I’m reading Francis Fukuyama’s The Origins of Political Order. Of less interest is his conclusion (he plucked it from his End of History book: namely, that the rule of law, the modern state, and the consent of the governed are the 3 pillars of modern political society), of greater interest his question of “political decay.” I want to recast his question as follows:
- Why are old, unworkable institutions “so sticky”? What motivates groups and societies to cling to institutions that have ceased to meet human needs?
- Can we devise a set of heuristics that would provide us with loose guidelines for creating new institutions that would better satisfy our intrinsic human needs?
I ask these questions now because they are the questions of our time. Old institutions are in the process of losing their rational authority; new institutions have yet to emerge. Here we are, in the middle of the muddle. Welcome to the dollhouse.