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Sunday, April 9, 2017

The tyrannies of experts and the legacy of Woodrow Wilson

I am still in stunned. I, in no way anticipated a Trump victory in the Presidential race. He seemed like a clown to me, and a mean spirited one to boot. However, since I believed there was no way that he was going to be elected, I did not devote much time or attention to what he actually would pursue if he was elected. Press coverage did not especially help, in that it tended to cover polarizing and titillating elements such as Muslim bans and pussy grabbing.

Fast forward a few months and we have a Trump administration and despite wishful thinking of the Democratic Party, we likely have at least four years of this. The mid terms elections may sway the balance of power in Congress, but the executive branch is with us for the next four years. What does this mean? I am pretty sure I don't know but I suspect no one else really knows. I have been relatively quiet about Trump and his administration. I am inherently skeptical about everything political and for that reason I am skeptical of Trump while also skeptical of the anti-Trump movement, which appear to be monolithic in their opposition to him.

Beyond the outrageous and the titillation,  what are these guys all about? What are they trying to accomplish? Should I oppose everything they stand for? Recent coverage of the CPAC conference highlighted some brief video of Steve Bannon (Bannon) and he highlighted three major priorities; National Security, Economic Nationalism, and Deconstruction of the Administrative State. I will delve into national security at some later date, when I can say something intelligent, but must state emphatically that the mean-spirited xenophobia framed as a security concern is indefensible. Furthermore, I think Bannon and Trump are barking up the wrong tree in regards to economic nationalism, but I am out of sync with both political parties on this.

The issues raised on the Administrative State piqued by interest. I had not heard this term before but after I delved into this I realized I had given this much thought and in order to understand these issues, one must go back to the history of the Progressive movement and the works and impact of Woodrow Wilson in order to understand where this came from and how fundamentally this movement changed both how our government runs, and changed the role of experts in the private quasi-regulatory realm. Here lies much of the source of current political polarization. Do you place your faith in the state and administrative agencies (bigger government) or do you place more faith in markets and constitutional limitations which may limit the power of the state to do both good and mischief? Tough question but it is the question that must be addressed.

Please refer to the two videos below - one from Richard Epstein (Epstein) and one from the National Constitution Center (NCC).

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