We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The problem is that the individual can not afford to fight them. Small businesses can neither afford the legal teams, the years, nor nor lobbyists to defend them. Wallach begins:
What sort of political system do we have in America? Why, republican self-government, of course. Government of the people, by the people, and for the people, as mediated by our hallowed constitutional institutions. Doing our thing for 227 years now.
A great many people aren’t buying that story these days. They look at our actual manner of governing and see bitterly contested symbolic elections awkwardly joined to a powerful technocratic administrative state that makes most of the important decisions. The disconnect between the ideal and the reality has brought us a legitimacy crisis that has been often touched upon in these virtual pages lately.
Leviathan is now too big to fail:
We live in a democracy full of fellow-citizens who think that “crucial functions” are very extensive indeed. One libertarian tradition is simply to flip these fellow-citizens the bird and insist that a cadre of the right kind of rulers—anti-technocratic technocrats, more or less—will somehow gain power and make our government best by governing least. That is undoubtedly an applause line in many rooms, but it is the equivalent of not playing the game at all.
Warren at Coyote blog had an interesting observation.
I had the manager of Arizona's premier state park tell me, absolutely in all seriousness, that he had the best job in the world if it wasn't for all the visitors. Can you imagine a McDonald's franchise manager saying that? As I have always said, government is not populated with bad people, it is populated with perfectly normal people who have terrible incentives.
He also quotes Matt Yglesias who says:
The way Amtrak is currently set up, there's no real incentive to undertake incremental improvements. The Northeast Corridor already generates an operating profit, which simply defrays losses elsewhere in the system. Making it run better doesn't generate any wins for the people who would have to do the work, and would plausibly just lead Congress to reduce subsidies. If the NEC were spun off as an independent entity — perhaps even a private company — then it could internalize the gains from improved service and seek private financing to make cost-effective investments.
I've read this piece twice and still can't quite understand what the guy's trying to say. The regulatorsrunning this country are a problem, but the various groups attempting to fight the problem are misguided and here's the way we need to rein in the problem: Question the legitimacy of the regulatory state (like SCOTUS decisions going back to FDR gradually expanding the general welfare clause and the commerce clause and so on to basically allow the government unlimited power to regulate every little bit of everybody's life haven't been raising that very question?) and catalog the shortcomings of the bureaucracy (as if the very word "bureaucracy" isn't already a universal epithet indicating that cataloging the shortcomings of same are hardly necessary) and most importantly, getting Congress to do their actual job of legislating rather than dumping it off on the administrative agencies (who's engaging in fantasy now? The whole reason Congress dumps this stuff off is to evade responsibility when the peasants start revolting - and you think it's a simple task to get them to take back up their responsibility and accountability and liability?) as if this somehow were a simple, workable plan much better than piecemeal whining and complaining and threatening to kick over the traces. Unfortunately, when you have an unaccountable ruling class and an unelected mandarin class the way it usually ends is with a large number of citizens with a large quantity of rope - and maybe there is no other way.