The real scandal

The real scandal is that the IRS is wonderfully illustrative of the state of government in the 21st Century.

The vast majority of decisions made by “the government” (well over 99%) are made without any input from the President, the President’s immediate staff and advisors, anyone appointed by the President, anyone in Congress or that ultimate reports to Congress, or anyone else remotely impacted by any sort of election.

Note that the Commissioner of the IRS at the time was acting, meaning that it was probably permanent bureaucrats all the way down. The system functions with or without members of the temporary (i.e. appointed) government.

The fact is that regardless of who had won any election, the IRS would probably done this stuff anyway. President Ron Paul or whoever can’t change that.

It’s clearly sub-optimal to have these sorts of policy decisions (as well as the first line interpretation decisions and enforcement decisions (so much for separation of powers)) made by the same unknown, unaccountable and unremovable entity. Such is the state of the government under which we live.

The only good thing one can say about this state of affairs is that of all the ways for democracies to end, this is a pretty good one.

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45 Responses to The real scandal

  1. Handle says:

    The real scandal is that it’s a scandal. The real surprise is that it’s a surprise. I’m amazed that people are amazed.

    At some point an adult ought to grow up and wake up, move through their stages of grief, and accept the ugly but obvious truth for what it is. Alas, they slumber on.

    • Foseti says:

      Agreed. I really can’t figure out what anyone is surprised about here.

      Conservatives suggesting that Obama put the IRS up to it are almost as bad. The only real way to get the IRS not to target conservative groups would be if Obama had asked them to do it. We bureaucrats are very protective of our faux-independence.

      • josh says:

        I’m surprised that its a news item. Why, when and how did this get leaked? Why did the press run with it?

      • Christopher says:

        I can’t figure out why no one can figure out that no one (who is anyone) is actually surprised. It’s cynics all the way down.

    • Christopher says:

      Feigning surprise for the purpose of extracting concessions is not exactly a surprise.

      • Handle says:

        A decent theory, and likely there are some savvy and cynical actors out there who are fully cognizant of the reality of USG but just looking to make as much hay as possible by exploiting the scandal while they can still rely media amplification until this news-cycle is over.

        But my impression is that most people complaining loudly still believe in and cling to comfortable USG fairy tales as being “basically good and fair and honest” and are genuinely surprised and outraged at what is, to them, a revelation.

        In support of my claim, I would like to present exhibit A – what is being proposed by those who are, perhaps, “in the know”. Which is nothing but “investigation and disciplinary action”. That is, not fundamental reform that gets to the very heart of the problem. As of yet, I’m not aware of any congressmen who has proposed a bill to remove auditing discretion from the Treasury Department, let alone other agencies.

        For Pete’s sake – this is tax auditing, fully able to be automated on the basis of criteria written in law. Computers at the IRS have been establishing statistical profiles of indicators of likely tax evasion behavior (“red flags”) for 40 years. Per Carlyle, maybe you can’t run the whole government “by steam”, but audit selection is your easiest candidate by far for automation.

        And there are other techniques. Arbitrators and Mediators and Patent Officers are often asked to review motions and applications with personally identifying information minimized or sanitized out to reduce the possibility of bias or favoritism. And they are occasionally randomly tested themselves to ensure that they are consistent and give the same answers, or make the same requests for more information, in two similarly situation scenarios.

        There’s no reason Congress can’t mandate similar discretionary bias-elimination systems in place at IRS, or DHS, or HHS. But they don’t. If someone on the right truly understands government, they would, at the very least, be able to recognize their enemies and seek at first opportunity to disarm them. That’s not happening. Ergo – I presume they are asleep to real knowledge.

    • Alrenous says:

      There’s a real scandal. It’s that these IRS goons got caught. How gauche! What rubes! Back of the bus with you!
      It seems they got caught by being betrayed. Who admits to wrongdoing? Even I don’t admit to wrongdoing. They could have stymied the Tea Party groups indefinitely by stonewalling. I’ve seen lots of that. Didn’t.

