Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Scale Of Government Is Not Invariant

(Or more generally, organizations are not fractals).

Napoleon is a dickless asshole. Literally.

You may recall in yesterday's essay I called Steve Jobs a dickless asshole. Jobs used this term of disparagement all the time, so it stands to reason that he found it hurtful in the extreme. It follows we as a society should make an attempt that he should forever after be known as a dickless asshole. Nothing really wrong with that, considering how powerful the asshole niche is within the society of us ape-shaped bugs, and for that matter, how it seems to be a near cosmic rule in organizations. I would hazard to guess that if we ever meet space-faring aliens, they have good representative asshole niche - unless they've managed to find a way to be both effective and nice.

Napoleon really is a dickless asshole though. During his autopsy, the doctor removed some souvenirs, and so his dick meandered through that grisly subset of the global commodities market known as reliquaries until settling in New Jersey. Cosmic irony would have dictated that it reside next to a jar filled with Rasputin's cock, but no. I guess.

Anyway, what the fuck am I talking about? I went back and read yesterday's essay, and I had to ask "Kurman? Was there a fucking point to any of that?" I think there was, is, but it's gonna take a while for it all to cohere  - or congeal - into something. I think it has to do with big picture items and long term trends. But honestly, I'm pretty sure that the general anesthesia from two weeks ago scraped a good 10 IQ points of my brain, and maybe permanently. Add that to the other four operations going under, and the ten concussions I've suffered, and I suspect one more trial under the knife, or one more conk on the noggin, and all I'll be able to type is "Meow".

(Oh, and that ape-shaped bug crack? Not really meant as insult, more a realistic observation of our place in the larger universe. And whether "bug" refers to Ecdysozoa or Eubacteria really doesn't matter as both have admirably solved 99.999% of the survival problem and are worthy of emulation).

So I suppose one of the themes from yesterday was about energy, but the stress was not necessarily upon our most recent sources - oil, gas, coal, nuclear - that have allowed the big accelerating anomaly our species has undergone lo these past three centuries, but rather the much more important energy source known as food.

Food, baby, food!

Any long term trend, any big picture item must treat this as the salient of all discussions. True, oil, gas, and coal, have opened up new venues and ventures to our species, but in many respects, all they've really done is added a turbocharged hemi to an already very sleek and stylish automobile - that incredible robust time-tested might-as-well-be-Promethean-nanotechnology we call eukarya in human form (and of course the holobiontic menagerie that surrounds and contains us like that hokey wizarding Force in those hokey Star Wars movies).

And if we are to talk of, to bump it up a category, Life, then we must talk of organization, networks, whether communal or parasitic, swarm or dissipative structure, centralized or distributed, fractal or Pareto dispersed.

(One quick aside about food, and another dickless asshole known as Putin. Jared Diamond's scholarship in Guns, Germs, and Steel may be slipshod, loose, and sloppy, and he may accused of geographic fatalism, but he does have a point about food zones. Longitudinal (east-west) food zones are preferable to latitudinal (north-south) food zones for propagation of staples, but in a world of climate change - assuming that favorable conditions travel to the poles, and this is a coarse assumption - the food zones will not travel with them. Latitudinal food zones (ignoring storm, flood  and drought) are to be preferred. Which means the Ukraine is fucked as a food zone, and Russia as well. Putin is wasting his time. The fact that got he caught with his pants down by failing to move most of Russia's arms-making capacity out of the Ukraine shows him to be a short-sighted fool, rather the strong manly chess master American conservatives so desperately whank off to).

So, political organizations (and, for that matter business organizations, which are based upon centrally planned dictatorships). What we know is basically every form has been tried and found wanting, but some forms are worse than others. Confederations, for example, don't work. In America, they have tried twice, and both have been dismal, utter failures. Anarchy, for that matter, I don't think has even ever been tried, as it is contrary to the very idea of organization and principles of networks of social creatures. Grover Norquist, clueless - and possibly dickless - asshole, mischaracterized Burning Man as a self-organizing anarchic emergent community when it was nothing of the kind. Burning Man was - is -  a highly regulated, highly policed, luxuriously subsidized annual expedition to the South Pole - but without the death and cannibalism and frostbite and gangrene.

So then the question is granularity of control. I for one prefer Big Government because it's so big and monitoring (at least historically) so remote and lax that it was easy to get away with a lot of shit, and still get a lot of free stuff for free from the taxpayer.

(I have to admit, my views of governance are moving away from the Lockean social contract theory, and heading more towards the Serresian layered mutual abuse social parasitism theory, and more on that later maybe).

But let's get back to that idea of layers of categorical filters and control points. The American Founding Fathers, perhaps swinging the pendulum too far the other way after being subjected to the parasitic abuse of the jolly olde British Empire (ignoring their own parasitic land theft and security needs against the dreadful Savage which said empire supplied in return). Even when the United States in Congress Assembled proved to be wholly unworkable, members of the Constitutional Congress were still staining their pants so badly over the return of tyranny that they much preferred the idea of state and, more importantly, local control.

Problem is, local government can be the most stringent dictatorship of all (and as such, is NOT the modern system of government per Foucault's observations on the panopticon). I mean, I much prefer that the government be way the hell over their in Washington DC, with layers and layers and layers of bureaucracy distancing them from me, and all the silly little incestuous CEO-type buttheads stuck in one little easily nuked enclave. True, their are always exceptions to the rule. True, technology is changing so rapidly that the monitoring points are getting closer and closer into my business and privacy, but this is the cost of being a social creature. And besides, monitoring and control technology is part and parcel of the involving arms race of deceit, which I consider a lot more fun than the usual idea of arms race.

No comments:

Post a Comment