The snarkier folks in the audience might ask: Isn't that an awful lot like taxation without representation? Not quite. Taxation without representation is Authority without Voice.
The modern problem is that the personal cost to individuals in government of damaging the country is minimal. So they try stupid experiments like "Health Care Reform" that don't solve any problems, and put us substantially closer to having big problems later. Ditto the Iraq War.
The big dispute between the Modlbugians and me has come down to the best way to reduce Authority without Responsibility.
My assertion, contra Moldbug: The only thing that has historically worked is a combination of 3 factors. I claim that the industrial revolution was primarily a flowering in 3 locations: Holland since 1581, England since ~1660, and America since ~1700. Further, I claim that the growth rates caused by the industrial revolution were due to:
- Killing an oppressor or two, thereby putting the fear of god into rulers. In England, Charles 1 went headless followed by Cromwell's posthumous execution. Proper fear was instilled in the rulers. The Netherlands kicked out the Spanish in 1581. Proper fear was instilled in the rulers. The Americans fought the British, and thus instilled fear in the subsequent rulers of America. Violence by the people was the core check on government power.
- Balanced interests, thereby making divided government. Holland in the 16th century had the Union of Utrecht, a republican, distributed power center. England in the 17th Century had Parliament, the King, and a dozen other moderately inviolable power centers. See my link to Nick Szabo. Madison expressly built the structure of US government to balance power against power (Courts, Legislature, Executive -- States, Locals, Feds)
- Ability to exit: Europe in the 16th-18th centuries was a patchwork of small-ish countries, all somewhat at odds with one another. This means that if you got in trouble politically somewhere (England), you had the ability (if you were educated enough to get in trouble) to decamp to Holland, Spain, Portugal, or Venice. America had a federalist system and a frontier.
- Distributed authority makes it near impossible to shoot the person responsible.
- Due in no small part to the rise of the university/media/civil service as a unitary entity (no discernable differences of opinion between the 3), there is no longer any capability to build balanced power, as the interests are the same.
- There is no frontier and America is a hegemon. Exit is impossible.
- Therefore, regardless its historical merits, the Madisonian solution is no longer possible.
- I have advocated before, and continue to advocate the following...which appears thoroughly Modlbugian. People who make and enforce decisions should sign their names to them, and should be responsible (read liable) for them. My boss made me do it is NOT a defense. True in military, corporation, and government. Government should not be allowed to indemnify. Insofar as Moldbug's line is that we need to be able to identify who to hang for each bad decision, I agree. Insofar as he's saying more than that, I am less sanguine about it.
- If one were to create an amendment, even in the current system, wherein TOTAL government expenditures (State, federal, local) were limited to X% of GDP (start at 30, decrease to 5 over 25 years) , it would create a system wherein the interests of Moldbug's Cthuloid monster would no longer be cohesive cohesive. Rather than being able to extract money from the private sector, Government would be in competition against itself. Arguably, it is this feature of the pre-industrial revolution world along with the separation of powers that built the Industrial revolution. As Clark's Malthusian view informs us, there simply wasn't enough surplus to extract...and so all levels of government were forced to compete for the same small pie. Perhaps government pie restriction to the zero-sum game they tend to believe in would solve a problem.
- There is indeed no frontier. America itself now constitutes a monopoly of the type that antitrust regulators hate. It needs to be broken up, like AT&T. The federal government should be left with only the national-defense business unit. Smallness and competition is the only solution. This may be the key issue. What I really want is for the meaningful differences between California's entirely disfunctional government, Illinois's hideously corrupt government, and Texas's minimalist approach to become obvious. With Texas getting better results on every front than California, with fewer regulations, lower taxes, better economic growth, and better social services (though less pretty scenery -- not terribly impactable through government programs), eventually smaller systems under mild competition will gravitate towards successful models.
- Madison may indeed no longer be possible. However, I believe that the odds of a hard-cap on total government expenditures, a real accountability measure (preferably that includes violence), and/or a breakup of the American monopoly are all (as incremental improvements) more likely to succeed than the Moldbugian reset. It may be that the solution that the MOST successful state has matches Moldbug's. I'd bet against it though. Not because I think Moldbug's approach doesn't have value...but because I think that experimentation is better attuned to reality than I am (or Moldbug is).