To cure the deviant subculture of government, abandon bureaucracy and put humans on the spot.
How government became a deviant subculture is a story of good intentions gone awry. We tried to avoid government abuse by replacing individual responsibility with detailed rules and objective legal proceedings. Never again would officials play favorites or indulge personal prejudices. Government would be an efficient assembly line.
What we achieved instead was what philosopher Hannah Arendt called "the rule of Nobody." Instead of an automated assembly line, government became a bureaucratic jungle, with all the pathologies of a culture without responsibility or accountability: savage politics disconnected from actual accomplishment; hyper-inefficiency; and a universal sense of powerlessness, causing a downward spiral of selfishness and cynicism. "Nothing is impossible," one public employee observed, "until it is sent to a committee."
The cure is basic: Reconnect public goals to real people. Humans, not tangled bureaucratic proceedings, must have responsibility to make choices -- whether to approve a power line, balance budgets, or maintain order in the classroom. Trust is not necessary. Protect against bad choices with checks and balances: Give some other identifiable official responsibility to approve an important choice. Accountability is key: Tocqueville noted that as long as a democracy retains "the right of taking away the power of the officers whom it had appointed, it has no reason to fear any abuse of their authority." Thus, he concluded, democracy can leave officials "to their own free action instead of prescribing an invariable rule of conduct, which would ... fetter their activity."