Thursday, 10 May 2012

Portrait of a bureaucrat [updated]

“The ultimate basis of an all around bureaucratic system is violence.”
Ludwig Von Mises, On Bureaucracy

There are two kinds 0f bureaucrats: the Jobsworths and the Born-Agains. 

And frankly, I prefer the Jobsworths. They’re less dangerous.

As today’s example, let’s look at American bureaucrat Al Armendarize, regional head of the U.S.’s Environmental Protection Agency—in other words, the top environmental official for America’s oil-rich South and Southwest region in the organisation that inspired National’s Nick Smith to start his own EPA.

This was a guy with power and a passion to use it. A guy who saw his job as shutting down, or at least emasculating, the oil-rich producers in his region.

His "philosophy of enforcement," he told his staff, went like this:

It was kind of like how the Romans used to, you know, conquer villages in the Mediterranean. They’d go in to a little Turkish town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw, and they’d crucify them. And then, you know, that town was really easy to manage for the next few years.

It’s the same "philosophy of enforcement” followed by every government department worldwide, isn’t it, from our own IRD to America’s TSA. “Crucify them!”

At least the Jobsworths just shuffle paper. But pricks like this can kill—as the family of New Zealander Paul Jenkins recently discovered to their horror.

Now I say this “was”  a guy with power because this particular arsehole has just lost his job. Not for telling the truth, i.e., telling his staff about how things are, but because a video of him telling his staff the truth eventually found its way onto the internet—posted by someone in approval of Armedarize’s power lust.

His crime was not being too honest. It was being found out.

But worry not.  As Kimberley Strassel notes,

Al “Crucify Them” Armendariz resigned from the Environmental Protection Agency this week, for the mistake of telling it like it is. All he leaves behind is an entire administration of Al Armendarizes.

Actually, that should read “entire administrations full of Al Armendarizes.” Because they’re everywhere. 


imageimageUPDATE: In case you’ve forgotten what the local variety of thug bureaucrat is like, shown here are genuine cartoons collected from a variety of Inland Revenue offices back when they were killing Ian Mutton.image

And just in case you can’t see clearly, or you think your eyes might be deceiving you, yes, that is a newsletter banner above showing a courageous IRD agent running a taxpayer through with a lance. And, yes, that is a picture of a taxpayer being hung from a meat hook.


  1. I love the way the ACSS person (and our own IRD) refers to the likes of Paul Jenkins as a "customer". I suppose he was a customer in the same way as the Mafia have customers.

  2. Hal Incandenza10 May 2012, 20:57:00

    I thought that individual responsibility was a core tenet of your silly philosophy? These people killed themselves. The fact that you're using their deaths for cheap political point scoring is pretty vile, even by the low standards of objectivist political discourse.

  3. Fuck you Hal. These people were driven to suicide by a thuggish outfit that thinks your money is theirs as of right...and is prepared to use force to take it. There's a big difference between holding someone to their chosen responsibility's and hounding them to death.

    Now get ya SS uniform out of the wash and get ready for your shift at Auschwitz....douchebag.

  4. Hal Incandenza11 May 2012, 07:12:00

    Yes James, because all governments are exactly the same as Hitler. Exactly. ANd all individuals are responsible for their own actions, except when it's politically convenient for you to claim otherwise.

    Now what was I saying about the appalling standards of objectivist political discourse?

  5. @ Hal: Morality ends where a gun, or a meat hook, begins.

    People killed themselves because of bullying by government thugs.

    You being a transparent shill for those thugs is what is so vile.

    Consider yourself and your future trolling banned from this blog.

  6. "Ban away. You're not worth the effort."

    Except you seem to expend a hell of a lot of effort coming here all the time, using a new name every time you are banned.

    Maybe if you stopped being such a cunt you might make a friend in real life and you wouldn't need to hang around like a bad smell where you're not wanted.

  7. This is your big problem, PC (well, Libertaianz anyway).

    You promulgate the most amazing, commonsense, obviously correct philosophical ideas in so well. Your knowledge of history, art, culture (even religion) is deep, broad and eclectic and you communicate all this eruditely.

    But all the time you scatter into this the most blindingly stupid drivel, like;

    “The ultimate basis of an all around bureaucratic system is violence.”
    - Ludwig Von Mises, On Bureaucracy

    It tragic. It is like watching a talented world-class footballer drink himself to death.

    Why do you do this? How the hell can you expect people to vote for a party which mouths such nonsense?

    Honestly, mate. Why?

    Dave Mann

  8. @Dave Mann: I'm not sure what your argument is, Dave.

    You say I have a "big problem." But you don't make it clear what that problem is.

    Is it quoting Ludwig Von Mises? Well, I do that all the time.

    Is it pointing out force lies at the bottom of every government action? Well, I do that all the time too.

    Is it providing evidence for that argument? Well, the whole post provides evidence that bureaucrats at least understand the power they wield.

    And the Mises quite itself is linked to his book 'Bureaucracy,' which makes the bigger argument.

    The bigger argument sin simple form is this, which I'm sure you've head before. "Government," as George Washington said, "is force." Government organisations can "encourage," they can "suggest,' they can "advise," they will "require," and in the end as Marian Hobbs pointed out, "in the end there is always the big stick."

    Don't follow their requirements, don't address their latest fashionable concern, don't pay up for your "late payments" and ever-accelerating penalty fees and in the end you'll feel their big stick. You'll be crucified. You'l feel the thrill of them feeling your collar, and threatening you with their meat hooks.

    Or you might just kill yourself.

    If that sounds to you like blindingly stupid drivel, then make the most of it.

  9. PC, the 'big problem' is that quite obviously, bureaucracy is not based on violence any more than (to quote another one of you OTT claims) all taxation is theft.

    This is a problem because it is an obviously idiotic claim and its effect is to turn people off who would otherwise vote for your party.

    You are doing yourself a huge disfavour by continually making huge exaggerations (like the 'point of a gun' assertions etc) which are patently untrue at any rational level.

    Dave Mann

  10. @Dave: Well, I obviously don't find it idiotic.

    Nor does Ludwig Von Mises.

    Perhaps you could explain why you do?

  11. @ PC

    I find it idiotic because it is a hopelessly OTT exaggeration. Bureaucrats are not violent. They might well be stupid, dull, power hungry, remorseless, interfering, stifling, uninteresting killers of creativity, growth and progress.... but they are not actually VIOLENT.

    Stalin's regime was violent, and it also staggered under the weight of its bureaucracy, but it wasn't the actual bureaucrats themselves or bureaucracy which was doing the violence..... and in New Zealand (or whats left of it), we certainly don't experience anything like violence in our bureaucracy.

    Anyway. We differ on this. Cheers...

    Dave Mann

  12. @Dave: But I do not say that bureaucrats are violent. That would be an absurd way to describe the stupid, dull, power hungry, remorseless, interfering, stifling, uninteresting killers of creativity, growth and progress who waste their days shuffling paper until it's time for their life to start.

    No, what I say is that the ultimate basis of the bureaucratic system is the coercive state. You will notice these are two different claims.

    It is only because this coercive authority lies behind bureaucracy, always ready to be flexed, that the decrees issued by the stupid, dull, ineffectual muppets who fill it are actually listened to--whether they (or you) realise that or not.

    It is from this power to ruin that these softshelled, inept, ill-formed creatures become dangerous.

    Especially when their decrees and decisions can be made as randomly as they seem to be these days.


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