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Technocracy

Posted in liberty, politics, USSA by dingodonkey on September 6, 2009

With all this talk and controversy surrounding the “czars” appointed by Pres. Obama, I thought it would be a good time to talk about technocracy, which Wikipedia (the fount of all knowledge) characterizes as “a form of government in which engineers, scientists, and other technical experts are in control of decision making in their respective fields”.  Man that’s a horrible way to start a blog entry, like when little kids write papers and quote Webster’s Dictionary in their opening sentence.

Anyway, what’s wrong with technocracy?  For one, it is incompatible with the ideals of republican government.  In our system, democratic principles are applied to choose individuals that we deem appropriately wise and tempered to temporarily represent our interests in a large and intentionally inefficient government.  It is intentionally inefficient in order to prevent it from becoming too powerful, and in turn from becoming as oppressive as the monarchy we violently escaped.  In a technocracy, the real decision-makers are appointed based on their specialized skills and knowledge, their expert status.  They are not representatives of the people, they are servants of an ideal of a government that efficiently and powerfully administers their fields of expertise.  This is clearly incompatible with our system.

On a totally unrelated note, here’s a list of Obama’s appointed czars:

  1. Afghanistan Czar
  2. AIDS Czar
  3. Auto Recovery Czar
  4. Border Czar
  5. California Water Czar
  6. Car Czar
  7. Central Region Czar
  8. Climate Czar
  9. Domestic Violence Czar
  10. Drug Czar
  11. Economic Czar
  12. Energy and Environment Czar
  13. Faith-Based Czar
  14. Government Performance Czar
  15. Great Lakes Czar
  16. Green Jobs Czar
  17. Guantanamo Closure Czar
  18. Health Czar
  19. Information Czar
  20. Intelligence Czar
  21. Mideast Peace Czar
  22. Pay Czar
  23. Regulatory Czar
  24. Science Czar
  25. Stimulus Accountability Czar
  26. Sudan Czar
  27. TARP Czar
  28. Technology Czar
  29. Terrorism Czar
  30. Urban Affairs Czar
  31. Weapons Czar
  32. WMD Policy Czar

The link above explains what all of these positions are actually responsible for.  Many of them relate to areas the federal government has no explicit or even implicit constitutional authority to be involved in, but neither of our major parties cares about that (look up Bush’s czars to see proof).  What concerns me is not so much the size of this government, but its extent.  It has shown no restraint in expanding into more and more areas of our lives.  This is, of course, expected under technocratic government — the experts can organize our lives better than we can.  That’s why we have mandatory Social Security and unemployment insurance, for example.

It’s a natural progression toward dystopia.  Taking away the rights of individuals and associations of individuals (families, corporations) to manage their own finances, make their own decisions, use their private property as they see fit, etc.  Increasing surveillance and passing vague laws to be interpreted and applied by the judgment of the expert elite.  This is a possible future, and when folks like me begin to worry about czars and such, it is this eventuality that we are seeking to avoid.  But make no mistake, this is a path that we have already traveled far down.

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