Big Government As Usual

It sure looks to me that Obama has done everything he practically could in response to the undie-bomber. The reforms he outlines seem sensible enough. Except one thing: no one will actually face consequences for this failure. Why? Because it was a system failure, and no one individual's fault. The only difference with Bush is that Obama wants to take full responsibility on himself:

I am less interested in passing out blame than I am in learning from and correcting these mistakes to make us safer.  For ultimately, the buck stops with me.  As President, I have a solemn responsibility to protect our nation and our people.  And when the system fails, it is my responsibility. 

Here's what that says to the men and women of the security and intelligence institutions of government who failed us: you will never be fired, and you will never face real consequences for failing to do your job competently.

And when a system never holds any of its specific members responsible, there is no direct incentive to get things right. This is simply human nature and one reason people are rightly deeply skeptical of government is its use of its monopoly power to prevent itself from ever being held as accountable as any other human being in any other line of work.

In the end, Obama is like Bush in this respect. In the struggle between citizenry and big government in ensuring basic competence, big government always wins, and always, always protects its own. Just as Obama has protected government officials who committed war crimes, he is protecting those who failed in basic responsibilities. This guarantees that reforms won't work.

Change we can believe in? Nah. Just big government covering its own ass yet again. I guess we can merely be relieved that all the people who failed us were not given Medals of Freedom.

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Best 71-Second Animation You'll Watch Today

A rock monster tries to save a village from destruction.

Video

The Case for Napping at Work

Most Americans don't get enough sleep. More and more employers are trying to help address that.

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

Video

Stunning GoPro Footage of a Wildfire

In the field with America’s elite Native American firefighting crew

Just In