Stupidity Reproduces Itself

I had a professor in college, after I landed myself in some serious trouble with the administration, say something to me that stuck with me. He said;

“bureaucracies exist to perpetuate themselves.”

It was said to me to remind me that there is no mercy or grace in a system, despite it’s outward trappings. Earlier this morning, I caught Robert Rubin and Paul O’Neil on Fareed Zakaria.

Paul O’Neil has come under fire for criticizing the Bush Tax Cuts repeatedly. But his reasoning behind it is simple: The IRS is inefficient, complex, and bloated. A tax cut merely lessens it’s horrible inefficiencies; it doesn’t fix them. He believes basically that the IRS is merely an experiment in stupidity that everyone tries to fix instead of blowing it up and starting over.

O’Neil would like to see a simpler, more effective and easier to enforce tax system.

Take the two ideas: bureaucracies exist to perpetuate themselves, and a stupid system needs to be scrapped and rebuilt; and you have a pretty good idea of what’s occurring in the the environmental world.

We’re holding onto ideas that are a hundred years old, no longer work, and are merely self-perpetuating stupidity.

  • Take our power generation. We burn something to heat something to make electricity. Cavemen burned things, Peasants in the Dark Ages burned things, and what do we do after 10,000 years of human development? We burn things.
  • Our highways and byways could stand to be reevaluated as well. It was built as a defense tool for the Cold War in the 1950s. It’s 2010 and the Cold War is over. Yet we still plan and build roads like Eisenhower is president and the Soviets are a button push away from starting WWIII.

We have better ways to generate power, better ways to build roads, houses, businesses, better ways to plan communities, better ways to manufacture, transport, and more. Basically we have better, and cleaner ways to do everything in our lives. And yet?

We still are allowing a stupid, bureaucracy to reproduce itself.