Thursday, 21 June 2018

More truth - governments are bureacracies first and democracies (a distant) second

From Paul Marks at Samizdata:
To most governments and the witchdoctors in universities and media – and the establishment generally, rights are goods and services from government – not limits on the size and scope of government. They may or may not believe that there should be 13 Departments of State seeking to produce “the greatest happiness for the greatest number” like Bentham – they may believe they should be 11 Departments of State controlling society or 14 or some other number, but they agree that there should be a permanent bureaucracy which is neither elected or appointed by people who are elected (thus making elections to some extent a sham) dedicated to the Progressive agenda of spending ever more money and imposing ever more regulations.
We spend a great deal of time, effort and money fretting ourselves into a funk over how we are to influence this bureaucracy. This may be "Holding Them To Account", usually by writing letters, waving banners or signing petitions. Or it's undertaken via a process of electing representatives who, we believe, have the job to do that "Holding To Account" for us. These representatives spend a lot of time looking like they're doing that, certainly this is what they tell us (using our money to do so) but the evidence - at least to me - suggest that it goes more like this:
"One of the operating principles of authorities is that the possibility of error is simply not taken into account. This principle is justified by the excellence of the entire organization and is also necessary if matters are to be discharged with the utmost rapidity. So Sordini couldn’t inquire in other departments, besides those departments wouldn’t have answered, since they would have noticed right away that he was investigating the possibility of an error."
So the Chairman told K. And I fear this is what government is like for most people when they encounter its foibles. Bear in mind that, most of the time (this may come as a surprise to some of those witchdoctors in the media) most of the people are not remotely interested in, or engaged with, politics. You might think this terrible - in that pompous Eleanor Roosevelt "great minds discuss ideas" manner - but I think it is brilliant that we should have a society where many people really don't have to fuss themselves with what the government is doing right now. And, since you ask, I'd like even more of this - we should aspire to being able to live our whole lives free from petty regulation, clip-board waving officials, machine-minded bureaucrats with chewed pens, from the whole ghastly panoply of modern government.

Maybe a revolution would work...except, as Kafka again reminds us:
“Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy.”


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