We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Barking Parking Teslas

Long ago, Milton Friedman suggested the US might be better off without the Food and Drug Administration. People wrote to him saying the FDA should not be abolished but reformed so it would act differently. Friedman replied by writing a column he titled ‘Barking cats’:

What would you think of someone who said, “I would like to have a cat provided that it barked?” … The way the FDA now behaves, and the adverse consequences, are not an accident … but a consequence of its constitution.”

Today I chanced to hear a couple of medical professionals discuss the Tesla they have just arranged to buy, bemoaning its cost but rejoicing there would be “no more gas-guzzling trips”. Later they spoke of government policy on parking at NHS hospitals. Labour brought in the policy – which Cameron and May kept on, of course – to help save the environment by making parking at hospitals difficult (its proposers used different words) to encourage use of public transport. I learnt this policy much annoys shift-working NHS staff, who must sometimes travel in and out at hours when there is little or no public transport (or in areas that are not too salubrious). I already knew from my own friends and family that it much annoys elderly relatives visiting hospital patients – friends of mine have had to give up and go home again because an old man was not up to walking the distance from the nearest viable parking to visit an old woman, and might have had to be signed into the hospital himself if he’d tried. These Tesla-buying NHS professionals conceded that the numerous (by government policy) almost-always-empty electric-car-only spaces that adorn the limited hospital parking provided were also annoying. The man remarked that a hospital he’d recently served at really wanted to convert an available site nearby into a car park – “but knew they’d never get permission.” The woman said that if the government wanted NHS staff and patients to use public transport, they should try and ensure large hospitals were well-served by buses, but her experience was the reverse – “They need some joined-up thinking!”.

The thought flitted across my brain that greenie civil servants were not alone in needing to join up their thinking. And then I thought of Friedman, long ago, recalling his “Barking Cats” column of yet longer ago:

The error of supposing the behaviour of social organisms can be shaped at will is widespread. It is the fundamental error of most so-called reformers. … It explains why their reforms, when ostensibly achieved, so often go astray. (‘Free to Choose’)

Of course, I believe that the western world’s social organism could be shaped to respect science more and virtue-signalling AGW non-science less. So maybe I shouldn’t be too critical. Still, the BBC reported today that SUVs are outselling electric cars 37:1, “making a mockery of UK policy” so there is hope – of a kind.

31 comments to Barking Parking Teslas

  • CaptDMO

    Now let’s chat about “handicapped” parking spaces, and the “formula” used to determine how many spaces are designated as such.
    But first, make a mental note to examine how many handicapped parking spaces have that telltale “usage” oil spot where the engine is on most cars.

  • Paul Marks

    Let us assume, for the sake of argument, that the theory that C02 emissions cause global warming is TRUE.

    Even if the theory is true – the policy of making it difficult to park at hospitals still makes no sense, because it means that people have to drive around looking for somewhere else to park (say up some side street – making it hard for people who live there, and for the emergency services), drive around burning fuel as they drive.

    As for electric cars – if the electricity is generated by nuclear power stations they may make sense, but most (not all – but most) “Green” types are radially OPPOSED to nuclear power.

    Relying on windmills and solar cells is not going to work.

  • Fraser Orr

    Just thinking out loud…. but I don’t know that is always the case. There are some government programs that have achieved their goals. For example, campaigns to reduce smoking have almost completely eliminated it, campaigns against drunk driving have transformed a common occurrence into a social disgrace, insistence on use of the seat belt (and car seats for kids especially) has dramatically reduced traffic fatalities.

    Of course I don’t want to encourage them, it is just an observation, and in all three of these cases they have taken a great success, and taken it too far so that it is now a bit ridiculous. People often tell me that Obama slinging around two trillion dollars actually did some good. My reply is that it is almost impossible to sling around two trillion dollars without doing SOME good.

    But in one way I definitely agree with you. It is really quite easy to understand why governments do what they do and get the consequences that they get. People just grossly misjudge these things because they are going under the widely held assumption that politicians and civil servants are somehow angelic creatures philanthropically putting other people’s interests over their own, when they are, in fact, just ordinary human beings who put their own interest and that of their families first.

    Government policies are spectacularly successful if you recognize that their purpose is not to serve the public good but to serve the good of the politicians and civil servants that produce and execute them. It is not coincidence that re-election rates are well north of 90% and government departments’ budget and staff grow inexorably. Sometimes, in all that inexorable growth they actually spend some money in a way that, purely by coincidence, actually does some good.

