Minority Rule

Minority Rule, by the Z-Man.

One of the defining features of post-Cold War America is that public policy no longer reflects public sentiment. …

Plenty is done in the name of the people, but precious little is favored by the majority of the people. Instead, public policy debates are about breaking down majority opposition in service to minority interests. …

Much of what vexes the current age is the sense by all factions that their interests are no longer represented. The Left is convinced that nefarious forces are preventing the majority from putting the Left into power. That may be delusional, but they believe it to be true, which is what matters. The Right, broadly defined to mean everyone not on the Left, believes their majority interests are ignored. …

Health care is a great example of how minorities rule majorities. Every comma in the regulatory code has a dedicated constituency behind it. Their existence depends on the part of the code that created them, so they ferociously defend it. The millions of lines of regulatory code have thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of little bands guarding their bit of code from anything resembling reform. The only thing these tribes are sure to agree upon is that change is never good.

This is why both parties intuitively opposed Trump’s wall project. On the one hand, lots of those little constituencies feared it threatened their turf. If we had a really good barrier system like Israel, maybe we don’t need as many border agents. Maybe we don’t need as many bureaucrats in the illegal alien processing system. It may sound far-fetched, but every state has prison guard unions that lobby their state to pass laws, because more laws means more criminals, which means more prisons. …

It is why the Covid stuff could be permanent. In just six months new industries have sprung to life serving the demands of Covid regulations. Businesses have had to reorganize in order to operate under these regulations. They have already absorbed the costs of compliance. They have no incentive to go back to the old way. Of course, an army of “health and safety professionals” are rising up like a zombie army. They will fight tooth and claw to maintain this new environment. …

The majority cannot put their finger on a single thing their government does for them, but is spoiled for choice when looking for things the government does in spite of them. To the natural majority, it seems as if the ruling class is deliberately avoiding that which should be easy. Their incompetence and sclerosis are increasingly seen as deliberate. Like [pre-revolutionary] France, we are drifting from general unhappiness to a crisis of legitimacy that is increasingly personalized.

Which is fertile territory for a party of complaints, like the left.

Young people, especially, are feeling hard done by. Two centuries after we finally broke free of the Malthusian economy, living standards are no longer rising. They probably peaked in about 1971,  and have been falling slightly ever since.

The huge bubble in manufacturing money since 1982 has been great for asset shufflers and home owners, but has frozen most young people out of the property market. With modern technology and productivity, how come a home takes half a career’s earnings to buy? Crazy.

Is it so bad that we should roll the dice on ripping it up and trying something new? A rising number of people think so.