The truly progressive system, is the free market, which spreads power over all consumers. It adds self-correcting mechanisms that continually make things better - if it's left alone. The removal of control by an elite few is the only really revolutionary change in governments in history. Progressive government is a five thousand year old idea that gets disproved over and over and over.
The money quote in Borepatch's piece is from Willis Eschenbach at Watts Up With That:
If you want to take over a bureaucracy, the key thing to know is that a single bureaucrat all alone is almost always a weak, pitiful creature for a simple reason.And that's an undeniable truth of the universe and the human condition. A bureaucrat's ideal condition would be to be invisible but still have power over us; to be able to wreak havoc on the lives of little people without being seen. They must be in a job where they feel safe to bully people with no chance of being blamed.
He/she finds it very, very difficult to make a decision on his/her own.
By contrast, the career politician may not necessarily be averse to making decisions. They'll make a decision as long as it seems really safe and they have ample excuses for unpopular decisions but while the bureaucrat may want to be invisible, the career politician is more like Anthony Wiener. He doesn't just want you to see him, he's going to force himself onto you and force you to look at it, no matter how much you don't want to. The career politician is more like a perverted exhibitionist than they are like a bureaucrat.
Unfortunately, it gets worse from here. I often ponder how our society got where we are. The glib answer is because we weren't hard enough on them, but I think there's a deeper view; there's something else under the surface. Let's start here: do you really enjoy politics? I mean the day to day horse race, as they say. The endless media coverage of "who said what"; did the Rs score some points over the Ds for something? Did some big name D say something so remarkably stupid that media talks about for days? I maintain that for most people, politics isn't something they enjoy. They have a life, they have their kids to worry about, their careers to grow, the constant worries about job security. Simply put: they have a life.
I think what's really the answer to how we got here has a lot to do with two things: because voters have a life and voters learned (or used to learn) that we elected the best people we could find to do that job for us, that the voters then left them alone to do their jobs. And they left them alone because they have a life and can't constantly be monitoring the politicians. But the politicians are all much more like Anthony Wiener than Winston Churchill (in about a million ways), and they kept doing things to make us look at them. The career politician is incapable of going through life without attention; without being talked about all the time. Once they realized they were being left alone to do their jobs, they skimmed money in any amount they could, from the limited graft of a local office to the unlimited insider trading that goes on in DC. The kind of corruption that makes a douchebag like Harry Reid worth $10 Million on a salary of $193,400 per year (actually, that's only now, at his peak earning level). Eventually, that proved to be "only money" and that inner exhibitionist that simply must be paid attention to did things to demand attention.