  • Stonyground

    Not only is my SUV a lot more useful and practical than a Tesla, it is also less harmful to the environment.

  • Runcie Balspune

    You could take a step back further and ask why people need to go to the hospital in the first place.

    Blood tests for example could be done by a licensed operator either locally situated or arriving at your door, there are probably many other services that could be done without expensive equipment or a centralized facility.

    On top of this, there is a major reason for not having thousands of bacteria and virus carriers congregate at a place where people are really ill with compromised immune systems.

  • Simon Jester

    There is an entire episode of “Yes, Minister” devoted to the reasons why there will never be “joined-up thinking” on Transport policy – The Bed of Nails.

  • Confused Old Misfit

    Blood tests for example could be done by a licensed operator either locally situated or arriving at your door, there are probably many other services that could be done without expensive equipment or a centralized facility.

    Where I am, in South Australia, there are two path labs that do bloods and other things. You’ll find one or both of them in every mid-sized to large shopping centre, where parking is free and plentiful.

  • Simon Jester (December 10, 2019 at 8:58 am), thanks for reminding me of the ‘Yes, Minister’ episode. Alas, it is too old to include discussion of this millennium’s hospital parking policy.

    I had forgotten that relevant episode – but what startles me is that I only recently learned about this parking policy. I have heard many complaints in recent and not-so-recent years about the difficulty of parking at hospitals, and I have many relatives in the NHS and remember them complaining about the way NHS administrators reserve the best hospital parking places for themselves, not for doctors (nor nurses, of course). Now I hear from them, “Oh yes, that [restricting hospital parking generally] has been policy for 10 years at least – longer”, but while I knew that

    “The government will encourage use of public transport.”

    was the kind of sentence that appeared routinely amid boring news reports of government initiatives, I never heard

    “The government will make it harder to park at NHS hospitals (to encourage use of public transport).”

    Was I just inattentive or is it news to commenters, not only to me, that this administrative policy has been aggressively followed for much of the current millennium?

    (BTW, I did a fair bit of commuting in sundry parts of Switzerland while doing contract work there a while back. Switzerland does have an integrated transport policy. It’s a small country – but Scotland is even smaller, population-wise.)

  • llamas

    Fraser Orr wrote:

    ‘There are some government programs that have achieved their goals. For example, campaigns to reduce smoking have almost completely eliminated it, campaigns against drunk driving have transformed a common occurrence into a social disgrace, insistence on use of the seat belt (and car seats for kids especially) has dramatically reduced traffic fatalities.’

    Smoking – none of the government’s business.

    Campaigns against drunk driving may have turned it into a social disgrace, and thereby reduced drunk driving accidents and fatalities, but they have also produced a massive increase in intrusive policing and an expansion of the criminal justice system that has penalized untold millions of drivers who are not impaired in any real sense, but who are caught up in the indiscriminate trawling that typifies drunk-driving enforcement. And yet, for all this, in many parts of the US, for example, drunk-driving fatalities are not decreasing, but increasing.

    Car seats for kids – Leavitt and Dubner have analyzed the data and shown that over about the age of 3, child car seats offer no meaningful benefit over the use of conventional lap-and-shoulder belts. So, again, untold billions spent on government-mandated child safety seats, for no real benefit.

    Funny old definitions of ‘achieving goals’ you’re using, there.

    llater,

    llamas

  • John B

    ‘… I believe that the western world’s social organism could be shaped to respect science more…’

    By whom, according to what criteria, on what authority and what if the individuals in the organism don’t want to be shaped?

  • Fraser Orr

    @llamas
    Smoking – none of the government’s business.

    Irrelevant. The question is not if the government should do it, but if the government was successful at doing it, and it was, and it is undoubtedly a good thing that smoking is vastly lower.

    Campaigns against drunk driving may have turned it into a social disgrace, and thereby reduced drunk driving accidents and fatalities, but they have also produced a massive increase in intrusive policing

    I think I said precisely that in my comment. But again, government set out to reduce drunk driving and used a campaign of propoganda and social manipulation to transform a common practice into a social disgrace. So perhaps that is not their role, but again, that was the goal they set, it has been achieved, and it is undoubtedly a good thing. Did they take it too far? Of course, that is what the always do. But there are a lot of people who are not dead because of it.

