30.9.14

ISN'T THE REAL PROBLEM THE FAITH IN STATE POWER?

Reason's Gene Healy, author of The Cult of the Presidency (reviewed here), reviews F. H. Buckley's The Once and Future King: The Rise of Crown Government in America, which suggest that strong presidencies are instruments of tyranny.
The American presidency, with its vast regulatory and national security powers, is, Buckley argues, rapidly degenerating into the "elective monarchy" that George Mason warned about at the Philadelphia Convention. Despite their parliamentary systems, our cousins in the Anglosphere also suffer from creeping "Crown Government"-"political power has been centralized in the executive branch of government in America, Britain, and Canada, like a virus that attacks different people, with different constitutions, in different countries at the same time," he writes.
I'll leave it to political scientists to parse the relative merits of divided governments, U.S. style, that might not be able to accomplish much when gridlock prevails, or unified governments, Canadian-style, that can reverse course when a new coalition takes place.  But isn't a strengthening executive the outcome of a default position among opinion leaders that Expertise. Is. Best?

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