another country.

  13. jackrousseau says

    The way things are going, any revolution would be a fascist one – who was it that said fascism is capitalism reacting to crisis? I'll take the current system over that, or for that matter, anything approaching anarcho-capitalism. And I hate the current system.

    When "freedom" is viewed from the perspective of maximizing the ability of the vast majority of people to live their lives as they see fit (precluding propertarian systems with no centralized power to keep abuses in check from being systems of meaningful freedom), it turns out that freedom is very far from a popular idea. You can pick between existing warlordism, hypothetical private tyrannies, or existing corrupt "democracies", and if you don't like it, then too bad.

    Since this is a libertarian blog, I'd quickly expand on the critique by saying that most libertarian systems are little more than exercises in designing societies that a) funnel all but the property-owning elite into one of a small number of ways of making a living, then b) papering over that fundamental lack of choice by offering freedom of contract at the end point, making hand-waving arguments about positive liberty not being a human right or a goal of society. It's a pretty lame scam when you think about it for any length of time, and I cannot see how such a system would realistically improve on the current one. Instead of racist cops shooting up poor minorities with impunity, you'd have racist privately employed cops shooting up poor minorities with impunity.

    So… no revolution until we get a libertarian left that's sizable enough to mold one into a non-nightmarish future, OK?

  14. En Passant says

    Geeklaw wrote March 5, 2015 at 7:48 am:

    Getting to bureaucracy and government agencies, we need to demand accountability, but let's talk real numbers. Where is there waste in the government and where are agencies failing because they lack the resources to complete their appointed tasks?

    We should be glad that we get less government than we pay for.

    If we got as much government as we pay for, the Department of Energy would be telling you how many calories you can expend in exercise per day; the Department of Health and Human "Services" would be telling you how much food you can eat, and what foods you can eat; the EPA would be enforcing internally-made rules telling you that a mud puddle in your back yard is a protected wetland so you can't fill it; and the Consumer Product Safety Commission would be outlawing sale of books printed before 1985.

    Oh wait, CPSC and EPA already did that, and DHHS CDC already outlawed Sassafras tea and Synsepalum dulcificum fruit products, and is doing its best to outlaw tobacco; and DOE is trying to do the rest.

    In recent years there has been a refrain from a section of the population that says if something cannot be done perfectly then it shouldn't be done at all. What is wrong with incremental benefit? Show me government waste and I support fixing the problem, but don't give me baseless accusations and expect me to jump on the small-enough-to-drown-in-the-bathtub bandwagon.

    Small enough to drown in the bathtub means weak enough to drown in the bathtub. It's what should happen when government starts doing things it shouldn't be allowed to do at all. It's a noble aspirational goal. Although, I would prefer public hanging after a public trial.

  15. says

    I was really hoping that once I got to the end there would be an M. Night Shyamalan twist where Gordon Gecko was actually a cow.

    Word

  16. Castaigne says

    And you are all being royally screwed over by these, these bureaucrats, with their steak lunches, their hunting and fishing trips, their private jets and golden parachutes.

    No, I'm really not. You might be, but I think the existence of any government or law at all would qualify for "screwing you over" in your book, Clark. But thanks for your opinion.

    The United States has 33 different agency heads, each earning over two hundred thousand dollars a year. Now, I have spent the last two months analyzing what all these guys do, and I still can't figure it out.

    Then I weep for your reading comprehension skills, as I can certainly ascertain what they do from the job descs.

    One thing I do know is that our country lost one hundred and ten billion dollars last year, and I'll bet that half of that was spent in all the paperwork going back and forth between all these agency heads

    [Citation needed]

    The good thing is that the US has a wealth of civic organizations and lower tier governments.

    Yes, I so look forward to the Holy Baptist Empire of Georgia engaging in bloody genocide against the GODLAW Theocracy of Alabama.

    And revolution — you mark my words — will save the malfunctioning nation called the U̶n̶i̶t̶e̶d̶ States of America.

    Clark, I guarantee that if there IS a revolution, you and yours will be among the first on my plate to feed my hunger. And by the time I'm done, there won't be enough anarcho-libertarians left in the USA to feed a family of four.

    (Yes, I'd actually eat him. The removal of law that is a revolution provides new and interesting culinary opportunities.)

    …and now back to reading more interesting material about legal oopsies.

  17. says

    Jack:

    First: There is no libertarian left. It's a contradiction in terms, a paradox, a hoax perpetrated by Will Wilkinson. Second, why do you think the only alternative to "racist cops shooting minorities" is privatized racist cops doing the same? If I may extrapolate, and I apologize if this is not true in your case, I think you're falling into the trap of thinking of humans as rational, moral actors. And while that might work on the small scale, I think it's the wrong way to think about state power and agents thereof. I prefer to think in terms of incentives. Cops don't necessarily do horrible things because they are evil. I suspect in many cases, they do things just because they can. Cops get away with things primarily because there is no reason for anyone to hold them accountable. They work hand-in-hand with the only people empowered to place limits on them. It's the proverbial fox guarding the hen house. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes, etc. etc., and all that.

    Libertarian thought (at least in my understanding), focuses on markets. And I think our polity sucks big floppy donkey dick primarily due to lack of market forces. Where is the market pressure on police, or representatives, or regulators, or anyone else? There is virtually none. Most folks are unwilling to vote with their feet and leave the country they were born in. You can't vote with your pocketbook, because the government will come and take it by force. You can't choose not to consume government. The only avenue open to us is voting for our elected officials, but as we've seen, the real power (both in the system and over our elected reps themselves) is held in places far removed from any kind of market force. Industries capture regulators, regulators rule with little to no input from an emasculated congress, etc. The apparatus of state is huge and inscrutable.

