Assassination Politics Part 10: "Non-Euclidean Thinking" by Jim Bell

An interesting communication I had recently on the subject of "Assassination Politics." My commentary is preceed with >> or nothing; the other person's commentary starts with a ">". The subject is how to actually implement this sytem, and my first comment notices the fact that despite my efforts, the government has not attempted to use this issue to justify some sort of crackdown on net rights, or anything like that.

>> I think they're actually afraid to start the debate, >

>I think they don't believe you're a threat.

You're probably right about this. I guess I'll have to think of something to change their minds, huh?

> Remember, they have incredible >amounts of money with which to hire bright but greedy people. All they have to >do is find the people running the "Guess the Death Date" lottery. They would >have great incentive to apply their considerable resources to this end.

Your logic is excellent. But as strange as it may seem, there may be a different way... Let's see, how do I explain? First, a little diversion that may or may not be relevant to this subject, but initially won't appear to be so.

Somewhere around 20-25 years ago, I read some item concerning Howard Hughes, the late billionaire. It described the history of his business ventures, in fields such as aircraft ("Spruce Goose" is a well-known example) but also mentioned that Hughes Tool was (originally?) into oil-well drilling quipment.

I don't know how much you know about about oil well drilling and drill bits, but they look nothing like the classic fluted drill bits common in hardware stores. Oil well dril bits consist of multiple ultra-hard carbide points mounted on rotating shafts mounted at the end of the drill "string," and these shafts must be connected to the main shaft with bearings. They roll around on the rock, not sliding, and they "spall" off pieces of rock due to enormous applied pressure.

Oil well drilling is done by lubricating the drilling operation with what is called "drilling mud," which is actually a slurry of solids in water, which is primarily used to cool the cutter and wash away the rock chips and dust produced in the operation. Now, since the rotating cutter wheels must spin on their axis, that means they have to be run on shafts with bearings installed. These bearings cannot be perfectly sealed and thus protected against rock and mud dust, and their useful lifetime is strongly limited by their quality.

And since every time they wear out the whole drill string has to be pulled from the well, that's an EXTREMELY expensive proposition for well-drillers. So it should not be surprising that these guys considered bearing quality to be very, very important. A little improvement was worth a lot of money.

"Quality", to a bearing manufacturer, is strongly related to surface hardness, and traditionally, the best bearings were (and, mostly, still are) the hardest. But there's a problem: Ultimately, a very hard circular bearing rotating on a very hard flat surface (especially if its heavily loaded) applies nearly all its for on a single point (for ball bearings) or on a single line (for roller bearings) and that eventually causes bearing failure. So there was an upper limit, generally, on how good you could get in bearings. And the hardest won. Until Hughes.

[don't go to sleep yet... it gets relevent real soon]

According to the source I read, what Hughes Tool did that made them really rich was quite simple and counter-intuitive: Rather than trying to make _his_ bearings as HARD as you can get, he made them SOFT, very soft, "almost as soft as lead." (Which, if you know anything about metals, is very soft indeed.) The bearings deformed on their raceways, spreading out the load over a far larger area, and the resulting bearings were the best in the business. (He probably also applied a lot of research into how to avoid "metal fatigue," but that's quite another story.)

Very counter-intuitive, but he "won" precisely because he did exactly the opposite of what everyone "knew" was the proper way to go. Okay, so that explains a genius who later became a billionaire who later turned into a neurotic, or worse. "What," you will ask, "does this all have to do with Assassination Politics?"

Well, to draw an observation originally posited in an an essay titled the "Libertech Project," about 7 years ago, libertarians (of all people) are "non-Euclidean thinkers." Basically, this means that we recognize that the best way to go from "point A" to "point B" is NOT NECESSARILY a straight line. And like Columbus, who sailed west in order to go east, sometimes it is necessary to sit down, and totally re-think your strategy if you're trying to accomplish some goal.