    Car seats for kids – Leavitt and Dubner have analyzed the data and shown that over about the age of 3, child car seats offer no meaningful benefit over the use of conventional lap-and-shoulder belts. So, again, untold billions spent on government-mandated child safety seats, for no real benefit.

    No benefit? You don’t think insisting parents spend a fifty quid on a piece of safety equipment that saved hundreds of young children’s lives is “no benefit”? Even if you only look at sub 3 year olds. However, I said child seats in particular because that is a place the government actually does have a legitimate interest. The government does have a legitimate interest in demanding that parents put the safety of their children as a primary goal, as I have argued here many times before. And as to the broader point, even if it is, in your view and mine, none of the government’s business if you wear a seat belt or not, we cannot deny that they set out a goal of reducing traffic fatalities and very much achieved that goal, and that doing so is undoubtedly a good thing.

    Funny old definitions of ‘achieving goals’ you’re using, there.

    I think libertarians who deny that governments ever do any good tend to look like fact deniers when the evidence is clearly there that they do. Certainly you can argue that the pros are totally outweighed by the cons. But to argue that there are no pros will make people think you are a demagogue. I have seen your comments here, and I think you are level headed and insightful, so I find your comment surprising.

    That is why I argued above that understanding the motivations and that the good that gets done occasionally is a side benefit rather than the primary goal is such an important argument.

  • Fraser Orr

    FWIW, it just seems to me to be demagoguery to institute a policy of pushing public transport on people for hospitals. When you or your loved ones are in hospital you are almost certainly in a bad situation (or a stressful if good situation in, for example, childbirth). That is when people need to be cut a little slack. Make it a little easier to get there so as not to add extra stress into an already stressful situation. To do this kind of social manipulation with hospitals of all things just seems so utterly cruel and heartless. Especially so if you are going with the whole “the NHS shows how Britain is a caring society that puts the needs of the sick and the weak over the needs of taxpayers.”

  • Nemesis

    @ Fraser Orr and llamas.
    I’m sure I read that after introduction of seatbelts, driver fatalities went down but pedestrian fatalities increased, which I think is due to ‘risk compensation ‘

    ‘Risk compensation is a theory which suggests that people typically adjust their behavior in response to the perceived level of risk, becoming more careful where they sense greater risk and less careful if they feel more protected.’

    I think we will see a similar phenomenon in my area where they are trying to introduce 20mph speed limit. Various factors come into play besides an increase in road rage like drivers paying disproportionate attention to speedometers and pedestrians taking greater risks thinking it’s a safer road.etc.

    The late Hans Monderman introduced shared space schemes that sounded counter intuitive but actually worked on many levels by reversing the many safety measures and giving responsibility back to the driver.

  • In re Fraser Orr and others, Milton Friedman, in the quote above, said “often go astray”, not “always go astray”. I don’t think Libertarians are obliged to disagree with him on that.

    Milton also contrasted government’s likelihood of succeeding when acting in a specific area of long-recognised state interest like war (e.g. winning WWII) with government trying to run all aspects of an entire society for an ill-defined public good. Libertarians may recognise the state as better (or less bad) at some things than others.

  • Julie near Chicago

    COMPLETELY O/T, but possibly greatly interesting to some of those herein assembled:

    The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America’s Enemies

    August 28, 2018 by Jason Fagone

    https://www.amazon.com/Woman-Who-Smashed-Codes-Outwitted/dp/0062430513/ref=sr_1_1?Adv-Srch-Books-Submit.x=0&Adv-Srch-Books-Submit.y=0&qid=1576009070&refinements=p_28%3A%E2%80%9CThe+Woman+Who+Smashed+Codes%E2%80%9D&s=books&sr=1-1&unfiltered=1

    .

    From an interview with the author, by Nathalia Holt:

    Jason Fagone: Well, it’s one of these amazing American origin stories. A hundred years ago, a young woman in her early twenties suddenly became one of the greatest codebreakers in the country. She taught herself how to solve secret messages without knowing the key. Even though she started out as a poet, not a mathematician, she turned out to be a genius at solving these very difficult puzzles, and her solutions ended up changing the 20th century. She helped us win the world wars. And she also shaped the intelligence community as we know it today.

    NH: William Friedman has long been recognized as a pioneer of cryptology, so why have we never heard of Elizebeth before?

