A deviant subculture is defined by sociologist Anthony Giddens as one “whose members have values which differ substantially from those of the majority in a society.” American government is a deviant subculture. Its leaders stand on soapboxes and polarize the public by pointing fingers while secretly doing the bidding of special interests. Many public employees plod through life with their noses in rule books, indifferent to the actual needs of the public and unaccountable to anyone. The professionals who interact with government — lawyers and lobbyists — make sure every issue is viewed through the blinders of a particular interest, not through the broader lens of the common good. Government is almost completely isolated from the public it supposedly serves. The one link that is essential for a functioning democracy — identifiable officials who have responsibility to accomplish public goals — is nowhere to be found. Who’s in charge? It’s hard to say. The bureaucracy is a kind of Moebius strip of passing the buck. The most powerful force in this subculture is inertia: Things happen a certain way because they happened that way yesterday. Programs are piled upon programs, without any effort at coherence; there are 82 separate federal programs, for example, for teacher training. Ancient subsidies from the New Deal are treated as sacred cows. The idea of setting priorities is anathema. Nothing can get taken away, because that would offend a special interest. The institutions of democracy are dedicated to the status quo:via Reform Is Not Enough: The Federal Government Needs a Complete Makeover – Philip K. Howard – The Atlantic.
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