The Myth of Accountability and the Anti-administrative Impulse

The idea of accountability is very much in fashion in legal and political thought these days. To be sure, the term is used in a variety of different ways, but that is the nature of fashion. Colored cloth ponchos may be in fashion this season, for example, but they can be shaped and colored in a variety of different ways. It is differences of this sort that sustain a fashion trend. If the only poncho available were red and square, the fashion trend would display an impressive unity, but it wouldn’t last very long. In order to make sales, clothing designers need a style that is recognizable but vague enough to include a lot of variation. And once this style takes off, gaining popularity from the many different designs available within it, the manufacturers can cash in by taking the tired old designs that weren’t selling last year and producing them as colored ponchos. It is pretty much the same with accountability.