Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

The Father of Bureaucracies

June 01st, 2017 by G.

It just occurred to me that Satan’s excuse for deceiving Eve was the standard bureaucrat’s excuse. “I was just following procedure.”

One can say many things about bureaucracy in this world. Many of them positive. But it does not seem to be a feature of the heavens. There all things are personal.

Comments (6)
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June 01st, 2017 06:35:54
6 comments

Ivan Wolfe
June 1, 2017

There’s good reason CS Lewis made hell a bureaucracy in The Screwtape Letters:

“I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of “Admin.” The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid “dens of crime” that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the office of a thoroughly nasty business concern.”


JRL in AZ
June 1, 2017

I was a bureaucrat for three years during undergrad, and I represented government bureaucrats for a few years as a lawyer. The post and Ivan’s comments are exactly true. So may idiotic and ultimately bad things done to people simply because it was the way it was done. Who was to blame? Nobody – it was just standard operating procedure.


Zen
June 1, 2017

I think this sounds like the best new swear word I have heard. The next time I stub my toe, I am going to say, ‘Father of Bureaucracies! That hurt!’.


G.
June 2, 2017

@Zen,
I love you, man.


Vader
June 4, 2017

It occurs to me that bureaucracies are a substitute for moral courage.

It takes moral courage to take responsibility for consequential decisions. Those decisions have to be made, so what do you do when you can’t find people with moral courage to make them?

You create a bureaucracy, where consequential decisions can be made without anyone having to take responsibility for them.

I think this will go into my next installment. Which will be somewhat delayed — I am about to visit the old homestead on Tatooine and I may not have time to get this out today.


Ben
June 7, 2017

@Vader:

That is essentially Bruce Charlton’s argument against democracy (and any rule by committee).

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