On a tip by the Volgi, I subscribe to Klon Kitchen’s “Kitchen Sync”. It’s a great summary of key items and their intersection with government, politics, or society, largely in or related to the Tech industry. He sent a link today to an article that he guest-wrote on The Dispatch (linked here). It is a takedown of Congress’ attempt via the Filter Bubble Transparency Act to essentially regulate large social-media platforms. I’d like to pull the thread on a few items within his post.
In 1956, economist Charles Tiebout argued in his essay A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures, that a similar type of “foot voting” (a term he does not use), where consumers willfully relocate to jurisdictions where policies better align with their preferences, is more efficient and effective than voting to change government or its policies. Ronald Reagan, agreeing with Tiebout, often said Americans should “move along” if their local government was not to their liking.
Unfortunately, and to the point of my post here, there are many – some on both sides of the aisle but predominantly on the left, who believe that laws and regulations should be equally applied across the country at the federal level. They conveniently forget the 10th Amendment and get bent out of shape when state governments enact laws with which they don’t agree. Kitchen continues,
This is of course consistent with our diverse federal system of government so eloquently summarized by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, who said, “a single courageous State may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.” Legal scholar Ily Somin says these laboratories of democracy and the migratory options they enable are, therefore, “a tool for enhancing political freedom: the ability of the people to choose the political regime under which they wish to live.”
So then, those in government who advocate that we should squash such efforts and actively pursue overriding them at the federal level are doing what? To draw the corollary to Somin’s argument, they are reducing political freedoms and forcing a singular political regime over the entire country. For those that follow us on Twitter, this is the point that we usually grind when Washington Post (motto: “The Federal Republic Dies Here in Darkness“) blogger Jennifer Rubin. She frequently comments on how the previous administration was tyrannical and authoritarian – but in reality, what party and what administration is actively advocating and moving towards limiting political freedoms and the people’s choice for political regimes?
This begets Kitchen’s key point of his article:
My point in highlighting this context is to bring into sharp relief this truth: Americans have agency and the opportunity to improve their lives more efficiently and effectively than government can.
Far too often, people turn to the government for help – in realms that we have “agency and the opportunity” to address ourselves. We need to stop being lazy about this and stop being so reliant on the government, particularly the federal government. There is a reason America is a federal republic. It is precisely to avoid having a singular, potentially authoritarian government control our lives. It is meaningful that we have state and local governments and that the Constitution specifically limits the federal government’s power.
Like many elements of the law and government, it is behind the curve on technology and its advancements.
The bill’s text is a hot mess of legalese whose implementation would undoubtedly be every bit as opaque as the algorithms it intends to manage. What is clear, however, is the bill will not work even if it could be coherently implemented.
I encourage you to go read the rest of Kitchen’s article – it’s worth digesting and thinking about the points he makes. And get out there and “rock the vote….with your feet”.
GorT is an eight-foot-tall robot from the 51ˢᵗ Century who routinely time-travels to steal expensive technology from the future and return it to the past for retroinvention. The profits from this pay all the Gormogons’ bills, including subsidizing this website. Some of the products he has introduced from the future include oven mitts, the Guinness widget, Oxy-Clean, and Dr. Pepper. Due to his immense cybernetic brain, GorT is able to produce a post in 0.023 seconds and research it in even less time. Only ’Puter spends less time on research. GorT speaks entirely in zeros and ones, but occasionally throws in a ڭ to annoy the Volgi. He is a massive proponent of science, technology, and energy development, and enjoys nothing more than taking the Czar’s more interesting scientific theories, going into the past, publishing them as his own, and then returning to take credit for them. He is the only Gormogon who is capable of doing math. Possessed of incredible strength, he understands the awesome responsibility that follows and only uses it to hurt people.