Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Bureaucracy's Horse

I am about halfway through Martin Van Creveld's Rise and Decline of the State. He points out the genesis of the term bureaucracy was in the sense that this was a new version of governance, over and against monarchy, aristocracy, or democracy, and that it wasn't considered a good thing.

It arose via the rise of absolute monarchy. The bureaucrat was the replacement for the noble, though at various times nobles would serve as bureaucrats. The bureaucrat's power was derived directly from the king, but in turn the king began to be superfluous- reduced to a merely signatory to various government documents which generally did not have any true effect unless there were additional signatures from the relevant bureaucrat.

So, this places the rise of bureaucracy considerably earlier than the 1800s, wherein they finally rose up and mostly destroyed nobility as a class- and, of course, they had to destroy the king as well, given that he is a part of the nobility and one with the legitimate authority to fire, jail, and otherwise provide them with the consequences of their actions.

The bureaucracy gave rise to an impersonal state, with supposedly impartial governing practices, and an inordinate love of writing everything down. Once things are written down, then one naturally needs more bureaucrats to manage the growing collection of things written.

I tend to think perhaps I would not want that many things written down, and that impersonal things are likely best free market type things, or at least things not likely to be life, death, or imprisonment type things.

But I suspect the left, and much of the cuckold right, would inveigh against against personal governance because the individual ruling might be racist, sexist, ageist, or something-ist. Consider me old-fashioned, but I suspect a competent, intelligent human has the capacity to decent judgement even if he has what the bourgeoisie might consider odd views.

A slightly related thing to this sort of line of thought is how the bureaucrats are completely okay with arguments like 'structural racism' but can't understand other structural arguments, like how a school district should be composed of one school within which there could only be 400 students. The 'structural racism' is merely a byproduct of shoving children into structures that are not designed for children, but for the maximization of bureaucracy.

And nobody bothered to consider whether a constitution formulated for thirteen small colonies would scale up well either.

So, I suspect some of those calling for an absolute monarchy may want to reconsider, since it is less of a monarchy than many of them are actually looking for. They like a monarch that is engaged and acting in his and his family's interest, not a mere ceremonial figure who hardly has time to read the paperwork put before him.

I also would like to remember the academic who wrote that we shouldn't use the term bureaucrat so disparagingly. You were wrong dude. It had negative connotations from the start, and is extremely useful as a negative term. We do not live in a republic, nor a democracy, but a bureaucracy that uses the other terms to it's convenience.

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