      If anyone has a better story of how it came about, please let me know. (Google’s results are even more useless than I expected, though with bonus amusement.) For now, it seems to me like office politics spilling into the newspapers.

      • asdf says:

        I turned in my corrupt boss when I worked for the government. It happens.

      • Alrenous says:

        Thanks for the confirmation.

        At first, I thought it was some inversion here. Not exactly like, but more like, average employee pisses off corrupt boss.

        “Lois G. Lerner, the IRS official who oversees tax-exempt groups, said the “absolutely inappropriate” actions by “front-line people” were not driven by partisan motives.
        [...]
        During that period, about 75 groups were selected for extra inquiry — including burdensome questionnaires and, in some cases, improper requests for the names of their donors — simply because of the words in their names, she said in a conference call with reporters. ”

        There be no story and no scandal if she hadn’t admitted anything. However, it may be the gauche rube I’m talking about is Lois herself.

        “It was not clear whether the IRS had anticipated the firestorm that it would ignite with its disclosure. Indeed, it appeared to have happened by chance when Lerner, appearing Friday at a conference held by the American Bar Association, responded to a question about the allegations by conservative groups.”

        I’m sorry Lois, you’re insufficiently conspiratorial. Honestly answering reporters? For shame.

        While I can and have pulled off this kind of ‘accidental disclosure’ plot as a double-subversion, I don’t think it’s safe for me to assume it happens commonly. Plus, it would have to be a very indirect plot, as it doesn’t target any particular front-liner specifically. It would have to be to discredit someone whose prestige is a function of IRS front-liners’.

        -

        You know, this journalistic obsession with facts is obscuring all the relevant facts.

        1. Someone at the office pisses off Lois, so when a reporter asks a question where the answer would piss them off back, she impulsively gives the answer.

        2. Lois is incompetent.

        3. Lois is hyper-competent and is targeting someone – whose name will never show up in the news. (Or is being coached – I’m sure she’d be a wonderful cat’s paw.) Who in the office is going to be held socially responsible for ordering/allowing front liners to discriminate like this? Or, more precisely, for allowing them to do it such that they can be caught.

        Just in case anyone was worried that investigative journalism might not be entirely fake.

        4. Lois is friends with someone in one of the targeted groups, who got mad and groused to Lois.

        -

        Incidentally, this is one of the Cathedral’s glaring weaknesses. Because it is up to so much funny business, any insider can torpedo their agency at will. It may be that job immortality is the only thing holding this back – if your boss pisses you off, you can just ignore them, rather than hassling yourself with the press.

      • Alrenous says:

        The sad thing is this discrimination is politically meaningless.

        “Reporter Gregory Korte lists three groups that managed to avoid all of the scrutiny applied by the IRS to check to see whether conservative groups would engage at all in the political process.”

        The political process can’t make the IRS stop being Democrat. The IRS goons are being petty because they’re bored and don’t have anything better to do with their lives.

        The political process can’t stop them from discriminating, either – it can only stop them being blatant about it.

  2. Scrutineer says:

    “Memories: I always thought the number of Bill Clinton enemies audited by his Internal Revenue Service was a bit high to be coincidental…

    “We now know, of course, that you don’t need direct White House involvement to politicize the IRS, at least for Democrats.** The underlings know what to do! The idea that they are apolitical professionals was always a myth. It’s even more of a myth now, in the era of Daily Kos and Greg Sargent…

    “P.P.S.: Two days before the I.R.S. apologized for auditing Tea Party Groups, the Social Security Administration released an obviously politicized estimate of the effect of passing immigration reform (it conveniently looked only 10 years out, covering the years most immigrants would be contributing to the system but not the years they’d be collecting benefits). So the I.R.S. has been politicized, and the actuaries at Social Security have been politicized. But only crazy right wing nutters would dare to suggest that the Bureau of Labor Statistics might have been politicized in October, 2012 when it released the most politically consequential monthly jobs numbers in memory. Got it.

