“Bureaucracy destroys initiative. There is little that bureaucrats hate more than innovation, especially innovation that produces better results than the old routines. Improvements always make those at the top of the heap look inept. Who enjoys appearing inept?”
– Frank Herbert
My father died last year at the ripe old age of 86 and spent plenty of time negotiating the halls of the Tucson Veterans Administration (VA) for various ailments he suffered later in life. He was entitled to VA treatment after his service during the War to Save Josef Stalin when he was posted to Germany just before the end of the conflict. These WWII vets are dropping like flies and it won’t be long before few are even wandering the VA corridors much less this mortal coil.
My Dad did not die because of the VA directly and I suspect he was just ready to go and shift off to his reward after a lifetime of health neglect. But I can count many times where he was misdiagnosed mistaking congestive heart failure for pneumonia or assigning him a mountain of pills for which no one on Earth knows the complete side effects much less the rippling implications of mixing them together. He lived in spite of the VA and simply had a robust constitution.
There was no malevolence on the part of the staff or the medical personnel at the VA. The VA is simply another enormous federal government bureaucracy that loses sight of its mission, and suffers tremendous administrative bloat to shuffle papers from one end of the facility to another; it practices the sclerotic and sovietized penchant for institutional sloth and inefficiency that is the hallmark of government globally. Well-meaning people staff the bright and shiny facilities but the tether to the state does nothing to put this to good use. Much like every federal bureaucracy that lords over the trapped citizenry in America, it cannot possibly achieve its mission otherwise it would lose its relevance. Harry Teaseley’s seven laws of bureaucracy give a keen road map on what is wrong with the state in effecting reasonable change or administration:
Rule #1: Maintain the problem at all costs! The problem is the basis of power, perks, privileges, and security.
Rule #2: Use crisis and perceived crisis to increase your power and control
Rule 2a. Force 11th-hour decisions, threaten the loss of options and opportunities, and limit the opposition’s opportunity to review and critique.
Rule #3: If there are not enough crises, manufacture them, even from nature, where none exist.
Rule #4: Control the flow and release of information while feigning openness.
Rule 4a: Deny, delay, obfuscate, spin, and lie.
Rule #5: Maximize public-relations exposure by creating a cover story that appeals to the universal need to help people.
Rule #6: Create vested support groups by distributing concentrated benefits and/or entitlements to these special interests, while distributing the costs broadly to one’s political opponents.
Rule #7: Demonize the truth tellers who have the temerity to say, “The emperor has no clothes.”
Others in the libertarian commentariat have invested great amounts of ink in showing examples of everything Teasley describes.