Photo by Callum Skelton on Unsplash

Two principles explaining current political angst in the West. Crypto-Anarchists get them. Most others don’t.

There are two laws explaining current political messes in the West.

Understand them, & you can (almost) predict the near future with some confidence. Crypto-Anarchists get them.

Two examples first, followed by the two laws:

1. Chinese authorities wanted to reduce road traffic congestion.

The measure they implemented? Even-numbered cars can drive one day, odd- the next.

What happened? People all bought a second car. Now they had an even- and and odd-numbered car.

Traffic: No better. Number of cars: Doubled.

2. In 2015, UK PM David Cameron called an election.

He didn’t expect a majority. Just worried about retaining power. So he promised a Brexit referendum.

The voters handed him the majority he didn’t expect.

Damn. Gotta keep that promise now.

In 2016, Cameron didn’t think they’d vote for Brexit. Oops. Double damn.

In the US, elite political snobs, couldn’t believe people would vote for Trump.

Wrong again.

In 2017, PM Theresa May decided she deserved a stronger majority in Parliament.

They took her majority away instead.

The principles are:

1. The Law of Unintended Consequences

The world is unpredictable.

When people in power decide how the people should behave, and then make decisions accordingly … they’re almost always surprised.

Inconveniencing everyone.

2. “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

(Lord Acton’s famous dictum)

Something happens to a power-holder’s mind. They begin to think it’s right for them to hold power, and begin to abuse people.

You know these instinctively, but forget them when they’re inconvenient.

Internalise them, and the world starts to make (unpleasant) sense.

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Curiosity. Questions. Simplicity. Principles. Meaning. The Vital Few, not the Trivial Many. Be your own Chief Questions Officer.

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David Kimbell

David Kimbell

Curiosity. Questions. Simplicity. Principles. Meaning. The Vital Few, not the Trivial Many. Be your own Chief Questions Officer.

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