Crime and Justice

Bureaucracy and Voting

As some of you know, I’m part of the regular Raiding Party that guests over at According to Hoyt. My post today deals with the Rule of Law, and the way it is insidiously being threatened all around us.

Dave Freer is talking about publishing over at Mad Genius Club today, but what he says about bureaucracies ties into what I was seeing in my research on the Rule of Law here in the US. “Corporates, in theory at least, do try to make money. That’s understandable, and something one can work with. Of course, they’re also bureaucracies – or, unless severely an constantly pruned by their shareholders, develop into that. And bureaucracies (of which governments are subset) only make money (or anything else) for others as a bare minimum part of their survival strategy. If they can survive and perpetuate themselves, as much of what they harvest as they possibly can will stay with themselves, and of course their loyalists will get the crumbs.

You see, making money may be a corporate strategy – which doesn’t mean the loyalists are favored, but those make most money for them, but for bureaucrats… it’s about control, power and a personally comfortable (and lucrative) fief.”

Statements like this about bureaucracies are hardly new. I see Pournelle’s Iron Law oft quoted, and have appended it here for those who are not familiar with it already (or as a refresher). “Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people: those who work to further the actual goals of the organization, and those who work for the organization itself. Examples in education would be teachers who work and sacrifice to teach children, vs. union representative who work to protect any teacher including the most incompetent. The Iron Law states that in all cases, the second type of person will always gain control of the organization, and will always write the rules under which the organization functions.”

Is it inevitable? Yes, it is. Human nature dictates the formation of a bureaucracy, and the inertia thereof. Only by continuous effort can such a thing be prevented from becoming organizational Kudzu, overgrowing and strangling the very things it was meant to protect.

Is there nothing we can do? Certainly, there is. In theory, at least, the US is still a nation of Law. We are not a democracy, which is a good thing, but we can go into the voting booths in a few days – I believe some elections are already underway – and have our say. I see people who are indignant about our limited choices in a two-party field, and they say they will not bother to go vote at all. I beg of you to reconsider this. Take a little time to truly research, rather than make an assessment based on internet memes. Write in a candidate. Do something, because doing nothing shall surely doom us all.