    So I don't share your belief that a libertarian system would produce such dystopian outcomes. If people have alternatives, the better alternative is more likely to win. I suspect you would not object to anti-trust laws as applied to business, so why are you so in favor of the government monopoly on such vast swaths of human experience?

  18. albert says

    "There is no political solution." — The Police, 'Spirits In The Material World'
    .
    The system is broken; everyone seems to agree. It's kinda funny really, both the right and the left think the system needs to be fixed, but their goals are polar opposites. I'm not talking about the oligarchs here. They seem to do just fine, regardless of who's 'in power'. Why? Because they control the purse strings, and we know that money can buy _anything_.
    .
    By now, it should be obvious that the system is a sham; a stage show backed up by entertainment for the Unwashed Masses. Aside from a few unessential differences, Americans generally agree on most important issues; it's the extremists on all sides who keep stoking the fires that divide us.
    .
    What to do?
    1. 'Revolution' won't work. It's too late. The State is too militarized, and there aren't enough desperate people who are willing to die for the cause.
    2. 'Elections' – Let's keep doing the same thing, over and over again, and hope for a different result. Let's see, what is that called?
    3. Instead of voting (which we know in ineffective), let's NOT VOTE. Let's get that turn out down to 30%, 20%, 10%. What this will do internally, I don't know, but outside to US, the benefits will be tremendous. It'll boost our laughing stock status on the World Stage.
    4. General strikes would work, in theory, but today, 'striking' is the same as 'quitting'. This is an advantage in having high unemployment rates; it's easy to replace striking workers.
    5. We can vote with our wallets. Stop buying the latest phones, pads, music, videos, and movies. New homes, new cars, ATVs, boats, TVs, eating out, frequenting bars, sports events, and concerts. Just a 10% reduction in consumption would have a devastating effect on the corporatocracy, which barely manages to maintain a dismal 2% (BS gov't numbers at that) growth rate in it's pseudo-economy Ponzi scheme. WE are the power behind this system. We need to get our collective heads out of our collective asses before it's too late. We are not Charlie Hebdo, we are Germany in the 30's.
    .
    We may be spirits in the material world, but we are also flesh and blood creatures that don't want to die. What good is strong flesh, with a weak spirit?
    .
    I believe change will come from the outside, by the gradual erosion of the US peculiar brand of Colonialism (conquer, subdue, lay waste, leave) , the loss of the US military might, and the loss of economic power, which is the most important. 'We' play the short game (one fiscal quarter at a time); everyone else is playing the long game (multiple years). Asia will pivot towards us, before we pivot towards them.
    .
    Live by the sword, die by the dollar.

    I gotta go…

  19. Castaigne says

    @Not Claude Akins:

    Where is the market pressure on police, or representatives, or regulators, or anyone else? There is virtually none.

    Oh, no, market forces are there. Heck, Ken just wrote about it. Petraeus got his sentence good and paid for. To quote:

    "And the business man on corruption charges
    With millions of dollars in dirty money
    Gets a thousand pound fine after months in court
    While the lawyers get fat and the law gets bought
    — New Model Army, "Vengeance"

    But I'm OK with that. After all, to me the free market means everything is for sale. EVERYTHING. Laws. People. Slaves. Ethics. Whatever. Everything has a price…

    =====

    @Chris: Michael Douglas, yes. Oliver Stone and Charlie Sheen, not so much. Gecko? Eh. I always preferred the Baldwin speech from Glengarry Glen Ross

  20. Dragonmum says

    The good thing is that the US has a wealth of civic organizations and lower tier governments.

    I so hate to say this… Clark, you're an optimist.

    Our national "government" has abdicated its resonsibility to citizens; there is no "governing" happening. Intead of investing in the welfare of the country, they're treating the US budget as a pot of money to dispense at will to their cronies, corporations, the military industrial complex and themselves. The fragmentation of the government buracracy is only a smoke-screen. So much waste is tied to egregious misallocation of resources – the same money used to produce new unwanted jet fighters (many percentages of which end up in off-shore accounts) could have been used for infrastructure renewal projects that would spread jobs and revenue across the country and be a lasting investment… leading to less need for subsidy programs like food stamps & health care subsidies. Don't even get me started on their twisted obsession with the private lives and medical decisions of individuals.

    Unfortunately, too many state governments are committing the same offenses. I have the misfortune of living in NC, where our GA is happily directing money toward their pet projects and corporate overlords, while cutting taxes on everyone and everything except the bottom 75% of wage earners, and then crying "deficit" "waste" fraud" in order to justify cutting budgets for infrastructure, education, healthcare, daycare, housing, food and jobs. Oh, and removing powers from local entities to control their own taxes, zoning codes and capital expenditures. They also enjoy an unhealthy obsession with what others do in their bedrooms and doctors offices.

    Our state government certainly can't fill any vacuum left by loss of centralized structure – and they're engaged in effectively neutering any potential local powers. So where are these new local leaders coming from? Duke Power? Comcast? Surely the oligarchy would simply cast a net and buy a "new" order to sell to our gullible populace as their saviours.

    We are owned. We are the slaves. Hug your iPhone and go to sleep.

  21. michael says

    I substantially agree you with you on most points, but one must be careful what one asks for: Nothing good came of revolution in Egypt. Nothing good came from it in Cuba. Revolution didn't work in Russia or China (the latter of which perhaps being more a coup.)

    I would argue that nothing good came from even the French Revolution. Sure the Bourbons were not perhaps the most civic-minded, but was Louis XVI really that bad, as least far absolute monarchs are concerned? What replaced it was no better, or, I'd argue, worse. One needs only to look at the Carmelites of Compiègne to see that the French Revolution was absolute thuggery and totalitarianism to the very core. "Liberté" my ass.