    JF: Sexism and secrecy. A lot of the time she was omitted or even erased from the records by the men in her life. Sometimes they were men close to her, like her husband, William Friedman, who was also a champion codebreaker, and sometimes they were men in power, like J. Edgar Hoover. All through World War II she used her skills to hunt Nazi spies who were spreading into the West. She broke these Nazi spy codes for the FBI, which would have been lost without her—and then Hoover turned around and painted himself as the big hero. There was nothing she could do, because of secrecy rules.

    There’s a long, fascinating review by reader Mal Warwick, which begins with this introduction:

    When Richard Nixon asked Chou En-Lai in 1972 about the impact of the French Revolution, the Chinese Premier famously said, “It’s too early to tell.” That terse response is generally understood to illustrate the Chinese ability to take the long view of history. But it might be more accurate to regard it as reflecting the constraints on those who write history. Historians can only work with available records: there is no history without documentary evidence. And sometimes decades, even centuries pass before the most crucial evidence comes to light.

    In fact, ironically, the exchange between Nixon and Chou reflects a misunderstanding that drives the point home even more strongly: they were both referring to the events of 1968, not 1789. Only now, much later, once a diplomat present at the scene clarified the exchange, can historians accurately interpret what the two men meant.

  • Fraser Orr

    @Niall Kilmartin
    Milton Friedman, in the quote above, said “often go astray”, not “always go astray”.

    Niall, I seem to remember that you are a resident of Stirling, or at least a frequent visitor. As a Scottish ex-pat living in the US, this time of year, and especially Hogmanay, brings out my Scottish fervor. And so when I read that I think you should have said “gang aft agley.”

    I don’t think Libertarians are obliged to disagree with him on that.

    On the contrary, I think it is a serious mistake not to acknowledge that government does occasionally do some good. To fail to do so is to deny realty, and, as I say, to look like a demagogue. If one has to argue against everything that a government achieves one takes one’s eye off the ball. The argument against the NHS is not that they don’t cure sick people, they obviously do. It is that there is a better way that would produce even better results.

    Milton also contrasted government’s likelihood of succeeding when acting in a specific area of long-recognised state interest like war (e.g. winning WWII) with government trying to run all aspects of an entire society for an ill-defined public good. Libertarians may recognise the state as better (or less bad) at some things than others.

    The military is an exceptionally interesting example. Government run militaries win wars principally because they are are fighting against other government run militaries. Their mutual incompetence cancels out. This is especially notable when you consider that the key to wining wars is often in logistics, something governments are EXCEPTIONALLY bad at. However, the evident is abundant that when militaries fight against non government run military forces they are vastly less successful. The United States’ current adventures in the Middle East demonstrate that in spades. About 30% of the US government’s current debt is money borrowed to prosecute a war in the Middle East, that, after nearly 20 years has achieved only modest gains. For our seven trillion dollars what did we get? Not much, except a lot of body bags. The opposition spent about twenty bucks and are still in control of vast amounts of territory.

    Of course there are lots of reasons for this. But a big one is that the military is run by the government, and as with all government projects it is massively bloated, directionless, politicized, dangerous and disastrous. Of course, girls in Kabul can go to school now, and that is a positive thing for sure, and we must acknowledge that, even in all this disaster, seven trillion dollars did actually manage to buy some good.

    And of course that is not to suggest that some of the terrible fighters in the Middle East are good people or fighting for a righteous cause. A lot of them are evil, stupid, religious fanatics that deserve a bullet in their head. I am really just measuring purely in terms of achievement of objectives. Our current President seems to want to get the hell out of there as quick as possible, but the usual web of government incompetence, graft, lobbying, entangling alliances and debt from past stupidities, seems to be making this impossible. One can only imagine how much better off the world would have been had that seven trillion dollars been spent instead by the private sector in efficient and effective ways.

  • Boobah

    There are some government programs that have achieved their goals. For example, campaigns to reduce smoking have almost completely eliminated it, campaigns against drunk driving have transformed a common occurrence into a social disgrace, insistence on use of the seat belt (and car seats for kids especially) has dramatically reduced traffic fatalities.

    Sorry, but were those government programs enacted before or after society as a whole had weighed in on those topics? Because from where I sat all of those ideas were promoted by issue groups for decades, chipping away at public opinion, and it was only after they’d crested the tipping point to ‘socially unacceptable behavior’ that the government did anything.

    That is, the government programs didn’t win the cause; they are, rather, an indicator that the cause had already been won.

