I’m From The Government, And I’m Here To …

Ronald Reagan used to end that sentence with “help” in the context of the sentence being one of the scariest things someone could hear. David French has a post over at NRO that explains why trust in government by conservatives and libertarians has slipped even lower.

I’m no “deep state” or “soft coup” conspiracy theorist. I know there are progressives who do excellent work in the bureaucracy, and I know there are also incompetent conservatives. As we’ve learned, incompetence, bias, and sleaziness know no ideological bounds. But unless our nation can diversify its civil service (and unless civil servants themselves stop acting recklessly and foolishly) public trust will continue to erode, and everything will be viewed through a partisan lens, all the time.

Read the whole thing.

4 thoughts on “I’m From The Government, And I’m Here To …

  1. “and everything will be viewed through a partisan lens, all the time” You mean the Democrats haven’t been doing this all the time? So now that the Republicans (and even conservatives) are starting to do the same kind of things more fully it is somehow not right? After eight years of the most partisan President in years, it is only self-defense. How can we know what the Democrats are up to if we don’t look through a “partisan lens” (that is, the liberal lens the Democrats use.) — BJ54

  2. Did the prosecution tell Flynn’s lawyer that their main witness against him was removed for bias? Since Strzok led the interview and his testimony would be needed to establish untruthfulness, he is a critical witness not just a prosecutor. If not disclosed, would this not be a Giglio violation? This is the kind of misconduct that can get a case dismissed and a lawyer disbarred. It is a Constitutional violation. This has bothered me since I heard about it.


    The big question I have is how the f*^k did this fbi agent even know about the phone calls?

  3. “deep state” isn’t something like a conspiracy. It’s just saying that there are people in positions of power who are difficult to fire and have partisan tendencies they express while doing their jobs. Lois Lerner isn’t a made up person, nor is she the only such person. Also, that people who work for government generally tend to lean one way, politically, so the net action of these people tends to lean one way politically. That is it.


    1) people in positions of power that are difficult to fire.

    They exist, provably.

    2) that some of those people have partisan tendencies is not only provable, but inevitable.

    In particular, Milton Friedman suggested that bureaucracies tend to collect people who have an interest in what they manage. A person who tries to get a job at the EPA is usually not merely seeking a government job. I don’t personally have evidence of this, but he did.

    3) People who work for government tend to lean one way, politically.

    Be it surveys, or political contributions, or internal communications, or activities, this is also self-evident. It might not be to the scientific level of proof, but it easily exceeds the preponderance of the evidence standard. Most Sociologists would love for anything they investigating to have the same level of evidence.

    So, deep state isn’t something like a conspiracy. Honestly, they can all work together without working together at all. Because there is no need for them to communicate with each other, to issue or accept orders, to conspire, when they basically all have the same general objectives.

    At the end of World War 2, documents directly linking Hitler to war crimes, concentration camps, the murder of civilians by the SS, and various other things could not be found. The reason for that is obvious. Everyone understood what Hitler wanted. It was in his book, it was also pretty much a party line thought pattern. Without needing to order people to build gas chambers, to hunt Jews, or any of the rest, and in particular the terrible things done on the lowest level of the military, it was all done with an understanding.

    I’m obviously not claiming that it was all done spontaneously, that Hitler was unaware, or that it wasn’t his policy. Whatever else I think of him, I don’t doubt his commitment to his goals, and his goals are laid out in his book. I’m simply pointing out that without having to organize every detail by some central power, there is spontaneous order in having a common goal. I don’t think a partisan democrat working in a place of power is unaware of the common goal that is being worked toward. Not concentration camps or genocide in this case, but as far as awareness of the set of goals the democrats have, or supporting their common beliefs? I have no doubt.

    Honestly, it is most likely far more efficient if they aren’t organized but working more or less independently, rather than if the whole thing actually were a conspiracy. For one, a conspiracy is difficult, because of the intensity of the secret communication and the unreliability of humans with secrets or them following the procedures needed to communicate secretly. A secret with tens of thousands in the know is impossible.

    If you want a build a moon rocket, central management and more importantly funding helps a lot. If you want to steer an entire country, having a million people all acting individually in regard to the thing they know best will work better. Central authority doesn’t really help much when the goal isn’t easily observable. That’s why we can design a moon rocket with the collective power of the US government, but we can’t design a head start program that actually improves the academics or outcomes of young children later in life with ten times as much money. In particular, if even among your “political opposition” (which is a different thing than actual opposition), there isn’t really all that much resistance.

    So the deep state isn’t a conspiracy theory. It doesn’t require anyone to actually believe others are working toward their goal. Literally no one needs to conspire. It doesn’t require orders. In so much as they even exist, it’s just opinion expressed on newspapers and in the news, hardly secret. It’s just theory based on observations. And it is very difficult to assert that the observations or the theory is in any way wrong.

    • Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people”:

      First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.

      Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.

      The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.

      The Iron Law of Bureaucracy–Jerry Pournelle

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