Saturday, March 28, 2009


Bureaucracy Is Not A "Necessary Evil" It's Just Evil...

There are often tip-offs that one gets regarding where others position themselves on the important events of the day. When people introduce themselves and within minutes recite some cliché diatribe against George Bush or the Iraq war, I can usually predict with a fair degree of accuracy where they stand on school vouchers, limited government, or the decisions of Barack Obama. If a person says they’re a feminist who backpacked in Latin America and “[they] don’t eat meat,” I’m gonna guess they weren’t for the removal of Saddam Hussein by force (as if there could have been another way to have done so). Gauging such associations is of course no magic trick or profound sense of observation on my part, it’s simple common sense. ‘Not always 100% accurate, but reasonably so. Likewise, I may also say things that clearly tip off others as to where I stand and what “kind of person” I am philosophically. If I say I favor limited government and low taxes, most would probably – accurately – guess that I’m not a fan of B. Hussein Obama or the latest "global warming" crusade. Again, hardly a profound calculation.

I’ve discovered one tip-off that isn’t so obvious but seems to inform others regarding political values none the less. More than a few times I’ve expressed frustration with or disdain for the common ordeal of dealing with bureaucrats. One would expect (hope?) that no one would really like bureaucracy. I’d figure it would be like asking anyone if they like high gas prices. Bureaucracy is inconvenient and annoying at best and, all too often, downright oppressive. Yet, to express one’s frustration with or dislike of bureaucracy has often seemed to strike a nerve with some I’ve spoken to. It’s as if they know that hatred for bureaucrats equals the non-“progressive” world view. Indeed, their observation is probably accurate. Conservatives and libertarians are no fans of big government and what could be a better symbol of big government then the unnecessary parasites of state with their paper work, commands, and unelected authority over the minutiae of citizen’s lives. All too often I’ve found a casual statement regarding the annoyance of bureaucracy to be met with passionate defense of the concept and on a few occasions bitter attacks on me for daring to chastise the left’s holy caste of secular priests.

Who hasn't, at one time or another, been confronted with a smug, and unhelpful bureaucrat. Not to say that all are unfriendly or unhelpful, but the system they operate in hardly motivates anything akin to quality "customer service." To the state, you are a number in both theory and practice. The fact that leftist politicians even have the nerve to associate their plans with "compassion" or "caring" is laughable. Individuals in voluntary contexts show compassion. Bureaucrats tell you to take a number and fill out a complex form.

I think it’s more than reasonable to resent the ordeal of dealing with bureaucracy but many on the left, though they themselves probably don’t like the labyrinths of bureauland any more than the next person, become incredibly defensive when one attacks the domain of “public servants” (that would be one of their terms, not mine).

I personally hate bureaucrats. I hate bureaucracy. I hate the bureaucratic state (i.e. socialism in all its guises). Is that now “hate speech” – to despise the authority of mindless unelected fools who hold sway over all aspects of one’s life? If so, I may be guilty of “hate speech” in this regard (or at least hate writing), but who doesn’t hate something (if we assume that hate means passionate dislike)? Those who most make an issue of hate speech are certainly likely to hate George Bush, Republicans, conventional – non-Islamic – religions, and sometimes the entire American enterprise. But...

Back to bureaucracy specifically. Yes, I know, "we need someone to look after the roads.” But let's be realistic. Bureaucrats and bureaucracy suck (regardless of the roads’ condition)! We all know that. Even the left will sometimes reluctantly acknowledge a certain discomfort with the twisted and inefficient labyrinths of government offices (while simultaneously supporting their expansion and authority).

Ultimately, bureaucracy is nurtured by a state of mind, something I simply call bureaumind. Bureaumind is not confined to agencies of government, though that is where it tends to flourish most. Government is a nutrient bath for bureaumind. Government is the venue where attempts to extinguish bureaumind and its follies are minimized if not whole-heartily stifled.

We’ve all met bureaumind at school, at work, and even in leisure pursuits. In essence, it’s the desire to wallow in unnecessary complexity and the inevitable confusion and inefficiency that follow. It usually demands that others be compelled to support its vision both materially and spiritually. Bureaumind's worldly representative – the bureaucrat -- is the true cleric of the left’s secular religion of statism. Only in the vapid brains of bureaumind would an elementary school boy be suspended for "sexual harassment" after kissing a girl on the cheek or a student be expelled for accidentally bringing her mother's lunch bag to school which included a small paring knife (these events actually happened – and the list of such examples is endless).

