Conservatives, More Correct Than They Know

In the past few days, the head of the CIA has resigned in disgrace, the head of the war in Afghanistan is facing court-martial, and the head of Africa Command was demoted for his lavish waste of taxpayer money.

The common “public choice critique” of government spending focuses on the fact that decisions are ultimately made and executed by individuals, not institutions, which leads inevitably to all the pathologies that conservative inveigh against.  The relative shelter of government employment invites corruption, the lack of public scrutiny allows corruption to flourish, and this gets worse as the relative power of government increases.  It doesn’t take a great leap of intuition to see the connection between this line of thinking and the first paragraph in this post.

Charges of “hypocrisy” are overblown and rarely convincing; incoherence less so. It’s hard not to notice the breathtaking contradiction between one of the fundamental philosophical underpinnings of the conservative movement and the drive for continually increasing military funding, power, and secrecy.


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