    I'm beginning to think that the American Revolution (in 1776, not Clark's) was a bit of an exception. Small, dispersed population. Entrenched landed aristocrats with a vested interest in stability and self rule (by their peers). The resultant government wasn't even a democracy in the modern sense — no universal suffrage (or even personhood). All in all we've done o.k.

    The real American exceptionalism is that the experiment has lasted as long as it has already.

  22. jackrousseau says

    Not Claude Akins:

    "There is no libertarian left. It's a contradiction in terms, a paradox, a hoax perpetrated by Will Wilkinson"

    Come on. You know that the anarchists precede the "anarcho"-capitalists by a good 150 years, right? The original meaning of the word "libertarian" (and the meaning still in Europe) was the group of non-statist leftists? Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin ring any bells? The definition of freedom I used is the one they use, roughly – tyranny by capital and markets is just the same as tyranny by government. What matters is maximizing the ability for as many people as possible to have the freedom to live their life as they see fit, instead of maximizing that for just a tiny elite as happens under most philosophical systems (including libertarian thought). It's no good to say "freedom" and then watch millions starve because the employers don't need any more wage labor and there's no safety net around to save them (let alone private charity, which has never been sufficient for the needs of the impoverished).

    "I think you're falling into the trap of thinking of humans as rational, moral actors"

    Well, they aren't – but they aren't entirely irrational and immoral, either. Human nature is complicated and multifaceted, which is but one reason why attempting to turn most or all of society over to market mechanisms is bound to fail and always has throughout human history. To begin with, capitalism has faced crisis after crisis because of what J. M. Keynes termed "animal spirits" – excessive lending/borrowing and exuberance, then excessive caution and thrift constantly batter economies. But even beyond that, to judge humans as fundamentally little more than calculating, bartering merchants – which is what a market that penetrates into every aspect of life implies – is a grave error and can only lead to disaster.

    I don't disagree with you about cops – it's all about the incentive structures in place. Give people power and no oversight and a significant amount of them will abuse it, in any situation. It's obviously worse when the systems have been designed (as in our policy of mass incarceration for minorities) to produce abuses of power for political ends – in fact the police have since their inception been primarily given the roles of a) protectors of the property of the wealthy and b) implementers of policies of social control. But why would that ever change under a system where government was minimized or eliminated and markets ruled (as David Graeber points out, at no point in history have markets in the form we understand them survived very long without a central government shaping them, but put aside that pretty serious objection for now), why would the little people receive better treatment? A privatized police force or security agency is not really different than a domestic mercenary force, and we have thousands of years of history on what happens when mercenary forces decide they're better off running a shakedown operation on their would-be benefactors and charges than carrying out an honest day's work.

    "You can't choose not to consume government."

    No, which is why I don't believe that government systems are optimal when talking about freedom. But a government that regulates the power of capital while in turn is checked in its powers by said capital is a far better solution than letting the drive for money, probably the most powerful force humanity has ever come up with besides a mother's love, determine the outcomes of society. People need to eat. Self-subsistence is not much more of an option than not consuming government currently is. That means most people are at the mercy of labor markets – and in your ideal, unregulated labor markets. What bargaining power does one employee have standing up a billion dollar corporation? Nothing. Markets wouldn't clear in that situation (if labor markets could or should ever be said to "clear"), workers would in most cases receive the bare minimum amount of resources to survive. And then they are at the complete mercy of whatever businesses choose to prey on them, much like pay day loan operators today.

    The ideal is really to get rid of States and centralized governments but also get rid of private property (defined as anything that needs the labor of others to work), then set up truly democratic governance over communities. This flattens hierarchies and maximizes freedom in the most real sense possible. In 1917 Lenin allowed the original Soviets to operate industry until he saw their increasing independence, and in fear, quashed that form of socialism for an inefficient state-led model. But it has worked in many other times and places throughout history.

    Michael:

    "Nothing good came from it in Cuba."

    Actually, as repressive as the Castro regime has been, the people supported it for a reason. Rule by Batista and the mafia was actually far inferior to rule by Castro. You don't have meaningful political rights under either system, but under the latter you have education, guaranteed work and health care, which isn't actually all that bad. At least people on that island have their basic needs met and a sense of purpose, which is more than they'd ever have received under the American-backed alternative. This is why millions actually still yearn for the old Soviet times: most people are primarily interested in their family's economic and physical security, which was assured in places like Yugoslavia and Cuba even if freedom was otherwise circumscribed.

  23. M'Nighty says

    You know, I could rhapsody about revolution, why it's called revolution, how it almost never seems to work, or even about the utopian illusion of Clark's particular philosophy. But that's all been taken care of, so instead I'll just sum up my thoughts on the subject.

  24. erwin says

    I'd prefer a real change. Realistically, there aren't nations anywhere that are qualitatively better yet. So, better to try something new. My inclination is a mixture of radical transparency, private databases, and um…whistleblower rewards.

    For radical transparency, say you work for the government. Congratulations…every communication now goes into a vast searchable (google style) database. I guarantee waste would drop. And heh, not just government – a corporation takes government money…or FDIC guarantees…same thing. Ideally, wearing the equivalent of an always on Google Glass.

    Then, add a bounty. Report a significant wrongdoing, get 10% of the cash value, allow suing in court, on contingency….and…for crimes more than 100k, require employer to prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that any future dismissal or missed promotions are not retaliation.

    –Erwin

  25. John says

    Here's the thing Clark: if you or your Nrx buddies ever succeed in taking power, I'm going to be the first person making IEDs on the road you and your fellow dukes travel. I know you think you're radical, but you're just like every other politician: you think you and your buddies should be in charge. You talk a lot about how democracy sucks, but you never talk about how a monarchy led by you and your white supremacist bros are going to make things better.

