Reflections on Motives

The reason bureaucrats love to produce litanies of rules designed, in substance and in spirit, to reduce everyone to generic, interchangeable minions is obvious: Bureaucracy is the definitive realm of the generic, interchangeable minion, in whose work flexibility, contextual choice, and free-thinking are not merely discouraged but absolutely counterproductive. Is it any wonder that the denizens of such a mechanized realm succumb, in their perfectly passionless and formulaic way, to envy and hatred toward everyone whose existence is not so generic, not so easily smoothed out by universalizable rules and restrictions? Is it any wonder they seek, therefore, to drag everyone down to their own level of personal pointlessness and existential emptiness?

The wealth-getter is definitively ruled by practical calculation and the need to preserve and protect potential markets. Is it any wonder, then, that the most successful wealth-getters are predictably and almost uniformly advocates for the status quo, even when the status quo is a trajectory of defeat and destruction? As long as the defeat is softened by a comfortable landing, the destruction prolonged so as to be almost imperceptible to the majority — to the consumers, to the state regulators one must keep on one’s good side, and to the rulers, local and global, that one must not offend. A truly devoted businessman, the sort who becomes a “mover and shaker,” is by nature inclined to move only in self-protection, and to shake only in his boots. That is to say, a wealth-getter on the grand scale must also be a coward on the grand scale. This is the group most likely to produce the great traitors, the great advocates of national suicide in the guise of compromise, the great practical facilitators of soft despotism and mass enslavement.

President Biden, speaking in Florida in the wake of Hurricane Ian, made the following all-too-predictable declaration: “There’s a lot going on, and I think the one thing this has finally ended is a discussion about whether or not there’s climate change, and [that] we should do something about it.” The discussion has ended, he says, because a region famously prone to hurricanes has been hit with yet another hurricane. People who are always quick to declare a discussion ended are, as Biden directly reveals in this case, those who are always eager to push forward with action, and specifically action that requires coercing other men. Such people see discussion as their enemy, because they correctly fear that ongoing discussion, i.e., thought, might thwart or limit the particular kind of action they prefer. “This ends the discussion” means, quite simply, “I don’t want to have to justify my will anymore, so just be quiet and submit.”

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