Weaponized Civil Service

Photo courtesy SImon Cunningham, Flickr, Jan. 3, 2014

Now that the IRS has demonstrated itself fully partisan in nature and wholly unaccountable, what do we do? This is not the only agency that has chosen sides in the political wars, though it is certainly the worst, as it is the agency with the most power over our daily lives (though the EPA , DHS, (In)Justice, and FDA are certainly vying for that designation).

Any solution will also have to deal with a fully partisan Attorney General and (In)Justice Department that has no intention of prosecuting political hacks masquerading as civil service, abusing their power while taking care of interests of their political masters. While Holder and his gang of racist goons are certainly the most recent, they won’t be the last or the worst.

The civil service started initially as a patronage endeavor where supporters of the new regime were rewarded with jobs while the old guys were shown the door. About a century ago as the complexity of the work to be done ratcheted up, an attempt was made to turn them into a group of professionals hired via competitive testing and qualifications. The stated goal a century ago was for the civil service to be completely apolitical, though what is stated is not necessarily the actual long term goal as politicians haven’t changed a lot over the centuries.

Over the last century, particularly the last 30 years, the civil service is no longer apolitical, partly because conservatives left them mostly alone, partly because they were unionized by JFK in the early 1960s, and mostly because of the hiring of the Carter, Clinton and Obama years. Today, it is a fully operational, weaponized, and battle-tested part of the democrat coalition which we see on a daily basis out of every single federal agency (think the Death Star in the Return of the Jedi).

In some ways, this is a demonstration of Jerry Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy:

<blockquote>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 question we conservatives need to consider is how to fix what is now so badly broken?

A return to patronage wouldn’t be a bad thing, but it won’t work with DC in so much control of our daily lives. At least we would know who the current group of SOB’s is beholden to. Another solution would be to rescind JFK’s Executive Order allowing the civil service to be unionized. A third solution would be to term limit any civil service to a flat 10 years in all civil service jobs combined. A fourth solution would be a change in civil service legislation that would allow anyone of them to be fired at any time for any reason. A fifth solution would be to strip civil immunity and make civil service employees personally liable for their actions on the job. A sixth solution would be to allow any supervisor, manager or executive to fire any civil service employee at any time for any reason.

New hires would have to go thru the existing competitive hiring process.

Some combination of these solutions ought to be considered. Otherwise, we have allowed a fourth branch of government to be constructed: enormous, unaccountable, arrogant, expensive and hideously destructive of our liberties.