Should the US West Coast Join Canada?

I. On Morality

Nietzsche said “every people speaks its own language of good and evil, which its neighbour does not understand”.

A people constructs its ambient morality which not only does its neighbour not understand, its neighbour may be violently hostile to. For example, in Scotland people celebrate gay marriage, whereas in Saudi Arabia gays are persecuted, sometimes even tortured and killed.

But Scotland and Saudi Arabia are alike in one way: in both countries, the majority of the population agrees that their morality is the right, just, natural morality and the normal way for humans to live. They also reject moral relativism: most would disagree that their morality is merely a semi-arbitrary point in morality-space which got their through a set of historical accidents. And in both countries, most people would regard the other country’s morality as abhorent, disgusting, decadent, and deranged: a society that thinks like that will both collapse from its internal contradictions, and moreover deserves to.

But what’s important for social cohesion is not so much what the ambient morality is, but that everyone agrees with it. If everyone celebrates gay marriage, that’s cohesive; if everyone hates gays, that’s also cohesive. One could argue (and if I took my moral relativist hat off I would agree) that one society leads to happier people than the other, but both societies would work.

Ambient moralities are only likely to harm social cohesion if they do things like praise laziness and condemn work; or praise treachery against the group while condemning loyalty; but such ambient moralities are rare as they tend to destroy the societies that are their hosts.

II. The USA

It sometimes seems that the USA isn’t one society, but two: the red states/people who praise Trump and the blue states/people who loathe him. But that’s misleading, because the people who shout loudest are the ones with the strongest emotions, so naturally everyone who is shouting is an extreme supporter of Trump or an extreme opponent. I suspect is it more likely that 1/4 of the people love him, 1/4 hate him and the other half are meh.

But the level of self-segregation of the USA into two separate communities, who increasingly don’t like or even understand each other, does seem to be increasing.

III. The West

If this trend continues, the USA will become increasingly incohesive and possibly ungovernable. This is important because the USA is the richest Western country, with the biggest armed forces,  and therefore the de facto leader of the West.

IV. Divorce

It has been proposed that the 3 west coast states, all of which voted for Hillary Clinton, join Canada:

calicadia

Of course, this isn’t going to happen in the short term, but in the long term if the polarisation increases, something like it could happen, possibly also with some states in the north-east also joining Canada. There could also be a one-year transition period, where leftists could move to one of the leaving states and rightists could more to one of the remaining states.

This would probably make people in both the remaining USA and the leaving states happier, because they would be in a society where a higher proportion of the people shared their values.

If it made the USA more cohesive, and Canada bigger (and thus more able to throw its weight around) it might help the West stave off challenges from e.g. China.

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Don’t Call Me That In Public Yet

fewer

(via)

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Will Trumpcare trump Obamacare?

Larry Lessig wonders if Trump is a genius:

But at some point we need to step back and wonder — is this man a genius?  However clumsy, or repulsive, or pathological, a genius in just the ability to see just the right move, even when that move is “obviously the wrong move” according to everyone else.

The examples are endless. Time and time again he made, what the experts called, an outrageous mistake. Again and again, that mistake proved genius. Attacking Republicans for their dependence on rich donors. Calling George Bush’s war the worst mistake, ever. Attacking John McCain, the hallmark of the Republican Party, for his war record. Doubling down on political incorrectness, whenever possible. Floating policy ideas that while appealing (to some), were 10,000x more unlikely that Bernie’s “single-payer health care” — like the wall, or a 35% tariff. Calling Taiwan after the election, so as to further cement the new world order — US+RUSSIA vs. anyone else. Etc.

There’s a whole book to be written on each of these moves. But what unites them all is the almost universal judgment that each was a mistake, and often, predicted to be a fatal mistake. Yet again and again, the prediction was wrong.

Whether or not he’s a genius, Trump has made it clear he doesn’t mind angering people, including his fellow Republicans.

What might this mean for health care? The Republicans want to deny health care to those who can’t afford it:

the Republicans voted to repeal [Obamacare].  They weren’t repealing Obamacare to get us something better. They were repealing Obamacare to exit “the road to serfdom.”

But what does Trump want to do? Maybe he means it when he says he wants to replace Obamacare with something better:

Now Trump is teasing a complete reversal. Yes, we must repeal Obamacare. But there should be “insurance for everyone.” Drug companies will not be coddled anymore. And we’re going to get the “best deal” for America, not just “for the special interests.” Trumpcare won’t be the bronze plan that Obama gave us. Trumpcare will be gold. Why not single-payer health care? Why not Medicare for all? Why not completely incapacitate the political Left, by giving America 10x more than anything Obama ever fought for?

I agree with Lessig that this would be surprising:

I’ve described would be an incredible (and improbable) surprise.

However, we live in surprising times.

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Infographics and Hitler

When you share poorly researched infographics, you ride with Hitler!

you_ride_with_hitler

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The Story of a Great Writer

There was once a young man who, in his youth, professed his desire become a great writer.

When asked to define “great” he said, “I want to write stuff that the whole world will read, stuff that people will react to on a truly emotional level, stuff that will make them scream, cry, howl in pain and anger!”

He now works for Microsoft, writing error messages.

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Finnish Cartoon about Brexit

about_brexit

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Trade Negotiations

trade

In trade negotiations, the larger party generally has an advantage. That’s why Britain is better off in the EU.

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