By Myron Pauli
For some unfathomable reason, Americans surrender control over their lives, liberty, and property to local, state, and federal governments. After they do this, they often have a sort of buyer’s remorse – perhaps changing the person at the top will do it: Cuomo begat Pataki who begat Cuomo at the state level. Or Clinton begat Bush who begat Obama who begat Clinton at the federal level – as the French say, plus ca change c’est la meme chose (the more things change, the more they remain the same). If “elections” to change the captain of the ship do not bring about Utopia, then perhaps it is the lazy and stupid crew – the “government employees”.
The often heard answer is that the bureaucracy does not work because of the idiot bureaucrats. The fact is that the primary rule of a bureaucracy is “COVER YOU’RE A**” – intelligent vs. stupid or lazy vs. diligent takes a distant place to the prime directive.
LAZY employees! Be careful what you wish for! Do you really want a government of zealous workaholic Torquemadas1? What we need are IRS auditors harassing twice as many small businesses; TSA perverts fondling twice as many women; CIA agents waterboarding twice as many ‘terrorists’; NSA listening to twice as many phone calls; SWAT teams breaking twice as many doors down of suspected dope-smokers in the middle of the night; twice the number of weddings in Pakistan blown up by drones.
And keep in mind that bureaucrats dispense money – so what we need are: twice as many ethanol grants, twice as many Solyndras, twice as many foreign governments bribed, twice as many food stamps handed out, twice as many community organizers, twice as many ‘research grants’ for ‘lesbian studies in amphibians’, twice as many no-bid cost-plus contracts, twice as many grants from the National Endowment for the Arts … And then we have those LAZY regulators – let them get off their butt and write twice as many EPA and OSHA and Medicare and IRS rules – all of them contradicting other rules. After all, these extra regulations will cause jobs for thousands of lawyers and accountants and Bastiat can break a few windows from his grave2.
No, my friends – with most of what government does – pay these guys to take the whole year off except for 1 day of cake and bonuses for the “laziest” bureaucrat who did the least damage to the nation and/or to the world at large. “In spite of the temptation to screw things up, you did less beyond the call of duty”.
STUPID employees! Admittedly, National Institutes of Health might be able to use a Pasteur or Salk but does your local SWAT team need them? Aren’t we better off with Steven Jobs3 innovating at Apple than handing out housing subsidies? Would you want to employ Beethoven dispensing food stamps, Einstein operating drones, Michelangelo listening to your phone calls, and Pythagoras fondling airplane passengers? Can you imagine Sigmund Freud waterboarding! (Please get on the couch, Abdul, while I hook up the hose and ask you about your mother). Given the nature of government, America is far better off if the capable and intelligent are used productively in what remains of private enterprise. Taking useful and innovative people from where they can be constructive and letting them run free “regulating” the state, nation, and planet is a definite prescription for the sadomasochistic. As for stupid presidents – if I have to choose between “stupid” Gerald Ford and our only Ph.D. president, Woodrow Wilson4, give me a harmless mediocrity anytime and anyplace.
For one who believes that government that governs least governs best, I have NO inherent objection to lazy or stupid (under the assumption that the political system will not ever allow a government agency to be dismantled). But I will make one confession – it would be nicer if our bureaucrats were more polite!
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Barely a Blog (BAB) contributor Myron Pauli grew up in Sunnyside Queens, went off to college in Cleveland and then spent time in a mental institution in Cambridge MA (MIT) with Benjamin Netanyahu (did not know him), and others until he was released with the “hostages” and Jimmy Carter on January 20, 1981, having defended his dissertation in nuclear physics. Most of the time since, he has worked on infrared sensors, mainly at Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC. He was NOT named after Ron Paul but is distantly related to physicist Wolftgang Pauli; unfortunately, only the “good looks” were handed down and not the brains. He writes assorted song lyrics and essays reflecting his cynicism and classical liberalism. Click on the “BAB’s A List” category to access the Pauli archive.