Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Comments on Belmont Club
"The Dead Hand"

Cannoneer No. 4,
My first reaction was to think of the Muttawah incident also. The British are being steadily prepared for Islamification, not in any conspiratorial sense but emotionally as the consequence of their own bad choices. The origins of this vulnerability might be traced through the culture of Unionization that stemmed from the pathologies of the class system and underlay the rise of the Labour Party a century ago.

The idea that it is better the local citizens do it tolerably, now, than waiting for the Feds or the State to do it perfectly, later...

The kicker is that the expansion of government has been accompanied by a decline in its performance. Its presumption of exclusivity in a chosen role can be critiqued on two grounds. First is the question of what government should do and second is the question of what government can do.

In America, but not in England, the Constitution assigns some functions, such as coining money or regulating the armed forces, exclusively to the Federal government. The use of the Elastic and Commerce clauses to expand the Federal powers beyond those enumerated has blurred understanding of the distinctive nature of what was granted to the Federal government. These limits were alien to the English system in which Parliament is in theory now an absolute power, the King in Parliament. They are restrained only by custom and now by the even more arbitrary authority of the European Union.

The issue of competence, not in the meaning of moral capacity but of technical skill, is even more troubling because it is not susceptible to legalistic arguments. We get into the realm of Sociology here which always a slippery topic where prejudice can obstruct scientific study. The larger any organization gets and the more it attempts to do the less effective it is. Sixty or eighty years ago the government could in a crisis choose one task among fifty to do and marshall the best and the brightest and achieve miracles. Now the government attempts to do not one thing or fifty but a hundred and fifty using the ranks of the civil service. The results are failure. The more things government attempts the lower the quality of the workforce in each task. What you end up with is Airport Security. Not only does this result in sub-standard performance in those roles where large numbers have been hired to do jobs that were never meant to be the role of government at all but the dilution of talent and loss of focused oversight lead to failure in those positions, such as the police power, where we need government to function efficiently.

One reason that hysterics yell "My child is in there" when they aren't is that it is usually cost free to do so.
Some are simply honestly mistaken but some are deranged attention seekers and others are malicious. If caught and faced with punishment they will whine that they intended no harm, or even wanted to encourage others bravery, or they'll plead if a would be rescuer was hurt that "there has been suffering enough" and if no one was hurt by their fraud then they will claim the "punishment is disproportionate." Israel faces the same carping when it responds to the provocations of the arabs. We have been desensitized to hypocrisy and irresponsibility by excessive regulation and lawyering.

Armeggedon Rx (who commented that Red Ken might have progressed to ordering police to block recruiting stations),
It is already getting close to that situation in Berkley where the municipal administration and the police assist Code Pink in harassing the USMC recruiting station. If the civil servants not only refuse to perform the tasks that their employers think they have been hired to do but actively prevent others from doing so then the reasonable question is, "Why not save the money and send them home?" Would England be a more lawless place if The Plod went on vacation and told the public "So long and thanks for all the fish?" The purpose of government is employing staff not delivering services but simple self interest should limit the tendency to make it a complete farce. I will look for the Yes Minister clip in which Sir Humphrey explains to Bernard the fascinating history of the remit for the Department of Administrative Affairs by which their authority was expanded but their responsibility was progressively reduced.

Cannoneer No. 4 (who quoted Det Supt Peter McGuinness),
Compare, "The Marines have landed and the situation is well in hand" and "our officers ... handled the incident as professionally as we would expect them to and they then worked long into the night ... South Yorkshire Police feel for the family and will continue to support them ..."

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