Tuesday, June 15, 2021


Cultures with embedded habits, like individuals with habits, are hard to change. All the ligaments and tendons of Washington's permanent apparatus - civil servants, lobbyists, lawyers, contractors, media, and politicians - are conditioned to play their roles in its giant bureaucratic apparatus. Big change is literally inconceivable to them: "Why, no, that's not how we do things here." The million or so public employees, lobbyists, and other stakeholders are dug in. Civil servants have a phrase for resisting any efforts at change: "WEBEHWYGs" (pronounced WEE-BEE-WIGS), or "We'll be here when you're gone."

- Philip K. Howard in Try Common Sense: Replacing the Failed Ideologies of Right and Left

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