  • Julie near Chicago

    I’ll agree with Boobah on that one (cigarettes), at least in the U.S.

    Drunk driving — probably.

    Seat belts — maybe, but there I’m not quite so sure. As I remember it, a lot of feathers were mighty ruffled when the seat-belt laws were enacted. And I for one wouldn’t have worn mine except for the Law. Course, as a Good Libertarian (well, sorta), I say ciggies and seat-belts are not properly within government’s remit.

    .

    P.S. Although smoking per se isn’t illegal in any state in the U.S. But there are all kinds of restrictions on where you can’t smoke, and some of them are statutory.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    Julie, my brand of libertarian thought would have public property, like roads, places that public authorities could make and enforce laws, so I approve of seatbelt enforcement.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Nicholas, to a hard-core libertarian, roads are no business of a government, which answers the question right there.

    I do see your point, but the seat-belt laws do nothing to protect persons in other cars but the one being driven by the un-seatbelted driver. That’s not the case with laws against drunken driving, or speed limits, or stop signs and stop lights, or where on the road a car is supposed to be, or working head- and tail- and brake-lights, and so forth.

    Even those of us who cower before Reality *shiver* have to admit that like it or not, mostly Governments run the roads; but that does not does not give them absolute authority to make whatever laws they feel like about what you can’t or must do while using them. All laws ought to have to withstand a very severe test of whether the law is within reasonable bounds of what is allowed to the government to make, as well as a serious consideration of whether the law will lead to the objective desired, and whether that objective is itself proper for government to hold.

  • Stonyground

    I’ve heard it said that the UK government did a good job when the currency was changed from pounds, shillings and pence to a decimal currency in 1971. I was twelve years old at the time so if there were problems I probably wouldn’t have been too aware of them.

  • insistence on use of the seat belt (Boobah, December 11, 2019 at 2:51 am)

    Many years ago, not many months after I bought my first car, I was driving north for Christmas in foul winter weather and decided to move into the outer lane of the two-lane road in order to pass the lorry ahead. Soon after, I found myself spinning over the two lanes on the opposite side – luckily there was no oncoming traffic at that moment – ending upside down wedged in a ditch against a stone wall, and glad I had no passenger as the roof on that side was now much lower. I kicked a window out to exit the car, thinking, “I wonder if it will go when I turn it over” (I’ve been Niall ever-the-optimist Kilmartin all my life) and made towards the only visible light. It turned out to be a cafe containing an AA man who told me he never went out on patrol; he just set up in that cafe and the road, especially the corner I’d spun over, brought him custom. As we walked back to the car, I found myself stepping over bits of it to reach the main body and thought, “Maybe it won’t go when I turn it over” (it was, as I said many years ago – and not many months after I owned a car). Two days later, I saw it in daylight: all wheels pointing in different directions, all doors either impossible to open or impossible to shut, boot and bonnet likewise paired.

    If I had not been wearing a seatbelt that night, you would not be being troubled by my thoughts on the passing scene today.

    In the years since, I have become more libertarian and/or more thoughtful about what liberty means – but never enough to forget that wearing a seatbelt is a good idea, even if the government’s nagging you about it is annoying.

  • Stonyground

    Back in the days when cycling helmets were a rare sight, my wife offered to buy me one for my birthday. I do a lot if cycling and, being the man who has most of what he needs and so is difficult to buy presents for, I said yeah why not? Some time later, a guy in a Ford Fiesta turned right straight across my path, I wrote the car off with my head. My injuries were fairly superficial. Had I not had the helmet on I don’t know whether I would be dead or brain damaged, it’s impossible to know. I’ve never cycled without a helmet since. I still don’t think that they should be compulsory though.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Sure, Niall, and I’m very glad you were wearing your seatbelt that night too!

    .

    By now, I’d be wearing one voluntarily myself.

    Although speaking of playing the odds, it’s not as if the belt, and even more the airbags, don’t occasionally make the situation worse; even though that’s not the way to bet, statistically.

    .

    The sticking point is the fact of being forced to wear one, especially when it’s not within the proper purview of government to exercise its power to that end.

    A person does, after all, have the right to risk life & limb if he so chooses.

    Next time we all get together in my dorm room for a few beers after supper, we can bat the breeze about externalities, and the meanings of words in arguments (discussions), and where lines should be drawn in libertarian theory. And whether, when you get right down to it, it really is a proper role for government to tell us what we can’t and must do, even when it’s for our own (individual) good. And even when we agree it’s for our own good.