    I don't work in politics, but I live in DC. I'm so tired of how you detail how you're going to murder me every day. Go fuck yourself.

    John

  26. Sporaderic says

    Personally I would rather have a random selction of people who agreed, after being selected, to run the show.

    I'd rather have a random selection of people, take the ones who refuse to run the show, and put them in charge.

  27. Jason says

    The reason I hate Mayday and Rootstrikers is that they are absolutely obsessed with gutting the first amendment to "fix" politics. And who shall be the arbiter of "accepted" and "unaccepted" speech, why that'll be our benevolent government.

  28. albert says

    @jackrousseau

    Thanks for mentioning Cuba. 100% literacy rate, guaranteed medical care*, free education, internet available and being expanded. Now they're 'experimenting' with private enterprise. Cuba is actually a miracle, considering it's virtual blockade by the West, lead by US of course, because we hate Communism**. As far as freedom and "…meaningful political rights…", let's make a list of those countries that DO have those things…..WE certainly don't. Cuba is moving very slowly. Like China, their leaders are wary of Western capitalist systems. You don't have to be very bright to see what can happen when oligarchies get out of control, i.e., when pseudo-democratic governments control things. China has lots of aspiring oligarchs, Cuba, not too many (I think most of them are in Florida:)
    .
    Social systems are like smelting furnaces, no matter what you start with, the slag rises to the top. Our problem is the slag. You have a few Gandhis and MLKs, but too many Hitlers and Stalins. The old Soviet system was socialism for the poor ('the rich you shall have with you always'); the new one is socialism for the rich. The rich class (the Elite) cannot exist without the poor; their whole system is based on this. If humans could digest cellulose, they could eat their money, for a while. If they had to fend for themselves, without any technology, they would die. If they had to do real work, they wouldn't be the Elite; they would be just like us.
    .
    ALL countries have freedom of speech; they vary only in its side effects. Censorship of the mass media and personal communications is a very crude way of dealing with 'unacceptable ideas', as we see in China, North Korea, etc. Western 'democracies' are a little more subtle; they use MSM propaganda to shape the thinking of the Unwashed Masses, and guess what? It works!
    .
    "THERE IS NO POLITICAL SOLUTION."

    ———————
    * They send doctors to help with health crises in other countries; medical care, not grants to Pfizer, and Monsanto.
    ** Ever wonder why 'we' hate Communism? Some of you Pollyannas and other assorted asshats might do some serious thinking about this question, because it says a lot about Western 'democratic' institutions.

  29. says

    Ever wonder why 'we' hate Communism? Some of you Pollyannas and other assorted asshats might do some serious thinking about this question, because it says a lot about Western 'democratic' institutions.

    Speaking solely for myself, I hate communism because it's antithetical to the concept of individual liberty and because it killed an estimated 94 million people. As always, YMMV.

    ALL countries have freedom of speech; they vary only in its side effects. Censorship of the mass media and personal communications is a very crude way of dealing with 'unacceptable ideas', as we see in China, North Korea, etc. Western 'democracies' are a little more subtle; they use MSM propaganda to shape the thinking of the Unwashed Masses, and guess what? It works!

    I don't disagree that we're bombarded with propaganda. However loathsome Glenn Thrush is, however, he's somewhat more benign than Camp 14.

    For a law blog that focuses on a pretty universally-loved freedom, you guys certainly attract crazies from all parts of the political spectrum. /suspensionofselfawareness

  30. Richard says

    taemyr said:

    By my account "0.0000001 percent of the country" would be 0.32 people.

    I think Clark made the common mistake of forgetting that adding "percent" to the end moves the decimal point another two places.
    If you use 1/10,000,000 (0.000 01%), then it becomes 32 people, which is very close to the 33 Department Heads that he mentioned.
    At least, I think that was his intention.

  31. Castaigne says

    @michael:

    I'm beginning to think that the American Revolution (in 1776, not Clark's) was a bit of an exception.

    Yes, it was an exception, and should not be taken as the rule. See Edward Luttwakk's "Coup de'tat: A Practical Handbook".

    ===

    @erwin:

    For radical transparency, say you work for the government. Congratulations…every communication now goes into a vast searchable (google style) database. I guarantee waste would drop. And heh, not just government – a corporation takes government money…or FDIC guarantees…same thing. Ideally, wearing the equivalent of an always on Google Glass.

    Actually, I've seen this implemented in corporations and it would stop all work dead. People spend more time covering their ass and doing nothing to make waves than anything else. I mean, imagine how this would apply during, say, a military invasion of Maine. Were I in charge, I wouldn't make any move to activate defense unless I had 100% unity from the public that I should do so. Otherwise, I might get hauled over the ashes by Ron Paulist pacificists or summat. Better to stay safe, take the obvious path…

    Then, add a bounty. Report a significant wrongdoing, get 10% of the cash value, allow suing in court, on contingency….and…for crimes more than 100k, require employer to prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that any future dismissal or missed promotions are not retaliation.

    Yeah, Microsoft did similar under Ballmer. It's why they missed out on the Android/Google dominations; they spent more time on CYAing and interdepartmental fighting then getting things done.

  32. albert says

    @Not Claude Akins
    "…Speaking solely for myself, I hate communism because it's antithetical to the concept of individual liberty and because it killed an estimated 94 million people…"
    .
    Yeah. Well, I'm not sure one can quantify a system by the number of deaths it causes. Any system that causes unnecessary deaths is a bad system. Systems like fascism are also "antithetical to the concept of individual liberty", as are those systems that merely pay lip service to the concept.
    .
    The tenor of this thread was: 'what can we do about the not-so-gradual erosion of our individual liberties?' IMO, yes, we believe in freedom of speech, and that's why you can read all the 'crazies' here.

