Because I Need To Make Adam Great Again in 2018 and don’t have time for these thoughts.
Let’s pretend somewhere that I’ve taken over the country and declared myself His High Lord General For Life, and I’m changing up some policies. It’ll be easier to run this thought experiment that way, without a bunch of pesky politicians and special interest groups; Lord General has exported all of those people to Narnia and wrapped the wardrobe with heavy chains and Master Locks, and it’s under full guard 24-7. Let the Lion deal with them; he handled the Ice Queen well enough.
We’ll start with…
This one is easy: my foreign policy is to not put up with any bullshit. I’d keep Mattis in charge of that, but I’d work on getting rid of the need for ground troops. Not because I have anything against them, but because I think our blood should be spilled as a last resort. Our blood and treasure are precious; to this end, I would encourage other countries to be strong. I believe in nationalism… globally, because people should look out for their children before they worry about what’s good for me. France should be for the French; China for the Chinese; et cetera. (It is also up to them to determine who their people are, through their own immigration system.)
Speak softly and carry a big stick is a pretty good policy. I don’t like the post-WW2 tendency of our foreign policy to poke hornet’s nests, then step back… and let a different set of hornets move in. We’ve supported several regimes that we’ve also let collapse, or we’ve undermined regimes and let them collapse, and left vacuums and open spaces for some bad people. I’d rather not.
For a historical lesson not involving the middle east, I have a feeling that if, after World War 1, there had been a strong Kaiser, Hitler could not have risen to prominence. The causes of the First World War were not nearly as atrocious as what went on in the second; we punished too harshly, moved too far, and allowed something really nasty to fester and grow. “We” being quite generous, as nobody reading this will have made any sort of choice involving the outcome of the Great War.
For a more recent example, the end of the Korean War left us with quite a pickle, didn’t it? South Korea is doing all right, I guess, but the North is a disaster in many ways. It’s a humanitarian crisis even if you ignore “Rocketman.”
Or, how about Iran? Compare current day Iran to, say, Jordan. No country is perfect, but which do you suppose is better to live in?
So the policy is simple: Don’t get involved until we have to, and when we have to, be decisive and make sure the power goes to someone responsible and not crazy. Each situation is different, but I don’t believe in cultural relativism — some things are just wrong. Full stop.
There’s a joke about how Libertarians want to allow married gay couples to defend their marijuana farms with guns. That’s not too far off, other than the fact a lot of Big-L Libertarians are kind of nutty.
When it comes to the current topic a lot of people are breathlessly reporting on, drugs, I believe the following: a lot of drug addiction problems are due to people self-medicating for a variety of actual health issues, be they physical or mental. Further, the black market is giving money to some very bad people. I don’t think anyone would argue that Drug Cartels are nice guys. I certainly wouldn’t.
I’d make almost every drug legal, and levy a tax that went toward rehabilitation (all taxes should be earmarked for a purpose if possible). Drug addiction is not a criminal issue, it’s a mental health issue. The tax would still be below the black market mark-up — which, some cursory Googling, shows is pretty freaking high. Hundreds of percent, even. That money goes toward bad stuff.
There are historical examples for this, too. The mafia got big trading on illegal vices — gambling, booze, prostitution. These vices are never going away, they are a part of our nature as a species (even if most people never engage in some of them, enough of us always will). The mafia then started doing other, shadier stuff and they had the bankroll to get away with it.
Prostitution is another problem, and not just because it’s illegal, but because there are some evil people involved in sex trafficking. Even if you ignore folks being kidnapped and shipped around for sex work, how often are prostitutes targeted by serial killers and others because society often turns a blind eye? How many evil pimps are there in the country?
But in reality, sex trafficking does exist, so we shouldn’t ignore it. Again: the illegal vice is creating a black market that bankrolls something bad.
Everyone worries that by legalizing these things we’d cause some sort of civil upheaval, that families would be torn apart. Maybe — if the ties aren’t so great. But people already engage in these behaviors despite the risk of being arrested. Watch any episode of COPS and you’ll see a prostitution sting, and several drug related arrests. Look at any police blotter on a news page, and you’ll see much the same. People who are willing to do something that is illegal don’t care, and keeping these victimless crimes illegal hasn’t helped us at all.
But what it has done is create entire swaths of criminals who normally wouldn’t be, and having that on a person’s record makes the rest of their life much harder. Often, they started out having a hard time. We just make it worse. And prison doesn’t help: prison is mostly a factory for criminals. We put people in jail for minor or victimless crimes with real criminals. People are hurt in prison, people make contact with worse people, people learn bad skills.
Then they get out and it’s increasingly difficult to get a legitimate job, because of that record.
Do you see how this is a vicious spiral?
Everyone needs a safety net; I don’t want anyone to be hungry or sick if they don’t have to be. While I’d never force someone to eat or take medicine, the availability should be there. If we can give billions of dollars to other nations (often nations that are dicks to us anyway), we ought to be able to ensure nobody starves or dies of something curable. It’s that simple — and that’s where nationalism pays off for those who are the worst off, because we ought to tend to our own before we start tending to others.
The safety net brings up another interesting topic, a living wage. I’m not sure how that could possibly be accomplished right now but as machines automate more of the world it is a problem we’ll have to face. Eventually we won’t have enough jobs for people regardless of what education they get. Especially as machines reach a point where they can learn and teach themselves, or repair and create without our involvement. We can’t just suddenly let vast swaths of the population starve.
One great thing about the automation would be that the minimum needs of a person would become easier and cheaper to meet; this pushes down the cost of living, which pushes down what is needed as a living wage. It’s a problem, but it’s a problem technology can help with. Again, nobody should be hungry or sick, nobody should be left to die. I don’t think folks should just get money to sit around and twiddle their thumbs (how mind numbingly boring), but… what are we to do?
A big objection to this is that if everyone has money nobody will work. This may be true to an extent, but what happens when nobody has to work? What happens when food production is completely handled by machines? What happens when all deliveries are automated? When truckers are replaced with computers? When doctors are replaced by computers? When fast food workers are outsourced to Skynet? When all financial planning is a thinking spreadsheet?
There aren’t many jobs we can do, that machines won’t be able to do.
One thing robots will definitely help with is law enforcement, for the same reason drones and robots can help with the armed forces: A robot doesn’t have to use deadly force to protect itself because it’s not a person. I’m still steamed over the case in Arizona where a man was gunned down while crying and begging for his life; this, and many other shootings, came about because a cop “felt threatened.” The obvious solution here is to remove the biological life form from the front line. Let the R2 unit take the bullets while firing a non-lethal net over the criminals.
Which would also solve a lot of trouble with things like SWATtings and no-knock raids. The militarization of the police has to stop, and this idea that any cop life is more important than any civilian life is ridiculous. And that’s exactly what is behind the case in Arizona and the recent SWATting death. Cops reacting in fear of ordinary, UNARMED citizens, who then get away with it because, well, “he was afraid for his life.”
But it should scare the hell out of anyone in the country. Especially the video from Arizona. Seriously, the man is crying and begging for his life, and doing his best to comply. And he’s being screamed at that if he makes a mistake, he’ll be murdered. And then he is murdered, and the cops get away with it. We have this all on film. Still, no consequences. That scares the hell out of me.
So that’s a few areas where Lord General would try to improve, mostly using robots and common sense.