Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...


Everything but tech support.

2213, 18 Mar 19

Long Range Thinking in a Representative Government

This is a fascinating article that explores the short range thinking inherent in a representative government. Here is the underlying problem, as envisioned by the author:

The time has come to face an inconvenient reality: that modern democracy – especially in wealthy countries – has enabled us to colonise the future. We treat the future like a distant colonial outpost devoid of people, where we can freely dump ecological degradation, technological risk, nuclear waste and public debt, and that we feel at liberty to plunder as we please.

He then walks through a few ideas for addressing the problem. For example, totalitarian regimes like China are really good at long range planning as long as you are cool with the government murdering millions of citizens. Some nations have tried various committees and ombudsmen to force legislators to think about the long range impact of their policy decisions. Frankly, I think I like this idea the best:

A more radical alternative has been suggested by the veteran Canadian ecological campaigner David Suzuki, who wants to replace the country’s elected politicians with a randomly selected citizens’ assembly, which would contain everyday Canadians with no party affiliation who would each spend six years in office. In his view, such an assembly, resembling a form of political jury service, would deal more effectively with long-term issues such as climate change and biodiversity loss, and solve the problem of politicians obsessed with the next election.

I highly recommend you read the whole article. The author brings up a long of though-proving points.



2213, 18 March 2019


  1. Merlin

    Sounds plausible until you consider the difficulty of inventing an influence-free mechanism of selecting the citizens’ assembly members. The root issue with democracies in any form has always been the persistent and absolute fallibility of man. Our current form of democracy is failing because we too easily tolerate that fallibility.

  2. MjM

    Wizard sez: “…the difficulty of inventing an influence-free mechanism…

    Quite right.  To paraphrase; who selects the assembly controls the outcome.

    Wizard cont. “…absolute fallibility of man.

    Again, quite right.  Proven, paradoxically, by the author belief in man’s ability to see into the distant future with utmost accuracy.

    Imagine, for a moment, if the world had gone insane – as the author of the article wishes for – and had immediately implemented all sorts of “fixes”,   all for the future’s children, of course,  for the 70’s Ice Age Cometh.

    From the article:

    We treat the future like a distant colonial outpost devoid of people,

    Who is “we”?

    The 400,00o+ WWII US troops killed fighting fascism?  Chemists (who work at those evil corporations) and medical researchers hunting/devising new/better life-saving drugs/procedures?  Agriculturists finding new ways to grow crops in less space?

    Or those of us who have worked hard to better ourselves, our kids, and (hopefully, someday…) grandchildren?

    What, I ask, has “Roman Krznaric  … public philosopher, former political scientist, and founder of the world’s first Empathy Museum.” done in his entire life to better someone’s future?   (And identification doesn’t count.)

    Add to this the ability of special interest groups – especially corporations – to use the political system to secure near-term benefits for themselves while passing the longer-term costs onto the rest of society.

    Ah, yes.  The slight-of-hand argument against free enterprise.  Can’t have any of that “petitioning the government” stuff going on.  No, sir.   Interesting that the author bemoans certain “special interest groups” while at the same time championing his favorites, some which are based on outright lies, dontcha think?

    How to do so is, I believe, the most urgent political challenge of our times.

    Crisis! Everything a crisis!  Laws!  I am so tired of the panty-waste Whinies.

    [Martin Rees] then gave the example of China as an authoritarian regime that was incredibly successful at long-term planning, evident in its huge ongoing investment in solar power.

    Never mind that China has likewise invested untold billions in dozens of non-regulated coal-fired electric generation plants as well as funding 26% of all new out-country coal plants.   And while they have recently reduced planned future plants (due to power saturation), they have done so because they have pushed their coal-heavy steel production off on other nations such as Malaysia and Indonesia (40% of China’s steel acquisition).

    But whatever.  I suppose using near-slave labor to build solar panels below cost and hoisting ghost cities and then being able to just force your citizenry to move there is seen by Labour-loving nutballs like Rees as being enlightened.

    Multiple studies have shown that the future residents devise far more radical and progressive city plans compared to current ones.

    And why not?  These faux future-citizens innately know they will would not have to deal with any of the consequences of their “radical and progressiveideas; they be dead.

    Playing games is easy.  Reality is hard.

    Our Children’s Trust is attempting to secure the legal right to a stable climate and healthy atmosphere for the benefit of all present and future generations. What makes this case notable is that the plaintiffs are in their teens or early 20s.

