In the late 1970s, it became fashionable to bash the large scale stellar states that featured so prominently in science fiction. It was "plainly impossible" and exhibit A was always the writer's preconception of what government did: Social work and industrial boards of this and that and regulations concerning the use of typewriters and television and all sorts of other technologies that have since become outdated.
In other words, overhead.
The overhead becomes bigger and more complex with each successive layer of government, as for some reason they feel a need to coordinate for complete uniformity. It quickly gets to the point where parasitic overhead, or the inherent load on the system, far outstrips any actual benefit received.
But that's assuming you buy into that particular vision of government. Understandable enough - that has been the trendline of every government in recorded history. Government tends to grant itself ever greater powers. It turns out that this is a major reason why they fall apart, either internally, through external factors, or most often, both. The Huns and Goths that destroyed Rome did so because they saw a rich, tempting target inadequately defended, but I have severe doubts as to whether they could have done the same to the Empire of Augustus' time or the Republic of a hundred years earlier, despite the fact that both were smaller and controlled fewer resources. Ditto the Mongols that invaded China, and any number of other invaders elsewhere on the globe.
But there is another philosophy, with a long history, even on Earth: The minimalist government. It was most clearly articulated in 1776 and 1787-9, but there have been other articulations. We in the US have fallen from it since for several reasons (which are subjects for another time) but we were still close enough to it as the nineteenth century closed to make for a valid study.
So the obvious response was to postulate a minimalist government. But in order to be stable, there has to be a reason why a minimalist government stays minimalist. The incentives for the individuals involved in government all run to grasping ever greater powers for themselves. So there has to be a reason why they do not engage in that practice. A self-interested, long term, reinforcing reason. Better yet, more than one reason. People are inventive at following what they see as their self interest. World history can be viewed from this vantage. Indeed, it's the vantage point that tends to make more sense than any other.
This was the germ of the first tenet of the universe: A government composed of individuals who have an understanding that their individual self interests lie in keeping anyone else in that government from acquiring more government power than they absolutely have to have
Print on Demand for my first book (The Man From Empire) is now available on Create Space. 228 pages $8.99
Evidently you have to log in to CreateSpace to see it, which is counter-productive. It should be available on Amazon within a few days.
PS It's still available as an e-book for $2.99
and it just went live at Kindle direct
Fairly lengthy sample available by clicking on the cover illo on the Amazon page
And if I know you, Thomas J. Davis, I do apologize, but I don't recognize your name. Thank you!
Once again, this is Kindle only (or at least, e-book - no paper version yet)
If you're one of those who has bought, thank you!
(Please consider writing a review?)
UPDATE: PS: I'm enabling anonymous comments on this site, in order to allow discussion. However, to discourage spam, all links in comments are nofollow and any dofollows will be deleted
and it just went live at Kindle direct
For some reason, they're still using the cover photo I accidentally uploaded without text. I fixed it almost immediately, but maybe I missed some arcane detail of their system. I just attempted fixing it again. If you buy and for some reason do not get the correct cover version, I can send you the file direct.
Some sample text from the beginning of Chapter One:
No matter what the song says, it does rain in southern California. All the damn time in March of El Nino years.
The most recent storm had finished blowing through earlier that evening. I didn't like working after dark, but the compliance reports just couldn't wait any longer. My boss, "Call me George" Martinez, had informed me that the EPA was crawling all over him and that if the hazardous usage and disposal reports weren't completed by the time he got to work in the morning, I would be joining the ranks of the unemployed. In blue state basket case California, in the middle of the worst economy of the last eighty years. Jerk.
Overall, Riverside's not a bad town. I've got a small apartment not too far from the UC campus. The complex is full of students with a smattering of old fogeys too poor and too stubborn to leave, and working class stiffs, not to mention hybrids like me. The ones I've talked to were alright.
But this wasn't there. The warehouse sits in a commercial district near where the 91 dies and turns into the 215 at the 60 merge. There are some rough people nearby, in the old twenties and thirties housing they threw up back before tract housing. Tiny lots, old decaying houses, ancient plumbing and wiring, never updated. Paint cracked, chipped, and peeling. Calling them Craftsmen would be implying a level of charm that simply didn't exist. Streets jammed with old junker cars. Chain link fences, neglected lawns, junk left wherever someone dropped it because it was too much effort to clean up. An occasional abuela put in a few flowers that just made the rest of the neighborhood look even more pitiful. Rough people, mostly poor hispanics with the occasional white trash or black, human refuse that just didn't have what it took to get ahead in the world as it had become. Some were disabled, most simply never applied themselves much. Get a second or third generation in there, and you got some real gangbanging. Easy path to see, damned near impossible to make it work into a real life worth living. Enough to make me appreciate my parents, who escaped that world and made sure I knew enough not to fall back.
The gangs had been cooped up inside most of the previous ten days. El Nino storms came through one after another. Maybe they wouldn't drown or freeze you, but they were cold, wet, and miserable - at least by the standards of California weather. Nobody came out when it was raining without a good reason why they had to be out there and then, but once it stopped a light jacket would keep you warm, and the hoodies would be out looking to burn off some energy. It's not like they had anything better to do.
And here I was, a 28 year old woman leaving the building all by myself in the dark just after eight-thirty with no one around. Just bad luck the four guys in jackets walking up the other side of the street at the exact wrong time. No key to get back in - damn "Call me George" to hell. I picked up my pace. If I could get to my car - beater that it is - and lock the doors there was a chance I'd be able to drive away.
Mistake. The hoodies started to run. Now there was some effort in it for them, things were looking worse for me. Cell phone, you say? I could grab the phone and push the number to dial 911, but it wouldn't do me a bit of good. Typical response time was thirty minutes. By the time the cops showed up, it would be long over. I was about to do it anyway when it happened.
I swear on my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that this happened. He looked like an Angel of the Lord, minus the wings. Hanging up there in the air. Well, not hanging - he was falling, though not like he was getting pulled - more like he was riding an escalator that wasn't there. At least six five, thin as a rail, with a softly glowing sword of all the improbable things. Wearing what looked like some kind of uniform, dark with lighter trim, cut like nothing I'd ever seen.
I don't know what he did to call attention to himself, but all of a sudden the 'bangers noticed him. Not just the 'bangers, but everything's attention was wrenched towards him as if someone grabbed our heads, sunk hooks into our eyeballs and made us look. Right down to the rats in the dumpsters.
Today over at my consumer advocacy site, I have published Eminent Domain Abuse: Putting a Stop to It. Eminent Domain abuse hurts everyone who owns property. If it's not your property today, it could be tomorrow.
Today we have the final installment in the series on the new Good Faith Estimate formThe 2010 Good Faith Estimate (Page Three). Your government that should be protecting you from the worst sort of mortgage provider lies is now actively enabling those lies by allowing/making a false statement that the numbers quoted at sign up cannot change.
The second installment in the series The 2010 Good Faith Estimate (Page Two) is now up. Read it and weep - for consumers nationwide who were hoping the government would provide the solution to their troubles. Didn't happen. Instead, it's same old game of low-ball the consumer to get them to sign up, only now the lender is supposed to come clean at a point which is too late for anyone to change loans. Exactly how does that benefit consumers?
The third and final installment will publish tomorrow.
Want San Diego MLS?
Add to Technorati Favorites