Friday, July 6, 2012
It’s against the law for me to take my dog to the farmer’s market in the next town. Were there problems with dogs at the market? Nope. Nobody complained about dogs. In spite of that, they are banned.
Where did this come from? Apparently some creepy guy was taking his pet snakes to the local playground and scaring the kids. At one time the problem would have been dealt with by dealing with the one creepy guy. Instead, the City Council meets and bans all pets from all parks and every public event. Bureaucratic overkill.
That’s what happens at the local level. It doesn’t get any better at the State and Federal level. If anything, the overkill gets worse. It’s all over the place. Down to Florida they had a problem with a few derelict boats sitting at anchor. After the state got hold of the problem there were no anchor zones, mooring fields, and whole departments to manage them.
With government the feedback loops all push toward more complexity. Bureaucrats always want to grow their domains. It makes them feel more important. They can show they have more responsibilities and demand bigger budgets. Governmental rules and regulations grow like cancer.
There’s only a few things that can stop it. Public outrage sometimes work. When enough people get angry something’s got to give. Often it’s a simple matter of financial constraints. The money to enforce dumb rules just runs out. That’s not something to rely on though. The bureaucrat in charge of silly walks, just might have more political clout than the bureaucrat in charge of public safety. That’s how you lose police, firemen and teachers and the recreational director gets new assistants.
In the worse cases of bureaucratic overkill the repose may get so out of hand that the original problem never really gets addressed and is forgotten. Take the whole ban on dogs things for example. Maybe they should have focused on the fact that there’s a creepy guy hanging around playgrounds.