    “**–What percentage of IRS employees are Democrats? My guess is over 70%. It’s like the theater: Conservatives just tend to not go into that line of work. That’s why it is actually more troubling if the politicization is due to self-starting mid-level Obamaphilic officials. The argument would be this: Big government will always mean giving bureaucrats some control, and these bureaucrats will always tend to be Democrats. If they aren’t restrained by the apolitical civil service ethic, then they will always tend to harrass conservatives and Republicans. It takes a willful bad actor like Nixon to get them to act differently and harrass Democrats instead.”

    - Kaus

  3. […] USG Employee, Foseti is all over the IRS 501(c)-4 brouhaha. Fenster takes an interesting look at the roots of […]

  4. […] An edgy, accurate appraisal of “the government“: […]

  5. Anonymous says:

    yes, i agree with josh

    why is this news? that’s what makes me wonder. are they letting us know that this happend “just this one time” so that they can do it more and harder in the future?

    • Handle says:

      There’s no conspiracy like that going on here. Sometimes the market determines when the commercial press just can’t pass on a story.

      You can tell when this is true when there’s a split between the commercial press and the popular progressive commentators, desperately trying to spin the story into a non-story for the benefit of the administration.

      It’s one of those few occasions when progressives curse “the press” (as if they aren’t “the press”) just like conservatives. But instead of doing it for “lying” they call it “over-exaggerating” or “hyping” or “lack of discipline”. It’s also when members of the commercial press feel like they have to apologize (in person or on twitter) for their “I’m sorry, I know it’s wrong, but my hands are tied” need to occasionally entertain the proles and pay the bills even if it mildly stabs their own side in the back.

      Summarizing and mocking that spin is the point of that Megan McArdle story that Foseti linked.

      In this case, think about it, it’s, “THE I. R. S. !!!” 95% of people hate the IRS. Really hate it. Mostly for bad reasons, but it doesn’t matter. Hate Sells News. Everytime.

      People hate red light cameras too (even the honestly timed ones), even though the fines are mild, doesn’t add points, and they send you a sequence of pictures showing you breaking the law. They generate lots of news too.

      People don’t like the feeling of being under the eye of inescapable and perfectly just authority. That’s why they don’t like Old God and it doesn’t take much to convince people to abandon Him. They prefer progressive or buddy Jesus instead.

      • josh says:

        Do you think there is any reason at all that this story breaks now instead of last year or next year? I have no idea. Maybe somebody at the IRS was just a “whistleblower”, then again maybe not.

      • Anonymous says:

        well, drudge is now reporting that the IRS waited until after Obama was re-elected to come clean about it

  6. bob sykes says:

    One of the goals of Progressivism is to eliminate politics and politicians from governance and to turn all decisions over to tenured bureaucrats. So, while the politically appointed heads of agencies have nominal responsibility, actual decisions can and are made at lower levels. And since the Gramscian march through the institutions is nearly complete, the largely, if not entirely, leftist apparatchiks will do stuff like this without being told. Their equally leftist bosses will approve and reward such behavior when it remains undiscovered and attempt some sort of cover up (and sacrifice some underling) when it is revealed. The game is finally over, and the sons of Stalin will reveal themselves when these scandals are not longer scandals.

  7. VXXC says:

    Great post except for last sentence.

    “The only good thing one can say about this state of affairs is that of all the ways for democracies to end, this is a pretty good one.”

    Other than the ritual of elections, empty of power but powerful ritual how can you contend Administrative Government since the New Deal is “democracy”? Democracy in America ran from 1830-1933.

    I’m quite the fan of democracy now, I’d war for it. In America. Democracy is not for every demos. But it’s time has come for this demos. I think many of them agree.

    Democracy in America could have destroyed the country, but it did not. We actually owe the Progs a debt of gratitude for snaking it away 80 years ago. We the People can only be blamed for being trusting and asleep.*

    For instance did 19th century America build our great cities and vast wealth…or destroy everything it touched? A destruction that seeks not only the ruin of all under it’s smothering love but the ruin of their souls as well…flooding us with drugs and pornography.

