Monday, September 20, 2010

The 'Low-Church' Political Class

Vox Day wrote a great article this week where he delves into the types of people who join the police force. This is one of those things that got me thinking as well: what kind of people get employed by the government?

I'm talking about all the various government jobs that are out there. I'm fairly certain that if there is a job in the private sector, there is probably something equivalent in the government. I know I could be a software developer in some government agency somewhere. In fact, I'm fairly certain that I would make more money, get better benefits, and maybe even have a security clearance to find out what Sandy Berger did steal from the National Archives.

So why don't I do it? Well, the reason is simple: I got into software development because it is the profession I like doing and because I despise government work. From what I've heard, most Federal workers don't do much of anything. While I may be a more productive blogger (or porn-viewer), I would still find myself feeling like I'm wasting my life on the taxpayer's dime. I'll take wasting my time on my company's client's dime, thank you very much. At least they willing gave us money in return for the product my company produces.

I believe this is the main thing that separates many in the private workforce from the government worker: those in the private sector love what they do for a living and are probably less likely to view it as a job with which to get by. I know that there are many people who view their job as just a job in the private sector and there are many people who love their job in the government (watch out for those people).

I remember when my wife and I went to get our marriage license (now, I hated having to do it, but it's what I had to do in order to get married). The courthouse clerk who handled our paperwork was probably the most impressive bureaucrat I've ever met. He was well dressed, unlike everyone else who looked like they had just come from the street, memorized everything, knew where everything was, and was probably just as old as I was. This was a man who loved his job as a courthouse clerk. I was quite impressed with him, needless to say.

But I don't think most people ever join government employment because they love the work. More than likely they do it for two major reasons: they want to get paid well or they like to bully people and no one else was hiring. From the Post Office to the military, I'm sure you find your fair share of people with a host of mental illnesses running things in the government. These are not people who you want running a hamburger stand. I know that politicians are bad, but think about the kinds of people who gleefully carry out their 'orders' without questioning their own conscience.

Have we considered that maybe, just maybe, most government workers have suppressed that little voice in their head that says, "Hey, that's a bad idea", when they are on the job? Maybe these people suffer from a mental illness, maybe they don't, but I do know no sane person would do half the things that the government does on a regular basis.

It is high time that those of us in the productive sector started looking down on the government worker as nothing more than an authoritarian moocher. Now I know that's asking for trouble, but if we keep on letting them walk over us, they will continue to bully the common man. There are enough laws on the books that allow bureaucrats to do just about anything they want and get away with it. Mark my words, until we start tackling these things head on, no amount of voting will resolve anything.

The political class, as it is being called these days, doesn't include just the 'elected' leaders, but the hundreds of thousands of people who 'work' for the government. It is high time we held them accountable as well.


  1. From Vox Day's article:

    For decades, conservatives have attempted to excuse even lethal police abuses by arguing that the dangerous nature of the job and the stresses it entails somehow justify widespread criminal activity on the part of law enforcement officers. But this is a logically incoherent argument. Police work isn't even among the 10 most dangerous occupations; it is 13 times less dangerous than working as a professional fisherman.

    Yeah, but look at how fishermen treat the fish...

    It's strange he thinks people with mental health problems are attracted to the mental health field... it's actually been relatively well documented that mental health workers don't start out mentally unstable, but get that way over time from exposure to mentally ill people. Police work is likewise stressful, because they only interact with people who are in serious trouble or who are being serious jackasses.

    I don't think anyone says "Oh, cops should do whatever they want, it's a tough job, we should just trust them and be done with it." I think the idea that Vox is trying to warp is that police do have tough jobs, and some of them will inevitably make mistakes or even malicious decisions, but we need to deal with that as a crime like any other, which means having a disinterested third party (outside police force or internal investigators) handling it. It's a crime to cover-up for another officer, and like most crime, people get away with it more times than not. Publicizing a case can help, but calling police 100% corrupt and pretending we'd be better off without them is a hastey generalization.

    Also, some of us saw the abuse before a black Democrat was in office. Nice of you folks to catch up, though I can't say I'm surprised that right wingers have gotten the analysis wrong. I'm glad you guys woke up, but try wiping the sleep out of your eyes before you look around, next time.

