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Hurrah, so the people who would be bribed wouldn't be publicly accountable officials - they would be whoever we handed the power to.



I don't think you understand. The point is to either eliminate the power, or make it extremely diffuse. That way, there is nothing to purchase.


Look, even if we enacted every single liberfantastic idea on shrinking government, there's still more than enough to make it worth bribing people. Really, all you need is to have a legislature, are you proposing we get rid of that?

The way to fight corruption is by fighting corruption, not by giving us things like the Citizens' United ruling (which is in fact less government, yet eminently more bribable).


But that's throwing out the baby with the bathwater. The wealthiest countries in the world have large governments and don't have these problems. Just outlaw lobbying(bribing) of officials. Outlaw political campaign advertising. Better yet, as I mention above, allow the people to better represent themselves using technology. There are a thousand ways to apply the brakes -- killing the engine is maybe not the best.


The wealthiest countries in the world have large governments

I'm not sure that trying to emulate the [other] wealthiest countries is the best of goals. Doesn't that ensure that we will be, optimally, second best? Given that corruption is endemic everywhere, including those other wealthy countries, isn't it worthwhile to strive for something better?

Outlaw political campaign advertising

That's just another way of saying "Throw out the 1st Amendment and outlaw freedom of speech". That is throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

allow the people to better represent themselves using technology.

What makes you think that the electorate as a whole can do any better. Consider the rampant ignorance of the issues in our voting today. And on top of that, most people aren't simply ignorant, but just plain wrong about matters of statistics and economics. I'm inclined to believe that the result would be far worse.


I'm not sure that trying to emulate the [other] wealthiest countries is the best of goals.

You don't have to mimic, but it does give a very strong indication that size of government isn't the problem.

[Outlaw political campaign advertising is] just another way of saying "Throw out the 1st Amendment and outlaw freedom of speech".

Nice try. No, this is "access to media." And currently it's controlled by the wealthy when it should be more democratically controlled.

What makes you think that the electorate as a whole can do any better.

That's funny, because the entire history of the world has been a ruling class not wanting to give up power because they don't "trust" the commoners, when all evidence has been that the greater the democracy, the greater the success. You can take the king; I'll take the people, every time.


it does give a very strong indication that size of government isn't the problem

Not necessarily. It may be that size of government is a problem, but those other countries have encountered a different bottleneck before reaching it.

Nice try. No, this is "access to media."

If you're saying that I won't be allowed to put up a billboard saying "Senator Smith is a rat", or take out a newspaper ad saying the same, then you have shot the 1st Amendment squarely between the eyes.

all evidence has been that the greater the democracy, the greater the success. You can take the king; I'll take the people, every time.

I think you're arguing in circles. For one thing, there are still a lot of monarchies in the world, many of them quite free.

But more important, the entire point that you're arguing against is (if you'll excuse me for paraphrasing; I hope I'm not making a strawman): "It seems to me that the real solution is to dramatically limit the size of government, so that there is nothing to be bought"

That is, the top post in this thread wants to strip away the power of government, and allow people to make their own decisions (including using the power of the market to constrain the action of corporations seen to be doing bad things).

But you seem to be saying that in this case people cannot be trusted, so we need to give additional power to the government to constrain runaway corporations, and in particular to keep those very same corrupt politicians from selling out.

This is self-contradictory in two ways:

First, you've said on the one hand that you'll take power away from the government and vest it in the people, "every time" -- yet in order to support this, you're proposing that we do just the opposite (i.e., prevent people from voicing their opinions as widely as they feel warranted).

Second, you're postulating that the politicians are corrupt and can't be trusted. Yet your solution relies on giving them more power to limit our political behavior. It seems like you're giving them our weapons while telling them "use these guns to ensure that you don't shoot us".


Put up a billboard? No. Purchase access to mass media. There are only so many soap boxes and access is sold for money. You then get the situation where the one who has the most money can purchase all the soap boxes (again, ways to reach a mass audience). Their voice becomes the only one heard. Free speech is that you can say whatever you want (that doesn't change) -- but if you want access to the few seats of mass media to give political voice, if it's not regulated, it simply becomes the microphone of only the rich. Do you see?

Second, when you talk about "reducing government" what you mean is to shift it from the people to the private sector. Government is the people. That's the definition. It needs to be managed. But moving it to the private sector just makes it for-profit instead of non-profit, and opens up a whole new can of worms.

Again, look around. Countries with the highest standards of living are not struggling with this. Their large governments are not a problem, and in fact could be nicely argued to have provided that high standard of living.


"Doesn't that ensure that we will be, optimally, second best?"

No, it doesn't. Keep the things that work for us, and then take a look at the things that we're having problems with (lobbying, healthcare) and steal any solutions that look better.

Just because Apple stole the GUI from Xerox didn't mean they had to steal Xerox's business plan for it, or their management structure. And I don't think anyone's claiming they wound up 2nd best to Xerox.


> The wealthiest countries in the world have large governments

The largest governments: Soviet Union, Third Reich, North Korea, etc.




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