    "If you don't believe in freedom of speech for those you despise, you don't believe it it at all." – Chomsky

  33. jackrousseau says

    "I hate communism because it's antithetical to the concept of individual liberty and because it killed an estimated 94 million people."

    Putting aside the confusion between the Marxist-Leninist/Maoist "We need vanguard movements and State Capitalism before we can actually get to communism" philosophy and communism as espoused by the left-libertarians in the last couple centuries (which caused a major split in the socialist movements many years ago and is not a case of No True Scotsman), there's something interesting about the "Ideology X killed Y million people" riffs. I'll quote Chomsky at length:

    "Let's begin with the familiar litany about the monsters we have confronted through the century and finally slain, a ritual that at least has the merit of roots in reality. Their awesome crimes are recorded in the newly-translated Black Book of Communism by French scholar Stephane Courtois and others, the subject of shocked reviews at the transition to the new millennium…

    The Black Book, Ryan writes, is in the style of a "recording angel." It is a relentless "criminal indictment" for the murder of 100 million people, "the body count of a colossal, wholly failed social, economic, political and psychological experiment." The total evil, unredeemed by even a hint of achievement anywhere, makes a mockery of "the observation that you can't make an omelette without broken eggs."…

    Like others, Ryan reasonably selects as Exhibit A of the criminal indictment the Chinese famines of 1958-61, with a death toll of 25-40 million, he reports, a sizeable chunk of the 100 million corpses the "recording angels" attribute to "Communism" (whatever that is, but let us use the conventional term). The terrible atrocity fully merits the harsh condemnation it has received for many years, renewed here. It is, furthermore, proper to attribute the famine to Communism. That conclusion was established most authoritatively in the work of economist Amartya Sen, whose comparison of the Chinese famine to the record of democratic India received particular attention when he won the Nobel Prize a few years ago. Writing in the early 1980s, Sen observed that India had suffered no such famine. He attributed the India-China difference to India's "political system of adversarial journalism and opposition," while in contrast, China's totalitarian regime suffered from "misinformation" that undercut a serious response, and there was "little political pressure" from opposition groups and an informed public (Jean Dreze and Amartya Sen, Hunger and Public Action, 1989; they estimate deaths at 16.5 to 29.5 million).

    The example stands as a dramatic "criminal indictment" of totalitarian Communism, exactly as Ryan writes. But before closing the book on the indictment we might want to turn to the other half of Sen's India-China comparison, which somehow never seems to surface despite the emphasis Sen placed on it. He observes that India and China had "similarities that were quite striking" when development planning began 50 years ago, including death rates. "But there is little doubt that as far as morbidity, mortality and longevity are concerned, China has a large and decisive lead over India" (in education and other social indicators as well). He estimates the excess of mortality in India over China to be close to 4 million a year: "India seems to manage to fill its cupboard with more skeletons every eight years than China put there in its years of shame," 1958-1961 (Dreze and Sen)."

    It appears that capitalism's many victims are not eulogized for political reasons, no? In the end, the death tolls of nearly every human economic ideology thus far have been considerable. Cherry-picking only obscures this fundamental truth.

  34. spinetingler says

    the Department of Energy would be telling you how many calories you can expend in exercise per day;

    I think perhaps someone doesn't really know what the DOE does.

  35. hamilton says

    Nice Clark. I love these rants. They're fun to read, and it also brings out the commentariat that somehow doesn't quite get libertarian or ancap ideas, so I get to read all of the stupid assumptions all over again, which is always fun. Let's see:

    The amount of speech that the wealthy can afford to purchase vastly outweighs the speech the average person is able to articulate and thus policy overwhelmingly favors those who fund the election of the policy makers.

    Yup. So you can try to fix that by limiting what people can spend/say (which demonstrably doesn't work and has requires limiting people's individual liberty which at least should theoretically give you a moment's pause for cost/benefit) or you can cut back the ability of policy makers to shape policy and thus reduce the incentive to rent-seek. I get that you cannot do that across-the-board, but for pete's sake we could try it a little more often by cutting a few bureaucracies and seeing what happens.

    Note that last sentence is, sadly, required in order to address the other constant motif here:

    It's well and good to call for revolution, but what does that mean? Should we burn an imperfect system to the ground and start from scratch?

    which is the usual response to a Clark rant. Yeah, libertarians are so obstinate they make the perfect the enemy of the good as regards incremental spending. It's not like we've seen mass opposition and rending of garments to even minor reductions in spending – oh wait, the entire country went bananas over a sequester that didn't even reduce real spending. People are going apes**t because of the possibility of defunding DHS when there's tons of evidence most department is a complete waste of money.

    The radical idea isn't what Clark is proposing – it's the concept that eliminating even part of a system that is demonstrably corrupt, unjust, and ineffective is some sort of crazy notion. Oh no, what will we replace it with? Who cares? The economy of the south used to be completely dependent on slavery. Elimination of slavery had massive economic and societal implications for that area and its people. "Oh no, we can't end it – what would we replace it with?" Screw that. End it, and find out. When you're doing evil you don't keep going just because you can't think of a better alternative. Who, precisely, is making the perfect the enemy of the good here?

  36. En Passant says

    spinetingler March 6, 2015 at 11:47 pm:

    Quoting moi:
    the Department of Energy would be telling you how many calories you can expend in exercise per day;

    I think perhaps someone doesn't really know what the DOE does.

    DOE is legally empowered to regulate emissions of "greenhouse gasses". They've said so themselves.

    CO2 is a "greenhouse gas".

    Quantity of CO2 exhaled is a function of calories expended in muscular exercise.

    Therefore, unless you engage in a form of muscular exercise that does not cause an increase in exhaled CO2, DOE can legally regulate the calories you expend in exercise by regulating the quantity of CO2 you are permitted to exhale.

