Skip to comments.Why Be Proud of Government Work? (Barf alert with questions)
Posted on 07/08/2004 8:15:53 AM PDT by robowombat
Why Be Proud of Government Work?
by Christopher Westley
Recently, when walking home from work, I was passed by one of those red monster pick-up trucks with an oversized bumper sticker on the back window that announced: FORMER MARINE.
It made me wonder why it is that Marines are the only federal employees who feel the urge to proclaim that they once were paid with taxpayer loot. You never see Volkswagens buzzing around town with a sign that says FORMER POSTAL WORKER, or Lexuses chugging down the street with a sticker proclaiming FORMER FEDERAL FISHERIES STAFF ACCOUNTANT.
So, what's with the Marines? Like any other federal employee, they live off of other people's money (acquired via conscription), they operate on a socialist model, they specialize in bullying people, and they are always faithful (semper fi!) to the government bureaucracy, whether or not that bureaucracy is acting in accord with the Constitution (or natural law).
In other words, they are different from federal housing clerks in degree but not in substance.
Normally, Id sympathize with such individuals. Despite the pay and benefits, no one said that working for the military was easy (although it often is). This is especially true for the troops sweating it out on the streets of Baghdad, many of whom signed up for National Guard service believing that two weekends a month and two weeks a year meant just that. They are, nevertheless, simply another variety of federal workers bearing grenades and guns instead of paper clips and White Out.
Both sets of workers freely chose to pledge their lives in exchange for a share of the stolen goods locked away in the Treasury for the most economic of reasons: that course of action benefited them more than the next best alternative. But while one worker finds himself in the air-conditioned bowels of the Department of Waste building somewhere near the Potomac, the other crosses himself every time he gets on the Baghdad Beltway. It doesnt seem fair.
But it is predictable. Whether bureaucracies comprise the welfare or warfare states, they must spend their budgets this year in order to justify bigger ones next year. This insight was not accepted into the mainstream of economic thought until the development of the Public Choice school in the 1960s, but long before that, the Austrian school considered the economic analysis of bureaucracies as fair game. For instance, when Mises analyzed bureaucracies in Human Action in 1949, he merely emphasized the main points he raised in his classic 1944 book Bureaucracy.
As recently as 1995, Rothbard noted that
Bureaucracy is necessarily hierarchical . . . because [it] grows by adding more subordinate layers. Since, lacking a market, there is no genuine test of "merit" in governments service to consumers, in a rule-bound bureaucracy seniority is often blithely adopted as a proxy for merit. Increasing seniority, then, leads to promotion to higher ranks, while expanding budgets take the form of multiplying the levels of ranks under you, and expanding your income and power. Bureaucratic growth occurs, then, by multiplying levels of bureaucracy.
Such layers continue to fester unless constrained by a strict constitution (which is rare) or other institutional constraints (such as a gold standard). The result is hardly congruent with a peaceful and orderly society. A bureaucracy's very existence is based on involuntary trade, implying the introduction of some violence, whether in the form of tax system enforcement or of bullets fired by those federal employees stationed out on the fringes of the American Empire.
The festering explains the general resentment toward government. One can sense it in the total disgust felt toward the two major parties' presidential candidates. One can measure it in the size of record budget deficits and projected inflation. One can see it in the popularity of a recently-released documentary that questions the moral legitimacy of the warfare state and its sycophants. After a certain point, the waste is obvious.
When that happens, shame is the proper reaction on the part of those who helped cause it by participating in a system based on transferredas opposed to createdwealth. After all, you dont see the same kind of pride of work on the part of U.S. Department of Agriculture price fixers that you do among Wal-Mart employees. Why is that?
The answer is because a life devoted to fidelity to Leviathan in a government bureaucracy is neither a badge of honor nor the mark of a meaningful life, and most every former federal employee knows itexcept, perhaps, the former leathernecks who cruise by during my walk home from work.
People who devote their lives to private enterprise, on the other hand, might be told that they are greedy and selfish but they know in their hearts that they have been serving others within a framework of voluntary exchange all their lives.
Christopher Westley, Ph.D., teaches economics at Jacksonville State University.Send him mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
That arguement won't go over with persons of Dr. Westley's views. Viewing the world through the distorting glass of libertarian ideology they see many things through the perspective of a combination of doctinaire Enlightenment and Utilitarian thought. However, within the Right their ideas need to be considered and confronted.
