[FoRK] Misunderestimating "The" Tea Party

Jeff Bone jbone at place.org
Sat Mar 20 15:20:05 PDT 2010


Cluster of responses...

Jebadiah says:

> Of course, the common argument for more localized government isn't about increasing individual liberties....

Excellent point, even if the commonality of the argument is irrelevant:  the point being whether "liberty" is defined in the sense of arbitrary rights deriving from some theory of rights or in terms of social choices --- these are not necessarily the same thing, and the argument is weaker for lack of such a definition.  (It should be clear at this point that I'm arguing about social choices.)

Russell says:

> The algorithmic argument above assumes some combination of... 

Yes it does, explicitly;  I explicitly stated that we were ignoring geography and assuming free association for the purpose of the formalism.  I  reintroduced them anecdotally later on.

> Again, I'm not arguing that big is always better, but that it's not necessarily the case that smaller is always better.

Absolutely agreed, historically.  The point I'm trying to make is that, systematically and all other things being equal, smaller is always *potentially* better with respect to satisfaction in aggregated preferences.  If you can acknowledge *that* then we can move on to the more-interesting questions:  why, historically, has it *not* always been better, and how could we arrange things to make it so in practice?

I'll write the Monte Carlo simulation and post the graph when I have some time (ahem.)  ;-)  Until then, though, I'll (again) highly recommend _Simulating Society_ by Gaylord and D'Andria.

At some subsequent point I'll also perhaps post something about why history is increasingly irrelevant in analyzing the present / predicting the future.  Irony:  cf. Fukuyama, with whom I disagree completely on almost everything except the title of one of his books. ;-)

Damien says:

> there are also unarguably national interests which are not efficiently handled by state- or county- level representation.

Aside from the fact that dimensions of population, geographic area, economics and diversity vary so widely as to make any real universal notion of "state- or county- level representation" meaningless for the analyses in question (in the US)  --- I agree.


jb




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