    Sons of Stalin? Did Stalin flood the USSR with pornography, drugs, stateless territories, independent criminal gangs warlord-ism?

    If these were the sons of Stalin we’d be in deep sh*t. This is the Merovingian interregnum of Generation Nero. Them? Stalin? You insult his dread memory and give these wretches too much credit.

    *Asleep and quite resigned to what they cannot change. Blind to danger. I am not speaking of the demos. I am speaking of you.

    • Alex J. says:

      Other than the ritual of elections, empty of power but powerful ritual how can you contend Administrative Government since the New Deal is “democracy”? Democracy in America ran from 1830-1933.

      That’s his point. Democracy ended in 1933, and we’ve puttered along adequately since then. Kind of rough on the former colonies, though.

      • Foseti says:

        That’s mostly my point.

        At a higher level, meaningful democracy cannot exist (outside of a very small political entity).

        “The people” don’t know what they want. And it’s very easy for someone to tell them want they want. “Democracy” immediately degenerates into rule by the person who manufactures consent, to use Maine’s phrase.

        Btw, Maine wrote in the period in which VXXC thinks we had democracy. A quick review of Maine’s work (Popular Government) will demonstrate that we had no such thing.

    • Bill says:

      Democracy in America ran from 1830-1933.

      Do you think the Civil War was popular in the North? You’ve chosen the dates to cut out the Revolutionary War. But that’s another example.

      • VXXC says:

        Sir – but that would leave out the important word “Second”.

        Second Democracy.

        For clarification…

        AMENDMENT III

        No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

  8. VXXC says:

    “this is a pretty good one.” Yeah. It’s a great gig. Now pack a bugout bag.

  9. SOBL1 says:

    Commenter above mentioned it makes good copy because people hate the IRS this is true, and this behavior, which reactionaries envision it being par for the norm, is a surprise to the vast unwashed masses. That is why this is important. If the dumdum conservatives do uncover the widespread left lean of the IRS it will uncover in discovery a bunch of things reactionaries discuss amongst themselves and try to explain to normies. The best thing that could happen is that the IRS thing doesnt link back to anyone high up, but in the course of covering the story (and hopefully absolving St. Obama + cronies), the press relays to the public the story of how thoroughly the civil service is progressive. This is a chance to educate the masses who may be open to the message.

  10. VXXC says:

    @Foesti – again – “Democracy in America could have destroyed the country, but it did not….For instance did 19th century America build our great cities and vast wealth…or destroy everything it touched? A destruction that seeks not only the ruin of all under it’s smothering love but the ruin of their souls as well”

    We didn’t have pure democracy, we had democracy grafted onto the Republic of 1789 – which strengthened it. In most countries this would have destroyed the state…BUT…we grew immensely strong.
    The people were another check on the State. Imagine if they had no voice and the post Civil War Union from 1865 to 1933 could have ignored them? What would you get?

    Probably what we have now. Perhaps with a less pornographic popular culture. Our finances would be the same. Remember the people want sound money more than bankers. Fiat money is a bankers dream. It’s business and the people who need stable money.

    The problems that occur with Progressive tyranny would likely happen now under a Reactionary oligarchy sooner than later. Kleptocracy for instance. We’re there now. What Julius Pierpont or indeed what Plutocrat now would you trust with formal powers of reactionary government? Who are these noblemen you would trust with such powers? If they are products of our society then…they have low morals and no idea how to govern for any other than themselves. What great House would you restore? Hilton? Kardashian? Even the Winsdors?

    I don’t view a restoration of democracy and the Constitution only as goals – although that’s a standard many would get behind. They are methods – especially the demos. The demos are a dangerous but powerful tool. As they are awakening perhaps Reaction should adjust to that fact. And that our actual Patricians have NOTHING to offer the plebes but betrayal, their core product service offering.

