it’s more accurate to say better govt vs worse govt. (I came from a libertarian mindset where I said “smaller gov’t is always better”, but you helped me see that’s not always true.) E.g. a 3rd-world country doesn’t pay its judges much & thus they are very susceptible to bribes; paying judges well is expensive – technically it’s “bigger govt” – but it’s an investment that pays off. Another example – military; doesn’t have to be wasteful but needs to be strong, good investment.)
I think you’re correct in that there is good government under rule of law, and bad government under discretionary rule, and that whether a government provides the commons the demographic demands is why we need different polities for different demands – and let the markets between states compensate for our differences.
So good government is a measure of procedural and institutional excellence. What commons are produced by that government is a matter of markets to decide.
IMO history is rather obvious. Dysgenics vs eugenics isn’t a complicated thing it’s just a very impolitic one in universal democracy.
The principle reason for our false dichotomy is that we can’t openly have the truthful conversation that our debate is between consumption and dysgenia or conservation, rule of law, and eugenics. He who defeats the red queen wins. You can defeat the red queen under the western model, under the chinese model, or under the jewish model. You can survive and lose to her in the muslim, indian, catholic model.