Posted by: Tony Carson | 28 September, 2007

Krugman and the Hired Gun Fetish

No one writes a better column than Paul Krugman. He is one of the few who sees the details, the devil in the details and the consequences of the details.

The first few paragraphs of this column, Hired Gun Fetish, about mercenaries and Blackwater in particular, is exemplary:

Sometimes it seems that the only way to make sense of the Bush administration is to imagine that it’s a vast experiment concocted by mad political scientists who want to see what happens if a nation systematically ignores everything we’ve learned over the past few centuries about how to make a modern government work.

Thus, the administration has abandoned the principle of a professional, nonpolitical civil service, stuffing agencies from FEMA to the Justice Department with unqualified cronies. Tax farming — giving individuals the right to collect taxes, in return for a share of the take — went out with the French Revolution; now the tax farmers are back.

And so are mercenaries, whom Machiavelli described as “useless and dangerous” more than four centuries ago.

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