Wednesday, May 13, 2015



American and British media enjoy talking about corruption in the bureaucracies of the less industrialized world. Well, people in glass houses should not throw stones. The level of corrupt bureaucracy in most American cities is blatant and atrocious. The most obvious examples come with a simple phone inquiry. Illiterate secretaries rudely place taxpayers on hold or simply say, "I don't know." as though this is a definitive answer to a legitimate question.
Yesterday, I called a supervisor of the local building department. A woman's voice explained that the male supervisor would not be in his office until Friday. The voice then stated baldly, "His line is not taking messages." What? This is a city employee who is acting as an autonomous agent. Who gave him the authority to ignore taxpayer inquiries, even if he is on vacation?
My city has made some attempts at increasing taxpayer access and departmental accountability. However, scratching below the surface of pothole repair reveals a rabbit hole of deep nepotism, indolence and blatant disregard for a taxpayer's right to expect expeditious services for his/her money.
The Libertarian solution is to further castrate government authority rather than push sustainable government reform. Democrats are notoriously on the side of corruption as long as it is done in the name of liberal causes. Republicans are perhaps the better reformers of bureaucracy but they shift corruption in favor of corporate power and subsidy. The burden of fault for bad government falls squarely on the shoulders of voters and taxpayers who tolerate abuse at the hands of bureaucrats.
Part of what I consider a humanist practice is to educate myself on the law and proper procedures of my local bureaucracy. Today I will be marching down to the local city hall annex. I plan to correct my current problem face to face. This is the only way I know to make sure I do not fall victim to bureaucratic abuse. It is the only way I know to effect change.

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