The scheme in Britain is, of course, rather different. (It is not necessary to believe that such schemes have been consciously elaborated, incidentally; rather, they are inherent in the statism that comes naturally to so many politicians because of their self-importance.) The hoops that bind the government to the consultants who advise it in its perennially failing schemes of modernization are those of gold. As Craig demonstrates (though without understanding all the implications), the consultants need failure in Britain to perpetuate the contracts that allow them to charge so outrageously and virtually ad libitum (Craig suggests that $140 billion has disappeared so far, with no end in sight); and, in turn, the government benefits from having this rich but utterly dependent clientele.
The beauty of the system is that dependence on expensive failure reaches quite low levels of the administration: for example, all those “civilians” (as nonpolice workers for the police are called) in P.C. Copperfield’s police station, as well as the educational psychologists whom Frank Chalk derides. The state has become a vast and intricate system of patronage, whose influence very few can entirely escape. It is essentially corporatist: the central government, avid for power, sets itself up as an authority on everything and claims to be omnicompetent both morally and in practice; and by means of taxation, licensing, regulation, and bureaucracy, it destroys the independence of all organizations that intervene between it and the individual citizen. If it can draw enough citizens into dependence on it, the central government can remain in power, if not forever, then for a very long time, at least until a crisis or cataclysm forces change.
At the very end of the chain of patronage in the British state is the underclass, who (to change the metaphor slightly) form the scavengers or bottom-feeders of the whole corporatist ecosystem. Impoverished and degraded as they might be, they are nonetheless essential to the whole system, for their existence provides an ideological proof of the necessity of providential government in the first place, as well as justifying many employment opportunities in themselves. Both Copperfield and Chalk describe with great eloquence precisely what I have seen myself in this most wretched stratum of society: large numbers of people corrupted to the very fiber of their being by having been deprived of responsibility, purpose, and self-respect, void of hope and fear alike, living in as near to purgatory as anywhere in modern society can come.
The books Dalrymple mentions in his article are available through Amazon.co.uk:
Wasting Police Time: The Crazy World of the War on Crime
It’s Your Time You’re Wasting: A Teacher’s Tales of Classroom Hell
Good News Bad News
Good news on Iraq: Senate Democrats are moving to rewrite history, by limiting the Iraq war authorization they voted in 2002. Good news how? Well, if you are a surrender enthusiast, it’s a step in the right direction! But if you believe the United States must fight and win in Iraq as in all the theaters of this generational war on Islamic extremism, then every move the anti-war Democrats make to undercut a wartime president and troops in the field is a shot in the foot that will drive Americans farther from them.
More good news about Iraq: Sen. Joseph Lieberman says the Democratic measure to undercut the troops could make a Republican out of him. This highly principled Democrat’s moral stance is an example the rest of them should follow, but the bad news is, they won’t. But Hillary’s new embrace of defeatism may be just the thing to underscore what a bankrupt position it is. She’s not the only 2008 hopeful playing politics with war.
Read the rest. (h/t Larwyn)
Dan’s asking, Are SC Pols Pay To Play? (h/t Larwyn)
Town Commons looks at Iran
Return to the Third World
In a very short while, nearly 70% of Christians will be in the non-European world.
I’m a little behind this morning but will be blogging more later. Thank you for your patience.