Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Win One, Lose One

My prediction of the election outcome was wrong—it turned out about as the polls predicted. On the other hand, I got my preferred outcome, with the House controlled by one party, the Senate by the other, making it less likely that Congress would do things.

The one negative outcome was the defeat of Dana Rohrabacher. Fifty years ago he was a young libertarian troubador and babe magnet and a friend of mine. I have a verse from one of his songs at the beginning of my first book.

But he's seventy-one, so perhaps due for a rest.

Monday, November 05, 2018

Who Do I Expect To Win?

I expect that the polls will turn out to be wrong—but I do not know in which direction. Politics has changed enough in the past two years so that rules for predicting outcomes based on past experience, such as those for identifying likely voters, can no longer be trusted. 

If the polls are wrong in one direction, the Republicans hold the House and increase their majority in the Senate. If they are wrong in the other direction, they lose the house by a substantial margin, probably lose the Senate as well. We will have to wait and see.

Who Do I Want to Win?

It is the natural question to ask on the night before the election. The emotional answer is that I want the Republicans to do better than the polls predict. Humans naturally see the world as us vs them and while Trump doesn't fit very well in my picture of us, the Democrats are pretty clearly them. 

My rational answer, as before the previous election, is that I prefer a divided government, since things the government does are likely to make the world worse, not better. The polls suggest that the Democrats will end up in control of the House, the Republicans of the Senate. That means nothing will happen unless both sides agree to it, which at the moment does not seem likely. So it is probably the least bad outcome.

But I can't help remembering the story of someone explaining American politics to a group of visiting Russians:
In America, there are two parties, the evil party and the stupid party. I am a proud member of the stupid party. Once in a while, the two parties get together to do something that is both evil and stupid.

We call that bipartisanship.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Speaking Trips Next Year

I currently have plans to be on the east coast twice,  to speak at the annual ISFL get together in D.C. on January 19th and at Saint Vincent college in LaTrobe, PA, on March 13th. I don't think either event is open to outside guests, although I don't actually know. The reason for this post is that, since I am going to be flying across the country anyway, I could give a talk somewhere else in the area a day before or after at relatively little cost for either myself or my hosts. 

It occurred to me that there might be readers of my blog who would be interested in organizing something.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

I Need Another Cover

Some years back, I put up a contest here for a cover for the third edition of The Machinery of Freedom, and ended up with what I think is the best cover I've ever had. I am now just about to self-publish another book, Legal Systems Very Different from Ours, and it too needs a cover. The central idea of the book is that all human societies face about the same problems, they solve them in an interesting variety of different ways and they are all grownups, so all their solutions deserve to be taken seriously. I am not trying to find the best legal system, simply to understand a lot of real world legal systems and see what can be learned from them, including the problems raised by the different solutions and how they might be dealt with.

Part of the reason getting a cover that way worked last time was that there were a lot of readers of my blog who were familiar with the book. That will be less true this time. A late draft is webbed, however, for anyone curious.

My only cover idea so far is the title plus the names of the different legal systems scattered somehow over the page; this is an example of how that might be done. But I have no expertise in graphic arts, so was hoping that one of my readers could offer either a better version of that idea or a better idea. 

The prize last time it was a signed copy of each of my books. I would be happy to do that again—or negotiate other terms.