After years of apparently being OK with California's absurd restrictions on development and crazy environmental laws that tied most everything new up in the courts for years, Kevin Drum suddenly thinks they may be flawed now that they are slowing development he likes (wind, solar, high density housing around transit stations). Drum is a classic technocrat, who is OK with absolute state authority as long as the state is doing what he wants it to do. I am reminded of what I wrote technocrats 7(!) years ago:
Technocratic idealists ALWAYS lose control of the game. It may feel good at first when the trains start running on time, but the technocrats are soon swept away by the thugs, and the patina of idealism is swept away, and only fascism is left. Interestingly, the technocrats always cry “our only mistake was letting those other guys take control”. No, the mistake was accepting the right to use force on another man. Everything after that was inevitable.
I am reminded of all this because the technocrats that built our regulatory state are starting to see the danger of what they created. A public school system was great as long as it was teaching the right things and its indoctrinational excesses were in a leftish direction. Now, however, we can see the panic. The left is freaked that some red state school districts may start teaching creationism or intelligent design. And you can hear the lament – how did we let Bush and these conservative idiots take control of the beautiful machine we built? My answer is that you shouldn’t have built the machine in the first place – it always falls into the wrong hands. Maybe its time for me to again invite the left to reconsider school choice.
Today, via Instapundit, comes this story about the GAO audit of the decision by the FDA to not allow the plan B morning after pill to be sold over the counter. And, knock me over with a feather, it appears that the decision was political, based on a conservative administration’s opposition to abortion. And again the technocrats on the left are freaked. Well, what did you expect? You applauded the Clinton FDA’s politically motivated ban on breast implants as a sop to NOW and the trial lawyers. In establishing the FDA, it was you on the left that established the principal, contradictory to the left’s own stand on abortion, that the government does indeed trump the individual on decision making for their own body (other thoughts here). Again we hear the lament that the game was great until these conservative yahoos took over. No, it wasn’t. It was unjust to scheme to control other people’s lives, and just plain stupid to expect that the machinery of control you created would never fall into your political enemy’s hands.