Friday, February 1, 2013

Here is how the progressives' "body of experts" became nearly immortal

As a sort of addendum to my last entry, I would like to point out how the courts made the social regulators - those who would be our real dictators - immortal.

In 1935, in the case of "Humphrey's Executor v. United States", the following is written in the court's opinion:

The government says the phrase "continue in office" is of no legal significance, and, moreover, applies only to the first commissioners. We think it has significance. It may be that, literally, its application is restricted as suggested; but it nevertheless lends support to a view contrary to that of the government as to the meaning of the entire requirement in respect of tenure; for it is not easy to suppose that Congress intended to secure the first commissioners against removal except for the causes specified, and deny like security to their successors. Putting this phrase aside, however, the fixing of a definite term subject to removal for cause, unless there be some countervailing provision or circumstance indicating the contrary, which here we are unable to find, is enough to establish the legislative intent that the term is not to be curtailed in the absence of such cause. But if the intention of [p624] Congress that no removal should be made during the specified term except for one or more of the enumerated causes were not clear upon the face of the statute, as we think it is, it would be made clear by a consideration of the character of the commission and the legislative history which accompanied and preceded the passage of the act. The commission is to be nonpartisan, and it must, from the very nature of its duties, act with entire impartiality. It is charged with the enforcement of no policy except the policy of the law. Its duties are neither political nor executive, but predominantly quasi-judicial and quasi-legislative. Like the Interstate Commerce Commission, its members are called upon to exercise the trained judgment of a body of experts "appointed by law and informed by experience."

And it continues:

Thus, the language of the act, the legislative reports, and the general purposes of the legislation as reflected by the debates all combine to demonstrate the Congressional intent to create a body of experts who shall gain experience by length of service -- a body which shall be independent of executive authority except in its selection, and free to exercise its judgment without the leave or hindrance of any other official or any department of the government. To the accomplishment of these purposes it is clear that Congress was of opinion that length and certainty of tenure would vitally contribute.

The court successfully used the Constitution's own checks and balances against itself. This is the danger of even having the bureaucracy in the first place. The problem is not "the bureaucrats do x, and I don't like x" while "the bureaucrats do y, and I like y", and then haggling about whether or not the merits of what the bureaucracy did are valid. This is merely tinkering around the edges. The problem is the mere existence of the bureaucracy. Nothing more. It exists, that is the problem. It's whole existence is premised upon being unaccountable to the people. Having said lack of accountability, it's no wonder they have become so abusive of the people. Why would they care? We cannot fire them.

Now, "Humphrey's" is a case where FDR was attempting to remove William Humphrey from the FTC. Humphrey was a Coolidge appointee, so as you can imagine, FDR wanted a more statist-minded official running the show. Humphrey was defiant, blah blah blah, the story continues. That's politics for you, and it's unimportant.

As you can see by what I quoted from the "Humphrey's Executor" case, the end result is a permanent bureaucratic class that is nearly untouchable. That's what's important. In what is typically considered his most well known/best speech, "A Time for Choosing" (AKA The "Rendezvous with Destiny" speech) Reagan says the following:

No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. So governments' programs, once launched, never disappear.

Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth.

As Paul Harvey used to say: "And now you know, the rest of the story".

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