Lessons from Katrina on the Hudson and Reynolds’ Second Law

Previously, I wrote how the government’s poor response to hurricane Sandy is a manifestation of decades worth of mission creep:

Micromanagement of the citizenry, on the other hand, is something that should unequivocally be outside the control or influence of governments, if for no other reason than it detracts from the organization’s ability to successfully implement the things it is good at organizing and controlling. Mandating the size of a soda drink or what kind of light bulb citizens are allowed to screw into their light sockets – clear examples of mission creep. Updating and maintaining the power gird – that’s another thing the scale and cost of which would lend itself well to government control and organization. And in the case of Big Acts of Nature, supplying and distributing the very basic necessities – food, water, shelter – for a large number of displaced citizens is another task sized for government control and organization.

Turns out, this has now been codified in Reynolds’ Second Law:

A good general rule is that the more a government wants to run its citizens’ lives, the worse job it will do at the most basic tasks of government.

Like the laws of gravity and the speed of light, such laws will be followed. It’s that simple.

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