Dec 062008

Civil Service Reform

Yet during the past 60 years, it has been the civil service (viewed as professional and technocratic) and not political appointees (seen as corrupt or unqualified) that has gained the upper hand in public opinion. Indeed, many senior officials in the federal government would view the very term political as pejorative.

— Paul Musgrave in Slate, 2 December 2008

Have the courage of your inconsistencies

So I say to Americans: if you want your young people to develop character, have the courage of your inconsistencies! Excoriate sin, especially in public places, but turn a blind eye to it when necessary.

— Theodore Dalrymple at City Journal (h/t Arts & Letters Daily)

Joe Biden’s economic advisor

He holds a Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts from the Manhattan School of Music; a Masters Degree in Social Work from the Hunter School of Social Work; a Masters Degree in Philosophy and Ph.D. in Social Welfare from Columbia University.

— Quoted by Banion King at SCSU Scholars

Industrial policy: GM’s magical plan

Now, the most obvious response to all of this is to say that I’m the fish at this table, because this is not a real business plan, but simply a political document. It exists to provide political cover to members of Congress. But if that’s the case, it’s an unintentionally beautiful illustration of why industrial policy fails. It’s both economically crucial and very hard to allocate capital well; that’s why people who are good at it make so much money. Businesses struggle to do this well, and they’re really trying. What do you think the odds are that this is a wise use of money, when the people involved are barely pretending to try?

— Jim Manzi at The American Scene