    QED.

  37. spinetingler says

    You sure you're not thinking of the EPA? I'll admit that I only went three pages deep in a google search, but I didn't find any indication that the DOE has regulatory responsibilities in regard to CO2 beyond their own facilities.

    They might nuke you, though.

  38. En Passant says

    spinetingler March 7, 2015 at 12:32 pm:

    You sure you're not thinking of the EPA?

    You are correct. My fingers repetitively typed DOE while another mass of cells considered by some to be capable of thought and perception, repetitively perceived EPA. I blame long term caffeine deprivation. Or allergic reaction to three letter abbreviations.

  39. Docrailgun says

    As has been mentioned before – every generation has some people who think "Oh, we're all doomed. The EEEEEEEEvil government is beating us down", blah blah blah. "If only there could be REVOLUTION and we could stop having the government guarantee voting rights, non-discrimination from scary brown people (note, I'm not accusing Clark of being a racist), safe working enviroments, food and drug safety, et cetera, et cetera. After all, we know how well it worked during the Gilded Age!"
    Guess what? They were wrong then. Clark is wrong now.

    I always read Clark's posts and hope that it's satire or parody or something. These screeds have to be, right? No. He says they're not.

  40. Mikee says

    Political revolutions are rarely peaceful transitions, almost always containing too much bloodshed for my taste. Unless it's in self defense I can't respect anyone willing to take the life of another person. Social revolutions are rarely started by individuals, almost always being the result of the masses shifting perspective in response to our environment (recycling and conservation), technological (ie, radio, TV, the internet, cell phones) or in response to bloodshed and the loss of life (the fight for civil rights for minorities throughout America's history).

    In the past few decades America has had it's fair share of those calling for revolution in a very public fashion, and I've never found myself agreeing with anything they had to say. My attitude now is, "Go ahead and start your revolution so it can be squashed and the rest of us can move on."

  41. Castaigne says

    @hamilton:

    They're fun to read, and it also brings out the commentariat that somehow doesn't quite get libertarian or ancap ideas

    Oh, no, I understand them fine. I just disagree with the assumptions and preconceptions of most libertarian ideas and all anarcho-capitalist ideas. If the underlying presumptions are wrong, then the ideas won't execute as predicted.

    Oh no, what will we replace it with? Who cares?

    I care. I care a lot. Clark's basic idea is oh, remove the entire structure, not just a part and let the chips fall where they may and hey, it should be totes OK. I disagree with that. Remove the entire structure and I will end up dead and my wife someone's rapeslave. Unless I get lucky and do it to other people first.

    Nope, not interested.

    Now start talking about eliminating parts that are unnecessary? Yes, I will happily do that. But Clark has no interest in that; he would prefer to see the whole thing burn…and then I guess it's all Neo-Reactionary Techno-Monarchies or whatever.

    =====

    @Mikee:

    Political revolutions are rarely peaceful transitions, almost always containing too much bloodshed for my taste

    Ayup. Of course, we're assured by Clark and other ancaps that This Will Not Happen, that the revolution/anarchy will to be totes peaceful. I wish I could believe them.

    My attitude now is, "Go ahead and start your revolution so it can be squashed and the rest of us can move on."

    That would be entertaining.

  42. The Burning Map says

    Disclaimer: Long time follower, first time poster.

    I have always viewed revolutions much like a pot of stew on a stove. The ideal state is one of boiling and bubbling (almost a revolution) without boiling over (full-fledged, bloody, dirty, unethical-things-must-be-done revolution).

    I would agree that it would be much better to strive towards perfection using a continual improvement process (or Kaizen) than to start from scratch.

    I would hope for a few improvements to the current system:

    1. Better education of the masses in jury nullification. This would seem (to me) to be the single most powerful tool provided by the founders. For those that would argue that people are to ignorant to understand the law, or some other BS, then why have juries at all? Just let the judges decide guilty or not guilty. But we all know how that would turn out…

    2. Our judicial system has failed to keep the executive and legislative branches in check. Mandatory sentencing is a clear violation of the separation of powers and only one example of a scared and weakened judicial system failing in their checks and balances duties.

    As for the revolution, that pot is not ready to boil over…not yet.

  43. says

    I agree with others. First, replace it with "what" is key. There's a difference between a revolutionary and an anarchist, and per Clark's self-description, he's the latter. Therefore, romance of the anarchist aside, he's part of the problem, not part of the solution.

    Or, rather, he's part of creating new problems, as Castaigne quite nicely notes in detail.

  44. Mikee says

    @Castaigne

    Yep, anyone that talks of revolution usually says it will be peaceful so they can convert people to their ideas, but they never actually try to start one.

    The ones that actually try to start revolutions, the McVeighs, Nichols, Rudolphs and Kaczynskis of the world, rarely talk about their revolution being peaceful because they're too busy bombing the hell out of innocent people.

  45. BSD32x says

    Good to see Clark back and writing, I know I don't comment much. Anyway, I just had one observation in light of the other comments: Virgil's Aeneid was supposed to be a pure celebration of Roman culture, but had some odd prophecies about its decline. They were dismissed in their time, and arguably rightly so, given that he was writing at the beginning of Imperial power. Others would continue to describe the decline, until finally Virgil's prophecies were proven right, albeit centuries later. Sooner or later someone will be right about the American empire, but will the talking heads on cable television still dismiss them while the sack is on?

  46. MelK says

    > I always read Clark's posts and hope that it's satire or parody or something. These screeds have to be, right? No. He says they're not.

    On the internet, any sufficiently advanced parody is indistinguishable from advocacy.

