Government by Agency: The New Totalitarianism
© 2017 Vernon Miles Kerr
As ever-greater government executive power, both Federal and State, is being abrogated to agencies, commissions or boards, their inefficiencies, illogicalities and inequities are attracting the public’s attention, ire, and even fear. One can sense a sea change in the making, where the increasing totalitarianism of “rule by commissions” is addressed, and a more democratic and collaborative model of exercising executive power is returned to America.
Recently, the long-held misconception that these boards are “champions” of the public interest is being progressively corrected by media focus on their antics and their demographic makeup. Both public and media are beginning to realize that more and more of their lives are being controlled and dictated to by groups with near-absolute totalitarian, dictatorial power over them. Media focus is not needed for those who labor in an industry or art that is under the control of one of these agencies, boards or commissions. It is also not needed by millions of disappointed consumers of various products and services who have naïvely looked to them for “protection” from the increasing fraud, shoddiness and danger experienced in purchasing and using these products and services.
The public, through both the media’s help and their own dealings with these boards has come to realize that the agencies presently do not exist for the protection of the public, but for the promotion of the industry they are purportedly regulating. And, why should this not be true when the majority of them are populated with cronies and retirees from the very industry being “regulated.”
Creating an omnibus law, limiting membership on any government agency, State or Federal, to only one or two members from the regulated industry might be a good start in addressing this perceived swelling sea of discontent. Perhaps mandating a swift, user-friendly channel for addressing public conflicts with these agencies would be another. The reader is encouraged to argue my points, or if he or she agrees with them, to suggest other solutions in the comment boxes, below.
2 thoughts on “Rhetoric | Government by Agency”
I’m sympathetic to the point of view, but balk at the word “totalitarian” in this context. VK is right that these boards frequently don’t serve the people they’re supposed to, though the implicit fix of doing without them is not going to fix anything either.
Ever the pedagogue, I recommend to VK that he read Max Weber classic study of bureaucracy.
I appreciate the comment…and the recommendation. I didn’t mean to imply that we abandon the Agency model or the resultant boards and commisssions. Perhaps I should come right out and say that in an update. Like England’s Ministries, the Agencies are a useful division of labor and a way for government to multi-task efficiently. Done differently, the boards and commissions could be a blessing to the general citizenry and a throttle on ove-zealous, unprincipled acts by industries and professions. Thanks for your thoughts.