Bureaucrats Think They Want Slaves, but They Won’t Like the Results

It seems that the dream of bureaucrats is people who always and only follow orders, but their dream would be a nightmare—even for them.

Weird stuff has been connecting in my mind, from public school teachers to Green Berets. There seems to be a common thread in those stories and others. The stories include that of a Christian elected to office who is expected to affirm that marriage is defined as a relationship between two generic persons rather than between a man and a woman, because the Supreme Court said so.

In every case, those in high authority expect the underlings to simply obey orders without question. The public school teachers are supposed to ignore their knowledge of how to teach and the best interests of the children and conduct and record all the assessments. The Green Berets are supposed to ignore their knowledge of combat and follow directives instituted by people who have never seen combat. A county clerk who took office with Christian convictions—an office she was qualified for under the First Amendment and other laws—is now supposed to throw out what she knows is true and sign a lie (a marriage license) for the sake of the Supreme Court.

I think the dream of tax-fed bureaucrats is an army of robots. Since we don’t have that level of technology yet, they will settle for people stripped down to the level of robots. They want order-followers. And if they fire enough of the independent thinkers who imagine they have their own moral compass and their own evaluations , they will then get the kind of people they want.

But they aren’t thinking this through.

The problem is that people who are committed to simply pleasing the powerful no matter what the cost they see on the ground are not people who can be relied upon. Everyone thinks they want robots but they really need intelligent, faithful friends. To use an illustration from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, you can’t get rid of Sam Gamgee and expect your garden to get the same level of care.

Also, tossing all the independent people outside the system might bring other problems to your door.

You need people with integrity, faithfulness, and the common sense or intelligence required to handle many decisions you know nothing about as the head of the organization. If you want teachers who can teach students, getting rid of all the ones who won’t submit to your crazy orders will leave you with ambitious corporate climbers who don’t care about students. If you want warriors, getting rid of all the ones who want to do good deeds is going to give you people without any moral restraints. If every local elected official is forced to meet changing Washington mandates, no one with any real intelligence or interest will want such positions.

If those people are not able to fit in your new plan you need to reassess your plan—whether in public schools or on a distant battlefield. Or even if you are the Supreme Court.