    The political class... oh you silly conservatives. There are only two classes: the upper and those of us making less than a billion dollars a year.

  2. Also, you should look into what an ARM mortgage is or at how health insurers treat sick people before you get all high-and-mighty about private industry, which would be more abusive than it is without government regulation (which I still find to be lacking in many areas).

  3. Both the banking and health insurance industries in their current incarnation are the direct result of government intervention on the marketplace. I'd rather have health insurance that cover the catastrophic health events and just pay the doctors for the regular stuff. And I've sworn off debt for the rest of my life.

    As for governmental regulations, they always monopolize the industry they seek to regulate. This is a simple and observable fact if you look at history. For example, the railroad companies of the late 1800s were the boogeymen of the people. But when the Federal government created the Interstate Commerce Commission, it ended up solidifying the monopolies held and even prevented the trucking industry from competing with the railroads.

    Any time the government intervenes in the marketplace, in any way, you will get a monopoly or some other form of 'crony capitalism' like we saw with the banks.

  4. And by "government intervention," I assume you mean "government officials bought by corporate interests for the purposes of deregulation," all under the right-wing banner of "regulation is socialism."

    Reulgation has nothing to do with eliminating competition when individuals are not able to amass mega-fortunes that allow them to buy political influence. Regulation in and of itself is not "good," it's good when it prevents a company from giving you a mortgage that they can just change the interest rate on a whim (which would be the norm if not for government regulation) or charging you exorbitant fees and dropping you once something "catastrophic" happens (which is what health insurers do, and is why they need to be regulated or why basic health insurance ought to be standard for all citizens, while extra private insurance can be a luxury).

    It's a complete myth and a total ignorance of history to say government intervention is in and of itself wrong. Government regulations imposed by industry insiders do favor the larger companies, but there need not be a marriage of corporate and political interests if we regulate the government and what it can or cannot do. Regulation is what makes America great, just look at the bill of rights: it is a set of regulations, restrictions on the government. The government is not the only entity to wield power, and anytime power is wielded without limits, there is abuse. That's a fact.

  5. Bret, the problem with regulation is that it inevitably ends up becoming the marriage of corporate and political interests that you and I both despise. This is largely because when people are given authority, they tend to abuse it. Even the noblest of us will abuse our authority given the opportunity.

    The government cannot overcome basic human nature because the government is nothing more than a collection of selfish individuals with the authority to use legal force. And so long as you give people the right to use force against you, they will abuse that authority no matter what supposed limitations you impose on them. The Constitution is only as good as the people who derive their authority from it. And from what we've seen throughout the history of this nation, there's always been abuses, even from day one.

    Your stance is a pipe-dream that not even this Christian can get behind. You're better off believing in God.

  6. I agree that authority is always abused, but I also know authority never disappears, so it's a losing battle to pretend we can eliminate authority and thereby end abuse. Instead, progress requires constant vigilance and a will to fight abuse. The government does not have the right to abuse people, but the poeple have not only the right, but the ability to take authority away from their abusers.

    American history is full of times when the government stepped in, regulated, and we lived better lives because of it. The ending of slavery only comes from state mandate, the regulation of food and medicine increased life expectancy and quality of living, auto regulations have made transportation safer, building codes ensure that natural disasters like earthquakes are not as devastating in the US as they are in third world nations where there is no regulation... I could go on and on.

    Just because some regulations should be done away with (and plenty should) does not mean regulation is inherently wrong. Quite frankly, I'm not surprised by people losing "faith" in government, I know I never had any. If anything, it's a relief that people are waking up to the abuses that some of us have complained about long before a frightening black guy was president (boogah boogah...).

    Rather, it is sad that some are ensuring their voice of criticism is not heard at all by coupling their valid critiques with ridiculous notions of an anarchistic paradise where no one holds any power over others... talk about a pipe-dream... I can only imagine what you have to be smoking in order to think that's how anarchy works or that anarchy is anything but ceding power to the private, borderless kingdoms (aka corporations).

  7. I can only imagine what you have to be smoking in order to think that's how anarchy works or that anarchy is anything but ceding power to the private, borderless kingdoms (aka corporations)

    Corporations would not exist without the state. They are a creation of the state and are maintained and sustained by it.


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