    You can’t have Patricians that hate the nation ruling it. We have that now. It’s well past snobbery, it’s insane malice.

    By the way if Patrician rule is to rise..then it will have to rise from the ranks. Our elites certainly can’t be trusted to produce men of character, virtue and courage. We would need some new Patricians.

    • Foseti says:

      Your version of democracy is a version in which huge numbers of people can’t vote. If that’s we’re talking about, fine.

      What word should we use to describe everybody electing leaders if you’re using the one we currently use to describe that system to describe something totally different?

      • Handle says:

        Universacracy?

      • VXXC says:

        If you have position it was not given to you to be an snob, above what is fraying apart below you..be a Tribune at least. We have of course no Patricians.

        What I mean is second democracy, the initial franchise is men of duty, the extended franchise is determined by local boards – your neighbors decide who gets the franchise, it’s in their interest to extend it only to the responsible.

        We have elections, not democracy. As you know.

        Of course there’s some rather big steps to take before either happens. The first step is to realize what Second Democracy means. [Uncle Sams Misguided Children by comparison understood immediately. You may find them on Facebook.]
        A clue is “duty”.

        Second Democracy is a vehicle to restore both the Constitution we are sworn to defend – I assume you took the oath – and to restore primarily the Constitution with democracy for the responsible as both a check and a safeguard against the People simply being ruined by a new bunch of criminals. If you fear the people you should. As should their government. The people are something to be feared if they are awake. I make the point again – they are.

        It was said of the Depression that it gave radicalism it’s chance. Radicalism has run it’s ruinous course. Here is the chance for Restoration. *But* you see the demos in America won’t get behind some idea of a King…who by the way? Nor are they going to get behind some nearly incomprehensible Joint Stock corporate scheme who’s Standard promises to put them in their place, but with more dignity. That dignity being work or don’t eat, and so on.

        We already have a Restoration ready made of course, some of us took an oath to it. Again American democracy and the Constitution aren’t just ends, they are means. They are method.

        And both – even yes American democracy – would be enormously Reactionary in character. And you’d have people ready to get behind such a Restoration. In fact – they are being audited and oppressed even for wishing to talk about the Constitution. I think in marketing terms…it’s a winner.

        You must consider the Oath, and that many believed the words they swore. The most sacrificing and bravest of which come from the despised demos. They are something to consider.

        And you might want to consider it if you took the Oath, as well.

      • VXXC says:

        “Your version of democracy is a version in which huge numbers of people can’t vote. If that’s we’re talking about, fine.”

        It is.

  11. General Robert E. Lee was famous for giving his officers wide discretionary authority. He was confident that he could rely on them to “do the right thing”. Would it be fair to say that his officers were “out of control” and that he had no way to rein them back in?

    I see contradictory statements about democracy and the civil service. Moldbug says both that America’s problem is democracy and that America isn’t democratic. I read here both that elected officials have no control over the civil service and that the civil service jealously guard their faux-independence. Which is it? Is it real, or is it faux? Is the civil service (consistently dominated by the Cathedral) outside of the control of Congress (less consistent, but still dominated by the Cathedral)? Or is it more like General Lee, intermittently out of contact with his officers, creating and delegating authority to an institution that has a more immediate and better entrenched grip on power?

    Bryan Caplan addressed this point in _The Myth of the Rational Voter_. He views subordinates (i.e. the permanent bureaucracy) as providing Congress with plausible deniability and a stable of convenient cutouts for when things go wrong.

    My position is that Congress (i.e. the senior officers of the Cathedral) *could* rein in the junior officers of the Cathedral if they wanted to. But why on Earth would they want to?

    It is only the Outer Party that might want to, and even there, it’s only rogue elements within the Outer Party. It is these “rogue” elements of the Outer Party that are unable to control Sir Humphrey, because they have never had enough power, for long enough, with enough insight into the problem.

    • Handle says:

      As usual, Peter A. Taylor (people, stop what you’re doing and read all his essays!) makes an excellent and insightful comment that deserves a much more thorough reply than I can or should provide here. But a few quick notes.

