Friday links! World without a government edition

Name this famous painting that is also the subject of a quiz at Riverdale Country School and win a prize in the comments section.

Isn’t the government a drag? I understand that we need one in a vague, civics class sort of way, but from day to day the whole structure seems gratuitous. Other people clearly need a government. Maybe it’s just the location of my personal apartment, but other people can’t seem to go a day without trying to build a smoker in their house or getting drunk and punching each other or filling a milk jug with gasoline.* You and I, on the other hand, are completely self-governing. We don’t need cops or meat inspectors to keep us in line, and as a result the government is to us an endless series of clerks and taxes. Like the actual rules of Monopoly, it needlessly complicates a game that everyone already knows how to play. What we should do, you and I, is form a political party dedicated to reshaping the government according to our own personal needs. Things have been going fine around here without government intervention, so I propose we have stamps and an army and otherwise no government at all. I am not alone. This week’s link roundup is chock full of people who are operating without governments, and one guy whose plan is to grab the government and break it. Won’t you enjoy the war of all against all with me?

Continue reading

Democracy steps on its dick in Harrisburg, PA

Harrisburg is a city famous for two things: it’s not the one chocolate comes from, and now it’s the one steel doesn’t come from, either. The 50,000-person capital of Pennsylvania used to be a center of making stuff, but it has since drifted into the vague purposelessness of post-industrial America. Harrisburg is one of many medium-sized American towns with no particular reason to exist: too small to be an urban center, too big to be quaint/farmy, it is a city because a bunch of people live there. It is also in fiscal crisis. Back in 2003, Harrisburg borrowed $125 million to repair a garbage incinerator. That project was delayed, but the city spent the money anyway, only to borrow millions more later because, oh shit, the garbage incinerator. Now the government of Harrisburg has $310 million in guaranteed debt, and a state-appointed panel has determined that it needs to cover that by selling its city parking system. Also their garbage incinerator, which is a real kick in the pants.

Continue reading