Saturday, December 11, 2010

law-making and sausages

There is one good reason to quote the Kaiser's Iron Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, on the legislative process. Research has shown that a powerful reason for public disgust of Congress is that people don't like to see lawmaking up close, especially since there are so often compromises and side deals. I think that's normal, necessary, and mostly good, but ordinary citizens don't like it.

But there are two reasons not to cite Bismarck's line that "those who love the law and those who love sausages should never see how either is made."  One was spelled out by Robert Pear in the New York Times last week: sausage-making is much better, because it's done by professionals to exacting standards. 

The second reason is historical: Bismarck is not one to judge the legislative process because he started and prosecuted three wars without ever asking the German parliament for authority and funds. He dishonored his own constitution.

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