I've had several long discussions with Constitutional Convention advocates. They seem to be operating on a lot of, well, faith.

They seem to think mostly that if they get a magic number of states to call for a convention, then a convention happens and not only is a 'balanced budget amendment' spun automatically out of it but a shopping list of mostly right wing causes also gets created...ranging from anti-abortion amendments, stuff about currency, immigration, etc.

When I ask them how exactly, they declare a convention would be called 'for the purpose of....' which they say will mean the convention can only propose, say, a balanced budget amendment and not, say, Medicare for all or overturn the Citizens United ruling. Hmmm

This seems odd to me since the last time the US did this, the US Constitution came out of it despite the convention being a limited convention to propose fixes to the Articles of Confederation. Of course you are still left with the whole 3/4 problem which seems to stop a lot of this idea dead in its tracks.

I'm a debt skeptic skeptic but whatever you want to think about it, there's no reason to think a balanced budget amendment alters that.* Why, instead, shouldn't market forces determine gov't debt?

* Before one argues states have balanced budget amendments, note that every state has municiple and state bonds. Debt hawks like to go even deeper and argue things like unfunded pension liabilities, promises to bail out banks, farmers, etc. if such and such events come to pass etc. also should be counted as 'debt' so then even states with low levels of outstanding bonds are likely 'in debt' using whatever metric we are told by the serious person crowd we should take seriously.

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Sep 16, 2023Liked by R.W. Richey

Somehow I feel like both Republicans and Democrats feel like they are losing at the same time. But who are they losing to? Each other? One of them has to be a winner, one would think. Maybe systemic decline makes them both feel more insecure? Maybe they both win and lose, on different issues, but focus more on how they are threatened by the other.

Naive thought based mainly on just reading this article: When you have an Enemy, you don't feel secure, and you may try risky ways out of your state of being at risk. Adversarial systems have baked into them that there are Enemies (the other party, the people who exist to be a check on you). This incentivizes poor decision-making.

(Maybe we rely on adversarial checks and balances too much. Like relying on police and lawsuits to keep people from wrongdoing, instead of reforming civil society to provide social structures to steer people away from wrongdoing, or using abortions to deal with unwanted pregnancies (or bans on abortions to deal with abortions) instead of working to lower rates of unwanted pregnancies. The harsh, adversarial check on wrongdoing has to be a possibility, somewhere in the system, because the non-adversarial way fails sometimes, but it's bad form to rely on the adversarial when it's not necessary.)

(crosspost from here: https://old.reddit.com/r/10v24/comments/16kaxu3/r_w_richey_we_are_not_saved_says_that_when_people/k0utfqb/ )

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So I think the idea behing "speculative attempt to complicate" needs to be narrowed down a bit. What you seem to be describing is a bluff. You are playing chess, you are in over your head, you do something odd. Your have a theory of mind that assumes your opponent is very good at chess. He will see your odd move and ponder whether you are attempting a novel gambit of which he is not aware. He will then consume a great deal of mental energy trying to figure out what this hypothetical is and how much danger it may pose. In his struggles, he may make a blunder which could put you back in the game.

Note the assumptions:

1. Both of you are rational, know the game, you both assume your opponent knows the game very well.

2. Both of you have a theory of mind of the other, hence you're applying #1 to it.

3. You are ok with bluffing in the game. If chess is supposed to be form against form, this type of bluff maybe bad gamesmenship. I could imagine a purist type might say do that sort of thing in poker but don't soil chess with it.

If you were playing an AI, you probably would not deploy this tactic because while you maynot know how the AI really operates, you assume it isn't building a theory of your mind, hence the bluff wouldn't work.

Outside of chess, though, most of the cases you describe are 'the real world'. No one 'knows' how to run a 18th century West European Kingdom, it's all a bunch of guesses. By acting odd, the odds of pulling off a bluff and fooling everyone else into thinking you have some secret master plan is much lower. This has sometimes been called 'n-dimensional chess' when discussed under the previous administration.

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