July 08, 2004

Wanted: A Department of Anarchy VI

Professor Bainbridge laments that government only grows and thus, Kaus' "try something and dump the failures" is an irresponsible way to vote because nobody governs that way.

As I've said several times before one of the key problems of government reform is to institutionalize reform so that there is a permanent presence in the bureaucratic battlefield that permanently agitates for smaller, more efficient government. The day that we have a proven formula for a successful Department of Anarchy (freedom is always being called anarchy by statists) then Kaus' position is no longer foolish but rather an intriguing strategy for responsible voting. Because I can't figure out how to permalink Kaus, I'll quote him

....[Wait a minute. You gave money to Kerry?-ed. Yes. Doesn't that violate journalistic ethics?--ed. Not mine, as long as I disclose it, which I just did. The danger is that having invested in him, I'll now go soft on him. Don't worry! You think he'll be a failed, Carter-like President--ed. True. But we survived Carter and we'd survive Kerry (though it will be a long, hard slog!). I plan to vote for him because I think a) we need a break* from Bush's strident public global terror war in order to prevent it from becoming a damaging, lifelong West vs. Islam clash--in order to "rebrand" America and digest the hard-won gains we've made in Iraq and Afghanistan (if they even remain gains by next January). Plus, b) it would be nice to make some progress on national health care, even if it's only dialectical "try a solution and find out it doesn't work" progress. I could change my mind--if, for example, I thought Kerry would actually sell out an incipient Iraqi democracy in a fit of "realistic" Scowcroftian stability-seeking (an issue Josh Marshall's recent Atlantic piece doesn't resolve). But I don't intend to agonize like last time.] ... *Note: The first version of this post said we needed a "time out" from Bush's strident global terror war, etc. Several e-mailers point out, correctly, that this is a bad phrase to use, in that it seems to imply a pause in attempts to get at al Qaeda and similar groups. I mean a period of consolidation and lowered swagger and apocalypticism, not a halt in rooting out terror cells, etc. ... 1:51 A.M.

I don't think that we can ever get government to be as efficient as the market in dumping failed ideas (which is one of the reasons why I'm a minarchist and not a socialist) but I think that we can do much better than we currently are doing it and Kaus demonstrates that there's a real demand for some sort of system that does it. A Department of Anarchy would fit the bill nicely. We just have to figure out how to create such a beastie without being neutered by the rest of the government.

Posted by TMLutas at July 8, 2004 04:58 PM