The Idiot Cousin Theory of Government
by DANIEL GREENFIELD
February 29, 2012
The first and foremost purpose of government is to create government jobs. Going back to the early days of American history a time honored tradition of newly elected politicians was to obtain positions for their friends, their nephews and assorted cousins. In those more innocent times appointing someone an inspector of something was a cordial way of repaying a favor. But the problem with inspectors is that they inspect things.
There are only so many idiot cousins you can hire to stamp papers and frown at things until you have to create an entire new department and then a division and then an agency to give them something to do. And that leads to budget drains and an expansion of government authority that interferes with the lives of people who work for a living.
A few centuries later we live in a country where every place that has more than three people living within three miles of each other is overseen by a multitude of agencies with overlapping levels of authority beginning from the locals to the staties and all the way up to Washington D.C. where the swamps were paved over to construct massive buildings full of agencies all descended from the day someone's idiot cousin got a sinecure, a government horse and an inkwell in a city that no one used to take seriously.
Many of us would gladly trade off those buildings and those bureaucrats in return for a few dozen idiot cousins drinking in Washington taverns on the public's dime in a country with no income tax and no one pounding on your door every five minutes because you don't feed your kids arugula, don't recycle your trash and don't care about the latest trendy cause already being written into the state religion.
Unfortunately like rabbits, idiot cousins lead to more idiot cousins. Corruption doesn't stop at a set line, it pushes as far as it can, and when a man with some big ideas gets hold of it, then bar the door because it's DOE/EPA/HUD/DOL time.
The idiot cousins are satisfied to think small. Their ambitions reach as high as a government salary for doing nothing and a few taverns and ladies of the evening to spend it on. A hundred thousand of them can be a problem, but a million of them organized under a creed that has set out to seize power using an unelected bureaucracy is one of those moments when a society must realize that its corruption has become a liability to its own survival.
We are of course far beyond idiot cousin territory. Idiot cousin jobs were handmade, much like Solyndra or other recent examples of crony capitalism. It's mass production that turns a problem into a plague and the mass production of government jobs began around the same time that many other industries were discovering that they could make money cranking out vast numbers of identical copies of things.
The cities were the perfect mold for a new mass produced bureaucracy. Not only did they have social problems and political machines galore, but they also had massive numbers of immigrants who came up the hard way in the industrial age and wanted their kids to have something better than they did. Drop the kids into the mold, then mold them and plop them into mass produced government jobs with the mission of managing the unmanageable aspects of overcrowded cities.
The parable of the industrial age is that of the man who turns on a machine that won't stop. The modern nightmare begins and ends with the question, "What if we can't stop what we're doing?" While this question has been applied to such diverse areas as factories, nuclear weapons and mass culture, it's rarely directed at government. Not government as a vehicle for exploring the bomb, the surveillance state or any of the trendy abuses of authority-- but government itself. What we might ask will happen if the machine doesn't turn off, if government just doesn't stop growing?
It's not a question that concerns those who preoccupy themselves with trendy anti-authoritarianism, marking down the number of surveillance cameras and denouncing some new government program to listen in on people's phone calls, but they never seem to make the connection to the source of the problem. Somehow they imagine that it is possible to have a society where people are compelled to purchase health insurance, where meters determine how often they recycle and where light bulbs are banned not because they are toxic but because they "waste energy"-- that won't put up surveillance cameras or listen to their phone calls.
Government isn't Baskin-Robbins. You can't choose the flavors of totalitarianism that you want. And idiot cousins aren't very good at making fine distinctions. Give them a script and they'll follow it to their deaths. Ask them to use common sense and you might as well ask them to build a moon rocket, which happens to be one of those things that we can't do anymore, ever since the idiot cousins took over major chunks of the space program.
Over the last century the idiot cousins have turned red and they are often no longer cousins, just college graduates looking for a job in the unreal world, but that hasn't made them any less dumb. Ideological programming is to creativity and flexibility as rat poison is to a fine luncheon. People who are taught to think in political formulations are just reading from another kind of script and it's often a script that they don't even understand.
There's a certain amount of hope in that. When no one in the Soviet Union understood what the point of Communism was, there was little resistance to being done with it. It wasn't so much the courageous struggle of dissidents that brought down the Soviet Union, it was the incomprehension of the ranks of idiots who parroted dogma and slogans that had been coined by men and women who were smarter than them by virtue of receiving a pre-Communist education in an independent educational system.
