Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Cue Card Libertarianism -- Bureaucracy

Big Government’s field army. “It is impossible to have big government without a massive and parasitic bureaucracy… generally staffed by envious little demagogues who have traded their own freedom and self-worth for a meaningless but overpaid job and the mirage of lifetime security.” (‘John Galt,’ Dreams Come Due.)

Having given up on trying to be useful and productive themselves, bureaucrats seek power over those who are useful and productive – those of whom they rely to create the wealth from which their salaries are extracted – and constantly to expand that power by devising ever more regulations. The natural tendency of bureaucracy is to enlarge itself as it strives continuously to justify its existence. A libertarian bureaucracy would be as large as required to enable government to perform its proper functions – i.e. not very large at all – and it would be prevented constitutionally from becoming any larger. Deprived of its appeal for power-lusters, it would not attract the psychological deficients who are drawn to it now.

For more reading on this subject, try Ludwig von Mises's classic book Bureaucracy, now online here.

This is part of a continuing series explaining the concepts and terms used by libertarians, originally published in The Free Radical in 1993. The 'Introduction' to the series is here. Tomorrow, 'Capitalism,' appropriate on a day in which thieves distribute the fruits of capital.

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