The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

How Crises Play Out

A friend sent this to me, and I think it’s pretty accurate:

I do see something of a pattern here in response to a perceived crisis:

1. Make laws and rules.  It doesn’t matter if you understand the problem, if the rules are relevant, if they will help or if they will do more harm than good.  The public sees this as a security crisis (or financial crisis or…whatever), but you the administration (whichever administration) sees it as a PR crisis.  So you need to be seen to be doing something.  So go and generate red tape.

2. Don’t enforce those rules.  Don’t fund their enforcement agencies.  Don’t treat them seriously.  But by all means make sure they incur great costs that could otherwise be diverted to effective measures. And definitely make sure you cause as much hassle and inconvenience to law-abiding civilians as possible.

3.  Don’t worry about unintended consequences at all.  They’ll never happen!

4. Use this as a great opportunity to divert taxpayer dollars to your friends with close to no government scrutiny.

5. When the next crisis / PR moment happens, don’t waste time trying to understand the problem, performing any kind of risk assessment, assessing the effectiveness of the rules in place, increasing the funding, or increasing the power of oversight agencies. That kind of thinking is for godless communist homosexuals!  No, no, no!  Instead, hold a press conference, create new laws (with fancy patriot names!), and go back to step 1.  Rinse and repeat!


Security Theater


Remembering Alan Brown


  1. And for shock doctrine, add neo-liberal ideology. Stir. Or possibly shake.

  2. I think you can boil the process down to:

    – Pick the most unproductive course of action possible

    – Implement it enthusiastically and relentlessly

    – Blame the critics when it doesn’t work

    It’s worked as long as I’ve been watching.

  3. Big Brass Band

    Happy New Year to you Ian Welsh and to all readers commenters and visitors !!!

    the best to all !!!

  4. ron and debbie webber

    Happy New Year Ian, I enjoy and look forward to your posts daily. Thank you very much.

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