Getting one bureaucracy (in this case Congress) to reform another bureaucracy (that hideous chimera into which the government has metamorphosed) is a lot like one of those wrestling “matches” you see on TV; the outcome has been decided long before the show begins.

Nevertheless, Robert E. Moffit of the Heritage Foundation says it’s a necessary and difficult chore but worth the effort:

The rule of regulators is arbitrary and unaccountable government—exactly what the Founders wished to prevent in crafting the Federal Constitution. — Robert E. Moffit, Heritage Foundation Center for Policy Information, “Why Congress Must Confront the Administrative State” (paper, PDF, 505 KB)

“The Force of Law”

The lack (which began as a loss) of accountability is a major problem:

Today, more than at any other time in our history, we are less and less governed by the rule of law, hammered out in legislative deliberations as the Founders intended, and more and more governed by the rule of regulation. We are subject to edicts promulgated by administrators—persons we do not know and will never know, persons protected by civil service law and tenure who are not accountable to us and will never be accountable to us. Nonetheless, the administrators’ detailed decisions have the force of law. — Ibid.

“Bureaucracy is a giant mechanism operated by pygmies.” — Honore de Balzac

Citizens Becoming Subjects

Though federal power has grown steadily since President Washington took the oath of office, today the relationship between the individual and the government is changing in a qualitative way. Americans are increasingly the subjects of an administrative regime rather than the free citizens of a democratic republic with a limited government. — Ibid.

“Government proposes, bureaucracy disposes. And the bureaucracy must dispose of government proposals by dumping them on us.” — P. J. O’Rourke

What’s at Stake?

The big question is this: How does this bureaucratic ascendancy affect ordinary Americans? My answer: Our very civic life is at stake, not just our prosperity. The current trend is an affront to our self-government. — Ibid.

No Different Drummers

Under the rule of “The New Progressives,” it’s group-think all the way:

“Permissiveness,” the hallmark of the Sixties, was never welcome among Progressives, old or new. Under the rule of the new Progressives, if you want to just “do your own thing,” you won’t. You will do what you are told. If you think you can just “turn on, tune in, and drop out,” think again. You will be forced, for example, to buy government approved health benefits—including federally certified abortifacients—or pay a fine. You will behave. You will conform. You will comply. You will not march to a different drummer. — Ibid.

“If you are going to sin, sin against God, not the bureaucracy. God will forgive you but the bureaucracy won’t.” — Hyman Rickover

“Little Bands of Experts”

But Progressivism carries within it the seeds of contradiction. While Progressives long championed the democratization of our institutions, sunlight in government, and the elimination of the baneful influence of corporate interests, they clung stubbornly to a faith that public problems could be effectively solved through bureaucratic decision-making: little bands of experts appointed to an expanding number of government boards, commissions, or panels. The experts would somehow be immune from external political pressure. That is at the heart of the Progressive conception of modern government. — Ibid.


“There’s so much in the 21st century that is stymied by bureaucracy and mediocrity and committee.” — Benedict Cumberbatch

Moffit’s entire 11-page paper is here.