Can we learn something from the success that is modern science, and apply it to how we govern ourselves?

Some have taken the lesson that science/technology works, therefore scientists/technologists can do good work, therefore government should be run by scientists/technologists. This idea is known as "technocracy", and it is foolish, and unworkable, maybe even a little bit evil.

But I have a better idea, which doesn't require replacing democracy, elections, or any of that stuff. It's based on the idea that a lot of legislation doesn't work -- in a particular sense. Many are made based upon promises of curing some ill, and then deliver no cure, or even create a worse disease. The consequence of this is to create new law after law, regulation after regulation, each trying to patch up the mistakes of the prior ones.

To those who take pleasure in the growth of the state, this does not represent a problem. The more laws, more regulations on the book, the more controlled the population becomes, and the greater the governmental Leviathan enforcing it all. If someone around me would admit to being a jerk who thinks this way, I'd give them a lifetime supply of loathing right then and there.

OK ok, so what's a better plan? Let's borrow a key idea from science: falsifiability, which is a key aspect of the scientific method. The basic idea is that to be believable as a scientific theory, one must make not only a claim, but that claim must be empirically testable. There must exist some kind of experiment or observation that would be able to refute it, if the theory was wrong.

For example, "there is an invisible sky god" would not qualify as a scientific proposition unless the claimant defined the terms, and produced a test ("go pee on the tree, say "woohoo", and she will pop up as a 1cm blue sphere uttering obscenities"). One can pee & peek, and if no blue sphere, then the theory is false. For another example, "who spits against the wind, fouls his beard" (with more precise qualifications) is easily tested, and am happy to report a personal inability to falsify.

Over time, theories that fail their tests are rejected and become superstition, good theories that haven't failed for a long time become known as laws. Thus science grows into a web of propositions, many mutually reinforcing, but each forever subject to eviction upon adverse observation.

How this applies to politics might start to become clear. Take a basic theory is that a law that fails to meet its own standards is a bad law, and that having no law is generally better than having bad law. Let's have acts of government that purport to ameliorate some problem actually include a falsifiable prediction within the statute. If the test fails, the statute is automatically cancelled.

Some examples. A hypothetical Bill to Improve Rich People's Lives, a laudable goal, would have to include a statement of how/when its success is to be measured. Maybe somethign like "in each of the following ten years, the glorious 1%-percentile-of-annual-income would have to exceed the standard rate of inflation". A Bill to Feed the Poor (but Reduce Their Number) could have a statement that after the bill's in operation, the number of Big Macs served on welfare cards will be 10% less than before. Or This Random Act of Congress shall reduce health insurance costs over the aggregate population by 10% by 2018. Or This New Firearms Regulation will help reduce gun murders in Chicago by 10% next year.

If you can't make a strong prediction about its effects, don't make a law strong.

Would it still be possible to game the system? Certainly, there are one or two deviously clever people in politics. But it would discourage a certain type of wishful-thinking-oriented law, whose likely outcomes are so grotesquely disconnected from the dreams, that writing down a falsification clause would make it obvious even to the believers. It would discourage monster omnibus bills, since lawmakers wouldn't want to risk a failure of one prediction rip down the whole kaboodle. It could make government slower and more hesitant. Sounds good to me!