Perhaps the most useful tidbit of information I picked up in my entire fours years of undergrad was the following…
The first function of any bureaucracy it self-perpetuation.
In other words, forget if anything actually get’s done, or if millions, if not billions of dollars go “poof,” the first thing that any bureaucracy does is to keep itself going. And when power, and therefore the “system” is threatened, there is a reaction. And, that reaction rarely results in making things better, rather, it is intended to cover up something that makes the “system” look bad and/or incompetent.
For the latest example of such behavior, look no further than our own FDA. Moe Lane over at Redstate has the details…
Most transparent administration EVAR, my eye:
A wide-ranging surveillance operation by the Food and Drug Administration against a group of its own scientists used an enemies list of sorts as it secretly captured thousands of e-mails that the disgruntled scientists sent privately to members of Congress, lawyers, labor officials, journalists and even President Obama, previously undisclosed records show.
What began as a narrow investigation into the possible leaking of confidential agency information by five scientists quickly grew in mid-2010 into a much broader campaign to counter outside critics of the agency’s medical review process, according to the cache of more than 80,000 pages of computer documents generated by the surveillance effort.
Basic background: some scientists in the FDA have gotten concerned over whether certain approved devices for medical procedures (mammograms, colonoscopies) are actually dangerously radioactive. Said scientists have been making their concerns known; and apparently the FDA decided to monitor the scientists’ communications for confidential or proprietary business information (this will be important later). So far, OK: but then the FDA decided that it was an absolutely brilliant idea to track and keep copies of said communication, including private emails. Note, by the way, that there is currently no indication that the scientists in question themselves revealed confidential or propriety business information.
So, when people start talking about potentially unsafe practices in government research and approval, the government responds by invading their privacy. It has nothing to do with making anything better for anyone, it’s all about keeping the system safe from scrutiny.
This is the larger problem, it doesn’t matter who is in charge, and it doesn’t matter which alphabet agency is involved, if there is power, and money involved, there will be this kind of reaction. Period. It becomes more a matter of maintaining the power and funding of an agency than whether or not the agency really accomplishes it stated purpose.
Oh, and by the way, the more power involved, the more extreme the reaction becomes, just ask the 50,000,000 people that died at the hands of the Communist government in the Soviet Union.