A slow bloodletting or a quick beheading?

A comment at Hit and Run caught my eye:

If your country is going to collapse and you are 36 years old, would you rather see it collapse over a the course of 60 years or 3 years?

Many of us here have ideas how thigns could be fixed if we were given the power to do whatever we wanted as libertarian super president or if we had a magical brainwash cleansing program to convert 180 million Americans into bonafide Libertian experts overnight...but both of these scenarios are unrealistic.

This country is filled with idiots and led by idiots/evil jerks. Socialism is popular and fascism(public/private partnerships and such) are seen as wholesome goodness. The country is totally fucked. We need more bad legislation as fast as possible...I'd like to be living in a country on the other side of hell by the time I turn 40. You fuckers trying to string this shit out are idiots.

I'm young enough (34) that I'd rather deal with a lot of short term pain if there's some hope for sanity afterwards. A government default would be painful for many, but I'd prefer that to spending the rest of my life in a European-style social democracy.

People have experienced the pain of losing jobs, losing money in an Enron, etc, but have never felt the pain of the government saying, "Sorry, we can't pay you Entitlement X". That will be a harsh, much needed lesson.

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getting to the ships

Cheers to that! Lets get through to the other side of hell, and have a clear way for our making it to the ships! (as David Reid said)

Which David Reid?

I don't remember the David Reid I know saying that.

As anyone in finance will tell you...

...it's far better to lose 50% of your investment at the end of Year 1 than at the end of Year n.

I still hope that we can

I still hope that we can shift away from a government-dominated economy before the government collapses, in a change driven by individual people. I'm talking things like seasteading or cryptanarchy. Collapse is undeniably change, and Obama's propaganda is the latest reminder that change is good but the vast majority of changes are actually bad, mutation being an example of this. Expose yourself to radiation and the changes to your body have very close to 100% chance of being bad. The whole "Peter Parker bitten by a radioactive spider" thing is just fantasy. "The fly" is closer to the typical effect of a random change such as a recombination of human with insect.

Market change tends to be good because it is actually the aggregation of a thousand tiny little changes along with selection, such as companies that produce things nobody wants going out of business. Most new companies go out of business within a few years, a strong filter sorting good change from bad and nearly ensuring that in the long run, change is good. Selection is what steers change in the right direction. But collapse is not that.

If there's a sudden vacuum caused by a collapse, don't count on things being much better at the other end, assuming you survive the transition.

If there's a sudden vacuum

If there's a sudden vacuum caused by a collapse, don't count on things being much better at the other end, assuming you survive the transition.

That's worth quoting for posterity. Pay attention, you would-be revolutionaries.

Of course, revolution sucks

I'm not advocating revolution, but rather, a "bloodless reset". Impossible! you say. Unlikely but possible I respond.

Why am I more optimistic than any libertarian should be?

* The 70s were a pretty shitty time. Marginal tax rates in the 70s, high inflation, low growth, shitty jobs, etc. In nearly all countries at all times in history, the predictable outcome would be for a leader to rise to power by promising that the govt would fix everything. It was a recipe for disaster. But something unique in the course of human events happened: Americans looked at the problems of society and blamed the govt! They elected someone who sounded like a Founder wrt the govt. Granted, he turned out to be a mixed bag, but he did free up the American economy significantly. (Note to readers: I'm not saying Reagan was perfect, awesome, or even a libertarian.)

A free-market advocate rising to power at a nadir of the economy is a truly magical event. It signifies an evolution in the history of political thought of the masses.

* Among the masses, libertarian thought is likely at its highest point ever. When libertarians were seen so frequently on the internet, several explanations were given - internet users are nerds, they're men, they're nerdy men, etc. But when everyone is on the internet like today, those explanations no longer work. The simple fact is, the internet has helped libertarianism grow significantly.

* We've had examples of bloodless resets over the last 20 years - Russia, the Baltics, Poland. Those countries thrived pretty much right away.

* We have examples of successful free market countries like Singapore, and we have examples of successful transitions to flat taxation.

* We know, and many people are figuring out, that the current trend is simply unsustainable, and that entitlements are to blame. Just like in Greece, some people will try to blame "speculators", but most people know it's the govt that's to blame.

Put all this together, and a significant portion of Americans, say 20-30% (or more) will know the problem and the solution when the time comes. This fraction will significantly increase the odds of a bloodless reset, though obviously, a bloody revolution still may occur.