Archive for the ‘Competitive Governance’ Category

A dialog on immigration

OPENO: Hello, friend! Something seems to be on your mind.

RESTRICTES: Yes, Openo, I am troubled. This migrant crisis in Europe has reawakened my concerns about immigration to the West in general. While I’m sympathetic to the plight of those fleeing civil war (though not to economic migrants), I think that Westerners on both sides of the Atlantic are being extremely foolish and letting sentiment and blank slate ideology blind them to the long term, irreversible consequences of their decisions.

OPENO: Then we have very different attitudes. My “sentiment” leads me to believe that the migration from poorer to richer countries will – despite the difficulties associated with any large change – be in the end a great benefit not only to the immigrants and their descendants, but to the host nations as well. Perhaps we can use reason and evidence to bridge this gulf between us. Can you elaborate on your position more?

A very well-written hypothetical dialog ensues. Highly recommended reading.

“The division of Europe into a number of independent states, connected, however, with each other by the general resemblance of religion, language, and manners, is productive of the most beneficial consequences to the liberty of mankind. A modern tyrant, who should find no resistance either in his own breast, or in his people, would soon experience a gentle restraint from the example of his equals, the dread of present censure, the advice of his allies, and the apprehension of his enemies,. The object of his displeasure, escaping from the narrow limits of his dominions, would easily obtain, in a happier climate, a secure refuge, a new fortune adequate to his merit, the freedom of complaint, and perhaps the means of revenge.” – Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

The PNW and the UN Fallacy

Anyone interested in an object illustration of the UN Fallacy1 could hardly do better than Vancouver, BC and Seattle, WA. Seattle and Vancouver are so similar in culture, climate, architecture, arts, and culture that it would take a non-trivial familiarity with both to be able to tell them apart. And yet the two cities are bound up into entirely different political compacts which are, in both cases, populated by cities and peoples significantly different than themselves. Or at least much more different than the cities are to each other. Vancouver has far more in common with Seattle than it does with Montreal; Seattle has far more in common with Vancouver than it does with Savannah.

To the fan of competitive governance2, this is a clear indication that the current political compacts that bind the two cities are deeply flawed. Why should people in Seattle be, in part, controlled by people in Savannah, when a political association with Vancouver makes much more economic, cultural, and political sense? If the people of Vancouver and Seattle have more in common and decide that their futures are more strongly entwined than they are with the rest of their current countries, why shouldn’t they be permitted to form a new political compact between them?

And yet, the idea that the people of Vancouver and Seattle should voluntarily band together and throw off their existing national arrangements is seen as radical, insane, or naive. How could it be any crazier than the idea that Vancouver and Montreal should be legally, politically, and economically bound, due simply to an accident of history?


1 The UN Fallacy is the idea that a geographical area is sensibly considered as a whole, just because it is surrounded by a recognized national border, and that peoples and places so defined can be sensibly and trivially compared to one another.

2 We really ought to come up with a catchy name for ourselves. Sopharchists? Scientarchists? Let’s workshop it a bit.

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Magic Blue Smoke

House Rules:

1.) Carry out your own dead.
2.) No opium smoking in the elevators.
3.) In Competitions, during gunfire or while bombs are falling, players may take cover without penalty for ceasing play.
4.) A player whose stroke is affected by the simultaneous explosion of a bomb may play another ball from the same place.
4a.) Penalty one stroke.
5.) Pilsner should be in Roman type, and begin with a capital.
6.) Keep Calm and Kill It with Fire.
7.) Spammers will be fed to the Crabipede.