Out of the blue, Newsweek's Andrew Romano quoted me, citing something I wrote over two years ago. It was an essay about the conflict between mainstream politicians and what I called the "Long Tail" of politics.
If we had a parliamentary system with proportional representation, the Long Tail would consist of many splinter parties, including some parties that are ethnocentric, a variety of Greens, a variety of libertarians, single-issue activists, and parties which are outside of today's classifications. The Long Tail is a motley assortment of political misfits, wing nuts, and sober independents.
In the article, I predicted that the traditional two parties would try to hang on by a combination of increased pork and increased theatrics. However, I predicted that more people would feel alienated from mainstream politics.
The last session of Congress seems to me to be consistent with those predictions. The volume of pork remained high--not just earmarks, but energy and agriculture bills that were almost pure pork. There was a lot of theatrics, particularly concerning Iraq funding. And polls showed very low public support for Congress.
The solution I proposed was Virtual Federalism.
A Ralph Nader supporter who happens to live in Texas could form a virtual state with like-minded individuals in Massachusetts and Oregon. A libertarian in San Francisco could join a state with ideological allies in Orange County and New Hampshire.
Virtual Federalism cannot address issues of local land use, nor can it resolve conflicts over foreign policy. But I think it's the only way that libertarians could ever enjoy a semblance of the sort of government we would prefer.