Formerly a Post on Consequentialism

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55 Responses

  1. Oscar Gordon says:

    I appreciate this criticism of consequentialism & technocratic approaches, but you appear to have ignored* a critical reality:

    We want government that is involved in an increasingly wide array of facets of life, and the more areas government is involved in, the more difficult it is for populist ideals to competently keeps the wheels turning. The technocrats become necessary to manage the day to day.

    *Maybe you did and I missed it.Report

    • aaron david in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      Well, it would be easy to miss in that twit salad, but… I think you need to show your work also @Oscar Gordon. I don’t feel that we need more gov’t intervention in our day-to-day lives and we share, generally, the same politics. But that is just one man’s opinion.Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to aaron david says:


        I guess I’d start simple, and ask for the populist vision and management for NASA.Report

        • Aaron David in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          And the populist answer would probably be something along the lines of – why do we need NASA?

          Now, I know that a lot of good things were developed by the programs involving space, but that might not justify the amount of money spent on them, nor the political maneuvering that it was used to justify (Kennedys Space Race anyone?) Also, and I know that counterfactuals are not much fun, but anything developed by the program could quite well of been developed in due time as needs arose.
          And as NASA drastically curtailed space operations post the shuttle disaster, the legions of private entities taking up the mantle speaks volumes.

          Also, an initial impetus for NASA was one politician (Kennedy again) motivating via a call for national pride, a purely political call to arms.Report

          • Murali in reply to Aaron David says:

            And the populist answer would probably be something along the lines of – why do we need NASA?

            It seems that the populist answer would not be that. That’s the doctrinaire libertarian answer. Whatever the merits or faults of doctrinaire libertarianism, it is policy-wise the almost complete opposite of a populist policy programReport

            • gabriel conroy in reply to Murali says:

              Speaking only anecdotally, I’ve encountered people who weren’t particularly libertarian but would say things like, “why does the government spend so much money on space travel when they could be spending it to help poor people.” That strikes me as a “populist” critique of NASA.Report

          • Oscar Gordon in reply to Aaron David says:

            The initial Vision was part populist, part strategic (ICBMs & spy satellites anyone). But the management was/is largely technocratic. Hell, one of the few times the technical advice was ignored, I got to watch a seven men and women die, live on TV in my first period classroom.

            Populism has a place in the direction of government, but the day to day requires the technocratic hand.

            Take Justice, for instance. Everyone wants equal justice for all. That can be achieved through a number of different paths. The populist may want more justice for the little guy, at the expense of the elite (especially the disfavored elite). Think French Revolution and guillotines. Or the populist only wants justice for the truly innocent and the favored elite (think current day Philippines). The technocrat understands that perfect, equal justice is an unreachable ideal, but that we can head in that direction, through better funding of public defenders (and/or public defense policies), greater protections for defendants (civil and criminal), and the reduction of onerous laws (3 felonies a day kinda stuff).

            But maybe I’m thinking about populism wrong. I see it as approaching mob rule, the passions of the people, rather than the reason of the populace. One could try to argue me away from that conception.Report

            • Aaron David in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

              Well, I won’t try to argue you away, as I am not a populist. I simply want to understand the ideas and issues better.

              That said, that space explosion could just as easily be described by saying that the upper-level technocrats replaced one lower level technocrat with another, all in some grand scheme of efficiency. Thus causing the destruction. Technocrats are responsible for the Holodomor, river contamination and a host of other issues.

              Mark Kruger and I had a bit of discussion here at the site in these comments about the Burkian need*, and how the people’s representatives should rise up. To which I countered that when this happens they might lose sight of the needs of those whom they represent, and at that point, you will have a voter rebellion on your hands, much like the one that happened with Trump, and is happening right now in France.

              The role of politics is to lead the polis. To inspire and manage that mob, as you called it. Because if you don’t it will be managed by someone else. Technocrats, or as I call them the white paperists, end up like this:

              In other words, Liberalism isn’t an ideology, it’s just an adherence to Good Facts. In other words, what’s wrong with conservatism is that it has a moral philosophy. Not that its moral philosophy is wrong. In other words, liberals have a monopoly on reason. Liberalism, according to Chait, has no ideology. Only a desire to use data in order to produce “beneficial outcomes”. How do we know what outcomes are good? Unanswered. Irrelevant.

