Don't Just Do Something—Sit there!

My weekly column atDon't Just Do Something—Sit there!Taki’s Magazine is up.  In it I bemoan the unnecessary busy-ness that is rampant in politics and software development, and urge the virtue of stasis:

We have reached a point of diminishing returns in our public life.  Hardly anything actually needs doing.  We may in fact be past that point; not only does nothing much need doing, but we’d benefit if much of what has been done were to be undone.  What useful work can I do with Windows 8 that I couldn’t do with XP?

Politicians of course make a living—a very grand living indeed at the higher levels—by saying there are things wrong that need fixing.  Are there, though? . . .

Read the whole thing there.

I understand of course that there are things that need doing.  I just don’t think there are half as many as you’d think from watching the activity of the world.  Most of the things that need doing are of a maintenance sort, not a rebuild sort.

I understand also that complaining is futile.  Give a man a well-paid job with a fancy title, he’s going to keep himself busy justifying job and title, for fear that otherwise he’ll have to go back to stacking crates.

It does no harm to remind people, though, that engaging in huge make-work projects just to look busy, often leads to evil.  For one thing, it detracts from necessary maintenance tasks.  Most things work pretty well, with conscientious maintenance. 

If our immigration system is, as we are constantly told, “broken,” that’s because we haven’t been doing what’s necessary to keep it working.  Tossing it out and installing a new system won’t help.

To begin the world anew” is a totalitarian temptation—really a horrible, vainglorious notion.  The world is OK.  It just needs a lube job now and then.