And, finally, the huge expansion of the federal government, and the increasing importance of money in politics, have hugely expanded the number of special-interest lobbies and their ability to influence and clog decision-making.But in Thomas Friedman's world, stronger governance, not a rollback of governance, is the way out of the vetocracy. Daniel J. Mitchell reacts.
Indeed, America today increasingly looks like the society that the political scientist Mancur Olson wrote about in his 1982 classic “The Rise and Decline of Nations.” He warned that when a country amasses too many highly focused special-interest lobbies — which have an inherent advantage over the broad majority, which is fixated on the well-being of the country as a whole — they can, like a multilimbed octopus, choke the life out of a political system, unless the majority truly mobilizes against them.
To put it another way, says [historian Frank] Fukuyama, America’s collection of minority special-interest groups is now bigger, more mobilized and richer than ever, while all the mechanisms to enforce the will of the majority are weaker than ever. The effect of this is either legislative paralysis or suboptimal, Rube Goldberg-esque, patched-together-compromises, often made in response to crises with no due diligence. That is our vetocracy.
This is a facepalm moment. Friedman begins his column by complaining that our system is sclerotic and that this makes it hard for politicians to enact more laws, yet he then admits that our system is sclerotic because government is too big already. And it goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that Friedman wants to make government even bigger – which is why he’s complaining about gridlock in the first place!InstaPundit, in proper terse fashion, summarizes in one sentence. "If the federal government can’t keep the President’s bodyguards from drinking and whoring on duty, how likely is it to be able to run anything competently?"
Meanwhile, Pejman Yousefzadeh finds another Thomas Friedman column that carries the Utopian Wonkery(TM) to excess.
I still hope Michael Bloomberg will reconsider running for president as an independent candidate, if only to participate in the presidential debates and give our two-party system the shock it needs.The conceit of the governing class, whether in elected office, in the higher ranks of the civil service, or as court intellectuals in the academy, is that getting the Right People and the Proper Policies in place will Secure the Blefsings of Technocracy to Ourselves and to Our Pofterity.
Mr Yousefzadeh makes a game out of mocking that conceit. I'll take a pet Cold Spring Shops theme and run with it.
I fear that not even an independent presidential run by Michael Bloomberg will shock the system enough to get the traffic lights in DeKalb synchronized.Or, put in Instapundit form. If the government can't time the traffic lights on one thoroughfare, how likely is it to run anything bigger competently?