By "classical" thinking, "Assassination Politics" would have to be the best, tightest-security, more protected organization that has ever existed on the face of this planet. Just about EVERY powerful person would want to kill anybody who had anything to do with such a system. The codes would have to be unbreakable, the remailers would have to be certain, but most importantly, each and every participant would have to be perfectly anonymous to even have a prayer of pulling it off. Especially the operators of such a system. Especially them.

That's classical thinking. And that's what I thought a few months ago. I thought, "it's do-able, but it's gonna be a lot of work!"

But let's suppose, for a moment, that somebody "pulls a Hughes." Rather than trying to make the hardest bearings in the world, why doesn't somebody try to make the softest? Rather than trying their darndest to stay anonymous, or wait and let somebody else implement this system, why not just "let it all hang out," (as the saying went in the 1960's) and publicly announce that they're implementing this system, come hell or high water, and invite anyone who wants to participate to help form what will be the LAST revolution on earth, the one that'll take down ALL the governments.

This sounds crazy, right? I mean, who wants to die? Who wants to commit suicide just to... just to... just to... make an ENTIRE WORLD FREE FOREVER? Free from wars, militaries, governments, taxes, political oppression. Free from the kind of totalitarian governments that existed and currently exist. Free from the Holocausts that have killed Jews, Cambodians, Armenians, Russian Kulaks, Iraqi Kurds, Chinese dissidents, Native Americans, and oh so many others? "Who, exactly, would be stupid enough to risk death to make the world free???"

Everyone who volunteered to fight to fight Hitler, to name just one example. Remember, or have we forgotten so soon, that occasionally people die to keep the rest of us free. That's the way it's been for hundreds of years. The United States of America was founded by people who risked death to shake off the yoke of a government that was, by the standards of the day, not particularly bad.

Think about it. Somebody had to be the first one to start banging on the Berlin Wall, with a sledgehammer, in 1989. Somebody had to be the first to walk through. Somebody had to be the first to stand up and say, "Enough!" And the ironic thing is, the most strangely unusual thing, is that the entire Eastern Bloc fell, almost bloodlessly, in a couple weeks, because one by one everybody realized that all that's sometimes required is to finally stand up and be counted, and to just say no to the government. When the time was right, all it took was a slight push and the dominoes tumbled down.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting that EVERYONE would be identified. The "donors" to the system would remain perfectly anonymous, and the "guessers" would likewise be perfectly anonymous, but the organization itself would be made up of real people, who have published addresses, who have simply decided that they have had enough of the current system and are going to participate in a PERFECTLY LEGAL enterprise by the laws of the country, and just DARE the government to try to stop them.

The organization wouldn't have to buy ads; the publicity firestorm would be enormous. Suddenly, all the politicians would be put on the spot! Instead of being asked by the reporters for their position on the economy, pollution, the budget deficit, or some other thing, they'll ask, "Why should the public NOT want to see you dead?"

When would be the best time to do it? Why, during a major political campaign! When Congress is out of session, and they can't pass legislation without calling some sort of emergency session. But it won't matter anyway, for a few weeks the organization doesn't actually have to take bets or make payments, they'll merely publicize their efforts for all to see. To reassure the public, they could announce that they'll only take bets on elected and appointed political officeholders...and anyone who tries to stop the system. And the politicians will be scurrying around, looking for political cover, trying to figure out how to NOT look scared, but at the same time each is wondering if he'll be the first to go. And all the while, the public will be loving it, laughing at the efforts of the politicos to cover their collective asses, and taking private bets among themselves on who will be the first one to die.

Prosecute the participants? On what charge? "Conspiracy to commit gambling"? Which prosecutor would risk appearing to be impeding the progress of a useful system? At that point, the organization's members will just be publicly exercising their first-amendment rights. Which judge would take the case? Now THEY'RE on the spot, THEY have to decide what to do. I contend that in an election year, before the election, there would be mass resignations from Congress, or members deciding "it's just not fun anymore" and decline to return even if re-elected, as well as the complete loss of whatever residual confidence the public has in the government.

Whew! Is this all just wishful thinking? I really don't know!

Back; Up.