Don’t just stand there, do something! (Empower aimless, arbitrary authority!)

In an article aptly entitled “The Simpletons,” Reason’s Matt Welch lances the inept do-something mentality all too prevalent among America’s preening, clueless elitists. An excerpt:

Do something. Is there a two-word phrase in politics more loaded with disguised ideological content? Embedded within is both an urgent call for powerful government action and an up-front declaration that the policy details don’t matter. The bigger the crisis, the more the urgency, the sparser the detail. On September 30, 2008, in a classic of the do-something genre, Brooks argued that the Troubled Asset Relief Program should be rammed through Congress over public objections because the federal government needed “to give people a sense that somebody was in charge, that something was going to be done.” Did that “something” involve buying up toxic assets? Introducing or relaxing certain banking regulations? Taking over or winding down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? Not important. “What we need in this situation,” Brooks declared, “is authority.”

American discourse is saddled with a large and influential do-something school of political punditry, a cadre of pragmatists from Meet the Press to your local editorial board who are forever seeking to solve the country’s problems by transcending ideology, demanding collective citizen sacrifice, and—always—empowering authority.

JLF readers may remember my own mockery of the leap-before-you-look philosophy of the do-something boors; e.g., this post:

the “do something” mentality can lead to very silly actions, whether it’s “fighting global warming” by using only one square of toilet paper per restroom visit, creating a talking cartoon fish to get people to stop pouring grease down their drains, believing that chanting the word “vagina” helps fight sexual assault, or, in this case, thinking a theatre troupe will actually “promote health/wellness and social justice.”

Jon Sanders / Director of Regulatory Studies

Jon Sanders studies regulatory policy, a veritable kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. As director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, Jo...

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