The Menace of the Administrative State
The latest Thing is that the Department of Energy is imposing restrictions on home ceiling fans. That after the August 1 ban on manufacture and sale of incandescent lamps — i.e. electric lamps that work by heating a metal filament.
Then there are the various attempts to prevent oil lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico, including the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s attempt to stop oil drilling because of Rice’s Whale.
Obviously, this is a pairs dance, a dance between the administrative state and the various liberal activist organizations that push the liberal line on any issue that you can imagine.
And it is wholly an educated-class dance. On the one hand are the educated-class bureaucrats in a hundred governmental agencies; on the other hand there are educated-class activists in the various NGOs that earn their bread by suing governmental organizations to force them to regulate in favor of the liberal educated-class agenda.
As we know, all this started over a century ago with the Progressive movement that decided to end the Republican Party’s “spoils system” and replace it with educated, principled administrators. And then there was the US Supreme Court and its “Chevron deference” to administrative action.
Obviously, what has happened over the decades is that notions generally accepted by members of the educated class — such as protecting the environment and limiting fossil fuel use — have leaked into administrative actions and regulations and NGO activism.
That’s because educated-class activists are passionately interested in saving the world, and educated-class bureaucrats are interested in increasing their power and influence: a marriage made in heaven.
Conservatives have been railing against this setup for decades and getting nowhere. Is there any hope to change things?
Not really. All you have to do is talk to your liberal friend, and they just accept the educated-class line on anything as the right thing to do. No, not exactly. I find, when I talk with ordinary educated-class people that they instinctively know the liberal line, and support it, and don’t really imagine the possibility of any educated and evolved person thinking any differently.
So, I say that the only way things change is when they break.
And probably the way they break is with an economic disaster arising out of the Net Zero “energy transition” policies.
Of course, I don’t get why our lordly educated lords haven’t got the message yet, that administrative government cannot work because it doesn’t have the bandwidth to respond to the changes in the economy. And also fail to respond to things going wrong before they turn into disasters.
But they don’t. Odd, because it’s not as if the great failures of administrative government, in its communist, socialist, and fascist versions haven’t been well publicized.
Maybe what we should do is say that everything our liberal friends do is fascist. But I fear that it wouldn’t make any difference. Our liberal friends know that they are the good guys and the fascists and the racists are the bad guys.
Therefore, whatever it is that liberals want, it couldn’t be fascist. QED.