  47. albert says

    @MelK
    "On the internet, any sufficiently advanced parody is indistinguishable from advocacy."
    :)
    Surely Clarke would have come up with this, if he were still around. RIP, A.C.C.

  48. albert says

    @The Burning Map
    "…1. Better education of the masses in jury nullification. …"
    Right on! This is probably the only way to give the power back to the people. Most juries know what's right and wrong, hate legal technicalities, and a sick and tired of the rigged-for-the-rich 'justice' system. This is the single scariest thing for the Elite: losing control of the courts. It would be a disaster for them.
    .
    For all you economics theorists: Rule Number One: Unfettered Capitalism is a disaster. It doesn't work, and it will eventually lead to totalitarianism or anarchy. So keep babbling on about GDPs and deficits, but keep your shotgun by your window anyway.
    .
    ….

  49. n3gr0mancer says

    lolwut??? So you're telling me that civil servants are the problem? Go look at the SES pay scale and benefits, and then compare them to the private sector. It's pretty obvious where the steak lunches and golden parachutes reside.

    Besides, at this point the only part of the government that actually governs are the federal executive agencies, despite the congress' numerous attempts to kill them off via a death of a thousand cuts. Attempting to blame them for the trade defecit/federal debt is one of the stupidest things I've ever heard, when entitlements and military spending are far and away the largest drivers of the debt.

    Every budget cycle these "agency heads," have go to congress, hat in hand, and try to convince that pack of jackanapes that things like science, education, clean water, regulations for the financial sector, etc. actually take money to implement. Then our dear congressmen/women/space reptiles hear from their constituents (assholes with more money than god) about how desperately the capital gains/corporate/whatever tax rate needs to be lowered if they want millions in undisclosed funding for their campaign war chest. I'll give you a wild guess who they choose to listen to.

    tl;dr: long time reader, first time poster. I expect better from Clark than a shitposting rant that would be more at home in the comments section of breitbart. I AM DISAPPOINT, CLARK.

  50. Ryan says

    I care. I care a lot. Clark's basic idea is oh, remove the entire structure, not just a part and let the chips fall where they may and hey, it should be totes OK. I disagree with that. Remove the entire structure and I will end up dead and my wife someone's rapeslave. Unless I get lucky and do it to other people first.

    Germany still existed after WWII.

    Revolutions happen all the time in the third-world. Not many people directly die from revolution.

  51. Eric says

    @Ryan

    Germany still existed after WWII.

    1) There was no revolution in Germany after WWII.

    2) The Allies did not remove the entire structure of the German government, just the leadership at the top. The rest of the system was left mostly intact – which is why post-war Germany did not descend into anarchy like post-invasion Iraq.

  52. Guy who looks things up says

    @Ryan

    Germany still existed after WWII.

    No. There was East Germany and West Germany, remember? Both survived on subsidies from their respective patrons.

    Revolutions happen all the time in the third-world.

    One bunch of scheming colonels throwing out another bunch of colonels is not a revolution.

    Not many people directly die from revolution.

    Syria. Libya. Nigeria. Viet Nam.

  53. En Passant says

    n3gr0mancer March 10, 2015 at 2:19 pm:

    I AM DISAPPOINT, CLARK.

    Well, that's a relief. I was afraid you were going to say "YOU ARE LIBEL!"

    That would be awarding Clark an honor historically reserved for Ken.

  54. Castaigne says

    @albert:

    Surely Clarke would have come up with this, if he were still around. RIP, A.C.C.

    It's really more of a variant of Poe's Law than Clarke.

    =====

    @Ryan:

    Revolutions happen all the time in the third-world. Not many people directly die from revolution.

    People who have actually studied and written papers/books on the subject show that, no, revolutions do NOT happen all the time (even in 3rd World countries) and that when they do happen, they're primarily violent and bloody and involve lots of death.

    Would you like a list of sources on the subject?

  55. Mikee says

    RE: Ryan

    "Revolutions happen all the time in the third-world. Not many people directly die from revolution."

    Really? Let's take a look at the most recent examples.

    2010 Thai Political protests, 91 dead, 2100+ injured.
    Kyrgyz Revolution of 2010, 2000+ dead, 400,000 displaced.
    Greek austerity protests from 2010-2012, 5 dead, 311 injured.
    Arab Spring from 2010-ongoing, 175,000 dead and climbing across 19 countries.
    Spanish austerity protests from 2011-ongoing, 1500+ injuries, no deaths.
    Hey you're right, it does happen! Very rarely.
    Maldives political crisis from 2011-2012, 1 dead, 175 injured.
    Tuareg rebellion in 2012, 365+ dead, 250,000 displaced.
    Central African Republic conflict from 2012-ongoing, 5100+ dead, 700,000 displaced.
    M23 rebellion from 2012-2013, hundreds of soldiers killed, no official civilian death tolls available yet beyond, "Scores of civilian casualties over 18 months."

    That isn't even half of the political revolutions that have taken place in the last 5 years, and only one so far has no deaths involved. I challenge you to research your opinion before you state it in public like that again.

  56. Ryan says

    Millions die from starvation and nutrition. The poor dies from that.

    You know who dies from revolution? The incompetents who let it happen, who let their tyranny to be their own destruction.

  57. barry says

    I have a half remembered quote and don't remember who it was by. My main suspect is James Clerk Maxwell (years before Tesla). Although it was more about scientific rather than political ideas, I think it applies here. (If anyone knows the exact quote, I'd love to hear.) This is my paraphrase.

    How ideas change from 'A' to 'B' is not that people who once thought 'A' all change their minds and now think 'B'. It is that people who thought 'A' eventually die off and are replaced by people who think 'B'.

    Killing off everyone who thinks 'A' to speed up the process is a bit like cheating.

  58. Jane says

    Millions die from starvation and nutrition. The poor dies from that.

