Via HotAir, David Brooks at NYT wants so much more government involved in your life, but it’s so sad that sometimes so much more good government that will tell you how to live doesn’t turn out perfect like it should. Aww.. poor statist tyrant:
Most government workers are amazingly dedicated and talented, and they put in a level of commitment that is far out of proportion to their salaries.
But we’re also seeing government workers, who, far from checking their own desire for control, have taken it out for a romp.
Brooks is an idiot. At the bottom of the page, it notes that he’s filling in for Paul Krugman, who’s also an idiot, so he must be competing with Paul Krugman for some inter-office idiocy award.
Auditing low-level agents at the IRS do not “take their desire for control out for a romp”. Doesn’t work that way. They may agree with the IRS conservative crackdown plans and go along with them, but the guy doing the paperwork does not come up with schemes and machinations. The mid-level manager gal doing the office paperwork to make sure the guy doing the lower paperwork doesn’t come up with these schemes. She may go along with them, but they have to be passed down to her from someone with the authority to be able to waive all the concerns about repercussions for IRS personnel doing something wrong and getting fired. Normal people do not get together to “take their desire for control out for a romp” at the low level, as though there’s some spontaneously generated lust for power in people who double-check math all day.
It’s hard to tell now if the I.R.S. scandal is political thuggery or obliviousness. It would be one thing if the scandal is just a group of tax people targeting the most antitax groups in the country. That’s just normal, run-of-the-mill partisan antipathy.
Sure, it’s okay if they target people who try to restore the nation to founding priciples. That’s okay. It’s fine if you’re tax collectors who target people who want the tax burden reduced through legal means and legislation. Of course that’s fine. No problem with that kind of targeted oppression by government whatsoever.
It’s just as okay as if the government targeted any other group that the government didn’t like. Because after all, the citizen exists solely for the government to deem either worthy or unworthy.
It would be far worse if the senior workers of the I.R.S. have become so isolated by their technocratic task that they didn’t even recognize that using the search term “Tea Party” was going to be a moral and political problem.
Gee, it’s too bad they didn’t come up with a more clever way to target those sniveling teabaggers. If only they had been smart enough not to outright say they were targeting the Tea Party. Then they could’ve gotten away with it.
Everyone is treating the I.R.S. issue as a bigger deal, but the Justice Department scandal is worse. This was a sweeping intrusion that makes it hard for the press to do its job. Who is going to call a journalist to report wrongdoing knowing that at some future date, the government might feel perfectly free to track the phone records and hunt you down?
I would have thought a dozen Justice Department officials would have risen up and splashily resigned when they learned of the scope of this invasion. Aren’t there some lawyers in the Justice Department, and, if so, did they go to law schools where the Constitution is left unassigned?
The DOJ smuggled guns to narcoterrorist cartels and hushed it up and you and your reporter friends helped hush it up. Brooks, when the DOJ decides to make you sign your own confession Soviet-style, you will have earned your statist utopia and all the hard labor it will sentence you to until the end of your days. Maybe after a few decades in the ground, they’ll even take the time to posthumously rehabilitate you.
We clearly have a values problem in the federal government. We clearly have a few or many agencies where the leaders don’t emphasize that workers need to check themselves, or risk losing what remains of the people’s trust.
There is no “values problem” in the fedgov. There is a fedgov that is unconstrained by the document that created it. Men are the same, that’s why we have a Constitution.
We have a Constitution, and that creates our government. The Constitution is what creates the government and limits it – it is the laws by which the government is created and those it must abide by. When government ignores the Constitution, as it has been doing, it should have no trust – because it is an entity of domination composed of men with power – whether malignant or benign. When it ceases to be an entity that exists at the behest of the citizen, it becomes oppressive. A massive, distant power composed of men with power and no constraints are never deserving of any trust.
I generally support the little behavioral nudges that Cass Sunstein describes in his outstanding book “Simpler” — the subtle policy shifts that induce people to save more, or eat healthier.
Ah, David Brooks, lickspittle for tyrants.
I’d trust somebody with a minimalist disposition like Sunstein to implement these policies.
That’s so precious that you want to be dominated, David. You’re so vanilla.
But I wouldn’t necessarily trust the people at the I.R.S. or Justice Department to implement them.
Guess who you’re going to get? Guess who’s going to be running your health care? Guess who’s been hushing up the murders of your Mexican neighbors to the south?
Cass Sunstein is a tyrant wannabe, along with all of his authoritarian ilk. Revisit his rave review of “Against Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism”. They want to coerce you – to force you – into something they think is good for you. Brooks wants to be coerced – to be forced – into something someone else thinks is good for him – and he wants you forced as well. Everybody knows what’s best for you, and they’re going to force it on you, because they’ve decided you need to be forced into what they think you should be. Brooks wants to be dominated and be controlled by government.
Brooks wants a bad government to dominate him, he just wants one that doesn’t spank too hard.
But I’ll end this with a quote from a tax collector and freedom fighter:
If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.