Posts tagged ‘British National Lottery’

Distributed Stupidity and the Anti-Lottery

This is a great post from Brian Micklethwait of Samizdata describing government as "distributed stupidity" and demonstrating how we all face an anti-lottery every day as more arbitrary laws are piled on top of us:

I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that there is now a
crisis of excessive lawmaking in the West generally, and in the
Anglo-Saxon world in particular. It is not that our political class is
hell bent on tyrranny, impure and simple. It is more that they have
become legislative entrepreneurs, so to speak. And just as a
businessman who is delighted to make a fast buck selling mobile phones
does not bother himself about the grief inflicted by railway travellers
with mobiles on other railway travellers, so too, lawmakers who are
"aiming" at one particular group of alleged wrongdoers have a tendency
to neglect what you might call legislative collateral damage. The laws
pile up, and the other legislators, the ones who you would hope would
be sitting there solemnly trying to limit that collateral damage,
neglect that duty, because they are too busy hustling through other
little laws of their own, aimed at other preferred clutches of alleged
wrongdoers. Laws go straight from legislative entrepreneurs to
government regulators, without no intervening process of scrutiny that
is worthy of that adjective.

Which means that government regulators are then tempted to mutate
into what you might call regulatory entrepreurs. They cannot possible
enforce all their laws, rules and regulations. There are not enough
hours in the history of universe for that to happen. So, just like the
legislative entrepreneurs, they also lose sight of the big picture (it
having become too big to bother with) and decide for themselves which
regulations to take seriously. How? Any way they please. In accordance
with what rules? Whichever ones they decide to go with.

Add a dash of right wing fervour (a point which Go Directly to Jail
apparently brings out very strongly) about crime being very, very bad
and having to be fought with implacable ferocity, and to hell with
those silly old legal safeguards, and you end up with a kind of
anti-lottery instead of a government. Any person, at any moment, is
liable to be picked on and turned into a criminal. At any moment, in
the words of those British National Lottery adverts, it could be
you-ou!!! And everyone is obliged to enter this one.

Theres more, and its all good.