Melissa Harris-Perry, poli sci prof at Tulane, explains to Rachel Maddow:
When your government is a free and fair democratically-elected-in-regular-elections government, then its not some scary thing outside of you. It is you. It is, in fact, that we, by being together in communal space, we say: okay, look, there are these community assets, air, water, land, national defense. And we know that individually we always have short time horizons. Not malicious or bad or evil we can only see so far, only see our own good; so we come together in government freely elected, not all governments that say: look, we will protect our common good, our inner child that cant speak for itself. Our job as a government is to protect that, and so government regulations, particularly federal government regulations, are precisely the interest groups that these sorts of common interests are to have.
So let me get this straight. Were a bunch of self-centered, short-sighted individuals. And government isnt something different from us; its just us. And yet government decisions are not similarly self-centered and short-sighted. Gee, I wish shed explain what the mechanism is.