Reuters Editorial Celebrates Bureaucracy
By Staff News & Analysis - March 15, 2013

Bureaucracy will set you free … Two movements, fundamentally opposed, are at work in the world: corruption and anti-corruption. The marketization of the economies of China, India and Russia in the past two decades has exacerbated the corruption in those countries. Businesspeople and politicians, often hardly distinguishable, become billionaires in tandem. But corruption is falling out of favor in more and more countries as more and more governments realize that while it may get things done in the short term, it corrodes everything in the long term. As public anger rises everywhere against the grossest inequalities the modern world has seen, it provides the fuel for future fires. – Reuters

Dominant Social Theme: Without a topnotch bureaucracy, countries cannot function.

Free-Market Analysis: Here's a surprise. An editorialist for a major, mainstream newswire service has gone out of his way to write an editorial celebrating … bureaucracy.

The article is fraught with what we call dominant social themes. It is making the argument that governments around the world are becoming more "transparent" – and thus less corrupt.

We've written on this transparency meme as lot. The leading transparency organization is run by a former World Bank executive. From what we can tell, transparency is simply a cynical ploy to justify the continued existence of big government.

But the editorial goes out of its way to celebrate transparency and to explain that a government emphasizing transparency is one that is less corrupt and more efficient. Here's more from the article:

Bribes, the most common form of corruption, are a crime not just against the law but against the public. Those states now climbing the wealth ladder will risk worse than poverty if they do not grasp that truth. What do they need? A good bureaucracy, that's what. For two centuries, disparaging bureaucracy has been a major component of our freedom myths. Charles Dickens, Franz Kafka, George Orwell rynd Alexander Solzhenitsyn all made the bureaucrats villains in their work. In Dickens' 1857 masterpiece, Little Dorrit, an inventor, Daniel Doyce, goes gray attempting to register his invention at the Circumlocution Office a tragicomic institution dedicated to squashing all private initiative. He gets a final judgment that:

[U]pon the whole, and under all the circumstances, and looking at it from the various points of view, [we are] of the opinion that one of two courses was to be pursued in respect of the business: that was to say, either to leave it alone for evermore, or begin it all over again.

Likewise, anti-bureaucracy is a major trope in U.S. culture, one that harks back to a time when government was tiny and people were free. In Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, the country's defining president is attended by at most two officials. When messengers bring him news from Congress during the debate on the anti-slavery amendment, they burst into a White House empty except for Lincoln and his young son.

It's an entrancing picture of the way things were and if the Tea Party had its way, the way things should be. One of the Tea Party's lodestars, Ron Paul, argued that "the judgment of politicians and bureaucrats … replaces confidence in a free society." But it's not confined to the Republican right: All presidential candidates must run against Washington, even as they are later embraced and soothed by its bureaucrats.

Just to present a bit of reality here, we want to remind people that government – even small government – creates the illusion of a civil society via force. No force, no government, not even good government.

Now mix in an "efficient" bureaucracy you've got a real nightmare. Not only do you have an empowered political class, you have one that is determined to rule efficiently.

Of course, the argument will be made that democratic governments are elected via the will of the people, but this is patently untrue. One only need look at the European Union to see how blatantly democracy is manipulated. Votes that don't realize the proper conclusion are retried, etc.

This article indicates to us that despite its apparent absurdity, a new meme (of the benefits of red tape) is now being launched. We didn't know about this, but the article refers to a two part program on the BBC by Britain's former top bureaucrat, Gus O'Donnell, "who … broadcast two programs on BBC Radio 4 titled In Defence of Bureaucracy."

They argued that bureaucracy was the basis of a good society and might even save the world. O'Donnell's example is the British civil service, which, since the reforms of the 1850s – around the time Little Dorrit was published – has progressively become free from major corruption. His bureaucrat is one who decides and allocates on the basis of rules, not on grounds of class, gender, race or status. He brings in a man with a quintessentially establishment English name, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, former British ambassador to Afghanistan, to argue that the "best thing we can do for Afghanistan is to leave a good bureaucracy behind us."

This is just rank historical revisionism. It is well known today, thanks to what has been exposed on the Internet, that the banking classes of Britain and the United States funded both the USSR and National Socialism. The idea that Money Power is incorporating caring bureaucracies for the good of people round the world is absurd.

Nonetheless, we anticipate this meme will continue to be propounded. It is part of a larger counterattack mounted against free-market thinking by the very forces that are now busily installing fascism/socialism throughout the West.

After Thoughts

It is convenient for these forces to equate bureaucracy with civilization. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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