But no smaller

How minimal can a minimal government be? Not very, suggests Roberta X:

Here’s a thought: you’d think if “that government which governs least, governs best” is correct and the closer it gets to zero the better, then a snarled-up mess of a government that can’t do much of anything — a negative value — might be better still; but the reality is that it’s as least as bad as a big, caring Nanny-state, if not worse. (This explains places like Somalia, where there’s actually too many “governments” — warlord fiefdoms, etc. — than too much government.) “Zero” is still a thing approached but never reached; too many people want to make sure their neighbors color inside the lines all the time (and never make the giraffes green or the grass purple), and that’s before you address the irreducible minimum of criminally-inclined individuals.

Combine both those horrible populations — pickers of nits and seekers of graft — and you have, well, the current occupants of Mordor-on-the-Potomac. (I wish I could remember where I swiped that; it’s such an apt phrase.)


  1. McGehee »

    31 October 2013 · 5:10 pm

    The correlative should be the giveaway here: to govern best, govern least. The very notion of governing best is obviously one of those ideals toward which one can strive but never achieve, like deserving to go to heaven.

    People who think perfection is ever within reach scare the schist out of me.

  2. Roberta X »

    1 November 2013 · 8:14 pm

    Indeed, McGehee; you are perfectly clear.

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