              -Emmett Rensen

              Technocrats are responsible for the Holodomor, river contamination and a host of other issues. And when those unanswered questions become a sea of doubt, someone who will try to answer them will come along.

              *First commentReport

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Aaron David says:

                Let me try this analogy.

                Government is like a democratic cruise ship. We are the passengers. We have a voice as to what activities are available on the ship, and what amenities there are, and where the ship goes. We do not get to dictate to the crew how the ship provides such things, or how the ship gets to a port of call, because very few of us actually understand the inner workings of an ocean going vessel, nor the navigation of one.

                Now the crew can still screw up and cause a ship to sink. But the crew has a vested interest in not doing that, and a good crew will have fail-safes and backstops to help avert disaster. If the crew tries too much to please the passengers, you wind up with a Costa Concordia.

                But if you let the passengers dictate everything, rather than just making their general desires known, you will most certainly have a disaster.

                Thus, the passengers (populists) make known their wants, and the technocrats try to find the best way to satisfy the populists, within reason.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Uhm, maybe. I would say it is more like the Titanic. One class of passengers that get to sit at the captain’s table, but another that doesn’t have that access. Their wants are forgotten. Indeed, the language that they use for things will no longer call the steward.

                And there is still the iceberg…

                (My point is, if you are in the group whose needs are taken care of, it might seem rather disastrous to loose control. But if you are in the group who whose needs aren’t being met, then you want to take control. Having someone whose needs don’t match up to yours tell you what is important doesn’t work.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Aaron David says:

                But taking control just means “who gets to sit down in the officers mess”, not who gets to plot the course, and order stores, and keep the machinery humming along.

                Or think about airplane hijacking, and 9/11 was a populist revolution.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                I think we have gone too far afield in search of an analogy. Because the country isn’t a cruise ship, not even close. Yes, on that luxury ship, or even a cargo ship for that matter, the passengers or the crew aren’t really in a position to change the direction, either they paid to be on that specific voyage or the company determines the route. In any case, something predetermines the stops.

                Hijacking doesn’t work either, as it wasn’t taken by force, but by the system that has been in place, a system that is supposed to be open to any citizen. But, a technocratic system is closed, while a populist system isn’t.

                An analogy that might work better are types of control systems. Closed loop vs. open loop. A closed-loop system has no need for human interference. Like a thermostat attached to an HVAC unit. When it hits 65 degrees heating is called for automatically and at 75 degrees cooling is called for. That is a technocratic system. A light switch, on the other hand, is an open loop. To activate it, a person has to go and trip the switch.

                I think where we get lost is in putting a moral judgment on populism vs. technocratism. A priest who urges his flock to go out and help the homeless on a daily basis is also a populist, but a redlight camera is technocratic.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Aaron David says:

                I think where we get lost is in putting a moral judgment on populism vs. technocratism.

                Agreed, and I felt the OP was making a claim that populism was somehow morally superior to technocratic systems. What I was trying to get at was that neither is necessarily superior, and the worst traits of both tend to be tempered by the other when they exist side by side.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                One thing that has occurred to me is that technocratism is what happens when populism is subsumed into the population or at least a portion of it. IE when those populist ideas become the norm, we can put a bunch of them on autopilot, just being run by “experts.” But to challenge those ideas, one must raise up the masses. And if that works, eventually those ideas become the norm…

                Rinse, repeat.Report

              • Oscar Gordon in reply to Aaron David says:

                And usually by the time the ideas are subsumed, the rough edges are smoothed off, so that it’s workable.Report

        • George Turner in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

          Surely the populist vision would be a spaceship in every garage.

          We’re not there yet, but Richard Branson is putting more Americans into space from US soil than NASA is. Elon Musk took the car that used to be in his garage and sent it hurling out past the orbit of Mars.

          If we’re going to analyze NASA’s performance, structure, incentives, bureaucracy, and technical merit, we’re going to need a bigger blog.


          • JoeSal in reply to George Turner says:

            Well there was a time we were only killing each other on land. Then there were boats, then we started killing each other on the water. Then there were airplanes, then we started killing each other in the skies. Now there is space…….

