Wednesday, March 30, 2011

James Q. Wilson on American Politics

R. Shep Melnick reviews the latest book by James Q. Wilson. One of Wilson's observations:

Once politics was about only a few things; today it is about nearly everything.... Once the legitimacy barrier has fallen, political conflict takes a very different form. New programs need not await the advent of a crisis or an extraordinary majority, because no program is any longer "new"—it is seen, rather, as an extension, a modification, or an enlargement of something the government is already doing.... Since there is virtually nothing the government has not tried to do, there is little it cannot be asked to do.

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