Asexual Reproduction In Government
IOZ's pithy argument:
Institutions, like organisms, seek survival for themselves and their descendants. One of the conceits at the heart of most theories of government, which has perhaps reached its apogee in this age of technocratic, managerial liberalism, is the idea that institutions are fundamentally instrumental. To an anarchist, this is a flatly silly proposition. (An analogue might be a Christian trying to get an atheist to concede that life has a “purpose.”) Institutions aren’t simple tools. Organizations aren’t implements. And when a sufficient number of institutions coexist, they function like an ecosystem. They neither work nor do not work. They survive, reproduce, replace, predate, evolve, alter, consume, and grow. They are no more responsive to the individuals contained within than a person is to a single cell.
E.D. Kain fleshes this thought out:
All institutions whether private or public seek their own self-preservation. The problem with government institutions is that they persist because of politics rather than any rational decision-making process. The big public unions exist and grow in strength because they are so important electorally. The big federal departments exist because politicians must always do something to survive the next election cycle (read: spend more!).
But since government is also necessary, the task is to determine what institutions need to be done away with, how to sunset them so they do not strangle the whole, rather than to rail at all of them. My thoughts on this inevitably stray to special interest groups as well. At what point do, say, HRC and AIPAC and the NAACP end up simply perpetuating themselves and their own leaders (invariably factions of the large, amorphous groups they claim to represent) rather than remaining focused on the task in front of them?