      1. Some delegation of major subjective judgment functions to subordinates cannot be avoided in any sizable organization. It’s an issue of time management, prioritization, and competence / expertise to handle particular subject matters. The big question is how does one construct a controlled and reliable system of delegation. How are delegees chosen, what are the obvious various threats and pitfalls to granting them authority, and what mechanisms does the leadership put in place to police the system.
      2. The threat analysis piece is, in my view, the most important part, it determines the context of the problem, and that is largely a matter of being wise and clever about incentives and the nature of the human material you’ve got to work with. It is, fundamentally, a question of divided loyalties.
      3. Subordinates are supposed to be agents of the organization’s interests (which are hopefully clear), and they owe a duty of undivided loyalty to their “client” to give their best reasonable efforts to maximize those interests within the constraints of law and organizational policy. If your subordinate is responsible for, say, hiring, and instead of choosing the most qualified candidate of best character decides to help his slacker nephew out, he’s betrayed the organization’s interests for his own / that of his relatives.
      4. The problem with the current structure of American government is that our delegation control system is completely broken and dysfunctional from the point of view of even your average non-Democrat if only he could wear the Ring of Gyges and watch what actually goes on, and if he thinks the voters, through elected politicians and their appointees, should be “in charge”. He would conclude “I’m not sure, really, who’s actually in charge of whom. Preserving that ambiguity seems to be the point in some weird way. Few people in the system actually behave like the text on these documents says they should.”
      5. The military is vastly different from the civil service (though increasingly less so, alas), and I would argue that it’s just sui generis and shouldn’t be thrown in to these sorts of analyses. For one – military officers have unique missions and incentives. Second – the military has a longer history of dealing successfully with exactly these sorts of issues. And finally – the military has vastly more power to police its (non unionized – by law) personnel than the bureaucracy (unionized, by law). You can kick a junior guy out on the street in three weeks for trivial misconduct. The gap between the ease and severity of military punishments and contemporary bureaucratic disciplinary procedures is so large it’s just incomparable. And really, that’s the problem.
      6. How it got this way is a long, sad, and corrupt history. There’s the Pendleton Act. There the Lloyd Act The progressives has early success in eroding (now effectively neutralized) nondelegation doctrine. Then after the New Deal and WWII, there’s the APA. There’s Kennedy’s Executive Order 10988 and The Civil Service Act. There’s Chevron. The sum total of all these, plus many more, plus all the case law and regulations, is that Congress is much less able, both by law and as a practical matter, to put the fear of God into bureaucrats than they need to be.
      7. But mainly, there’s a problem, to paraphrase David Axelrod (who ought to know), of the government being almost unmanageably vast and diverse in its functions. What can’t be managed isn’t managed. Who aren’t managed, manage themselves when they think they can. Nobody wants to take on the impossible task of actually trying to manage it. Nobody wants to be accountable and accept the responsibility of things going wrong that they can’t blame on somebody else (Caplan’s point) and certainly not congressmen who spend all their time focused on electioneering. They certainly don’t spend any time reading legislation. Even the staff-created “conceptual summaries” of modern legislation are so daunting (dozens of pages!) that no congressman reads them. Their party machines boil it down to one moral-marketing digestible point, “It’s about helping poor people get health care” and advise them how they should vote.
      8. There are ways to deal with this problem (not fix it, but make some real improvement), even within our system. Those ways do pop up, actually, here and there, mainly in the military or in the most commercially-influenced or market relevant parts of the government. You could go through the whole US Code and CFR and take a machete to as many human discretion functions as possible.
      9. Many of these functions could be done by computer these days. You may lose some judgment, maybe even cost in the short-term, but you’d gain in efficiency and objectivity. It feels somehow a bit weird to say that handing things over to microchips is what we need to do these days to achieve certain desirable human qualities like fairness and trustworthiness. But in the bureaucracy, being “good” is often just doing your job by following the rules – the absence of “bad”.
      10. In the last century, Congress and the Courts have plowed and fertilized the richest soil possible to grow the power of the federal government. But they neglected the herbicide and, standing in horror at the magnitude of their task, dropped their hoes and fled the scene. And people are scandalized the farm is now overgrown with weeds.

