Excerpting from William Voegili's "Liberal Bullshit". First, a definition:
Bullshit” is American English’s assertion, maximally succinct and vigorous, that a contention is factually preposterous or logically absurd. According to philosophy professor Harry Frankfurt, however, the "essence of bullshit is not that it is false but that it is phony."
Here's how that conflates with policymaking:
Prescription lends itself to bullshitting if, following Frankfurt, the prescriber has a lack of connection to a concern with efficacy.
Sometimes that can work out well, but here's the dominant feature:
A bullshit prescription, by the same token, might actually work to some degree, but any such efficacy is inadvertent and tangential to the central purpose: demonstrating the depths of the prescriber’s concern for the problem and those who suffer from it, concerns impelling the determination to “do something” about it. As the political project that exists to vindicate the axiom that all sorts of government program X’s can solve an endless list of social problem Y’s, liberalism is always at risk of descending into prescriptive bullshit. Liberal compassion lends itself to bullshit by subordinating the putative concern with efficacy to the dominant but unannounced imperative of moral validation and exhibitionism. I, the empathizer, am interested in the sufferer for love of myself, Rousseau contended. Accordingly, an ineffectual program may serve the compassionate purposes of its designers and defenders as well as or better than a successful one.
And here's the great closer:
Liberals’ ideals make them more culpable, not less, for the fact that government programs set up to do good don't reliably accomplish good. Doing good is often harder than do-gooders realize, but doing good is also more about the doing and the doer than it is about the good. Too often, as a result, liberals are content to treat gestures as the functional equivalent of deeds, and intentions as adequate substitutes for achievements.
Let me be perfectly clear. Like some Libertarians/conservatives (and admittedly not all of them) I deeply desire many outcomes desired by liberals. But I get no warm fuzzy from merely doing good.
And, in middle age, I am so tired of liberalism's resemblance to a rational price bubble: uncommon when the experienced play amongst themselves, but fed by the continual introduction of the naive into the marketplace for ideas, and rationally exploited by the experienced ... who gain as much as they can for themselves before each bubble bursts.
Via Cold Spring Shops.