Not-a-Lemming

Never run with the crowd. They're probably headed over a cliff.

Bureaucracy In Action

I was looking over my posts the other day and said to myself, "Futbol Guru, you sure have become cynical." So I've been thinking about my attitude and trying to decide if I'm being fair or if I've gotten into a rut.

Well it's always possible to focus on doom and gloom. My lovely wife often accuses me of having gotten into a habit of seeing only the negative. And there is much to what she says. In fact, I am by nature a very optimistic person. I am always hoping for the best - which is a trap because "the best" rarely happens. When I tell her that she just frowns. Maybe she's right. Maybe I do tend to focus on the negative. At the same time, when you're headed for a cliff the global negative in your future tends to outweigh any local positives. I suppose there is a school of thought that prases the lemming who turns to his running-mate and comments on the beautiful weather. Fortunately I didn't go to that school.

The Obama administration continues to surprise me and I was especially astounded this very morning. And no, I'm not being cynical. On the way in to work I heard on the radio that President Obama has directed the Attorney General to drop all charges against Senator Ted Stevens, effectively throwing out his indictment. Honestly I don't know whether the man is guilty or not. I know he's an idiot and doesn't know the difference between the internet and a series of tubes but that doesn't make him guilty of accepting bribes.

What I wonder is why the government spent millions of dollars bringing the case against him, effectively handing his senate seat to a challenger from the other party, and then decided the case was indefensible. And how many other senate and house seats were affected by the bad press as a result of the scandal that apparently never existed in the first place? I really don't care anymore what party did what to whom. The point here is that the citizenry has a very good reason for their utter lack of faith in government because there are only two possibilities here. 1) An indefensible case was successfully prosecuted against an innocent man or, 2) charges were trumped up by the opposition part to gain a Senate seat. Either way the conclusion is inescapable.

Bureaucracy. What is it? We know its effect - corruption, inefficiency, and grid lock. But we don't often think about the actual causes of bureaucracy. Consider cancer as an example. We know what cancer does, and for a long time we just treated the symptoms. The patient (sometimes) survived a little longer and was (sometimes) more comfortable, but the end result was the same with or without treatment. Only now are we beginning to understand what causes cancer: mutations in cellular DNA that lead to rapid, uncontrolled, cellular growth. And with understanding new treatments are coming.

Though very similar in effect to cancer, Bureaucracy is much easier to understand. And as can be done with many things in life, to get at the root cause we will begin at the effect and step backwards until we find it. Soof the way science works, or following the money trail.

First Step Back: Bureaucracy comes from government officials making bad decisions. E.g., Let's invade Iraq.

Second Step Back:These decisions can be bad either because the official making them is incompetent, or they can be bad because they are driven by political considerations rather than attempts to address an actual problem. E.g., Lets prosecute Ted Stevens to get his Senate seat.

Third Step Back: So the people making the decisions are either a) incompetent, or b) politicized. E.g., Let's invade Iraq.

Fourth Step Back: This is where it starts getting muddy. The point in science where there are more unknowns than equations. Or where the laundered money comes back clean. How does an incompetent person get himself elected to public office? One way is to be the son of a former President (Bush). Or Senator (Gore). Or have a butt-load of cash (Bloomberg).This used to be called dynastic succession and is one of the reasons we fought a conflict called the Revolutionary War. Regrettably Dynastic Succession seems to have come back in to fashion, maybe because we stopped teaching history in schools.

Another way to get elected if you don't happen to be royalty is to say the right things, to the right people, in the right way. Like eloquently articulating the need for substantive change (aka - politics) in a melodious baritone (Obama). Or demanding a return to family values (Bush).

Once the desire for efficient government administrated by honest public servants is supplanted by politics or heredity in the minds of the people, as has happened in America, you wind up with incompetent people in positions of power making decisions for all the wrong reasons. The results are catastrophic. Invading the wrong country. Deregulation of the banking and investment industry. Laws to limit entrepreneurship. Presidents trying to run car companies. Prosecutions aimed at gaining control over government institutions. Trillions of dollars transferred from the poor to the rich. National economies at the mercy of enviro-political activists.

Where will it end? When will it end? Will we as a nation continue to run head long over that cliff, driven forward by fear and paranoia created and exploited by those who would profit from our deaths? Or will we, as a people, come to our senses and curtail the power of the parties. We can do it. The internet has taken the power of information away from the media and given it to the people. This very blog is a manifestation of freedom in action. But will we use it? Lord knows we could all use something to give us hope. I'm tired of being cynical. But then again, maybe I'm not cynical. Maybe I'm just reporting the truth.

-Futbol Guru, http://mises.org/community/blogs/not-a-lemming

Comments

Thedesolateone said:

"Deregulation of the banking and investment industry."

If this had actually happened, in what sense would it be bad? Or am I somehow misreading your post.

# April 5, 2009 7:25 AM