Claims Made by Smart Alaskans
I am not endorsing this, or claiming that these propositions are the whole story, but I did hear a number of interesting claims during my journey. Here are a few:
1. Ranked-Choice Voting has worked relatively well for Alaska, encouraging more moderate candidates.
2. The professors of the U. Alaska are not crazy, because the place selects those who are dedicated to hunting and fishing, and that keeps them away from the worst excesses of academic life.
3. Alaska’s oil-based “UBI” keeps government spending down, because voters feel any money spent is spent at their expense.
4. Healthcare costs are a major problem here, mainly because there isn’t enough scale to support many hospitals.
5. When air travel is disrupted due to, say, ash from Russian volcanoes, the local blood bank has trouble testing your blood donations or getting blood from out of state.
6. East Anchorage has perhaps the most languages in its high school student population of any part of the United States. Part of this is because there are so many different types of Alaska Native, part of this is because there are so many Samoan, Hawaiian, Hmong, and other immigrant groups.
7. Resources for Alaska Natives are often held through the corporate form (with restrictions on stock transfers), rather than tribes, and this has worked quite well.
8. Starlink has made a huge impact in the more remote parts of Alaska, which otherwise did not have internet service much better than “dial-up” quality.
9. For a while there were direct flights from Chengdu to Fairbanks, due to Chinese interest in the “Northern Lights” phenomenon.
10. Anchorage’s population changes about ten percent each year, and only a fraction of it is driven by the military.
11. For a human being, a moose is a greater risk than a bear.
Personally, I find the University of Anchorage to be more pro-GPT than other academic groups I have had contact with. Is this due to its distance from the center, its frontier mentality, and the potential shortage of skilled labor here?