New Bureaucratic Man

From Mises.com

Unlucky Ducks

I once worked as a software contractor for a state agency (forgive me). The building where I worked was not your typical government building. It had a modern feel, with a decorative moat detailing the front entrance. The front door — guarded, of course — was accessible via a walkway bridge of sorts.

It’s not what you may be thinking; it was all very subtle and nice. However, the drop from the bridge to the mulch-covered, bush-laden moat was a good three feet.

One year, at the beginning of spring, a duck built a nest in the moat, under one of the many bushes. As her ducklings hatched and grew, it came time for them to search for water. However, despite their repeated attempts, the ducklings could not jump from the moat to the walkway bridge.

One of the employees in the building asked the building manager if he (the employee) could place a wooden ramp to allow the ducklings to waddle out of the moat. Being a good state employee himself, the building manager called the state department of natural resources for guidance. The answer: since ducks are migratory birds, no one could do anything.

The next morning, someone plastered official signs around the entrance, stating that any attempt to help the ducks was a violation of law. No ramp, no water, no food. And violators — you know this already — would be prosecuted to the fullest extent.

Soon we had a real scene. The mother duck would leave the moat and encourage her ducklings to follow. They couldn’t, of course. She would march back and forth on the walkway bridge and quack in desperation. All the while, the guard at the entrance stood watch, stopping any attempt to help.

Repeated calls to the bureaucrats at the department of natural resources were answered by a repetition of laws and fines. And not one of the department employees was going to go against the rules, or even ask for an exemption, for any reason.

The ducklings died days later.

There you have it: upon joining the state, the department of resource folks — folks who likely dreamed of careers helping wildlife — became staunch bureaucrats enforcing rules over reason.

Don’t trust the bureaucracy, and the Government isn’t hear to help you.

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