Sunday, August 18, 2013

There's Nothing More Dangerous Than a Panicked Bureaucrat

In times of crisis, government functionaries
excrete massive piles of paperwork
 Government Programs Are Immortal
© 2013 by Tom King

I received an email from the Social Security Administration last week advising me that it's easier than ever to draw a disability check when you're in your 50s. This week I saw a news story reporting a sudden surge in applications for disability.

Coincidence? I don't think so.

The same thing happened about 13 years ago in Texas when local efforts by food banks and churches to provide food to the hungry through church food pantries were blamed for an $800,000 budget cut in the federal appropriation for the Federal Food Stamp program. The Food Stamp office in Texas started a $300,000 "Food Stamps are not part of welfare reform" advertising campaign and "Surprise!", food stamp apps went up again, wiping out what East Texas conservatives had seen as a tangible gain in the war on hunger.

Apparently, the SSDI folk have instructions to ramp up the number of Americans on disability.  Maybe all that Obamacare we haven't got yet has cured or prevented too much disability and the department was in danger or getting its appropriation cut.

This is why new government bureaucracies are forever. Once a government bureaucracy is created, I've yet to see one "Go gently into that good night" when it was no longer needed. And woe unto you if you threaten their existence in any way or do anything which might make them irrelevant. They will come after you.  It's not accident that people, who have made some government agency or functionary angry, will joke half-seriously about getting a vengeful tax audit. We've already learned just how likely that is with the recent IRS scandals.

We meddle... People don't like to be meddled with.
We tell them what to do, what to think, don't run, don't walk.
We're in their homes and in their heads, and we haven't
the right. We're meddlesome..   - River Tam (from Firefly)
I still maintain that part of the reason the TV series Firefly was canceled was because it criticized big government's "meddling in people's lives".  Such a thing cannot be allowed, not even by a science fiction TV show.  Look how many socialist and totalitarian countries banned the release of the followup movie "Serenity".  Bureaucrats are danged touchy when you criticize them.

Voltaire said that "To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize." It's a thing Joss Whedon, an avowed "progressive" and the creator of the Firefly series, seems to have difficulty getting his head around. He believes in progressive-socialist principles, but he still manages to criticize them in his TV shows and movies and to draw down the wrath of the "true believers". Whedon even has the audacity to point out how very dangerous are the true believers, who wholly and without question embrace the power of government as the only means to change people, to make them good and to create a "better world".  The true believers do not like that sort of thing. I know, having been set upon by true believers during my advocacy career. Whedon has this kind of split personality about his own beliefs and the beliefs of his characters as he approaches the idea of personal liberty. It's why his work has so many fans on the right and critics on the left, despite the fact that he keeps telling the left, "Hey, I'm with you guys."

Finally, if you don't believe in the immortality of Earthly things or you're one of those true believers, who does believe in the inherent goodness of government, try and close down a government bureaucracy sometime. It's an eye-opening experience. Bureaucrats are a mighty vengeful lot when you threaten them and they hang on to life and power with a tenacity that is breath-taking.

The plague-like almost biological persistence of government in and of itself explains why God will have to one day burn the whole place down, if He is going to successfully clean the Earth up and establish a truly better world.  I personally think God won't have to so much as strike a match. I believe the whole rotten mess will soon spontaneously combust like a big pile of oily rags in a hot garage.

Tom King

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