Saturday, July 28, 2012

Batman in Singapore (for John Holbo)
Henry Farrell 7/19/11
Policy is not made, in the US or anywhere else, through value-neutral debate among technocrats about the relative efficiency of different proposed schemes. Hence, the need for a theory of politics – that is, a theory of how policy proposals can be guided through the political process, and implemented without being completely undermined. And this is all the more important, because (on most plausible theories of politics) there are interaction effects between policy choices at time a and politics at time a+1. The policy choices you make now may have broad political consequences in the future. Obvious examples include policies on campaign spending, or union organization, which directly affect the ability of political actors to mobilize in the future.
Henry Farrell 7/24/12
The problem is that the Nolan brothers don’t just want a story about the self-realization of powerful individuals – they want a story with a theory of politics. Specifically, they somehow need to connect the struggles among a tiny number of exemplary (in positive and negative senses) elite actors to the Matter of Gotham – the teetering back and forth of the city between chaos and fragile political good health. The model that they choose is an explicitly aristocratic one.
Henry Farrell imagines a world of theorists who exist beyond the world of actors: a metaphysical aristocracy in every sense of the word. Designers of perfect systems for imperfect people always seem to give themselves the benefit of the doubt. And DeLong goes from Condorcet to Mojo Nixon

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