Why are we so close to falling into the grip of an American mandarinate of the centralizing sort now smothering France? Our version of these controllers came to life in the 1960s. They are a byproduct of the passage in those years of a succession of federal rights and entitlement laws. The former were more admirable than the latter. But the singularly bad effect of that period on the American political psyche was the sense of moral triumphalism that spread among liberal policy intellectuals. From this certitude came the belief they could do anything they wanted to the booboisee in the untrustworthy states.
And they did, for example writing an Endangered Species Act whose coverage mandated federal government protection for such minutiae as the delta smelt. Only a mandarin would insist on this.