    Climate is forever dynamic and the case, Juliana v. U.S.,  was brought by “youths selected by Our Children’s Trust”, an extremist environmental law firm, founded and run by it’s chief litigator, Julia Olson.

    “That’s the brilliance of having children as the plaintiffs…they’re arguing about the future of the planet.”

    Using children as political pawns is disgusting.  The kids aren’t arguing the case. Greenwacko lawyers are.

    IMNSHO,  humans can only operate logically in near-future mode.  Trying to implement today based on 75, 100, or more years into the future is pure folly.

    SMOD may arrive next year, ya know.




  3. jjf

    Who’s wasting panties?

  4. dad29

    The wacko-watermelons are at it again!!

    But I’m willing to play a little:  simply devise a formula which reduces public “servant” pensions/benefits proportionate to national debt incurred during their terms.  War could be excepted, of course.

    Zero pension/benefit MUST be a real, not remote, possibility, and asset forfeitures (see, e.g., Dennis Hastert-class swindles) must also be in play.

  5. jjf

    You want to blame and punish government employees for national debt created by politicians?  And wars get an exception?  Because they cost more?  Because their judgment and wisdom suddenly improves because they’re killing people?

  6. Kevin Scheunemann

    You are making the rules.

    There is no objective evidence on where all material came from leading up to BB.

    You fill in the gaps with faith that science will find the answer someday, rather than treating it as a flawed theory, in need of objective rejection.

    If you reject “evidence”, or lack there of, and objectivity and pursue the theory as science rather than faith, you betray science.

    Just admit the faith involved and we can finally have an honest conversation.

  7. jjf

    You assume there has to be?  Or that the evidence must still exist?  We are talking about the start of the universe, aren’t we?  No one is rejecting evidence here.  There’s no more “faith” here than there was before we figured out gravity or evolution or DNA.

  8. Kevin Scheunemann


    The “evidence” of gravity does not require faith.

    Evolution is another theory with several holes including the Cambrian layer life explosion.

    Stop taking theory and converting it to science by faith.

    Just be honest if you are going to change objective evidence requirement for science.

  9. jjf

    We still haven’t explained gravity at a deep level.  Maybe God’s hiding in there, too.

    I forgot that you have your own definition for “theory” too.

  10. Le Roi du Nord


    As long as you are demanding “objective evidence”, can you point to any for your theory as to the origin of the universe?  Of the origin of species?  Gravity?   Facts would be great.


  11. jjf

    He’s got a book that explains it all!  You just need to have faith, not evidence!

  12. Kevin Scheunemann


    I told you I live by my covenant…faith.

    I don’t have to live by your standard, however, you should live by the standard you set….which you clearly don’t.


    If there is not enough “evidence” for gravity, to declare it “science”, I am open to your argument on that.   Unlike you, I do bias toward gravity being legitimate “science”.

  13. jjf

    Kevin, by your own logic, if you can’t explain something all the way down, then it’s not real, right?  I assure you, there’s a lot we don’t know about gravity, yet the apples still fall from the tree.

  14. jjf

    More news from the Cambrian!

  15. Le Roi du Nord


    I’m OK with your beliefs.  It is when you try to foist them on others as fact where my hackles get up.  I’ll live by the facts, and the best evidence out there.  As jjf says, advancements are always being made regarding all sorts of subjects.  Or would you prefer that we all practice the medical and hygiene standards of 2000 years ago?  Or the modes of transportation from 2000 years ago.  Maybe we should since 45 told us planes are too complicated….., at least for him to comprehend.

  16. Kevin Scheunemann


    If you can’t explain something “all the way down”, it is not science, correct?

    If it is, we need to get clear on what you consider science, beyond evidence.

  17. Le Roi du Nord


    What is your understanding of scientific method?

  18. Kevin Scheunemann

    Steps in the Scientific Process
    Step 1: Ask a question. For the first step, help your child form a question, hopefully one that can be answered! …
    Step 2: Do background research. …
    Step 3: Construct a hypothesis. …
    Step 4: Test your hypothesis by doing an experiment. …
    Step 5: Analyze the data and draw a conclusion. …
    Step 6: Share your results.

    You stop at Step #2, that I am too stupid to find research that does not exist. The background on my question is all guesswork, at best.

    You have faith and religion, not science on BBT.

  19. Le Roi du Nord


    1).  First a correction; I have never, ever, called you stupid.  It isn’t a word in my lexicon.  More assumptions on your part.  I have pointed you to relevant research that would help you understand things that currently elude you.