    .

    ETA: Now I see Stony’s comment. Which reminds me about the flap over whether figure skaters should have to wear helmets. Aerialists and safety nets. Etc.

  • Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker) Gray

    Julie, we all have different versions of Libertopia. Yours seems to be a free-enterprize anarchy, with no public authorities at all.
    Mine, which I label Eccentralism (eccentric decentralism) has local public authorities owning public spaces like roads, town halls, etc. The rest would be private land, where the authorities couldn’t intrude. Also, citizenship would be a voluntary decision, and if an adult chose to be a local citizen, then that adult would time-share public services part-time for eleven months, and be a part of the autonomous local government for one month, then repeating the process.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    Julie, I am a minarchist, not an anarchist. I call my system Eccentralism (Eccentric decentralism). I think that citizenship should be voluntary, that the strongest level of government should be the local county, that the local authorities own and rule over all public lands like roads and town halls (etc.), and that adults who volunteer to be citizens should labour for eleven months of the year doing part-time civic tasks (fire-fighters, road patrols, community service, militia, whatever) to earn one month of being part of the democratic government of the local county. If a property-owner does not volunteer to be a citizen, then they would be treated like guests, but be obliged to obey the local rules, if they stepped onto public property, though they could do what they like on their own property, and expect others to obey their idiosyncratic laws.
    So, on public lands, the owners of public lands could demand that people use seatbelts.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Well, Nicholas, you’re not welcome on my property unless you bring your dog. *woof, lap, woof, grin*

    Question, really would like to know: Suppose you live in Lee County (farm country, where I grew up). If Lee County is the plenary governmental authority there, how do the residents defend themselves when the Soviets or the Chicoms or the Jerries come rolling in with their tanks and strafing Dixon (county seat, pop. ~15,000?

    Seems to me there would have to be a pact amongst all or almost all of the counties to get together against a foreign enemy. Each would be sovereign and there would be no federation at all beyond defense treaties and trade agreements?

    It begins to sound like a system of very small (mostly) principalities or duchies, European style?

    And, what would you have in mind for the combined pop. of these counties, and the geographic area? And are you thinking of contiguous realms, or just ones here & there as happen to come about?

  • Paul Marks

    A few loose words in the Constitution “regulate interstate commerce” have, in modern times, led to tens of thousands of pages of Federal regulations that have horribly hit the lives of people – “protect the consumer” really means “make consumers get substandard products and artificially high prices”, in everything from toilets (trying flushing a government approved American toilet – the excrement is still there) to washing machines, to everything.

    The words “regulate interstate commerce” were NOT meant to give the Federal government the power to control what goods people could buy, they were intended to ensure free trade over State lines – and (ironically) that is the one thing the Federal government does NOT do. Buying insurance (medical or other) over State lines? Very hard. Practicing a trade or profession when you “only” have a “license” from the State you are coming from not the State you are going to? Again – forget it (unless you are going to Arizona – which recognises “licenses” from all 50 States).

    Of course E.U. supporters are saying at this point “the E.U. makes sure that people can move and still practice their trade” – which rather misses the point that it is the government restrictions themselves that are the central problem. See Chief Justice Sir Edward Coke, the case of Dr Bonham – 1610.

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    My best example would be Switzerland, with strong Cantons, and a very-limited Federal Government. Mutual defence, perhaps to be called an Allied Militia, with components also training locally. Wasn’t something like this the original ideal of the Constitution, with State Militias, and Washington just helping to co-ordinate state units if America was invaded?

  • Paul Marks

    Nicholas – what you are describing is (sadly) Switzerland before 1847. Or at least before modern times.

    There were a lot of stages in the decline of Switzerland – 1847, 1874, the National Bank of (I think) 1910, the Federal tax and “insurance” schemes of the later 20th century (and the vile “equalisation” idea that Canada and Germany also have of undermining federalism by making some areas subsidise other areas), and finally the Constitution of the 1990s – but still YOU ARE CORRECT in thinking that Switzerland is still better than most places, it just is not what it was.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Why Nicholas, I do believe it was! Not exactly, I suppose (but the measure of my knowledge about the Swiss political system is down in the negative digits), but close.

    As to the Founders’ original idea about combined defense, my knowledge is also really less than zero. :>(

    .

    Paul, you’ve increased my knowledge up to 0+”a hair”. Thank you! :>)

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>