Why is Progress part of Progressive?

Do your apples taste better?

I have pointed out that liberals and bureaucrats love “the process.” No, not the hairdo. The process is all the steps, roadblocks and excuses that are required to complete the task. The completed task or tangible product is secondary in achieving the desired result. In the new way of things, slavish attention is devoted to making sure that each box is checked on endless checklists. These checklists do nothing to further a project. They do demonstrate bureaucrats ability to read and follow checklists, they don’t know how to build a thing. That the list does nothing to achieve the original goal is immaterial.

George Will, in The Washington Post, riffs on an article written by Philip K Howard in the Yale Law Journal.


Prior to the rise of the bureaucracy the name of the game was produce an end result.

Constructing the Empire State Building took 410 days in the Depression. The Pentagon took 16 months in wartime. In this century, however, nine years were consumed just with permitting for a San Diego desalination plant. Five years and 20,000 pages of environmental and other compliance materials preceded a construction project (raising the roadway on New Jersey’s Bayonne Bridge) with almost no environmental impact.

George Will


The regulatory mentality kicked in, with notable results.

One regulation, for example, requires covering the cart of picked apples with a cloth to protect against bird droppings.33 This level of granularity is hard to keep track of—the farmers have thirteen clipboards hanging in their office—and sometimes inspires ridicule. The apples in the cart, for example, have been growing on the trees for five months, fully exposed to birds.34 A few minutes more on the trip to the barn is unlikely to advance public welfare.

Philip K. Howard

The left screams about the injustice done George Floyd. However, the left set the stage for the inevitable result. Collective bargaining and onerous rules governing employee discipline protect the incompetent and unfit workers from being fired or otherwise disciplined. The Minneapolis policeman who suffocated George Floyd had been the subject of 18 complaints, but his supervisors had no practical way to terminate him. The 2,600 complaints against Minneapolis officers since 2012 resulted in 12 officers disciplined. (George Will)