"We're just bugs on God's windshield." -- Richard Kadrey
I have this notion that I call the Logarithmic Shadow. It's one of those aspects of human nature I should probably consult Adam Smith on. In my version, this shadow is what keeps the common man alive. Why? Because we have a low profile, and since we do, the Powers that Be aren't particularly out to get us. It's why billionaires don't buy on eBay. It's why Michael Jordan doesn't play basketball against high schoolers. It's why you'll never get to speak to, or be margin called by a group vice president at Citibank. We're not worth the effort. We provide no challenge.
Lots of people think I'm something of a spokesmouth for the American Right. I'm not, but I also am not into the hopey changey. But what my evolving sense of things is telling me is that the overwhelming majority of people, including intelligent people, are not really qualified to say what's best for the commons. I suspect that the law, bearing a high resemblance to the world of code, is far too contradictory and convoluted to be understood by any but the finest minds. Rather like the best algorithms for TLS, people only believe they understand how it works, but not having authored at that level, have no idea how it might be subverted.
So I'm puzzling in public with my buddy, whose codename is Ladera. He understands appellate law. And within 30 minutes of spirited grumbling I hear something quite nuanced that makes a significant dent in my argument, and I realize that I am completely out of metaphors. Like many other of my arguments, I am getting very close to actually needing an understanding of the law and its evolution. My gripe is and has been that Americans have voted themselves into comforts and luxurious standards of living that are as unsustainable as an underwater blowtorch. My overextended metaphor is that we have voted in such a way that all cars must be expensive because they must all have airbags. And I'm trying to get Americans, who consider themselves to be anything but rich despite the fact that most of them will own several automobiles in their lives, to see how risk averse that pile of laws has made us. We have grown out of the virtue of physical courage because our entire paved, plastic, medicated and insulated environment shields us from the rigors of... childbirth, street fights... you know all of that stuff that we find so fascinating in the 'culture' of the Third World. American women and men do not have large families. That is the vector of the West. We don't face the life and death decisions of having six children who might have to face life and death decision. We have engineered an economy and lifestyle that we know is unsustainable, and yet...
It seems to me that the whole birdsnest is held together with bubblegum and spit, but also the titanium chickenwire of let's say 2,000 attorneys, judges, legislators and law professors who genuinely want us to be pampered pets.They will fight to make the law that says it is insufficiently civil for people to die of cancer before their 80th birthday. They will therefore unleash the beasts of healthcare and healthcare insurance to make it so we have every legal avenue to live forever. In other words, they take the daintiest of sensibilities and work a bulwark of rights from that. It's rather like Little Red Riding Hood's mother has actually contracted 50 woodsmen to follow her journey to grandmother's house.
The implication is, that there is no actual logarithmic shadow. Sure our instincts remain. We naturally protect children and innocents. But we're actually not playing fair with the bad guys. We are reserving the nuclear option.
This puts us in bed, all of us common Joes, with the most dangerous abstracted corporate powers that ever were. So when United Airlines tells us to fly their friendly skies, we had better believe their marketing. When we look at the smile of that Gerber baby, we had better trust the Nestle Corporation because all of those 2,000 legal eagles and their regulatory capture of the baby food industry are our only salvation. You know because none of us know how to actually grow food we trust to feed infants, and American breasts are not for suckling.
We have a culture that absolutely demands that of us. We have internalized it. The likes of Trump scare us to death because he doesn't talk like the Nestle corporation. He tells us that the skies may not be friendly. This is not about Trump of course, it's about physical courage and danger. You know I'm talking to you because of your squeamish reaction to the video here.
I have a difficulty in maintaining optimism for the First World. I'm not certain that I approve of the Shadow. Are all men actually created equal? There are a lot of scary implications. I need to see decentralized power, and I'm not certain we can get there. Worrisome. Very Worrisome.