The following has been sent in by one of our readers to help us better understand the behaviour of some bureaucrats.
Tactics Used by Bureaucracy
Ways Public Servants actually do a
DISSERVICE to the citizens who pay their salaries.
Control - If there is a problem, however small, create regulations to govern it and appoint officers to enforce those regulations. If one or two citizens behave badly, make everybody suffer. Persist with this even if the total effect is worse. Historical example: prohibition of alcohol in the US in the 20s.
Tangle in Red Tape - have many long and repetitive forms, use cryptic or difficult English, and make people have to engage other bureaus as well, who have different rules and terminology. Make it difficult for busy citizens to even wrap their brains around the exercise. The stress of red tape often deters people from even living parts of their life.
Penalise - set up a system of fines, use it as recurrent income to maintain the penalising bureau, thus create the necessity for citizens to be constantly in trouble with officials, thus systematically alienate people from authority.
This is an incredibly short-sighted tactic, and threatens an essential foundation of order, namely popular respect for the law. If a bureau serves a legitimate societal purpose, and is not just funding its own interference in people's lives, let it be financed in an honourable way, through the front door of normal taxes, clearly identified.
Apply The Screws - enforce regulations without purpose, even if it hurts innocent people - even if it makes people waste time, money and effort.
The Ambush - catch a citizen innocently living their lives and hurting no one, but showing some initiative, doing something without getting One Of The Thousand Permits. This shows a lack of submission and must be stopped. (It could be contagious). Get a screw to talk to the citizen, assure them verbally that what they are doing is quite okay, but they should have a permit. Get them to apply for a permit. Then when the screw is safely out of sight, the bureau refuses the permit, slaps on a ban, and demands the destruction or the cessation of whatever the citizen is doing.
The Run Around - send them from bureau to bureau, as if people exist to serve bureaucracy, not the other way around.
Make Them Feel Like Criminals (1) - make so many rules that just about everyone feels they're doing something wrong.
Make Them Feel Like Criminals (2) - when they offer an explanation for not complying with some rule, say parking too long (someone was sick, dying, stranded), automatically treat them as liars, and book them anyway.
Reward Dobbers - even where a report against a citizen turns out to be hate-motivated, or to have a personal ulterior motive, or to be false or trivial, do not compensate or even apologise to the falsely accused for your distressing investigation, and do not censure the anti-social dobber in any way, shape or form. Thus the mischievous dobber has succeeded anyway. Rewarding, encouraging and protecting dobbers maintains bureau jobs.
Let Citizens Fall Between Bureaus - if two bureaucracies, because of their inconsistent sets of rules, leave a citizen in an impossible position, neither bureaucracy takes responsibility. Just let the citizen Fall into the Abyss.
Run Them Ragged - Place hurdle after hurdle in the way of wholesome individual or community efforts in order to demoralise them, eventually wear them out, and thus extinguish the activity. (Some bureaus even consciously plan that the citizen will never succeed.)
The old one-two: Deadline, Delay, Destroy - This is a particularly malicious routine sometimes used against enterprising individuals. Someone is starting up a business or a community organisation or is constructing or landscaping, and is given a deadline by the bureau. Then a legal or bureaucratic spanner is thrown in the works, causing a delay in the enterprise. The deadline is not shifted, the project is incomplete, then the bureau bans further works. Thus they not only destroy the project, the citizen is caused to waste all that precious energy, money and time. This is the stuff of heart attacks and breakdowns. Bureaucrats involved in this practice have a lot to answer for.
Disown Responsibility At Every Level of the bureaucratic hierarchy - "Oh no, we can't deviate from the regulations, you'll have to appeal to so and so", (a higher and more daunting level), who then pull the same stunt.
Change Your Name & Break Your Word - With dizzying frequency, bureaus love to change their names, their department's names, and their officers' titles. This helps to keep the citizens confused. Sometimes too, there are changes of councillors, takeovers by commissioners, and amalgamations of bureaus. An evil that is sometimes perpetrated under the fog of this shifting around, is that the new outfit doesn't necessarily honour the undertakings of their predecessor - causing damage to citizens who have invested time, money and hopes in their plans.
The KT thank our reader for sharing this insight into the culture of our administration. The KT also believe this is the appropriate chapter to publish such a document.