Our Enemy, the Bureaucrat
America, home of the free... or not. Americans today, less free under surveillance by federal agencies, bullied by bureaucrats, and harassed for their beliefs by tax collectors (talk about contravening the Declaration of Independence).
America today -- the long-dead Albert Jay Nock would recognize as a prediction come true (his). That's the America where the State is swallowing up society and government. Where federal bureaucrats have been outed as willing foot soldiers in President Obama's and the Democratic Party's war on traditional America and American liberties. Bureaucrats yoked to a cause for self-interest as much -- or more -- as ideology.
As Rush Limbaugh is wont to say, "Follow the money."
The Party of Big Government is the natural home for a large and growing class of Americans whose livelihoods depend on government paychecks; who see grassroots conservatives and libertarians as threats to their jobs. 2.1 million federal employees, full and part time, are on Uncle Sam's payroll (that excludes the military). Federal bureaucrats -- thanks to the IRS scandal -- are under the hot lights right now, but don't forget about state and local bureaucrats, whose stakes in big government are hefty (ask Wisconsin's Scott Walker and California taxpayers).
Follow the money. OpenSecrets.org provides this synopsis of government employee unions' political giving:
Since contract negotiations for these [public sector] workers are dependent not on private corporations, but on the size of government budgets, this is the one segment of the labor movement that can actually contribute directly to the people with ultimate responsibility for its livelihood. While their giving pattern matches that of other unions (which overwhelmingly support Democrats), public sector unions also concentrate contributions on members of Congress from both parties who sit on committees that deal with federal budgets and agencies.
OpenSecrets.org also offers a graph showing some public sector unions giving large amounts to "Outside Spending Groups." You can bet that Tea Party and conservative 501(c)(3)s and 501(c)(4)s -- those very groups the IRS acted to suppress -- were never intended to be recipients of public sector unions' largesse. (Here's another chart from OpenSecrets.org worth reviewing.)
Speaking of the IRS, Tim Carney at the Washington Examiner recently wrote:
In the past three election cycles, the Center for Responsive Politics' database shows about $474,000 in political donations by individuals listing "IRS" or "Internal Revenue Service" as their employer.
This money heavily favors Democrats: $247,000 to $145,000, with the rest going to political action committees. (Oddly, half of those GOP donations come from only two IRS employees, one in Houston and one in Annandale, Va.)
IRS employees also gave $67,000 to the PAC of the National Treasury Employees Union, which in turn gave more than 96 percent of its contributions to Democrats. Add the PAC cash to the individual donations and IRS employees favor Democrats 2-to-1.
The emerging grassroots movement for smaller government presents an existential peril to bureaucrats -- of which they are sharply aware. Public sector unions have been Democrat bastions for years, of course. What the Obama presidency has done is embolden federal worker bees to coordinate directly or indirectly with a president who wants hypergovernment. Barack Obama is a pro-growth president -- for Uncle Sam's bureaucrats.
Through the IRS scandal and the NSA phone records sweeps, federal bureaucrats are revealing themselves as enemies of the people; henchmen in Mr. Obama's grand plan to "transform" America, to amalgamate statist Europe and the banana republicanism of the late Hugo Chavez's Venezuela (with plenty of Chicago's corrupt, seedy mobster politics for extra muscle).
Lost in the shuffle of IRS abuses and NSA overreach is the EPA. As EPA Abuse.com reported last year:
But, we do not have to wait to decide that the Obama administration has "overstepped its authority" [on health care] -- a federal judge has already handed down a decision. In this case, healthcare is not at the center of the debate; the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is. The agency have been issuing regulations and finalizing rules with no "burden of justification."
The EPA has been a willing, egregious participant in Mr. Obama's anti-industry efforts, at times aggressively and flagrantly imposing itself in matters that exceed its mandate (see the EPA Abuse.com link for what happened in a Texas case).
And then there's the Eric Holder-led Justice Department. Are the New Black Panthers on the government payroll, by any chance? A-okay to go after a reporter, James Rosen, for doing his job, above board and ethically? Nah, the Justice Department isn't tied to Mr. Obama's statist goals. Just coincidence.
In 1935, Albert Jay Nock published a book titled: Our Enemy, the State, which has become a minor classic of political philosophy. Nock was considered a fringy libertarian at the time. Not any longer. Today, Nock is proving a prophet.
Nock's book is a must-read for friends of liberty. His analyses and insights were prescient. The convergence of Washington's political class (dominated by Democrats, left-wingers, and compliant establishment Republicans) and federal government bureaucracies wouldn't surprise Nock one iota.
The state, indeed, is proving with each new scandal and abuse of power to be our enemy, an enemy that's led and aided and abetted by a Democratic Party that decades ago grafted the Tammany Hall and Pendergast Machine models to the progressive-statist model. The fruits of that convergence are being borne now in ever more frightening episodes of big government abuses. Expect fresh revelations from other departments and agencies to come.
Mark Steyn wrote in his column last Saturday for National Review Online:
When the state has the power to know everything about everyone, the integrity of the civil service is the only bulwark against men like Holder. Instead, the ruling party and the non-partisan bureaucracy seem to be converging. In August 2010, President Obama began railing publicly against "groups with harmless-sounding names like Americans for Prosperity" (August 9th, a speech in Texas) and "shadowy groups with harmless-sounding names" (August 21st, radio address). And whaddayaknow, that self-same month the IRS obligingly issued its first BOLO (Be On the Look-Out) for groups with harmless-sounding names, like "tea party," "patriot," and "constitution."
It may be that the strange synchronicity between the president and the permanent bureaucracy is mere happenstance and not, as it might sound to the casual ear, the sinister merging of party and state. Either way, they need to be pried apart. When the state has the capability to know everything except the difference between right and wrong, it won't end well.
No "mere happenstance" here, Mark. Federal bureaucrats are a third column ensconced in every nook and cranny of the vast federal government, safeguarded by civil service laws, and supporting Mr. Obama's and the Democratic Party's politics via the exercise of their considerable powers. They are by interest and worldview simpatico with the Party of Big Government's aims. Good career moves for them, if nothing else.