Politics and Policy

An important and often missed distinction. And it’s now clear we badly need better of both.

In politics, partisanship just keeps metastasizing. Even a cursory glimpse at history (or medicine) would indicate that’s not a good thing. It would also show that it’s very, very hard to stop: being social and political animals, people really like competing in teams — and once team loyalty to a subgroup eclipses loyalty to an overarching (constructed) group, it’s difficult to reverse.

In the more prosaic realm of policy, we simply need better work. And no, more technocratic “nudging” is not necessarily better. Even to the extent that policy organs are in thrall to political dysfunction, there’s no excuse for just plain shoddy work.

Trying to define policy is difficult enough. (Just try doing it for yourself.) But, once you’ve got a working common-sense definition, ask yourself if the results we’re seeing and getting are acceptable.