    You know who dies from revolution? The incompetents who let it happen, who let their tyranny to be their own destruction.

    Oh yes, all those terrible Syrian civilians and their tyrannies certainly got what was coming to them.

  59. King Squirrel says

    @Barry – Maybe Max Planck? (I lost a bet on this the other day because I remembered it as Thomas Kuhn)

    "A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it."

  60. says

    Papillon,

    Business does not equal economics; knowing how to invest does not make one a good economist. They're two different things.

    Keep in mind that the trade deficit only measures trade in certain things, primarily goods, and excludes trade in most services. A trade deficit also requires that we have a balancing investment surplus, as those dollars we buy the goods with ultimately come back to the U.S., if not via purchases, then via investment.

    It all balances out. The only actual problem is that we're taking too much of that investment in the form of government securities, which is about our propensity for budget deficits, which itself has nothing to do with the trade deficit.

    So, yes, I'm saying Buffet doesn't know what he's talking about on trade deficits.

  61. Mikee says

    RE: Ryan

    Guess you haven't heard of the Holodomor? When millions of innocent Ukrainians were killed by a man-made famine?

    Seriously, before you share your opinion, google up the basics first, just to make sure you're even in the same ballpark as reality.

  62. Guy who looks things up says

    @Mikee

    You're asking a lot. Reading about stuff like that is really, like, boring and there are lots of big words. Then you have to think about it and that's really really hard and so so tiring.

    Why bother with that when you can just make up stuff to suit your narrative? It's worked great for Fox News, hasn't it?

  63. albert says

    @Castaigne, @MelK
    I looked up Poes Law. True. It was a clever conflation of the two.
    .
    @Barry, @King Squirrel
    My favorite is from Petr Beckmann: – "If I have seen further than others, it is because I peeked past the giants who were blocking the light."
    .
    Einstein will be forever enshrined; the paradigm must be protected at all costs.
    .

  64. Ryan says

    Guess you haven't heard of the Holodomor? When millions of innocent Ukrainians were killed by a man-made famine?

    The Soviet Union frequently suffers from extreme droughts, and had a shortage of hard currency. Holodromor can easily be explained away as an accounting error as well.

  65. says

    Why bother with that when you can just make up stuff to suit your narrative? It's worked great for Fox News, hasn't it?

    Faux noise right???

    Rather than try to out-pedant each other on the finer points of history's revolutions and mass murders, why not address the meat of Clark's complaint. Namely, that our government sucks and should be replaced.

    Does anyone really think the Constitution supports our current regulatory state? Does anyone dispute that government is perilously removed from the people? It was said upthread, but most folks' experience of government has nothing to do with laws written by their elected representatives, and much more to do with regulations written by bureaucrats (often purchased by donors or beholden to interest groups). Is that what the founders intended? Is it even a good idea?

    Not only is government largely incomprehensible and immune from any citizen's attempt to change it, on the rare occasion when you do catch a piece of the great beast, what good is it? Every week we see stories like this, often documented on This Very Blog.

    Someone disagree with one of these two ideas. 1.) The government as presently constituted is sufficiently distant from the limits outlined in the Constitution that it needs to be reformed or dismantled, or, 2.) The government as presently constituted, regardless of the musty old Constitution, sucks, and needs to be reformed or dismantled.

    Hell, does anyone really think there's a way to get justice, in the current system, for people like Dendinger? And by justice I don't mean taxpayer-funded cash settlement. I mean, people go to jail and/or forfeit their right to work in the legal system.

  66. Mikee says

    RE: Ryan

    Any historian with a brain accepts that Stalin killed those millions of people intentionally through starvation. Again, I challenge you to research your opinions before you crap it out onto the internet through your fingers. Do you have special TP for your fingertips?

  67. Mikee says

    @Not Claude Akins

    You really think I didn't address Clark's comments? Shall I go back and copy/paste it for you? Okay, let's do that, shall we?

    "Yep, anyone that talks of revolution usually says it will be peaceful so they can convert people to their ideas, but they never actually try to start one.

    The ones that actually try to start revolutions, the McVeighs, Nichols, Rudolphs and Kaczynskis of the world, rarely talk about their revolution being peaceful because they're too busy bombing the hell out of innocent people."

    See? Right there, 3 days ago.

  68. Mikee says

    @Not Claude Akins

    Whoops, my bad, that was my second comment in the thread. The first one was four days ago and directly addressed Clark. I didn't begin responding to Ryan until he shared his fact-free opinion later.

  69. barry says

    @King Squirrel, Thanks for that. Max Planck is the earliest I've heard of so far. But I think I remember the version I heard as having either A's and B's or X's and Y's in it. Maybe it was a common idea with physicists at the time and everyone said it (so will eventually mostly be attributed to Einstein).

    Today I'm thinking it might have been Dr Wobblehat from the Unseen University (not to be confused with the Invisible College). But since these institutions existed in different reference frames, it is meaningless to say which came before the other.

    Let's hope there is something better than magic _ Rincewind

  70. King Squirrel says

    @Barry

    On that note, for this post on revolutions and their promises I will wish everyone Freedom, Truth, Justice, reasonably priced love, and a hard-boiled egg.

    (and unrelated to post entirely, thanks Sir Terrence)

  71. Guy who looks things up says

    @Not Claude

    Sorry if I'm late responding. Your last post skated right on the edge of accusing some of us of thoughtcrime.

    That, alone, explains my skepticism. Clark, and you, would have a lot more credibility coming showing how you won't turn into the new boss same as the old boss.

    By the way, balkanizing the USA won't work.

  72. Careless says

    That isn't even half of the political revolutions that have taken place in the last 5 years

    Pretty much have to be, with fewer than half of them being revolutions