Monthly Archives: May 2013

Snooping by low-level bureaucrats is worse than a calculated strategy from the top

We may never know whether the IRS’s targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups was ordered by political appointees or was merely the initiative of front-line bureaucrats in Ohio—or whether it was something in between, like functionaries taking cues and acting out the implicit wishes of their superiors—but we should not underplay the seemingly-isolated acts of bureaucrats.

Most Americans don’t realize that a significant majority of federal government rank-and-file employees, especially those working inside the Beltway, are liberals, many of whom no doubt hold the Tea Party in the same contempt as elected Democrats do. These latest shenanigans by over-empowered and unaccountable agents of the Leviathan should scare all Americans, for we don’t know how often these front-line employees abuse their power to further their own ideology.

A scandal from the top usually involves a paper trail (try as the media may to ignore it), but it’s much harder to scrutinize the motives of rogue field office personnel. Even worse than a high-level political drive, this incident reflects the rot of the federal bureaucracy that is inevitable given the power that we have given to the government.

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Barroso’s overstepping could be the death knell of the European Union

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso might have given the greatest gift imaginable to British Euroskeptics—and reasonable people throughout Europe—in declaring that a federal Europe is inevitable, or, in Eurocrat speak, coming political changes will “transcend the limits of the intergovernmental method.”

Kudos to Barroso for articulating the elites’ objective so transparently. Luckily, the U.K., for one, is still a democracy, and there is a good chance that its citizens will say, not so fast. He goes downright Orwellian in his proclamations about the inevitable march of history: “If you believe in the democratic resilience of Europe, if you take Europe’s citizens seriously, you have to fight with rational arguments and unwavering convictions. . .” His assertion that all of polite society (“mainstream forces in European politics”) must agree sounds chillingly totalitarian.

Prediction: The U.K. will demand a scaling back of the country’s membership in the European Union in the upcoming referendum, sending the bloc into political turmoil. Let’s hope that they go all the way and exit.

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