An Excellent Argument in Favor of Small Government

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on March 4, 2011

Made by–no, this is not a typo–Ezra Klein:

As far as I can tell, “The Adjustment Bureau” is about a group of superplanners who’ve mapped out every right turn, McDonald’s combo meal and life decision we’ll face. I say “as far as I can tell” because I won’t see it. I can’t bear it. I can suspend my disbelief for men who unsheathe adamantium claws through their knuckles and aliens who spit acid and Tina Fey as a frumpy mess with no sex appeal (well, I have trouble with that last one). But I can’t believe in guys in suits with the ability to plan things.

That’s the main thing I’ve learned working as a reporter and political observer in Washington: No one can carry out complicated plans. All parties and groups are fractious and bumbling. But everyone always thinks everyone else is efficiently and ruthlessly carrying out complicated plans. Partisans are very good at recognizing disarray and incompetence on their side of the aisle, but they tend to think the other side is intimidatingly capable and unburdened by scruples or normal human vulnerabilities. And there’s so much press interest in Svengali political consultants like Karl Rove or David Plouffe, all of whom get built up in the press as infallible tacticians, that the place just looks a lot more sophisticated than it really is.

Now, if only this skepticism about the ability of superplanners to superplan would extend to Klein’s discussions of policy.

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