Gina’s Gleichschaltung


Ed Driscoll recalls a Jonah Goldberg column from 2010, and it makes me think of Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo and the Brookings Institution:

Now, contemporary liberalism is not an evil ideology. Its intentions aren’t evil or even fruitfully comparable to Hitlerism. But there is a liberal Gleichschaltung all the same. Every institution must be on the same page. Every agency must advance the liberal agenda.

And this is where the Catch-22 catches. The dream of a nimble, focused, problem-solving government is undone by the reality of hyper-mission creep. When every institution is yoked to an overarching philosophy or mission, its actual purpose can become an afterthought.

Here’s Bruce Katz, of Brookings, talking about the study on which his institution is currently working for the benefit of the Raimondo Administration:

“I think in most parts of the U.S. it’s still, the government does this, the corporations do that, the universities are somewhere else,” [Bruce Katz, the nationally-known head of the Metropolitan Policy Program] said. “In the successful places around the world there’s a seamless interaction between all these different sectors, and if they’re all on the same page – then that’s when you get the bigger returns. So it’s not just the policy … it’s this foundation of collaboration.”

Unfortunately for the central planners, this is a pipe dream.  Just look at Stephen Beale’s article on GoLocalProv, today:

The Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth, and Families is riddled with severe financial problems and shoddy record keeping, leading to running deficits, a potential misuse of funds, and violation of state purchasing regulations, according to a state audit.

The problem isn’t only that a government in which unity of purpose is paramount hinders each organization or agency from fulfilling its own unique purpose, but also that the purpose of the whole collective stops being to solve problems and starts being to support the collective.  As I suggest in Beale’s article, the people who do the stuff of government know that the folks at the top, including those who are elected, are on their side and reluctant to raise questions about the whole big-government enterprise; they also know that like-minded people have a lock on those offices.

Under such circumstances, belief in the principle of central planning becomes the first requirement for employees, and the first objective of any process to catch and stop bad management becomes not catching and stopping bad management, but preventing incidents from making people think society might have other ways to solve its problems.

  • guest

    For one that get so easily offend when compared to Nazism, you should scan your hate for the same. Speaking of Germany, why do you folks think self regulation is so bad in Iraq, but OK in private industry like for Volkswagen?

    • OceanStateCurrent

      I suppose if you remove all context and content of the actual post, you might have a point. (I’m understanding why you’re progressive and a Democrat, by the way. The inability to think comes through very clearly.)

      For your edification, though, I’ll explain. When you and your ilk connect Naziism and conservatives, you’re alluding to hatred and bigotry. You assume it based on no evidence, though. It’s just an excuse to attack people with whom you disagree.

      The mention of Nazis in this post is incidental. There’s a useful concept of political philosophy, and it happens to be well drawn in the practice of National Socialism. Note that it isn’t necessarily related to the worst of the Nazis actions, to which it may or may not lead. It could lead to another genocide, of course, or it might only lead to the totalitarian stultification of the U.S.S.R. In Huxley’s Brave New World, the oppressive society sent malcontents to a hidden island.

      None of that makes the totalitarianism less terrifying. Well-meaning dictators are still dictators, and to the extent their programs are likely to fail to produce what’s promised, they’re well-meaning dictators who hurt people.