            I guess on the bright side we get to see ‘The True Believers’ streaking across the sky in a blaze of re-entry.Report

    • Chris in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

      On the left, the critique isn’t of expertise itself, but of a blind adherence to a sort of cult of expertise, where there is nothing guiding the hand of the expert except the goal of measurable progress. Such progress of course also has no ideological basis either in the blindly technocratic ideology, and therefore may very be progress with no meaning.

      This is basically the left critique of liberal technocracy: it is a flailing technocracy that ultimately hinders real progress.Report

      • Chris in reply to Chris says:

        (If we were properly Marxist, we’d say the “center left” fetishizes expertise.)Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Chris says:

          I’ve started to see criticisms of requirements for college degrees for various positions that may not actually need them as “classism”. Like, only among the wokest of my woke friends, but that’s really starting to show up.

          Which is weird, because, for a while there, I saw arguments against tech’s reliance of certifications above college degrees as being a way that “techbros” were able to avoid the important ethical lessons that one gets from the humanities requirements that college educations provide. (Again, among the wokest of my woke friends.)

          All that to say: I’m not sure that the people we assumed would be the technocrats in 10 years five years ago are the same people that we’re assuming will be the technocrats in 5 years. If you know what I mean.Report

      • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chris says:

        As I think I make clear up thread, the two need to work together. Populism without technocrats, or Technocracy without populists, are both dangerously close to anarchy or tyranny, depending on which ideology is ascendant.

        The two temper the worst tendencies of the other.Report

  2. Saul Degraw says:

    Hmmm…what to make of this ultra-tweeted essay. The 40-seat Democratic majority in the House has more center-lefties than AOC style “democratic socialists.” Local politics also matter, Katie Porter is a proud Warren-style liberal but she still felt the need to support the failed gas-tax repeal in car-loving Orange County to win her victory.

    The other issue for the United States is that most people live in cities but ultra-gerrymandering leads to states remaining far-right Republican. In 2018, Democrats won the popular vote by around 169,000 votes in Wisconsin. The GOP still has supermajority in the state legislature. Without this gerrymandering, articles like this would make less sense. We would assume the left, center and all is thriving.

    Most Democratic voters do not have college degrees either. Lots of people are still stuck with the idea that working-class voter is a burly guy in an industrial job. They can’t seem to wrap their heads around a new-working class that is more female, more diverse, and usually in service sector jobs that might require less brute strength.

    But I generally agree that there is a lot of truth between Ryan Cooper’s tweet on how a technocrat is someone who hides policy behind a feigned apolitical “expertise.”

    The issue is tricky. The issue might not have a solution. Globalism is not going away anytime soon unless most of the world goes away with it and we are post-apocalyptic either. The weird thing about globalism though is that it makes a handful of economically diverse cities thrive and the rest of the cities have a hard time catching up. When transportation and communication were harder, monoeconomy regional cities made sense. Now, not as much. On LGM, Erik Loomis went into a rant about Apple opening up facilities in San Diego, Culver City, and Austin instead of Cleveland, Buffalo, and Detroit.

    The problem as pointed out by LGMers is that San Diego has Quallcomm which Apple buts heads with frequently. Culver City lets them get into original content like Hulu and Netflix. Austin has a big tech scene because of U of Texas and more amenities to attract workers. Apple is never going to produce as many jobs as car factories in Detroit used to do. Detroit does not have the kind of workers that Apple wants or needs. Maybe Ann Arbor does though.

    What is the solution to a company like McKinsley helping authoritarians?

    • I was fascinated going through the Loomis comment threads that no one mentioned this — the giant tech companies locate in places where there are lots and lots of start-up companies. There are multiple reasons for this. (1) The young-folk “amenities” start-ups look for are the same. Personally, looking back over my time in tech, the two amenities I would put at the top of the list as indicators are inexpensive bars with live music and outdoor activities. (2) The same university requirements — to a considerable extent, you can measure the relative quality of area universities for tech (used broadly) by the number of start-ups that are being spun off. (3) 50 years ago, the model for corporate R&D was big in-house labs: Bell Labs, Sarnoff Labs, Hewlett-Packard, etc. The current model is “buy the start-up whose solution to your problem works best.” (Yeah, there are exceptions. But even with a well-funded internal research organization, Facebook still buys up companies.)