    • Foseti says:

      Interesting point, but what if general Lee was only general for 3 years and his subordinates were all appointed for life?

      That has to change the result!

      Congress could theoretically reign in te bureaucracy only in a roundabout manner. We’re all executive branch employees, after all. Congress would have to pass laws (on subjects it doesn’t know well and only gets its information from the people it’s trying to regin in).

      Some “solution”.

      It’s also worth noting that congress ain’t general Lee.

      • josh says:

        “General Robert E. Lee was famous for giving his officers wide discretionary authority.”

        He giveth and he taketh away.

      • Alrenous says:

        on subjects it doesn’t know well and only gets its information from the people it’s trying to regin in

        Good summary of the merchant/scholar relationship, highlighting the fact that the scholars in are in charge.

        Politicians rely heavily on their charisma. However, they’re ignorant, uneducated, and must also rely heavily on their handlers.

        It gets a little messy because they’re also in charge of convincing low-status scholars, using argument. But of course they’re bad at argument so they must use sophistry and rhetoric.

  12. RS says:

    > “The people” don’t know what they want. And it’s very easy for someone to tell them want they want. “Democracy” immediately degenerates into rule by the person who manufactures consent, to use Maine’s phrase.

    It’s not either/or. At times the people do know what they want. Some sort of franchise, probably not a universal one, can have a delimited place in certain parts of a good mixed constitution.

    I realize people will try to universalize the franchise. The only solution is for man/society to actually grow up and change a little bit and learn a little from history, and develop relentless formal and informal propaganda, I mean education, about why that (inter alia) would be a bad idea.

    • RS says:

      > Some sort of franchise

      I should probably say ‘broad franchise’. Since, properly I guess, a franchise in politics is any grant of power to anyone.

      • Alrenous says:

        Going way off topic. Hey RS, you don’t comment on my blog. Is that due to a problem that I should be fixing? Or is it that you just don’t feel like it?
        If it’s some problem for you, it’s probably an issue for others as well.

  13. Mike Manhaus says:

    Let Us Prey (on the IRS)

    It is astounding that Foseti and most commenters seem willing to accept their corrupt overlords in government with little more comment than “I’m surprised that anyone is surprised.”

    Of course no one is surprised. But paralysis in the face of overwhelming oppression may not be the best approach in the long run, for your progeny.

    • Foseti says:

      Why are you surprised that we accept something that everyone has accepted for almost 100 years?

      The revolution was. A long time ago.

    • VXXC says:

      Oh it’s simple, they butter the bread of half the people here.
      They’re on the payroll you see.

      I’ve concluded that modern reaction, while being the most original political thinking on the web has it’s genesis in government office workers who hate their idiot quota hire bosses and co-workers. A common malady amongst the government, most acute in DC. In no way does it invalidate the ideas. But you shouldn’t look to them for remedy. You see – it’s prole work.

      Take comfort if you don’t accept the rule of degenerate predators – this is not the mindset of people who will die in the ditch defending our corrupt overlords. Or for that matter dig the ditch. That too is prole work.

  14. […] ok. there’s some kind of biological atrocity occurring in my sinuses right now, so I’m pretty much guaranteeing this won’t be pretty. wouldn’t bet on comprehensible either. the fact that I can now type easily again isn’t actually going to help. anyway, I really can’t agree with the positive view (hah) that Foseti takes here: […]

  15. […] abuses of the IRS. Big brother in action. Related: The real scandal of the IRS scandal. Related: The IRS scandal is not about the president. Related: Polls: No one […]

  16. You’re right; few people care about their government in such a soft country. A modern retelling of “When they came for the Catholics…” will be the final nail in the coffin of The Land of the Free.

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