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But Polly: Idiot politicians is *why* we need to cut the State

Pollyanna tells us that:

Beside that imagery of class conflict, their comical ineptitude is only a sideshow. Born to rule? Whatever happened to the playing fields of Eton? Far from winning the battle of Waterloo, these scions turn government into Napoleonic defeat, with no enemy more dangerous than their own incompetence. They trip over their own shoelaces before they reach the battlefield, double fault all their own serves, knock themselves senseless before they leave the blue corner.

OK, so they\’re twerps.

But don\’t be fooled: on the big things, they care. Follow the money, follow the dogma. Nothing has diverted Cameron and Osborne from their great enterprise – an austerity to wither the state and harrow the ground where it once stood. Anarchic creative destruction is not collateral damage, it\’s part of the purpose.

Well, yes. Given that in a democracy the twerps are going to gain power at least sometimes then yes, we do need to reduce the power and size of the state. To reduce the damage the twerps can do to us when they gain power.

6 thoughts on “But Polly: Idiot politicians is *why* we need to cut the State”

  1. There is an assumption in this that you have not justified in this post – and that I would like to see your posting on, because I expect it to be closely argued and to make me think, which is the reason I read you.

    You assume that the amount of damage a politician can do is related to the size of the state.

    You also mention the “power” of the state, but a sovereign state is omnipotent, isn’t it?

    Tim adds: The omnipotence of the state is dealt with below. That many believe the state to be omnipotent, all the way from the mad Stalinists through to the “there outta be a law about this” is a serious problem. For there are many problems which do not have solutions and another class which do have solutions but not political or legal ones.

    As to a closely argued response. Well, at one level this is just jeering. Arguing that the state must do lots at the same time as pointing out that politicians are idiots is just silly. For you’re arguing that idiots should have greater power over us.

    To argue that only they are idiots and not my lot doesn’t help either. For to set up a structure that can only be run by my lot is the first step to the denial of democracy. A move from we don’t want the idiots to take power because that would be bad towards we cannot let the idiots take power so lets prevent them. This can be unconscious: vide Polly’s shouting about the Tories wanting to gerrymander the constituencies. The gerrymandering currently exists, the aim is to remove it. But because it would be bad for Labour an increase in the fairness of representation must be opposed.

    On a more serious level we’re back to the old Hayek stuff. Central knowledge in sufficient detail and in adequate time to micro manage all things simply isn’t possible. Thus there is a natural limit to the effective power of the state. Awarding it greater power than that (ie, detailed planning of the economy as an example) is going to backfire. As people will inevitably try to use such power but will not have the information to do so.

    And then there’s the real reason. Having worked for a limited time in politics I’d point out that politicians are not motivated by what is good for us, what is good for the economy or even what is good for the nation. They are, like the rest of us, largely motivated by what is good for themselves. Increasing the power by which they can feather their nests doesn’t seem an optimal pathway to me at all.

  2. a sovereign state is omnipotent, isn’t it?

    Hardly. Unless you mean something by ‘omnipotent’ that the word doesn’t usually mean. North Korea can’t feed its people. Yet it is a sovereign state. Ergo, it cannot be omnipotent. And the rest is left as an example for the student …

  3. State has very little power to force people. Can however make some serious consequences to get people to choose to do a particular thing.

    Government also has sufficient time in office for the most part to get whatever changes they want implemented, at least in planning, construction or implementation start. Sometimes with the next government seeming to take credit.
    Its also sufficient time to mess up – and if necessary increase red tape and interference.

  4. “You assume that the amount of damage a politician can do is related to the size of the state.”

    Yes. If the state has no power, then it can no (direct) harm. Or good, to be fair to the loons.

    OTOH, if a state has great power then it’s power to do harm is greatly increased.

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