Planned Irrelevance

Somebody tweeted about this today: It’s called the “Congressional Effect Fund”. It’s a mutual fund premised on the idea that Congress destroys wealth. That’s putting your money where your mouth is, eh? Or rather, where their mouths ain’t.

I don’t know enough about how this stuff works to know if they can actually minimize their exposure on non-Congress days, and I do sort of wonder whether, if something like this took off, it wouldn’t end up creating distorting effects.

But it is interesting from the standpoint of “libertarian optimism” we were talking about before.

Also interesting are the various cities and states (AP snark warning on that state link) resisting the current power grab.

Could we build a society around the Federal government? In-between? In the unregulated and unregulate-able nooks and crannies?

To an extent, the “black market” or “underground economy” ( has always flourished in supressive times–and regulations are suppressive, however necessary they may be–and, in a totalitarian environment, the black market is often the only market there is.

By the way, another word for “underground economy” is “free market”.

I’m not an OUTLAW like some people, but it doesn’t take much to realize that people will seek to survive and to improve their conditions, and if the environment works against them they will push back against the environment, escape the environment or operate under the table (which is a form of escape after all).

Technology can play a big hand here: Even while it gets harder to start a business due to regulation, technology can make it cheaper than ever.

The real question is whether you can work in your current physical space well enough to fight the creeping, smothering embrace of government–or whether you need to move to a new, less paternalistic locale.


Can you freakin’ believe that we have to go back to the polls on Tuesday?

My ass still hurts from the last time I voted. As pointless as the general election is for me (I’ve never elected a President, a Senator, a Congressman, a city council member, and 99% of the propositions go against me as well), the municipal elections are even worse.

Minorities–ideological minorities, I mean–are simply not well represented in our current system. I sometimes think that’s a real advantage of the parliamentary system: Votes are apportioned according to party instead of being winner take all.

Libertarian Optimism

“Expecting Washington to cut back its main instrument of power after a capitalism-bashing political campaign is like expecting Michael Moore to share his Egg McMuffin with a homeless man.”

The above from a piece by Gillespie and Welch which is remarkably optimistic given the massive spending. Bankruptcy could lead to–must inevitably lead to?–greater responsibility and less spending and control? Maybe? Dunno.

John Stossel is less sanguine.

It’s true that technology–far from the oppressor imagined by Orwell, Huxley and Bradbury–has mostly had a salubrious effect on liberty. Which is not to say that there aren’t victims.

Gillespie and Welch’s premise seems to be that, in many ways, people are becoming accustomed to tremendous freedom, especially through the ‘net. (We are all anarchists now, after a fashion.) This, in turn, will lead to draining of political power.

That might could be. (Yes, “might could”. Gotta problem with that?)

It’s certainly a nice thought. I think I’ll adopt it. See how it grows.

Darcy asked me the other day if I was optimistic, with regard to people and events. Not exactly. With people, I prefer to dwell on their better aspects. Their worst aspects are likely to be banal, but the ways in which they excel or thrive are more likely to be interesting and useful. (Unless, I suppose, one is an extortionist.)

There’s an optimism one adopts when taking on a project. The idea is that it should succeed. That’s why one generally bothers at all. (And I do the occasional project that I know will “fail” because its success is separate from what I’m trying to get out of it.)

But for large events–society-wide events–history is a bit of a buzzkill. Here we are, in this Golden Age–for surely it is a Golden Age, warts and all–when history demonstrates that all such ages pass, and sooner rather than later. And it’s so easy to see–or at least think we see–the reasons why.

But what else can one do but try to stop that, at least until things get so bad the ship must be abandoned?

That doesn’t sound very optimistic, though, does it?