Thomas Friedman—Down With Everything

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Does America need an Arab Spring? That was the question on my mind when I called Frank Fukuyama, the Stanford professor and author of “The End of History and the Last Man.” Fukuyama has been working on a two-volume opus called “The Origins of Political Order,” and I could detect from his recent writings that his research was leading him to ask a very radical question about America’s political order today, namely: has American gone from a democracy to a “vetocracy” — from a system designed to prevent anyone in government from amassing too much power to a system in which no one can aggregate enough power to make any important decisions at all?

“There is a crisis of authority, and we’re not prepared to think about it in these terms,” said Fukuyama. “When Americans think about the problem of government, it is always about constraining the government and limiting its scope.” That dates back to our founding political culture. The rule of law, regular democratic rotations in power and human rights protections were all put in place to create obstacles to overbearing, overly centralized government. “But we forget,” Fukuyama added, “that government was also created to act and make decisions.”

That is being lost at the federal level.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.

3 Comments
Posted April 21, 2012 at 5:52 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Br. Michael wrote:

This sort of nonsense always seems to float to the top when the liberals can ram their socialism down the throats of everyone else.  They are happy as clams about this situation when the other side is in power.

And they ignore the end runs around the Constitution and the aggregation of power to thwart checks and balances when their man is President only to complain bitterly about dictators when Bush was in the White House.

April 22, 6:45 am | [comment link]
2. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) wrote:

There are two possible conditions of Man: he is either innately good, or innately evil.

If Man is innately good, then beyond very basic administration government is not needed, and should perforce be small.

If man is innately evil, some of the most evil people will seek power, wealth, and control over others, in which case the magnitude and scope of government should be small lest the drive for power become too tempting.

In either case, the appropriate response is highly-limited government.

April 22, 8:25 am | [comment link]
3. Bill Matz wrote:

Key question: Who benefits financially when there is polarization gridlock?

April 22, 6:21 pm | [comment link]
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