Blogs > Liberty and Power > The Dangers of A Standing Bureaucracy

Sep 18, 2005 11:49 am

The Dangers of A Standing Bureaucracy

Liberals (in the true sense) were worried in the 17th & 18th centuries about the dangers of a standing army. They feared an unlimited monarch would use it to intimidate opponents. Now, at the beginning of the 21st century, the danger comes from a standing bureaucracy. Officials’ jobs are to find new ways of extending their benevolent power over their heedless & irresponsible subjects. The latest: special police to make sure you’ve turned your lights off, insulated your house, installed solar panels, etc.

Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister,John Prescott is taking very seriously a paper from a think tank, which recommends ‘energy wardens’ on the line of wardens during the blitz, who ordered householders to turn off lights that were showing. The paper says we are now on a war footing when it comes to oil: prices could double if extremists gained control over a sufficient part of the oil supply. Householders should also be forcibly submitted to an ‘energy audit’ -- to justify their use of energy, every year.

It is, of course, impossible for politicians & govt officials to rely on energy prices: if they did this, they would have nothing to do. Politicians have only a big stick to beat people with -- & that, of course, is what they will deploy -- every time. Democratic elections can only produce democratically-elected autocrats -- what Burke called the ‘despotism of the multitude’.

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