If one is going to go after sacred cows, one should really go after sacred cows. Most of the people in our society who get credit for "going after sacred cows" are just going after unfashionable ones. At least ones that are unfashionable in the circles they want to appeal to. We live in a world of iconodules posing as iconoclasts.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

De Administrando

In correspondence to someone last week I wrote to the effect that, in taking prescriptive action, you can't just enact a policy and say "well, I applied the Rawlsian Standard", and then just walking away (or administer it) and be satisfied.

Usually we think that if someone does something and then just walks away it is irresponsible. But when it comes to policies, ones that are administrated are more often worse, and are much are harder to get rid of. This is because they have a built-in constituency: Those within government who administer it, and those (technically) outside government, in NGOs &tc, that swarm like pilot fish around any government activity, advocating more, and getting both private donations and budget line-items based on their "advocacy" of it.

Programs whose only constituencies are their intended beneficiaries are very easy to get rid of, even if they are successful. Perhaps especially if they are a success, if only because they threaten to upset the apple cart and cause it to crash down upon people's rice bowls.

Perhaps this is why most of the policies enacted over the last 80 years have been "administered", rather than just involving cutting people a check, and the vast majority of the ones enacted over the last 40 are, even though they usually degenerate into boondoggles even if they do not start out that way. Thus most proposals will remain subtextually titled "The Social Worker Full Employment Act of 2008" or "Educrat Job Security Bill of 2011".

Government is not a charity, but tends to crowd out and/or corrupt ones that are (beguiling them away from directly assisting those in need to increasingly "advocating", that is, petitioning for government programs). They transform over time from being intermediary institutions of true civil society to "NGOs" - "Non" added to remind us, lest we forget, that they are not government agencies themselves, they're simply pro-government activists, "advocacy" groups seeking expanded government. Often their members think of themselves as outsiders struggling against The Man, but they're really advocating an increase in his sway.

See also "Community Organizing" and similar activities, along with anything that seeks "funding" or involves grant proposals.



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