I saw a quote I really liked something like "any course
of study which
has 'science' in its name most likely isn't one" . If any reader knows
the source, please let me know. A case in point is Political
Science. I never even thought of taking such a course when in
university; I naively thought that if one just lived an honest life in
our "land of the free" the rest would take care of itself.
But, perhaps at least at MIT at least the tools of science are taught. David
Nolan . MIT, '66 , PolySci , co-founded the Libertarian Party
and created the Nolan
Chart which I discussed in SerfCity vol 2 , issue 2
which unfolds a freedom-authoritarian
dimension from the more simplistic traditional left-right
spectrum. I consider this the first example I can think of of Political
Science being worthy of the term .
I've been thinking of discussing the interesting issues intrinsic in
the quantization of any continuum . An example is the splitting of the
life cycle ( sort of a
saw tooth from dust to dust ) into such as the age of
consent or adulthood - or for that matter the "beginning of life" itself . These sorts
of issues are a tiny corner of the branch of mathematics named topology. I have only a dilettante's
knowledge of the subject having only sat in on one topology class near
the end of my decade in grad school . But those basic ideas of sets , relations
proved to have immediate use . Having lost my tenure in grad school , I
shortly thereafter sped up Xerox's global forecasting data base by a
factor of 3000 using my new understanding that a relation may be
defined simply by a boolean
array specifying which members of various sets are "related"
to each other . APLs
with roots in that era had highly optimized operations on ( bit-packed ) boolean
It all starts with sets . The
political universe is the large but finite set of the approximately 6.6e9 of us scattered around the planet
. On this , 2 ^ 6.6e9 subsets can
be defined . That's a lot of potential constituencies .
<!-- For me , the only consequential theologian of the 20th
century was Kurt Vonnegut, Jr
who in his masterpiece Cat's Cradle defines some
important relationships or sets of common subsets among people . In
particular , a karass is , to
quote Wikipedia "a group of people who, often unknowingly, are working
together to do God's will" and a granfalloon - a
false karass , eg , "and any nation, anytime, anywhere" . These
geographical force monopolies are the most basic political subsets .
It all starts with sets. The political universe is the large but finite
set of the approximately 6.6e9 of us scattered around the planet. On
this, 2 ^ 6.6e9 subsets can be defined. That’s a lot of potential
constituencies. The most basic political subsets are the geographical
force monopolies called states.
included here what must be considered a loose sketch of the basic
political relationships of an individual in the
U.S. to the subsets which presume power over him . THEM is the rest of the world . The
relation between one individual and his congressional representative
and senators and the president is indicated , and from the president to
the UN . Their decisions affect
him whether he voted for them or not . The UN which , as with all
political entities has a constant bias towards increasing its power to
tax and control , is only indirectly selected thru the president . This
is similar to the structure of the EU whose
structure shares much in common with the old Soviet Union .
Of course this is only one set of relationships between the individual
and the political entities regulating his life . It's common to cover a
space with hierarchies of neighborhoods and political structures
reflect this with a hierarchy of entities from the precinct , township
, county , state and country or their equivalents common thruout the
Many libertarians imagine a world without a body at the apex . I think
that's a hopeless hope ; the question is how to keep this state of all
states toothless . Perhaps the best chance is to form a competing
direct peer to peer global internet based directly elected forum .
Getting back to the problems intrinsic to quantizing continua will have
to wait till next time . Suffice it to say the US is particularly
screwy with the age for voting at 18 and having a drink the highest in
the world ( where not
totally prohibited )
at 21 .