This is not as well developed as I would like but I don’t want to let it sit forever.
One- we have a priestly class, in our case priests of the religion of socialism, and they are now in charge.
I had an employment dispute some years ago that led me to file a complaint with the Department of Labor. I got my ass handed to me, of course, because I hadn’t quite realized that such institutions exist not for justice, but for the appearance of justice.
Every society must have some generally feeling that things are fair and that justice is served to maintain social peace. Whether this is actually the case as an outside, disinterested observer would see is beside the point. Often this has had a religious element. Someone who broke social norms might be obligated to make a sacrifice; personal misfortunes might be punishments from the gods, again requiring sacrifices, or the punishment might simply be postponed to the afterlife.
In more modern Anglo-Saxon society the regulation of social norms and the quest for a better society has been largely religious, often led by low church Protestant ministers or their followers. This is true up to the civil rights era; even today we often the Reverend Al Sharpton or the Reverend Jesse Jackson on TV demanding justice. It has been many years though since they used the Christian religion as support for their case.
Since the 60’s the effort to ensure that society is “fair” and “just” has become a matter for various parts of the government. People or organizations are denounced; punishment is organized, sacrifices are made, sackcloth and ashes are worn. This is all managed by lawyers and activists rather than prophets as in the Old Testament.
To what extent anything that would be called “justice” is produced as it would be defined by you, me, or anybody else is not the point. Like the burning of a witch or the sacrifice of a virgin, it provides social catharsis. This comes with a price- hearings officers, lawyers, judges, and the associated government staff have a price tag, just as dead virgins and witches do. This catharsis is also valuable, despite what libertarians say. The anger and fear so alleviated would come out in some other way, possibly less convenient. Many Marxists have said this more artfully, and countless more much less.
Like anything else the costs and benefits must be balanced. The activist class is in the business of stirring up these resentments and then getting pay offs to keep them under control. The ruling class has to decide how far to let this go- not far enough and certain segments of society are angry and restless, too much and those paying the cost revolt. The priestly class is not in the business of ruling, they are in the business of managing peoples’ beliefs and emotions.
So what happens when they become the rulers? The balancing function of the ruling class ceases to occur. This is what is happening today in the US government. The shakedown artists don’t need to shake anybody down any more, they just pass the loot out to their clients. If you take one golden egg a day from the goose, it lives, although as a slave. If you kill it, with the hope of getting all the golden eggs, it dies and you get nothing.
The Laffer Curve is thought of as a conservative economic idea, but it is simply a theory of golden egg extraction management. The Laffer theory only says how the government can extract the most out of productive society, not to what extent it is actually beneficial.
It is a credit to how far extractive thinking had penetrated American society that to sell lower taxes, it was necessary to tell the people that the government (meaning them, as they saw it, the New Deal majority that Reagan coopted thinks he government is them, and exists for them.)
Unfortunately the 60’s generation of New Left activists doesn’t even have this minimal level of self-regulation. They don’t respect the capitalist system in any way and given the opportunity to loot, as they have been, they will loot without reservation.
Can balance be restored? I think not. The New Deal consensus- maintaining a capitalist economy that supported the Democratic Party client state, managed at the margin by Republican Party business interests, seems to be gone. The 60’s radical faction is for now ascendant. It can’t last long- for the reasons I have stated- but nothing exists that will oppose it, or function as an alternative to it.