Andrew (perspectivism) wrote,

government waste, or interesting benevolent experimentation?

This may cost me half of my readership. ;)

As many of you know, I don't do politics nowadays. Here's a reason why:

I certainly empathize with the classical liberals who want much lower taxes and very restricted, traditional military/courts/police spending. For the most part, that's also how I would vote. (In terms of theoretical ideals, I score in the 150's on Bryan Caplan's famous Anarchocapitalist Test.)

In the U.S., vocal classical liberals often find themselves feeling right at home with intellectual conservatives. Kevin reads and blogs a ton of this set. Pjammer used to be known as UCSD's Conservative Columnist(!).

We tend to become who we hang out with. It's a human thing. Without a lot of other influences -- external or internal -- vocal classical liberals tend toward political conservatism.

Similarly, vocal atheists tend toward CSICOP, and vocal CSICOP tend to focus their lives on what can be studied in labs(TM).

For me, for my sense of life, it's dangerous to become more American intellectual conservative. They're boring, they're reactionary, they're whiny, they're plodding. Most importantly, they repeat themselves all the damned time whether or not anyone's listening.

Even Goldberg. Even O'Rourke. Even Dave Barry became one.

I do have intellectually conservative influences in my own life: working in the business world, thinking like a lawyer, even doing software engineering. I far from resent their moderating aspects -- but I think I might if I didn't push my own purely fun pursuits to be as creatively unbridled as possible. And, I no longer find that creativity compatible with vocal political analysis in any social climate.

Inspiration is important to me. Aesthetically, I prefer energetic novelty to grim repetition. In the world at large, I like to see a lot of new things tried -- giving our evolution a lot of recombinations to sift. Experiment, result, repeat!

Sociopolitical aesthetics: Voluntarism with gusto is the absolute best. Reluctant voluntarism is second-best -- I think. *looks over at the Eastern half of the globe* *shrugs* Earnestly benevolent, intelligently humble involuntarism (i.e., "good government") is my next most favorite thing. And it gets extra points for conducting creative small experiments with sensible feedback and standards.

The below "feel-good scam ... funded through a federal anti-drug and -crime program" is actually something I'd like to see a lot more of! I already know that most anti-drug and -crime dollars do more harm than good. So, why not use some evil dollars to fund a bunch of borderline wacky, basically harmless programs that might be surprise winners?!
Then, [HUD beneficiary] participants were counseled on the kind of diet, exercise, colors, gemstones and incenses they should surround themselves with to reduce stress and boost self-esteem.
Of course the personality testing they did has no more validity than a carnival horoscope or a Tarot reading. But who cares? Really!

Genuine counseling by sensitive zealots just might do something for poor people. And that's more than we can honestly say for prison.

Unfortunately, our American intellectual conservative friends want us to laugh at "feel-good" programs and scams alike. Laughing at most everything new and experimental -- so we can build more prisons in the name of Alexander Hamilton!
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