      Start-up hot spots depend on a start-up infrastructure. Can you hire an experienced statistical analyst for three months? Can you hire explosive forming for exotic alloys? Are there support firms that not only can do small runs, but encourage them? There are roughly a dozen places in the US that have lots of start-ups across a range of fields. That’s the big hurdle facing places like Buffalo, Cleveland, and Detroit.Report

      • Trumwill in reply to Michael Cain says:

        We’re actually talking about Loomis in the other thread.

        Regarding the “buy the start-up” idea, I was watching a video the other day about why the start-ups are located in the US and not Europe. One of the things the guy mentioned was how getting bought by a tech giant is the dream of start-ups, and that’s a lot easier to do in parts of the US than in Europe, and he cited the concentrations in SV and elsewhere specifically.

        Like i said over there, though, I think Amazon and Apple get a pass on skipping over Cleveland. I still think that they deserve the grief they get over the two specific selections they made, though.Report

  3. JoeSal says:

    This is very interesting work.

    “Consequentialism is the view that the rightness or wrongness of our actions depends largely on their consequences.”

    One problem I see here is that there is no consensus,(and probably will never be) about what is right and wrong. There is no tangible defined ‘social objectivity’.

    “the consequentialism of the liberal-centre can serve to deepen those divides due to the minimisation of the importance of democratic legitimacy”

    I would offer a different take on this. In the political compass framework, there is authoritarianism on the y-axis. As Liberal centerism becomes more authoritarian, more people defect further to the left and the right as the centers ‘social objectivity’ is not formed in consensus.Report

  4. Murali says:

    The centre left and centre right are consequentialist only in the broad sense that they/we think outcomes like whether rights are protected, people have food to eat, a roof over their heads, they are not unjustly treated etc matter. As long as you think justice matters and that justice is going to be about outcomes in some sense of the word, then you are going to be consequentialist in this broad sense that you use. But it seems obvious that a) Justice matters and b) Justice can be cashed out in terms of outcomes. So, even if outcomes are not the only things that matter, the argument for what else matters must be made. Or else, all you have is a non-sequitor.

    I should not have to say this, but the notion that liberals are ideologically intolerant is a) completely at odds with the actual distribution of ideological intolerance on the left, b) ignorant of the history of ideas and c) made at all plausible only because of a peculiar american tendency to call both the far left and the centre left liberals.

    To give an example of a)
    Economists who vote democrat tend to be centre left rather than hard left. And they are not ideologically intolerant. Social psychologists tend to be further left and they are more ideologically intolerant.

    b) The idea that people with anti-egalitarian views should not be given a voice goes back at least to Marx. Roughly it tracks the idea that the liberal freedoms (which would grant content independent freedom of speech and association) and rights only benefit the bourgeoisie and the privileged not the proletariat. To the extent that this idea has gained currency in the centre-left, this only reflects the fact that there has been a left-ward shift among the centre left, not that centre-ish tendencies lead to ideological intolerance. On the contrary, moving to the far left or far right is more likely to get you intolerance of one kind or another.Report

  5. LeeEsq says:

    The Future of Socialism was an important book because it advocated that center leftists should focus on what we now call identity politics by arguing that social equality should be pursued more than nationalization of industry.Report

  6. KenB says:

    I don’t think “consequentialist” is the right term here — I don’t see any sign offhand that the center-X people have a fundamentally different moral foundation for their beliefs than the far-X people. One can be a deontologist and still favor an incremental approach for one’s favored policies. Wouldn’t “pragmatic” (in the popular sense) be a better descriptor?Report

  7. North says:

    I’m a little puzzled/annoyed with the “death of the center left” part of this title. I grant that Corbyn seems to be driving Labour into the loony left weeds in the UK but in the US, Canada, Germany and much of the rest of the developed world center leftism is either in power or at least at the helm of a functional and relatively healthy major political party. I grant liberal centrism is not in vogue on the internet or among the chattering heads, primarily because of the former magnifying arch liberals and libertarian voices and the latter desperately trying to maintain their media-idiocy both sides are equally deranged centrist bullshit to feed the ravenous presses. That said I think the center left hasn’t really been vanquished or even badly wounded yet. Center leftists certainly aren’t pining for the fjords.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to North says:

      I know it’s easy to forget but Murkel is center right and the SDP is about to be displaced. There is also France Italy Eastern Europe Mexico Austria Sweden Norway. Seems like they’re getting squeezed in a lot of places even if not everywhere.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to North says:

      The center-left is badly damaged in that the world doesn’t seem to buy what they are selling as much anymore. Here I am defining center-left as the kind of socially-liberal but economically absolutely in love with the Aspen and Davos events of the world.

