May. 31st, 2016

Another project I probably won't do:

Every day there are reports of incidents which militate against individual freedom or for it. The 'Boiling Frog' analogy is a popular one for people talking about Creeping Fascism or whatever their personal police-state bugbear happens to be.

The thing about boiling is that it happens gradually and then very quickly. The temperature rise is approximately linear until the phase-change temperature approaches, at which time it slows until the average temperature of the medium nears the critical temperature. When this point is reached the temperature remains constant until the boiling material has gone.

So, if the 'boiling frog' analogy were accurate one could make a 'heat map' of such incidents with an assigned weight (perhaps based on number of reports). You wouldn't expect such a map to be very useful, necessarily: it would show a linearly increasing number of events with linearly-increasing heat, up to some point where the reports would remain constant or taper off.

In this case what's 'boiling off' is not water but human beings. As the temperature increases people become unable to tolerate the infringements of their personal agency. The ones with sufficient remaining resources leave the area controlled by the polity; the others leave the polity through marginalization, imprisonment or death.

One might hope for a better indicator of 'political temperature', so that one might be able to make an informed decision about when to leave the country or to take some other action which one imagines might preserve one's personal agency. To do so, however, is to trust one's neighbors, family, friends and other potential allies to the same polity which one has already decided is untrustworthy in one's own case. This is a clearly anti-social act, and its reputational repercussions are likely to make the contemplated action too costly for most.

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