Friday, May 27, 2011
Hating On Teh Government
As readers may know, I was a Federal employee for about 11 years and left to retire early because I was sick of what was going on, much of which I have mercifully blocked from my memory. It... wasn't pretty.
And this was well into the Obama Reign.
Strangely enough, during the Bush Regime, while matters were becoming more and more politicized and less professionalized, there was far less maneuvering and infighting in the agency, far more common interest in and devotion to duty.
Now why would that be?
There were of course plenty of signs of internal deterioration, but that dated back to the Clinton Era, when the Government was actually shut down several times. That, I'm convinced, did more to undermine government employee loyalty than just about anything else in recent memory, but the advent of -- and disappointment in -- the Obama Reign really did seem to change attitudes and actions to complete Survival Mode.
Leaving one to doubt there was any point in Public Service any more.
In discussing the situation with others, though, people who have much longer service than I do, it's clear enough that this situation -- especially the doubt in the value of Public Service -- is routine, comes and goes, and you work through it or you don't. Politicization of service comes and goes, "survivalism" is the usual state of bureaucratic institutions -- and therefore of their employees -- but not everyone is adapted to this frame of mind. Non-Survivalists, if that's an appropriate term, would probably be better off elsewhere.
In other words, I made the right decision. It's always gratifying to know you've done the right thing, isn't it?
Having had experience "within the belly of the beast" as it were (and my experience with Government dates to long before I joined the Federal service, as I'd been contracting with and serving on local Government boards and agencies for many years) I sometimes find it amusing that so many people, particularly of a Libertarian bent, are shocked!, shocked I tell you! when they "discover" -- whether for the first time or over and over again -- the way Government operates.
Particularly are they astonished and outraged at the Hypocrisy of Electeds.
Good heavens! How can they be so unprincipled!? How can they not mean what they say!? I don't know. It is quite a trick, isn't it? So many of them get away with it, too, as they have since the origin of the Republic. Yet to discover that they still do, with bells on, continues to be a shock and surprise! Oh! My! Goodness!
I loved Senator DeMint's letter to Geithner and his determination that The Government would be Brought to Heel by his Manly Insistence that the Debt Ceiling not be raised unless all the cuts he and his cohorts demanded were enacted, in full, with interest, yadda yadda, and The Government could just pay interest on the Debt and not Default, what scare tactics the Other Side (ie: The Government) was employing, DeMint was not amused.
He prates on and on, waxing quite wroth, about The Government and what it has done and must do, and who is to blame and whatnot, never once acknowledging that he and his cohorts in Congress Assembled are part of this very Government he's waxing so wroth about, and so are the Courts and the President, and so on and so forth. And you can't separate them into The Government and Me-Not The Government.
But that's what clowns like him do, all the time, and those tactics appeal to a certain segment of the populi and so it goes.
All I'm getting at is that Electeds behave the way they do because of the way Government and the Political System is arranged. The Government -- and the Political System that feeds it and is in fact part of it -- was set up for the protection of Privileged White Southern Gentlemen (many of whom got the notion that they "deserved to rule" therefore) and that is actually what it does and what it will continue to do. It has nothing at all to do with Principle.
Rand Paul, about as Privileged a White Southern Gentleman (well, White Male, at any rate) as there is discovered to his delight the other day that he could bring operations of the Senate to a screeching halt unless and until his Demands regarding the renewal of the PATRIOT Act were met. Those Demands were simple enough: a vote on his amendments, primarily one restricting The Government's ability to inquire about and investigate -- or even, gasp, refuse -- "terrorist" access to firearms. He dug in his heels, held the Senate hostage for three days, and he got his vote. His amendments were defeated. He was pleased.
Like many of his colleagues, he pretended that The Government he was holding hostage -- and whose actions he hated and despised -- did not include himself. It was instead some Alien Imposition on the Rights and Privileges of Citizens like Himself.
No, The Government, as flawed and faulty as it is, IS himself and all of his colleagues AND those who serve it, civilian and military alike. There is no "them/us." It is all of a piece, and he and his ilk are part of it.
But the pretense is as it has always been: The Government is by definition "alien" and an improper "imposition" on the Freedom of Citizens to... impose their personal and private authority on others.
In other words, Citizens banding together to Form a More Perfect Union is simply Usurpation of the Rights and Privileges of Individuals, particularly those of White Southern (Gentle)men such as the Pauls.
Therefore, ironically, the entire history of Constitutional Self-Government in this country is as Rand Paul's father -- and many of the Libertarian ilk -- have long claimed: deep in error, wrong from the get-go, and an intolerable usurpation of Individual Freedom.
The sole Principle involved is the individual (not Governmental, in other words) assertion of Authority over others -- and their lands, goods, and chattel.
That's it. Period.
Hating on the Government for interfering in this individual assertion of Authority is an ongoing theme in American Life.
There once was a time when American expansionism allowed plenty of physical space for individuals to assert their personal Authorities as they chose. But those days are long gone; now it is much more difficult for those with the urge to lord it over someone else or to form and rule some petty kingdom of his own -- without the regulation or imposition of The Government -- to do so.
So those who make their purpose in life the Individual Assertion of Authority can find themselves in a very difficult position. There is no unclaimed territory left for them to migrate to and assert themselves. The Frontier has long been closed.
What I'm seeing in response -- both from the inside and outside The Government -- is a concerted effort by a coalition of Libertarians and billionaires to literally dismantle The Government so as to ensure that it cannot interfere with their desire to impose their Authority without the interference of The Government. They are seeking to confine The Government entirely to the protection of their personal/private/corporate and individual interests, and to forbid The Government from serving the Public Interest -- which they don't believe in in any case.
They are winning, and they are using the deeply rooted flaws in our Constitution and the Political System to do so. And they are winning because they have almost no active opposition.
As I've said many times, we are witness to the End of the Republic, much as the Romans in times of yore witnessed the end of their Republic -- and Americans, like the Romans, are greeting it with a shrug.
Too bad that the replacement in both cases is... The Empire.