I finally figured them out.
For as long as I’ve been an adult, I’ve been confounded by bureaucrats. I’m sure that at a certain level they’re wonderful human beings who enjoy their friends, love their families and when it comes to most things are no different from you and me.
But mostly they’re the bane of our existences, quietly gathering in windowless rooms to construct some arcane policy or design a new form to fill out that will leave the rest of us confused at best and broken of wallet and spirit at worst.
No matter who we elect to govern, they remain, impervious to examination or elimination.
And somehow their numbers continually increase. Even more mysteriously, they thrive while the very industries and enterprises which they regulate struggle or wither.
But a trio of recent events has finally explained they and how they operate to me.
The first part of the puzzle arrived in the form of several videos of MIT professor Jonathan Gruber bragging on how important and integral he was to drafting the US Affordable Care Act (commonly known as “Obamacare”).
Whether or not you embrace the way Americans have chosen to dispense health care, it was still unsettling to watch a bureaucrat relate the process of concocting a law in a manner so obtuse nobody could see its flaws or understand how it really worked.
The impression given by Gruber is that this is the only way the rest of us can be correctly governed. Because not only do we not know what’s good for us, we’d be opposed to such good if the process were open and honest.
It’s like the way Telefilm and the CRTC work in Canada, convincing us high ratings or box office numbers are not the real measure of success and/or that the Canadian broadcast system has the best interests of artists and audiences in its dark and venal heart.
The second piece of the puzzle arrived in the form of a comment by an American journalist outraged at Gruber’s assertion that “You can’t handle the truth”.
He described bureaucrats thus, “They make life more complex. And then they become this leeching new class of people who profit from the very complexity they are imposing on society”.
Makes sense, doesn’t it?
Why else would somebody sit in a windowless room pushing paper all day –- if there wasn’t ongoing financial security waiting at the end of the process?
You ever notice how hard it is to fire bureaucrats, even when they cost us billions by screwing up? And what else but some kind of sinister manipulation of the system allows that to happen?
Ever notice how the number of Canadian films (for example) decline year by year while the number of bureaucrats supervising their production or financing increases?
It used to be you’d go to film or television celebrations and meet other artists. Now it’s primarily people with government jobs partying beyond the velvet rope.
Part three dropped into my lap today while attending a TED conference. It was a talk about parasites.
Which, when combined with puzzle piece one and puzzle piece two, explains everything.
Enjoy Your Sunday.