Paging Randle McMurphy
By Arnold Kling
My latest essay talks about the possibility of letting groups of people splinter off to form new states within the United States. It gets pretty weird.
Ken Kesey wrote a novel in which a ward of mental patients has their lives directed for them in petty, undignified ways by a nurse, who is reputedly a fictionalized version of Hillary Clinton. She won’t even let them watch the World Series on TV.
In one memorable scene in the novel, Randle McMurphy, a rebellious inmate, discovers something about many of the other inmates. For all their complaining about the nurse’s overbearing control, these inmates, unlike McMurphy, are legally free to walk out of the mental hospital at any time. Their revealed preference, so to speak, is to remain under the dominion of the overbearing nurse.
Somehow, I thought there was a connection between that scene and libertarians complaining about the decline of the U.S. Constitution while showing a revealed preference for living with the abuses of power that take place.
Or, you may decide that the only connection between the essay and Ken Kesey’s novel is that I belong in a mental hospital.