In Defense of Bureaucracy

I’m all for more efficient bureaucracy, but, like it or not, governance requires bureaucracy, something those conservatives opposed to universal healthcare don’t seem to get. From From the Archives:

In this climate, with this cabal leading our country, you somehow look around you and decide that what scares you, the real threat to our democracy is a bunch of civil servants? WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU THINK WE DO?
I am dead serious. What do you think we DO? We sit here, thousands of us, infiltrating the entire nation. Every day we come to work and do something that is scarier than making a mockery of the Constitution, disappearing and torturing people, killing thousands of our own and theirs in a country that wasn’t an aggressor, spying on Americans, evading laws to tilt elections. What the hell could that BE?
Part of me wants to explain this one more time. I can tell you what we do. Dave, upstairs? He monitors a bunch of gaging stations in the Delta and likes to talk about telemetry. Amy? She tracks grants and reads invoices very carefully. The guy down the hall? He holds public meetings, dozens per year, to figure out what the public wants us to do with our water. Three cubes over? He surveys culverts along the 1 to see whether salmon can get through them. Also upstairs? They inspect dams and think about whether sirens or radio announcements are more effective for announcing a dam break. Those FIENDS! There are some people whose jobs I don’t know. Maybe they’re the ones doing whatever it is that terrifies you….
Just because an evil regime had bureaucracies DOES NOT MEAN that bureaucracies have an intrinsic inclination to do evil. It means that evil regimes also require banal logistics.

What the privatization freaks fail to get is that societies need (and will have) governance, even if it’s not being done by government. The question is when is government the best form of governance.

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4 Responses to In Defense of Bureaucracy

  1. Tony P says:

    I’ll admit to being a civil servant too. I keep the servers running that provide things like lobbyist and bill tracking. How’s them apples.

  2. Joshua says:

    I tempted for the State of Hawaii once. I verified people’s employment so their welfare checks would get sent out and their loans would be approved.
    It was a den of sin and corruption, I tells ya! I’m shocked that I made it out with my soul intact.

  3. Joshua says:

    Hah. Unfortunate typo! I meant to say “temped”, not “tempted”.

  4. Imagine my surprise when I learned in my high school sociology class that corporations employ bureaucracies to get their work done. So, I am thinking about the privatization thing, wondering how they plan to get by without bureaucrats; when a government agency’s functions are replaced by a private sector company, where are they going to get their employees? Will they hire the people that have experience (i.e. government employees) or will they go cheap and hire the incompetents?
    What is it that conservatives like to quote? “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.”
    Our healthcare system is run by multiple levels of bureaucracy; in the hospitals, the insurance companies etc etc. How can this be contributing to an efficient syste,? Oh, wait, it isn’t.

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