04 June 2017

The Conscientious Official

The Conscientious Official

While a Division Superintendent of a railway was attending closely to his business of placing obstructions on the track and tampering with the switches he received word that the President of the road was about to discharge him for incompetency.

“Good Heavens!” he cried; “there are more accidents on my division than on all the rest of the line.”

“The President is very particular,” said the Man who brought him the news; “he thinks the same loss of life might be effected with less damage to the company’s property.”

“Does he expect me to shoot passengers through the car windows?” exclaimed the indignant official, spiking a loose tie across the rails.  “Does he take me for an assassin?”

- 30 -

This Fantastic Fable captures beautifully the irrationality and detachment of cause from effect in "bureauthink". The profit/power motives of the organization are preserved and made clear (damage to company property: bad!), but the whole system is inimical to damage free company property. The relevance of public body counts (or lack thereof) is icing on the cake.

Where I may diverge with some people of a libertarian bent, I see private enterprises with different incentives and purposes only very slightly more resistant to the perils of bureauthink. Bureauthink is the underlying cause of military intelligence as being an oxymoron. The so-called Warrior-Monk, our current SECDEF Mattis and some of his crew are undoubtedly very smart and well-educated, but they seem impervious to strategic thinking beyond anything more than "we bomb you as long and hard as we can and ask for more money to do so". Naturally, everyone wants to seem important and relevant, but truth to be told there is absolutely no reason from the perspective of defense and security of the US and her citizens and allies. I am sure Mattis has read "The Art of War" and though he's shown some susceptibility reason in the past, blowing Iran and Russia out of proportion is not something very Sun Tzu-like. Fabius Maximus has an Stratfor-derived post about Russia that's keeps things in their proper perspective. The one thing that Russia does seem the United States and worse, NATO do not is to have is a fairly rational, consistent, and proportionate grand strategy of maintaining global relevance, re-establishing dominance in their sphere of influence, securing their borders, supporting their allies, and limiting the expansion of NATO. There is plenty of US grand strategy bloviation out there, but it will be filled with either explicit or implicit references to mutually-incompatible concepts like support for multiculturalism on the one hand and democracy and human rights on the other. Which wins? Democracy and human rights or the culture that supports neither? We see in practice with "friends" like Saudi Arabia and utterly shittastic what-the-hell-are-these-for-Constitutions written on behalf of and foisted on Afghanistan and Iraq.

Oh, well.

No comments:

Post a Comment