So, why do some people actually like bureaumind and encourage its sustenance and growth? The truth is, many people’s thoughts, plans, and actions are insignificant, useless, and even stupid, but few would want to acknowledge that, so they try to institutionalize their ideas, codify them, and make them policy – “I’m the guy that came up with the new counter-hierarchical paradox obedience…project forms. I think it will really help us all do a better job…don’t you?”

There’s a psychological test based on Carl Jung’s personality typology. One axis of the test observes those who prefer open-endedness. On the other side are those who like to tackle a chore in sequence – “crossing each item off a list” when completed. Bureaumind doesn’t like crossing things off lists. They like making lists, adding to them, and rearranging the list for maximum confusion to all parties. This doesn't make them "open-ended," just useless. An agency of state doesn’t like to actually complete a project or solve a problem and then close up shop. That’s why “ending poverty” has become a multi-trillion dollar government project that fosters dependency and literally perpetuates poverty. If they actually ended poverty or even greatly reduced it, bureaumind's insignificant, useless, and stupid ideas would go un-institutionalized and those who support and implement such schemes as “anti-poverty” programs wouldn’t be honored -- and paid -- for their stupid wastes of other people’s money and increasing regulation of other people's lives.

Bureaumind admittedly functions in the private sphere as well (as anyone knows who’s been given a menu of choices to push when calling many large companies (“your call is important to us…”), but bureaumind reaches its greatest levels of incompetence and stupidity when instituted by the drones of state for the unwilling people they “serve.” At least among private entities one can always opt-out or shop for a more convenient venue, but the public guardian -- purveyor of bureaumind -- is a sort of accountant /politician hybrid, a nerd with the power to dispense revenge on all who fail to honor their self-perceived greatness and the "necessity" of their mission. Their "service standard" is to elicit submission and obedience and the more stupid the rule or "guideline" the more rigidly it will be enforced.

When debating politics and the “need” for a new government project, I’ve inevitably come across those who see bureaucracy as not only a “necessary evil” but something they actually crave to see fostered on fellow citizens. They know that leftism is the bureau-state. To not see bureaucracy in an absolutely favorable light would require abandonment of their entire world view. Like a Soviet peasant poster from the 1930’s, some will always see fellow citizens as potential smiley faces marching in unison for the greater glory of a plan, a system, or an idea “that will make the world better for all of us” (as long as it is their plan, system, or idea).

After spending trillions of dollars since the 1960’s to ultimately attempt an improvised repair of human nature, the clowns of leftland continue to beat the drum of a million and one final solutions to all that ails us. Just give them more money, shinier offices, and a stack of triplicate forms to lord over. Give them your home, your children, a percentage of your sweat, and a large portion of your very soul. The foul attributes of the modern bureaustate have become more than typical. The current president and his legislative supporters are redirecting history's most dynamic experiment in personal liberty to the ends of submission to the bureaustate and the demagogues who love it.

Like most thoughts that come from “the right” (conservatives and libertarians), the views I’ve expressed here stem from a sincere self-interest (we don’t pretend to be sacrificial angels or feign moral purity). I don’t like the concept of total strangers having sovereignty over aspects of my personal life and choices and I suppose on some level that’s selfish. But, seeking to force others to join communal schemes is rather selfish too. What could be more selfish than the death or virtual enslavement of millions for communism’s – supposedly noble – goals of a stale world of bureaucratically enforced “equality.”? While socialism-lite and bland bureau schemes are not always communism or fascism, their family likeness is more than apparent. Bureaucracies seldom ask for less power, less funding, and a narrower focus. They seldom ask for anything since it's their nature to command and demand.

“Hate speech” (or just plain, “hate” as many leftists describe it), is an appropriate exercise in political incorrectness when directed at the most timeless of horrid schemes by collectivists – the bureau-state and its minions.

To express one’s disgust – or even hatred – for bureau mind and the bureau-state is most certainly a “tip-off” that one is no fan of the thousand and one permutations of leftism that would have us all answer to a bland caste of parasites…who do more than simply “maintain the roads” and, in a free society, do less than anyone ever really needs or wants.

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