Maarten Maartensz:    Philosophical Dictionary | Filosofisch Woordenboek                      

 B - Bureaucracy plan


Bureaucracy plan: The bureaucracy plan is an idea about good democratic government that I have since many years, and that was originally caused by my extensive experiences with Dutch bureaucrats. The brief version is: We must try to give the real power and the real government to the people.

Here is a synopsis of the main idea:

   The only good bureaucrat is one with a pistol at his head. Put it in his hand and it's good-bye to the Bill of Rights.
-- H.L. Mencken

Government by the people: Instead of a bureaucracy and instead of military service, every adult citizen in society should spend two or three years of his or her life as a civil servant, in the type of job and with the sort of payment one receives in ordinary life, organized on the lines of a governmental Manpower office, also manned by such civil servants, that takes care that the tasks now done by state bureaucracy will be done by properly and honestly by ordinary civilians doinbg their civil service.

This is a system of
real democratic government, that avoids all or most of the dangers of bureaucracy (careerism, corruption, loyalty to - aspiring - dictators, parasitism, incompetence, manipulation, lack of control by the population), and effectively does give the power to the people, for it in effect delivers the everyday practical government in the hands of the people, for the few years that they do social service as civil servant. Besides, it makes every adult participate in actual government during some period of his or her life, and it gives every citizen a chance to be a civil servant, and to replace the bureaucratic caste of state servants that currently have most of the everyday power in so-called "democratic" states, and which is a type of man that can and should be wholly done away with. Real power to the people - by civil service.

This must be practically feasible, since very few bureaucratic jobs require much special expertise, knowledge of schooling that people working outside bureaucracy in society do no already have.

Two important guiding principles here are:

  • ALL political and bureaucratic positions should be temporal and for a few years at most
  • ALL political and bureaucratic positions should involve public accountability after the job is finished as regards finances spent and decisions made while the position was exercised

Note that what exists at present, in all states, everywhere, is just the opposite:

Bureaucratic and political functions have become positions a persons holds for life, and indeed quite often holds through generations, as if it is hereditary nobility: Children of politicians become politicians, often in their twenties without having had any real social job, and all such functions tend to be for life, dependent on and furthered by friends and colleagues who likewise hold bureaucratic and political functions for life.

The result is an effective caste of governors and administrators, consisting of friends, colleagues, and family members, who all protect each other and help promote each other, and whose real and effective moral main principle is to help, to protect and to promote ones colleagues because they are colleagues, and because the pension rights, perks, and side benefits of conformist correct helping each other to power and to serve power are great.

The advantages of being a decent, conformist, well-behaved bureaucrat who does as he has been told by his superiors and colleagues have become very great in such careers that extend through a whole life, for all politically correct conformers: Excellent pensions, many special rights, perks and subsidies for oneself and one's children; many special advantages of the functions one has for a long time, both legal, illegal and in-between; for politicians excellent chances on high bureaucratic functions like mayorships and commissariats of important firms; and for all of the higher ranks the advantages of being well-known public face with easy access to the media, and for getting one's way with the help of friends and colleagues.

I regard all this as dangerous: Democratic government is government by the people, and not by a caste of lifelong governors, whether bureaucrats or politicians, for that corrupts and makes impossible for the governed to control their governors.

Thence the bureaucracy plan: Give the power to the people by making every sane citizen in principle a state-servant for some years, in a function for which he or she has the expertise already, from his or her normal job, and with similar pay, but for a limited time, and with effective financial and political control after the temporal function has been laid down again, and the person who exercised returns to his normal social job and position.

So, what's all this in aid of?

Negatively, taken together, the Democracy Plan and Bureaucracy Plan are aimed to prevent bad government; bad governors; bad, incompetent or corrupt civil servants (a type of entity I want to see - almost, say apart from professional ambassadors and a few similar jobs for highly qualified highly trained persons - wholly non-existent); the "democratic" choice of incompetents, careerists, or aspiring dictators by a majority of the misled (it is probably quite true that "not everyone can be fooled all of the time", but surely it is also true that vast "democratic" majorities have been effectively fooled and misled all of the time in very many cases: Enlightened minorities are almost useless if unenlightened majorities may decide who is to govern them, and what policies are rational and fair); despotic government, police or military powers; and they aim to further a government of the people, by the people and for the people, on the basis of policies elected by those best qualified to judge, but maintained by all in the few years in one's life each does social service as civil servant - which incidentally should also contribute to the personal education and social understanding of all.

Positively, taken together, the sort of society I want:

A society governed by its total adult population through some years of civil service, that replaces nearly all of present state bureaucracies, with its ruling Úlite and policies selected by and from the highly educated of the society, and such that everyone is given the same chance on the best education, which is made available to all who are capable of it.

A society dedicated to the furthering of
science and technology, first and foremost furthered by education, schools and universities, in the interest of all, where everyone has the right to be fed, educated, housed, clothed and provided with work that fits his capacities and inclinations, and where all have the freedoms of speech, discussion, publication, movement, opinion, argumentation, production and selling, all only bound by and regulated by public laws, maintained by independent public courts, with public judgments.

A society where everyone is in principle expected to interact by peaceful cooperation, free discussion, with resort to independent third parties to resolve conflicts, and by mutual agreement, contracts or promises that are expected to stand if freely agreed to.

A society whose citizens are expected to be intelligent, informed, educated, witty, rational, reasonable, cooperative, fair, honest, and where everyone has a fair chance of a bearable life, the development of any personal talents, and is fairly rewarded according to real merit.


See also: Bureaucracy, Democracy, Democracy Plan, Government, Power, State,



 Original: Nov 18, 2004                                                Last edited: 12 December 2011.   Top