One of the many dividing lines between progressives and conservatives is their belief in the efficiency and effectiveness of government bureaucracies. Liberals may have some misgivings about how they are treated at the Department of Motor Vehicles or by the TSA at airports. Nevertheless, they tend to believe that government is the solution to most social and political problems.
Conservatives are usually more skeptical about government and support the private sector over the public sector. But their reactions seem tempered by the fact that they generally have high respect for people in the military and law enforcement.
This difference in perspective concerning federal bureaucracies shows up in many debates, including the current one about vetting refugees and other immigrants. In a recent column, Kevin Williamson asks: “who seriously thinks that our public institutions are up to the job of properly investigating tens of thousands (or more) refugees, asylum-seekers, and ordinary immigrants every year? If Donald Trump’s temporary order seems to you unreasonable, ask yourself what the next-best option is and how much confidence we should have in it.”
When I read or hear someone assure us that the government screening of refugees and immigrants is very effective, I want to ask them some questions. Have you been to the DMV or the VA recently? Have you visited an immigration office recently? Sometimes you find a well-run organization, but far too often you probably walked out of a government building shaking your head because it is hardly run efficiently and effectively.
Add to this the reality that the information from some of these countries for these refugees and immigrants is sketchy at best. That is why I think some are more trusting of the federal bureaucracy than is warranted.