Every once in a while, you run into an essay that changes the way you look at the world by putting a name and an analytic framework on a familiar and important, but neglected, phenomenon. Harry Frankfurt’s “On Bullsh*t” was such an essay. Steve Teles’s “Kludgeocracy” is another.
The argument is simple in outline: American politics has too many veto points, and the result tends to be jury-rigged policies that are opaque, inefficient, maladministered, and even corrupt. (One example Teles doesn’t give is immigration, where opponents of immigration get to write the laws and supporters of immigration get to make sure they’re badly enforced.)
The implications are far-reaching. I think Teles is right to say that naming the problem could be a first step toward dealing with it.
If you read the essay and conclude that I wasted your time, send me an email and I’ll donate $10 to your favorite charity.