Friday, December 20, 2013

Government PR Disaster Immunity?

Watergate, Waco, Ruby Ridge, Katrina, Iran-Contra, Iran hostage crisis.

Government is antifragile, scandals sink particular politicians, never the system that created them.
Government is antifragile with respect to politics and violence. More violence means stronger government, until the government falls. And then what replaces the government will be another government, probably worse. Because the state and society compete for mindshare and resources, that which strengthens the state weakens society.

Knock down government today and people will rebuild it tomorrow. They would do this because they believe in the legitimacy of government, and because they can't see any good alternatives. If you want to change what they would build after a collapse, you must change their beliefs about what is possible. Before the collapse arrives, they must possess already the tools, the raw materials, and the working prototypes of a different sort of world. If we can create a social laboratory to develop these tools and skills, we can end the cycle. These tools will entice our allies and befuddle our enemies, because they do not threaten violence. And because the state and society compete for mindshare and resources, that which strengthens society weakens the state.

I've noticed that people like to ignore evidence of government misconduct. Government takes credit for society's success, while passing off blame for failure, ineptitude, or corruption to particular persons. Individuals lose elections, lose jobs, or even go to jail, but the system remains. Nixon was a crook, but "the president" inspires hope. People quote Acton, but they misapply him. 

Similarly, when society works, it works invisibly. When it fails, we easily exaggerate its flaws.

 We can pursue the objective of increasing popular tolerance for experimentation and individual, organizational, and social learning.

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