Ed Driscoll

The Rising Dictatorship of the Bureaucrats

Michael Walsh explores “a nation choking on endless laws” in the New York Post:

Heading back to work this week, Americans were greeted not only by a new year but also by a whole slew of new laws — 31,000 of them at the state level — covering everything from guns to 100-watt light bulbs to, of course, “health care.” As usual, most of these laws tell us what we can’t do: texting while driving (duh), cyberbullying and smoking in bars.

In the near future, everyone will be a criminal for at least 15 minutes, whether they know it or not.

But aside from some laws easing state restrictions on lawful gun ownership, precious few of them tell the government what it can’t do. To the ruling class, there is almost nothing the government, at some level, can’t do — not only via legislation, but regulation as well. Two recent examples come to mind:

First, the federal Environmental Protection Agency, under Lisa Jackson, has decided that its mandate now includes the very air we exhale — carbon dioxide –and is introducing stringent standards to help fight such “pollutants” and so-called greenhouse gases.

Never mind that the “science” is far from settled, that the Climategate e-mails showed active collusion among researchers to misrepresent the facts about alleged “global warming,” that some of the 1,700 British scientists who signed a declaration defending the researchers’ professional integrity have said they felt pressured into doing it (or didn’t work on “climate change” at all) and that Al Gore is a certified crackpot.

Never mind, as well, that the US Senate rejected the Kyoto Treaty by a vote of 95-0 — during the Clinton administration. Never mind that the Waxman-Markey anti-warming “cap and trade” bill died in the Democratic-controlled 111th Congress. Jackson will simply “phase in” the regulations.

A second example is the Federal Communications Commission’s December party-line vote to enforce “net neutrality.” It’s a complex, debatable subject, but it’s not the wisdom of the decision that’s at issue here. Rather it’s the fact that the FCC under Julius Genachowski, a classmate of President Obama’s at Harvard, went ahead despite a) the clear wishes of Congress, which expressly declined to give the commission authority over the Internet and b) a ruling by a DC federal court pointing out precisely that.

Both the EPA (a child of the Nixon administration) and the FCC (which dates back to FDR’s first term) nominally answer to Congress but have become, like Frankenstein’s monster, rogue agencies that threaten both our economy and our liberty.

When a mere agency can thumb its nose at its nominal masters, then we are on the road away from republican democracy and toward tyranny — not the imaginary “dictatorship of the proletariat” beloved of Marx, but something even worse: dictatorship of the bureaucrats.

“Where do you go to vote out the CPSC? Or OSHA? Or the EPA?” Mark Steyn wrote shortly before the midterms. “The short history of the post-war western democracies is that you don’t need a president-for-life if you’ve got a bureaucracy-for-life.”