By the time the Berlin Wall fell, most of the men and women who made up the system did not see any point to all this stuff about Communism. They knew a hundred slogans, but not how they related to their lives. They were all for maintaining the bribes and bureaucracy culture, they just didn't see why it couldn't be done in a totalitarian state with the same standard of living as the West.
The good news is that if the left ever seizes complete control, their system will collapse within two to three generations because at some point no one will understand why everyone has to live without heat or listen to inspirational stories about Caesar Chavez.. The bad news is that by then it will be too late to ever rebuild the country into a workable place to live.
The beauty of the machine is still embedded in the fascist undercoating of progressive government. It is a vision of a dozen wise men pulling the switch while ten million overseers mechanically drive three hundred million people to their tasks. The plan is formulated, the blueprints are drawn up, the smart men look it over through their monocles and then the whole thing is fired up and it falls over a cliff because the theory is all wrong.
The left has rejected the industrialization of mechanical things, but it remains deeply in love with the mechanization of human beings, the mass production of impulses and the programming of their souls. It is constantly drawing up five year plans to achieve one social goal or another, and if the five year plans never succeed, then that just means that it's time for an even more ambitious ten year plan to fight people who use too much water or don't teach their children tolerance.
But the reasons why machines work is because people design them. Machines however cannot design machines. When the average functionary is as devoid of autonomy and innovative thinking as your Windows PC, then the society will begin crashing as it encounters errors not in its programming. Deploying masses of asses to tackle social problems while following a rigid script filled with inflexible assumptions is a surefire way to fail and use that as an excuse to throw more men at the job.
Failure is built into the system. Large armies of men following orders is a good way to grind down equally large armies. It's not a way to run a country. Human industrialization creates bureaucratic hives which worsen everything they touch. It fills the country with functionaries following scripts that require them to confiscate our freedoms for our own good, a good that even in their limited definition they cannot achieve.
The very inflexibility of the idiot cousins guarantees their tenure. The more they fail, the more of them are needed. If we spent X amount of money to achieve Y without achieving it, then next time we must spend X+2. It's the linear mechanical logic of the idiot who can only think in terms of tackling every problem with more resources until it finally cracks. If our last machine didn't do it, then our massive EDUTRON 2000 which is twice as big and costs twice as much will surely educate all our children properly.
We have been throwing idiot cousins are the war on poverty, at discrimination and at overeating. And now we're poorer, more bigoted and fatter than we used to be. Given another generation we'll have trouble getting up out of bed at the homeless shelter long enough to carry out hate crimes. That's not the official progressive party line which says that we are more tolerant than we used to be, even as they discover five new kinds of bigotry over the weekend. And as for poverty, it's tempting to say that the only people who got rich fighting poverty were the idiot cousins, but even they are worse off in a country which is poorer than ever and which can only afford fattening food.
Like the Soviet Union, the progressive agenda never fails, it just succeeds so much that it moves on to fight new challenges, like racist babies, the imminent destruction of the planet and understanding how right wing talk show hosts brainwash people into hating all their programs. There are never defeats, only strategic retreats. Each setback is an opportunity to create a new agency full of idiot cousins with a 40 billion dollar budget in order to "invest in our future".
We have been investing so much in our future lately, that we may not even have a future anymore. Forget peak oil, we are rapidly reaching peak government. Our exploitation of our human resources is unsustainable. Eventually we will have bankrupted the future due to all our investing in the future in such promising present day stocks as Idiot Cousins Inc, better known as the entire monumental structure of government and its assorted camp followers looking for a chance to wash clothes, hold a fundraiser or make off with a fat government contract.
Hoover promised two chickens in every pot, but while the price of chicken is rising, our current leaders offer us two bureaucrats, inspectors, managers, disarrangers and assorted euphemisms for unelected but impossible to get rid of miniature tyrants, to every family that works for a living.
The human machine that the left keeps building in our backyard doesn't work. It can never work and it refuses to go away. It only keeps getting bigger and bigger. The builders don't understand that it's not the fault of the machine, it's the fault of the theory. The machine does what it's designed to do which is carry out a linear process. It will not however transform humanity. Nor will it clean up after itself.
A machine of ten million human parts is far dumber than any single human being. It is far less competent, far less capable and far more cruel. It will fail at all but the simplest tasks because it has no soul, it has no conscience, it has no mind and it has no common sense. Its very operation creates more problems than it can hope to solve. It is not a solution. It and its operators, the idiot cousins who fill its metal chambers, are the problem. They are our problem.
Daniel Greenfield is a blogger, columnist and freelance photographer born in Israel, who maintains his own blog, Sultan Knish.