Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Bureaucrats love certainty.

Bureaucratic Life 
Why political correctness is so appealing to bureaucrats
By Tom Thorne
Bureaucrats like certainty. They dislike and even hate any form of uncertainty. They are not very fond of criticism or people who present analysis of problems.  Bureaucrats are, at their core dictatorial and do not live in a democratic world. Political correctness is a dictatorship of the mind and attempts to denigrate or control rational thought or argument that might exist or be surfacing in an organization by implementing a set of rules to control behaviour. 
Political correct rules set up and delineate how everyone relates to everyone else but within an inflexible set of parameters. Implementing rules of political correctness is appealing to bureaucrats because it sets up rule bound behaviours that are predictable. The result is the use of administrative rules for employees to follow blindly.This process does not encourage discussion or contrary opinions. 
The peanut allergy example
Lets examine a typical political correct ruling set up to control any problem that might surface that could rock the status quo. Admittedly, there are people when they taste peanuts go into an allergic shock reaction that could be life threatening. Fortunately, these people are few and far between. For the bureaucratic mind the principle of serving the needs of the few over the many is not done to keep children with peanut allergies safe from coming into contact with peanuts. 
When they impose a total ban on peanuts and peanut butter in a school (or in some cases an entire school board), the real reason is avoid any problem that might occur. Avoiding problems no matter how remote the problem is a singular feature of bureaucratic political correct thinking.  
It simplifies any need to manage the situation by simply employing an administrative rule. Management on a case by case basis is seen by bureaucrats as having the potential for involvement in messy human interactions. This is the appeal to bureaucrats of administrative rules. Rules overcome any need to ever deal with a real problem.
Separation not an option
Separating the allergic person from the general population at meal times is not an option to the politically correct mindset. That might be messy and have the potential for a human crisis.  It would also not be “inclusive”. There is lots of angst worrying that the person with the allergy will feel somehow “different” when set apart from the other students. A management would realize that the person with an allergy to peanuts is de facto different from the general population.
In the meantime the rest of the student body is not allowed to bring peanuts or peanut based products in their lunches. To the bureaucratic mind the problem is solved when there are no peanuts anywhere in the school. Appeals by parents, teachers or students will not change this administrative ruling once it has been imposed.
The principle in this situation is what bothers me because it is applied to much more important things than peanut butter sandwiches. The greater good has to be sacrificed for the exception. In an attempt to make one kid feel OK and be included everyone else is denied the use of peanuts. 
Some argue that this a small price to pay for safety but I argue that the principle of the exception becoming the rule is a position that comes from ideas of arbitrary dictatorships and is a threat to normal human interaction and common sense which is usually what is at the core of values of the common good. 

© Copyright 2011, Tom Thorne, All Rights Reserved

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