Sunday, February 2, 2014

Government scoped in a rational world

In a rational world, we would recognize that the vast majority are neither communists or anarchists. Most people believe that the communist principle that everything must be done by the government is not valid and neither is the anarchist principle that nothing should be done by it. The details may differ but the bedrock is the same, we mostly believe in "it depends" government. This is actually a pragmatic way to approach the world as neither ideological pole is perfect.

Those who are closer to the communist will say that government dependability is important and only certain exceptions for private action should be done where it happens to be more efficient at present. The mirror image happens on the other side where liberty enthusiasts are all for private action with a few minor exceptions where government ends up being a better solution, for now.

I'm pretty clear about where I personally think the sweet spot is, which is a lot closer to no government than all intrusive government and the sweet spot is moving further away from government as the best solution as time goes by and people actually do the hard detail work of privately solving the problems that traditionally have been handled by government. Every time we shift the other direction we seem to trade off long term sustainability and utility for a quick short term jump in utility. That's acceptable in an emergency but only so long as we periodically review and remove these bandaids when the emergency is over. The problem is, we don't. 

We need to build out a capacity and a procedure to periodically review what government does in a sustainable way. We are missing some of the most basic tools to do the job. It's not like it's illegal, hard, or even very expensive to do it. What it is is frustrating and tedious.