      See the trouble that Sandberg is in right now.Report

  8. I didn’t read the original before it was pulled, so I’ll just offer my random non-OP-worthy thoughts on consequentialism.

    One criticism I used to levy against consequentialism was that it didn’t tell us how we know an outcome is good in the first place. Even if our standard is something like “the greatest number of hedons spread out among the greatest number of people,” we still need to define what a “hedon” is and demonstrate why that should be the standard. I thought that was a devastating critique. And maybe it was and still is true that most consequentialists are weak when it comes to justifying why the consequences are good.

    But I no longer think that critique is “devastating” or fatal to consequentialism. It seems to me that every system of ethics or philosophy ignores or over-assumes some point and that we (read: I) need to acknowledge how a given system of ethics or philosophy works on its own terms. We still need to keep account of what the given system doesn’t or can’t do, but we also need to look at what it does do.

    (One thing that used to really annoy me in the (very few, and mostly introductory) philosophy courses I took in college was that we’d read philosopher X and then the instructor would tell us “philosopher X does Y okay, but they totally ignore Z,” and if you got that point right, you’d get an A for the class. It bothered me because by our instructor’s telling–and by the excerpts we were given to read from any given philosopher–people who followed philosopher X were portrayed as being totally unaware of Z when (I assume) at least some of them were aware of the problems with philosopher X.)Report

    • Jaybird in reply to gabriel conroy says:

      I think it’s usually a variant of “if I extrapolate what’s best for me and my tribe out to cover everybody, then *THIS* will be what’s best. Therefore, it’s the right thing.”

      Though I’ve been thinking about the Rawlsian “Veil of Ignorance” a bit lately. On one level, it’s a great way to play the “you cut the Snickers in half, your little brother gets to pick which half he wants and you get the leftover one” game on a societal level. On another, it makes a *LOT* of assumptions about equality and equity that aren’t shared assumptions.

      But the biggest problem with consequentialism is summed up by Mel Brooks: “Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.”Report

      • DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird says:

        The issue with “I cut, you choose” is when I know how you weight things. Maybe I know you like frosting quite a lot, so I scrape all the frosting to one tiny sliver of cake and I keep the rest of the actual cake.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to DensityDuck says:

          When Maribou and I were first married, when we’d get a baguette, I’d give her the heels.

          Because the heels are the best part of the baguette.

          After a few years of this, she explained that she didn’t like the heels and wanted the middle once in a while.


          We need to figure out a way to distribute desires equitably.Report

        • DavidTC in reply to DensityDuck says:

          More problems:

          1) Who decided it was cake, anyway? What if people need some other food? What if they are diabetic? What if they’re allergic to gluten? Maybe we should just…give them some money and let them buy food?

          That sounds like a joke, but we do absurd things like this in real life. Like giving people a tax deduction for, for example, solar panels. Everyone, in theory, gets the deduction, but, but in reality, poor people don’t make enough to reduce their taxes…so we’ve built a system where poor people pay full price for solar panels and rich people are subsidized. Regardless of whether or not we should subsidize solar panel, presumably no one thinks we should be subsidizing the rich and not the poor! But we do. In all sorts of things.

          Likewise, our roads. We spend a lot of time and money to make sure people who can afford cars can get anywhere very easily. But we barely spend _any_ money, comparatively, making sure that people without cars can.

          We divide things up ‘equally’, and never bother to ask ‘Wait, is this something only wealthy people even want? Or even just middle-class people? Can the actual worst-off use this _at all_?’

          2) People are often, to put it bluntly, very bad at making choices. It is often the worst off in society that do the worst there, both because those decisions can lead them to that point, and because they don’t actually have the training or knowledge to make good decisions. Maybe the other guy doesn’t actually ‘like’ frosting that much, but _his_ cakes never had frosting as a kid and so _he_ see frosting as some unimaginably-valuable luxury product, and doesn’t really know how it works.

