Jach's personal blog

(Largely containing a mind-dump to myselves: past, present, and future)
Current favorite quote: "Supposedly smart people are weirdly ignorant of Bayes' Rule." William B Vogt, 2010

Kings make swift policy changes

In a democracy, or any form of government that relies on voting to get anything done (such as America's "constitutional representative republic"), it's really hard to change anything about society. This includes a resistance to changing the 'good' things about society (perhaps an indication why it took so long for the US constitution to just be slightly ignored during the civil war to more or less completely ignored in our present time), but it also includes a resistance to changing the 'bad' things about society. To escape the issues of good and bad, it also makes it hard to change stupid and smart things about society.

With an absolute monarch, his word is law. The stability of his beliefs is all the protection his subjects have against change. Therefore it's very important that an intelligent monarch is in charge. Suppose a kingdom had a king with multiple personality disorder -- not a very good choice! One day gay marriage is okay, the next day people of the same sex caught holding hands are sentenced to prison for 5 years. Suppose instead the king represents the best the kingdom has to offer: he is a man of many talents, possesses an even temperament, has a high IQ, and so on... Now suppose other smart people in the country start believing something about the society is stupid. Such as daylight savings time. They make some noise, and they only have to convince the king that it's stupid, and the king being a smart individual will tend to agree with other smart people, and daylight savings time could be abolished overnight.

Contrast that with the US, where "pretty much everyone" who is intelligent or who has thought about the matter thinks DST is a dumb idea, yet no one seems to have the authority to end it. A few states have individually ended it, which just makes matters even worse for the rest of us. What would it take to end it nation-wide? In theory, enough political pressure to make Congress get around to drafting a bill that ends it and voting on it. I hope the word "Congress" has made the reader sigh and start imagining all the bureaucracy and arguing and politicking that would have to go on to even have a chance. The bill would need to go through committees and avoid getting extra stuff added on, but it would be attractive because if "both parties want it" they both have an incentive to add party-line things to it and then complain the other party is rejecting the thing they both want when really they're rejecting the add-on that opposes their party's beliefs. Ugh. This is what democracy has wrought! I'd much rather have the king who, in his wisdom, would see that DST is pointless, write up a one-page document saying as much and setting a fixed time(s)-of-the-land forever more (or until he changes his mind, which if he's smart he wouldn't do without good reason), and that would be that.

Posted on 2013-11-02 by Jach

Tags: government, rant


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