Why did an increasingly Woke bureaucracy get so bad and so big under successive Liberal governments?
The answer lies in the recent perverse turn by supposedly conservative politicians to social justice policies. We believe the remedy is simple: less bureaucracy; more liberty. In 2022, cutting bureaucracy means cutting Wokeness.
In order to understand how past Liberal governments have consistently failed to deliver on their promises of shrinking the size and scope of the bureaucracy, public choice economists like William Niskanen demonstrated that bureaucracies always aim to increase their budgets. Power, prestige, generous salaries, the nice corner office, attractive workplace amenities, ample vacation time, and now working from home — the things that most people want in their careers are all enabled by large, growing budgets.
This Budget Maximizing Model, Niskanen found, applies to all bureaucracies and most tellingly those of public broadcasting, public health, and public education: all prominent stakeholders in our current Australian liberal democracy. …
The bureaucracy is convinced it is smarter, less ignorant, and more moral than the general population — most of whom are deplorable. In their echo chamber, their belief in climate change proves they are the clever ones.
Over the past twenty years, the bureaucratic class has moved even further to the left and taken on a disturbingly totalitarian face — one at odds with the Liberal Party’s apparently core values of cutting red tape, advancing individual liberty, and freedom of thought. …
Bureaucrats have themselves, over time, become progressive advocates rather than neutral advisers to whatever government is in power. This advocacy on behalf of themselves and their ideological rectitude is particularly evident in two areas — public broadcasting and public education. These particular bureaucracies happen to be very influential on Australian political discourse.
Through the ABC, public schools, and public universities, non-bureaucrat Australians are persuaded to vote in accordance with the interests of bureaucrats. These interests have taken on an increasingly hardcore Woke-left line that aims to eliminate any open discussion on issues such as Climate Change and gender quotas, let alone cutting taxes or red tape. Therefore, even if bureaucrats are a small minority, they punch above their weight in electoral terms through their cultural influence leading us down a dangerous path towards full-blown ‘cancel culture’.
So, has the current Liberal Party sold out to a Woke bureaucrazy agenda and could the agenda ever be reversed?
Paradoxically, the issue sits within the nature of bureaucratic management itself: at least a modicum of bureaucratic cooperation is required by any ruling party. As we saw during the Trump Administration, and more recently in the Johnson government’s attempt to leave the European Union, the unelected bureaucrat class can undermine the political plans and programs of an elected government. This phenomenon is termed somewhat ineptly as the ‘deep state’.
These facts explain why Coalition governments have never defunded or privatised the ABC. They are simply too scared since they know if they even attempt it, there will be publicly-funded opposition to their re-election.
‘Investigative journalists’ will target their policies and programs and lifestyles for salacious often hyperbolic coverage. Bureaucrats leaking government failings will receive a state-subsidised sympathetic ear in the mainstream media. It is far easier for the Coalition to keep the public money — or hush money in this case — flowing.
Fumbling towards the answer.
Put simply, modern government does so much and is so complex that the people who run the machinery of government have become more powerful than the politicians elected to be in charge. The politicians cannot penetrate the complexity barrier.
So either burn down the bureaucracy and reduce the size of government, or change the people in the bureaucracy by preventing the bureaucracy from choosing new bureaucrats (remember, leftists only choose leftists, so over time any organization moves left), or surrender to the self-perpetuating and ever more leftist bureaucratic caste. No one ever said this was going to be easy.