I love your use of the term “perverse incentives.” No matter what rules get enforced, trust the domino effect. Someone always wins, someone always loses, which goes back I believe to your point about fairness, which in every case depends on who we ask, .who is losing and who is winning. It’s a very malleable term.
I am off early this morning to see apes but wished to share this. Not as a way of defending, just informing. I was a journalist doing stories about military people on our local posts in DC as an enlisted woman. Did a stint as Chief of Military Protocol for the Carter Inaugrual. Then as an officer I was a TV producer director making training films.
The price I paid, among several, for the Army to fund my college education and to help me grow up was that I got serially raped by a LTC psychiatrist to whom I was assigned for counseling after I got sexually attacked while drugged, on a gurney and awaiting surgery at Walter Reed. That so called officer and gentleman who had a pretty wife and two young kids at the time, went on to be a two star General and commandant of Walter Reed. My ultimate revenge was to outlive the slime bag POS. He died after a skydive right before the age of fifty. I wonder if he thought about all his forced conquests before he bit the proverbial bullet. That was his karma. Mine was to spend four decades dealing with eating disorders because I believed it was my fault. Took a while to heal that. It’s healed. That man wasn’t born evil. Something twisted him. However those experiences have made me enormously compassionate towards anyone — anyone- who has ever been abused, mistreated by authority, or assaulted. You can’t put a value on that insight. I am in every way grateful to the Army for both its lessons and its scars. I joined to get my college paid for. I did. The rest was just life.
To say the least I have very strong feelings about the military, but once inside the belly of the beast I came out anti-gun, a pacifist, and anti-authoritarian regime. You give any crazy too much power and I can tell you what happens. I’ve been there. So have a lot of countries. If we’re not mindful that is where we’re headed. Unless you’ve felt the blunt end of the instrument of authoritarian abuse (as in Rank Has Its Privileges) you cannot possibly conceive of its evil.