          Which, if things were sorta random, wouldn’t be a problem. But the reality is that the system is _really good_ at manipulating people into bad decisions. The lottery, both who plays it and how their life tends to go after winning it, is the obvious example of this.Report

      • gabriel conroy in reply to Jaybird says:

        I think it’s usually a variant of “if I extrapolate what’s best for me and my tribe out to cover everybody, then *THIS* will be what’s best. Therefore, it’s the right thing.”

        That may very well be what happens, but I find that often (not necessarily usually, but more than “sometimes”) the consequentialist’s audience tends to agree on what’s best. Or maybe I’m generalizing what’s often (again, not necessarily usually, but more than sometimes) is what I see as a good outcome.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to gabriel conroy says:

          “Or maybe I’m generalizing what’s often (again, not necessarily usually, but more than sometimes) is what I see as a good outcome.”

          I think that the consequentialist benefits greatly from birds’ eye views and not getting into the nitty gritty.

          I mean, let’s ask “would we be better off if everybody were able to get the health care they needed without having to risk bankruptcy to get it?”

          The only people who answered “no” to that question were the trolls.

          You can play that game with pretty much any sufficient begging of questions. “Would we be better off if everybody were able to get a quality university education for the price of 4 years of working at minimum wage?”

          Heck yes, we would!

          It’s the nitty gritty part that gets us in trouble.Report

          • gabriel conroy in reply to Jaybird says:

            I guess I agree with your “nitty gritty” remark. I will say, though, that by my standard, a “good consequentialist” (by which I mean, an “effective consequentialist” or one who would most likely convince me about their argument) would be one who does take into account the nitty gritty.Report

            • DensityDuck in reply to gabriel conroy says:

              The consequence of our action is that everyone gets the healthcare they need, gabriel. Surely you wouldn’t be all obstructionist and oppositionist and whatabout-ist and pretending like these million tiny little silly pointless details are a reason why we shouldn’t do this. I mean, you’re going to say you’re against the idea that everyone should get the healthcare they need?Report

    • Aaron David in reply to gabriel conroy says:

      A Hedonist would say that…Report

    • Murali in reply to gabriel conroy says:

      Sometimes this is simply a product of the way philosophy is taught in many analytic departments where people read Aristotle as if it is an article that came out last year in Nous. (This is an exaggeration, but there is a kernel of truth in there)

      Sometimes this is because people really didn’t see the objection. Given the culture and intellectual currents of the time, people had certain blindspots then. We may have different blindspots now, but if we collectively do, we couldn’t tell anyway.

      Sometimes this is because they saw the objection but didn’t think it was a serious problem. What people find counter-intuitive now is not necessarily what people found counter-intuitive back in ancient Greece or for that matter 17th century europe. So, which combination of positions people find objectionable will change depending on what amounts to common sense in a given era.Report

      • gabriel conroy in reply to Murali says:

        Thanks, Murali. I think all three of your suggestions make sense. A fourth one (which tracks closely with your third suggestion), would be they saw the objection as serious, perhaps even potentially devastating, but wanted to take their philosophy out for a drive to see what they could get from it.Report

  9. Kolohe says:

    I regret that I didn’t get to this post before it became tears in the rain. Though now, I get to comment on a post on what I *think* it says instead of what it actually says, and I don’t even have to take the time to read the post before commenting. Brilliant! Flawless victory!

    My take is that the ‘end of history’ is correct – representative democracy, individual personal liberty, mostly private enterprise economy, and enough public sector to provide needed public goods.

    Which lends itself to either a center-left or center right political regime, with the left/right side determined on how much ‘public sector for public goods’ one feels is sufficient (and also, how they should be provided – directly by the state, or merely paid for by the state)

    Oh, yeah, the moral sentiments here are universal, so this applies globally.

    The glaring weakness of this model is that it either steamrolls culture, or handwaves it away, treating as a theme park attraction. This particular critique is something the far right and a great deal of the left agree on.

    But even within the center-right center-left ideological spheres – the weakness of the center-right is that they don’t have a good answer (really, no answer) for those that fall through the cracks of the provision of public goods. The weakness of the center-left (and, I’d argue, those to the left of them), is that they’re never willing to hold accountable people or institutions when the public sector fails. They either blame insufficient resources or racism. (or often enough, both, that the latter causes the former)Report