    2).  I’m glad you took the time to look up the principles of scientific method.  I applaud you on your initiative,

    3).  If you acknowledge the validity of the method, you really need to apply it to your claims (6000 YO earth, CC/GW is a hoax, Darwin et al are wrong, etc.) before telling the rest of the world that they are wrong and you are right..

    4).  Scientific advancements are often accomplished in small steps, with the work of earlier researchers setting the stage for the next discovery.

    It is never too late to learn.

  20. Kevin Scheunemann


    I don’t need to apply it to Creation because we live by covenant of faith.

    You have to live by evidence because that is covenant you subscribe to.

    However, you just admitted you have to live by faith on BBT because a lot of it remains unexplained. Otherwise, strictly speaking, it is invalid because it cannot explain Where matter and energy came from.

    Just admit your faith and we can have an honest conversation.

  21. Le Roi du Nord

    I’ll take fact and evidence to the bank any day.  Faith won’t make an airplane fly or cure cancer.


  22. Kevin Scheunemann

    Apples and oranges.

    We are not talking “evidence” in BBT on where the matter and energy came from.

    That is faith.

    If you only take “evidence” to make BBT work, you have to reject it.

  23. Le Roi du Nord

    Nope, fact is fact, truth is truth.  Faith and belief can be whatever the fad du jour is.

  24. Kevin Scheunemann


    Then what is the “fact” and “truth” of where all the matter and energy leading up to th Big Bang came from?

    (And hint, a snarky “look it up yourself” is neither proof of fact or truth, just proof of lazy, arrogant, Big Bang hypocrites not living to fact or truth.)

  25. jjf

    Kevin, do you realize you’re asking the same question that the BBT scientists are asking?  Except they have a bit more training on the subject than you do.  They want to know the answer, too.  They have a pile of facts and connections leading up to this point.

  26. Le Roi du Nord

    “And hint, a snarky “look it up yourself” is neither proof of fact or truth, just proof of lazy, arrogant, Big Bang hypocrites not living to fact or truth”.

    Except you are 100% wrong.  Doing your own work is how you learn, get experience, and develop your own way of doing things.  Relying on others to do your work for you doesn’t add anything to your knowledge set, nor does it enhance your experience in a given subject.

    Your attitude speaks to your persistent troubles in college.  Perhaps you picked up those poor study habits in private school.  It sure isn’t the way we were taught in public school, nor in the UW system.

  27. Kevin Scheunemann


    Well, yes!

    But as a good, objective scientist, you have to admit BBT does not have many of the answers, in fact, it has very little answers and “evidence” to the easy question I pose. Without those answers the BBT is meaningless, and just a giant piece of guesswork.

    What I object to is the arrogant strut that this is even close to settled “science”. It is mostly faith.

    It’s a shame we cannot be honest about that.

    Why is that?

  28. Kevin Scheunemann


    More snarkiness.

    Jjf, just admitted their is no answer to the question. Is he wrong? Maybe you need to point him out to what your answer is as well.

    Enlighten all of us.

    Other libs on this board have courage of honesty in acknowledging the unknown, which you do not have.

    Very disappointing.

  29. Le Roi du Nord


    I was encouraging you to do your own research.  If you choose not to, I can’t help you.  Your choice to remain ignorant.

  30. Kevin Scheunemann


    I am telling you science does not have an answer to that question.

    Even your fellow libs acknowledge that.

    You want me to search for “evidence” that does not exist?

    That is cruel.

  31. jjf

    Here’s one way to put it:

    Let me take this opportunity to be precisely, abundantly, emphatically, ridiculously, fantastically clear: The Big Bang theory is not a theory of the creation of the universe. Full stop. Done. Call it. Burn that sentence into your brain. Say it before you go to sleep, and first thing when you wake up.

    The Big Bang theory is a model of the history of the universe, tracing the evolution of the cosmos to its very earliest moments. And that’s it. Don’t try to stuff anything else into that framework. Just stop. You can keep your meta safely away from my physics, thank you very much.

  32. Kevin Scheunemann


    That is not at all how Nord swings his BBT faith around.

    Best to leave a the origin of the universe to Christian Faith.

  33. Le Roi du Nord


    I guess we can’t fix the intentionally ignorant/intellectually incurious.  But we tried.

  34. jjf

    He’ll be back to turn every post into this discussion, or the liberals are the real racists, or if we came from monkeys how come there are still monkeys, or…

Pin It on Pinterest