There is a widespread and growing perception that our agents, mainly organized into large public and private institutions, have gotten out of control. There is less understanding of what we need to do about it.
Some turn to litigation, usually without much effect. Others try legislation, only to find it tends to produce armies of bureaucrat administrators that try to apply simplistic rules developed in response to previous crises, and who get co-opted by the objects of their regulation. It hires a lot of government workers who then tend to vote for more power and larger budgets, and for the party that got them their jobs. Others try to terminate or reduce the funding of programs, only to encounter organized pushback from reliance interests.
Most such regulatory legislation is also unconstitutional.
Some call for more regulation, and some for deregulation. They are both wrong.
The traditional, constitutional, and still best, remedial response is grand juries. We need swarms of them, investigating every official and every institution, governmental, business, eleemosynary, financial. Impanel randomly selected teams of 23 citizens and direct them to probe into every institution and official department that might pose a risk to the public, with no established rules to be applied, with the power to subpoena testimony, issue indictments that appoint prosecutors, and report on their findings to anyone who needs to know about risky or illegal practices they may find. Give them a budget and allow them to hire staff, but with a mandate not to let staff run them.
To do the job right would be a monumental undertaking. Given the number, size, and power of public and private institutions, even if every one of the 250 million adult Americans were to serve on a panel for four hours a week, it might still not be enough to investigate and find all of the pathological practices that deserve attention and correction. Needless to say, most of those people would not want to serve, or would not have the needed skills, but the situation we face is not going to fit itself to our preferences or limitations.
This is the way forward, like it or not. We cannot depend on our agents to police themselves or each other. We have to do it.
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