Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The fact that the bill is deeply encrusted with incomprehensible jargon and prehensile programs dating back to the 1930s makes it almost impossible for the average legislator to understand the bill should he or she try to, much less the average citizen. It’s doubtful this is an accident.

You Are What You Grow (by Michael Pollan in the NYT)

I got halfway through this article before I realized it was by Mr Pollan. It's fantastic to see this man's mind, with such evident power to reshape our current mental landscape, appearing so prominently. Cheers, Michael.

I find myself despairing, though, about the reform that his article imagines. We have a political system which has developed so many layers of defense against any sort of reform. We have a political system to which reform feels like death.

It's not that we couldn't organize some sort of organization and take on the farm bill & the subsidies and win, because surely we could. The thing is that we're also working right now on media reform, on environmental reform, etc. And there's no way that we can make the system dramatically more flexible OVERALL this year. This legislative cycle we are stuck with the same system-- the same PEOPLE running the same system-- and we'll be likely if they're humbled into changing anything at ALL.

Theoretically it should be possible to open this sort of government up somehow, so that it would be capable of reconstructing itself. I don't really see that as plausible. Just because of the time spans. You'd have to construct an alternative model, and then defend it against systematic resistance by every single entrenched interest. There's plenty of that defense to last us another decade or two.

So I see it as more likely that we're going to have a ghost of this old political system, which is going to seem stranger & stranger as things change fundamentally underneath it. It's no longer going to be the government of anything that matters to us, as we move along with the situation-- but it's still the government of the old world, slowly trying to understand what's happening to it. It's like when you take a mind altering agent, and for a while your normal rationality tries to hold onto the perceptions you're having as if they belonged to that old understanding. No, it's more than that-- it's like being thrown actually into a different world, as in spirit world travel or death.

The farms will start to be roboticized, reconstructed, made of magical materials, actually genetically engineered, actually transformed and the farm bill will just keep trying to rationalize, keep feeding the dogs that it feels it needs to keep at bay. That's what it has to do; a government that transforms as quickly as a Singularity does is no government at all.


Anonymous Rianne said...

Great work.

6:28 PM  

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