Tuesday, April 7, 2009


The protestors of the G-20 seem quite ineffective, don't they? First, they get things wrong, often screaming an environmentalist message to the very group committed to using the threat of environmental crisis in order to control us. Second, the protestors seem like extras hired for a day; they play a pathetic bit part in a movie plotted out long before they show up. The police know how to deal with them, the media blackout any parts that might make people sympathetic, and every act of violence merely serves to suggest that if the people in charge ever lose their power we'll be in for chaos in the streets.

What if protestors stopped showing up?

It seems to me the hard part, the thing that makes for real change, is trying to change the minds of the very people who are propping the government up. In most cases that means the police and similar agencies. They enforce the laws, including the illegitimate ones. Imediately, of course, we have a problem. Many of these people are bullies, and they don't care, so it ends up being about changing incentives again. But I've heard enough recordings of cops dealing with people who actually dare to talk about the constitutionality of whatever it is that they are doing to realize most of these guys don't hear this stuff. They have an extremely close to zero chance of learning any of it in a potential crisis situation when their adrenaline is flowing.

A related issue- the companies in the best position to actually provide alternatives to government too often find themselves in an environment in which their major customers are governments. The company formerly known as Blackwater, for instance, which provides the U.S. government plenty of services rendered, but also a scapegoat should anything nasty need to be done. Since the government is the largest, most well funded customer, and is capable of using overwhelming force against such companies, products competetive to the defective monopoly services that the government doles out simply won't appear as they would in a free market.

As we have seen in recent days with bankers and automakers, the government happily bites those it plays with, so there may yet be new opportunity. This is exactly where the protestors need to get wise. It's the people who are being demonized, the folks the G-20 crowd is giving explicit permission to blame- those are the people we need a constructive conversation with.

If there's no one to enforce the insanity, the insanity will have to end.

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