In his book The Witch Doctor, author Christopher Stasheff gave perhaps the best description of bureaucracy yet offered in human language.
The race is not always to the swift, nor advancement to the most able - at his job, at least. It is to the most able, at currying favor and influence.
Later Saul tells the bureaucrat:
You fell victim to the bureaucrat's big weakness - you started caring about the job itself and forgot it was jsut supposed to be a means of personal advancement.
Those two statements cover all of the sins of bureaucracy.
In the past twenty-four hours I have had the inestimable bliss to not only deal with a state bureaucracy, but a Federal one as well. The Texas DPS aka The DMV and the Social Security Administration. If my daughter was old enough to file her own taxes I would have had the Trifecta and dealt with the IRS as well, but perhaps someday when beating my head against a brick wall has lost its lustre.
Last evening my daughter was robbed in Baltimore. Some punks broke into a car where her backpack was gloriously displayed next to her friend's purse. Hey, temptation was there and the young lads just gave in too easily.
Right after the fraud division of our bank calls us about some suspicious activity on my daughter's account, my daughter calls me crying about the robbery. I easily get her card canceled, but not before the punks filled up their gas tanks (filled up twice 2 blocks from where they robbed my daughter and her friend) then went on a spree on a fast food boulevard in Baltimore. These industrious boys had stolen iPods (which were bricked today, by the bye)credit cards, driver's licenses and several Visa gift cards the girls had been given by folks for their internship expenses.
So my daughter's friend's mom and I started last night and today dealing with the most important thing, getting their picture ID restored so they can get on their flight home in August. It's tedious, full of paperwork, but the forms, money orders and everything was overnighted to them this morning, along with prescriptions to replace eye glasses that were stolen with everything else. The big deal? Having some retarded monkey here in Texas who will actually be able to understand that the girls need to have their licenses mailed to Baltimore or they will not be able to fly home because that is their ID, the only they have in the far off lands of "Back East".
Oh, and the joy of spending an hour at the Social Security office with all of your paperwork in order to get another card issued and to report her number as compromised, only to be told by the baby momma behind the window, talking on her cell phone the entire hour, that my daughter has to be there in person. As I tried to explain to her, in some detail the reason I needed to replace it was that it was stolen from her while she was out of town. If I can't get the Texas ID then the Social Security card would have stood as 1 piece of ID, and I would have mailed her stupid birth certificate to her to serve as the second.
For the record, the retarded monkeys at the DPS office are savants compared to their sisters at the Social Security Administration.
This is the plight of the modern bureaucrat. They don't like their jobs. They like their benefits and the fact that if they sneeze they don't work. Hell, I'd be out for the entire growing season in Texas, meaning I'd work 2 months a year. They don't have to do anything but keep from making any actual decisions. It doesn't matter how right you are, you will never be more right than the most wrong bureaucrat.
Doubt me? Try to tell anyone at the District Clerk's office certain points of law. Suddenly the girl who barely got a high school diploma will assert with all the assurance of a Supreme Court Judge how the cow ate the cabbage based on her two entire hours of training at the county computer class. But if you don't let her think she's right, you will never, ever get anything done in that office as long as she and her cronies exist there. They can barely count their paychecks but they can carry a grudge like a baby momma carries baby weight. It never dies.
If you have ever had to deal with any type of DMV then you know the special pain that is bureaucracy. No one really knows anything, they just know that whatever you're saying is wrong. I've seen clerks argue with Texas State Troopers who really know the Penal Code and license statutes. I've seen the Trooper back down. I've seen Texas Rangers back down.
So if I ever get the urge to take the sniper rifle to a tower somewhere, I'll start by picking off DMV clerks and court clerks. No cop will arrest me and no judge will convict me.
Some people just need killin'.