"A common language that describes reality as it is, shatters myths which have long held back libertarians and conservatives, and creates a mutual understanding should not be underestimated. To me, it seems there are several impactful problems in political theory that no one else is even remotely beginning to address. The most significant is that many political institutions have the opposite function as they publicly market themselves as having."

Could you describe this in more detail - are you suggesting that for these many political institutions have results that don't match their intentions / design / charter / mandate?

Or that they have become so corrupted that they are actually working deliberately against their publicly marketed function?

Essentially, I see a difference between two worlds:

1) arsonists don the uniforms of firefighters, demand deference, proceed to light everything on fire

2) firefighters mismanage their operations, and don't fight fire as effectively as they used to

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It's a combination of both. The best example is that the US CDC banned all functioning COVID tests for the first 4-5 months of the pandemic. On non-pandemic issues, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission being weaponized for anti-Asian and anti-White racism, public education in general (not adopting the Asian model in specific) and (lack of) nuclear energy are all good examples.

My closest causal explanation is that bureaucratic incentives select for loyalty and risk aversion over time - survival of the most neurotic. This, in many cases, results in the worst possible combination of choices, in which alternative solutions are banned while poor solutions are enforced. Another example is Arnold Kling's point that policy will often "subsidize demand, restrict supply". So while it isn't that individuals are knowingly choosing the worst option, but that the people who will make the worst choices while trying their best are far more likely to occupy positions of power given enough time in the organization.

The maximum detail description is in this conversation. Zvi and I have similar models of institutional failure and we really debate the details.


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Amazing - thank you!

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