kajarainbow: (old wolfie icon by unknown)
This article, yoinked from [livejournal.com profile] postrodent's post here, is what really set me off into making my last post. Keywords: no-bid contracts, bureaucratic obstruction for the poorest (and black) residents, free breaks for commercial interests.

And then there's this delicious satire of abuse of religious authority. Keywords: allegory, circular reasoning, condemnation of arbitrary sins, obedience to central religious authoritie.
kajarainbow: (old wolfie icon by unknown)
The worst outlaws are those with legal support from the government. Not only do they rob you, but they add insult to injury by smiling and telling you they're perfectly entitled to. And if you try to do anything back, you're the outlaw, not them, you lawbreaker.
kajarainbow: (old wolfie icon by unknown)
B is better for the general population than A. Government subsidies B to give it an extra advantage over A. Later, C comes along and is better still than B, but B still has the subsidy. In effect, the inferior B is given advantage over the newcomer C.

Now consider this: In World War II, the USA government created a subsidy for a kind of cloth used by our troops, in order to increase production of that cloth. Our troops no longer use that cloth. The subsidy still remains. In short, it was easier to just keep shovelling the public's money into that industry's mouth than lift a finger to change the law.

This sort of thing seems to happen a lot.
kajarainbow: (old wolfie icon by unknown)
Even for those who are not anarchists, it is useful to know the points at which government tends to malfunction and harm the general populace. I've been thinking a lot about that, and collecting references for my own purpose.

As far as I can tell, there seems to be three core problems from which many others derives:

1. The problem of limited knowledge, and making decisions that affect masses of people based on it.
2. The problem of power attracting the people who abuse it.
3. The problem of interring Official Authorization upon incompetent people.
4. The problem of blind righteousness given considerable power.

All of those are problems that exist more or less anywhere (for example the third exists in any bureaucracy), but governments have more power than most group-entities to affect others with their mistakes, and inherently feel authorized, even mandated, to exercise their power.
Expanded Examples. )

4. Blind righteousness with power. For an extreme example of this, it's easy just to look at theocracies, but this extends into countless things. I've seen nasty righteousness from all political stripes including 'apolitical'. (I've only just now edited this in, so I'll find an example for you people later. I'm sure you can readily exercise your own minds to find some, however.)

I think those problems are important considerations even for people who still hold faith for a sufficiently well-managed government to accomplish much good. I see a lot of "the government should handle, government should do this or that" this in response to problems, without much consideration of how to rein in government abuse and mismanagement of the response.
kajarainbow: (old wolfie icon by unknown)
I've been waiting until my thoughts (and reading) on this finally built to the point where I could write something with actual meat. I write this in part because what happened to the people of New Orleans, and the government's handling of it, really did horrify me.

Factcheck.org's timeline of the events associated with Katrina is a very worthwhile read, as it basically documents the actual timing of many events, including the governor's declaration of a state of emergency and request for help, specific statements and claims made by various persons, etc.

"Freedom Force" lists instances of FEMA obstructionism.

Thoughts about government's co-option of all roles associated with rescue and aid efforts in Katrina; I could extract the Katrina-specific material and this would still have a lot of meat:
Read more... )

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