As Chris notes, Dædalus — the Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences — today published a special issue on the future of the administrative state. The issue’s title is The Administrative State in the Twenty-First Century: Deconstruction and/or Reconstruction. I’m grateful they asked me to participate.
My essay is entitled Deconstruction (Not Destruction). Many people use “deconstruction of the administrative state” to mean “destruction of the administrative state.” My essay, however, uses “deconstruction” in a different sense: “the analytic examination of something (such as a theory) often in order to reveal its inadequacy.”
Here is the abstract:
The administrative state should be deconstructed. But that does not mean that the administrative state should be destructed. Although some may use the word deconstruction in the colloquial sense of destroyed, its more technical definition is also more fitting: a close examination of a theory to reveal its inadequacies. That definition is a better fit because there is no real prospect that modern government will be radically overhauled, but there is very good reason to reexamine the administrative state’s theoretical underpinnings and reform aspects of it that have not withstood the test of the time. This essay identifies where theory and practice diverge and offers solutions with realistic chances of adoption. The result should not be the destruction of the administrative state but rather the development of higher-quality federal policy.
Thanks Dædalus for inviting me to participate.