2>.., they specialize in bullying people,
3> ...and they are always faithful (semper fi!) to the government bureaucracy, whether or not that bureaucracy is acting in accord with the Constitution (or natural law).
1>If you were one, you would know. 2>We specialize in killing enemies of the US who would otherwise kill you. 3> Semper Fi means to other Marines, not the gov't......
There is no arguing with this man. His attitude is made clear by his pejorative descriptions of Marines and his lack of understanding of martial honor. He has no interest in understanding what the Marine Corps is, or why veterans feel pride for serving, so there's no point in engaging him. No one's mind will be changed.
He doesn't like Marines, but it's his right not to if he chooses. And his right to talk all the crap about them he wants. And he probably does, with his "partner" as they put the finishing touches on their newest giant puppet in time for the next hate America rally.
It just makes him another in a never ending series of overeducated douchebags.
From what I've learned from the Marines on FR, no self-respecting Marine would have such a bumper sticker.
This guy is a scumbag.
I wish I was as enlightened as this POS when I enlisted in the AF about the "easy jobs". There is always something to be done in the service, and the personnel assigned to each unit are invariably the ones who do it. I thought that being a mechanic on airplanes would be like working on the family car, what an education I got!!
12-16 hour days/nights on freezing/scorching flightlines occassionally with chemical protection gear on and still having to perform your job as you would normally.
Sometimes weeks of duty without a day off because the jets had to be ready to go. Exposed to hazardous chemicals on a daily basis, jet noise, jet blast, etc. During DS 1 we went over 45 days before we got our first "day off". This was so we could wash our uniforms for the first time and regroup and gather ourselves because we were starting to make mental mistakes from fatigue.
This clown has no freakin' clue what folks in the service do, and for him to state we're sucking off the taxpayers teat is deserving of good a** whoopin'.
So very true!
You got a "day-off"? Just kidding...welcome to FR...
"People who devote their lives to private enterprise, on the other hand, might be told that they are greedy and selfish but they know in their hearts that they have been serving others within a framework of voluntary exchange all their lives."
"Christopher Westley, Ph.D., teaches economics at Jacksonville State University."
Like this guy would even KNOW the meaning of private enterprise.
From what I've learned from the Marines on FR, no self-respecting Marine would have such a bumper sticker.
Exactly correct, I believe this walk home and the big red truck exist only in this guys feverish little mind. Every Marine Ive ever talked with had the attitude there are no former Marines once a Marine always a Marine.
I know how you feel. I haven't posted anything yet, but I understand when people are in a hurry to get something posted and make a few errors. One should be able to look past it though, but some can't help themselves.
Welcome to FR!
I sometimes call myself (in jest) a "recovering Marine."
Just another damn Lewser.
What's with Marines, and other armed forces is that they put their ASSES ON THE LINE, OFTEN AT GREAT RISK OF GETTING THEM SHOT OFF so that S#!t for brains Marxist "Economists" like this guy has the BASIC FREEDOM to spout his pablum to his students, poisioning their mind with revisionist social engineering, making citizens as "enlightened" as he presumes to be. < /rant>
Another tenured government employee ...
Uh, okay, Doc, if you say so. What did you say you did for a living?
Christopher Westley, Ph.D., teaches economics at Jacksonville State University.
Yeah, that's what I thought you said.
If it weren't for the Marines, or the other branches of our military service, the author of this trash article wouldn't have the freedom to publish such ilk, and could have been feed into a wood chipper under other (former)governments.
What a vicious, smarmy hit piece. I'd be willing to bet he's never spent a day in the company of the military or government employees, yet he feels free to make nasty statements about how they work and think.
Clearly he knows nothing about what makes the U.S. Marines tick.
Oh, and Dr. Westley... some of us still are. HAH!
No, they are not. I hear this sort of comment quite a bit by academics whose theoretical understanding of military service is wildly distorted by the simple fact that they were never in it. You simply cannot explain it to these people, they have no frame of reference in which to place the information.
It's something I tell every young person I know who's just signed up - you've just stepped apart from normal civilian life and there are a number of seemingly basic things that you will simply be unable to communicate to a non-veteran. But you're going to understand those old geezers hanging out at the American Legion halls that you used to laugh at just a little better...
Got to love the moral relativists. Sorry, but the difference is that nat'l defense is a constitutional requirement for gov't to fulfill, unlike the NEA and the department of education. The post office is too, but I think it is pretty obvious that it is no longer needed now that it contracts out deliveries to private carriers.
The subliminal message here is that the relativists (liberals) love gov't and hate the military, surprise!