Everything is Broken,” Alana Newhouse wrote in an essay that I see quoted all the time. But of course when you look into the essay and into other essays that quote it approvingly, you come to understand that by “everything” they don’t mean everything, and by “broken” they don’t mean broken. They mean something like “Our dominant political and cultural institutions don’t function nearly as well as they should.” But that doesn’t sound as interesting, does it? “Everything is broken” is not a defined claim; still less is it an argument. It’s a cry of frustration.