Memo to Federal Government Employees
That's right, quit.
You think I'm crazy — or, better said, do I think you're crazy?
You've got a job for life. When your job ends (at your sole discretion since you can't be fired), your bountiful taxpayer-guaranteed pension takes over. When you die, your spouse inherits half of your pension and all of your blue-ribbon health care. Cost-of-living raises are generous and automatic and paid by the taxpayer.
Yes, I admit, all this is true. That's why you should quit.
Face it. You are trapped by a system you hate. You are surrounded by slugs to whom work is a dirty word. Your job is meaningless.
Admit it, you never make decisions. Why? Because if you make the right decision, someone above you takes the credit. If you make the wrong decision, you get the blame. So you don't make any decisions. For thirty years you will face thousands of opportunities to make a decisions, and evade every one of them.
For thirty years you will write thousands of memos, copy everybody under the sun, and then turn back to writing the great American novel and perusing the real estate ads for retirement properties in the Shenandoah Valley.
Your Great American Novel's plot centers on the plague of bureaucratic government. Evil characters are everywhere. You wipe your beaded brow and wonder if it's too realistic to be regarded as fiction.
You know it is.
Admit it. When you got your government job, you felt smugly superior to the hoi polloi — your college classmates — who had to go knock on doors and constantly prove their worth to an employer who could fire them at will for nonperformance. You felt so smart that you were sure your I.Q. had risen by at least twenty points (make that forty, if you work for the State Department). You acquired a certain swagger. You had power.
But that set of illuminations led to another one: you discovered that your bureaucratic superiors were a bunch of craven CYA experts who had only contempt for the masses.
Oh yes, I forgot about the masses: these are the people, the citizens — your neighbors when you were growing up — the tired, wretched, the poor and weary of the world for whom you had such compassion that you wanted to go to work for the government so you could "help" them. You weren't sure until your junior year, when you took a sociology course that proved scientifically the superiority of the government to all other forms of human association. That cinched it.
Of course, that very dispiriting visit to the college placement office was also, shall we say, an incentive. As those snarky fraternity guys would have put it, your résumé sucked. They got jobs on Wall Street, while you were left sitting out on the side of the road.
You showed'em! You rose above the reveling, revolting, ignorant accounting and business majors. You scorned the tailgate parties and the easy love. You knew your mission — work for the government and save the world.
And tell everyone else down there to quit too.
If two million federal government bureaucrats read this and quit, consider the consequences.
First, a nationwide sigh of relief. Simply thrilling.
Instead of having two million surly and arrogant government bureaucrats impeding growth, progress, charity, and freedom every day, privately-owned businesses built with risk capital will have two million brilliant and capable new hires to choose from without government interference. In some few of the two million ex-bureaucrats, a glimmer of entrepreneurial zeal might have survived — you know, like the gnostic spark. They will start businesses too.
If you quit, HHS will disappear. Instead of HHS bureaucrats raking in billions in taxes and counterfeit Fed paper and keeping over half of it, free Americans will be able to donate their own money directly to the local organizations that actually serve the health and other human needs of their communities.
You can even help. But volunteer — don't take a salary, not even a cent. That is the secret to providing effective health and human services. When it comes to business, make a profit. When it comes to charity, work for free.
If you quit, the Department of Education will evaporate. More billions will be left in the pockets of parents in communities all over the country. They know their local schools better than you ever could. They know the slackers. They know the lifers. And they know the stars.
Let them run their own schools. How?
"Now wait a minute," I hear you say … "I admit I hate my job and my coworkers. By and large, they're a lot of slugs. I do more work than any ten of them, frankly. And I admit it's not fair — to me and, on reflection (boy that's hard!) to you. It's not fair to you. Boy is that a novel idea! But what about those pensions, the health care, the security — how can I quit and leave all that behind?"
Good question. Answer: if you don't quit, all that will evaporate anyway, as soon as the Leviathan collapses. All of your pension money will be worthless scrip. If that doesn't motivate you, consider the possibility that the coming wrath of the common man could envelop your bureaucracy's headquarters with pitchfork brigades that might well visit great and justified retribution on you and yours.
You see, if you do quit, you've got a shot at making it on your own. Think of it! You can acquire self-respect. For the first time in your life, you can be productive. You will be paid because you are productive. And you will continue to be productive because you know that, if you aren't productive, you won't get paid, either.
Whew! There's an idea for your next novel!
If you quit, and convince the millions in your government "workers" union to do the same, the country will flourish. Growth will abound, and, with it, happiness and goodwill.
Come on, when is the last time that you walked down the street and smiled at a stranger? If you quit, that stranger is a potential customer of your private employer. So you'll smile — and you'll mean it.
Admit it. When you walk into your government office building and are blocked by a gaggle of tourists from Alabama or South Dakota, do you smile and say silently, "thank you, taxpayers, for the privilege of working for you"?
Or do you silently say, "what a bunch of addled scum — get outta my way"?
Does that make you stop and think? You need to quit.
Oh, an added bonus: if you quit, you'll never have to lie again. Not even to yourself! Think of it!
Now where was I? Ah yes. If you all quit, a sound currency will emerge, on its own, and jobs will abound, unimpeded by government because there will be no one left in the government to call a press conference and sic the bureaucratic Hydra on you and your company. In fact, the government buildings will be empty — except, I admit, for the slugs. However, for them I have a solution: continue to pay them and send them home. That's all they want. They will be easy to please, and they will be out of the way.
Quit. All of you, quit. Then send the slugs home, with pay and benefits. Promise them pensions, too. Then we can sell the government buildings and use the proceeds to pay down the government debt — and pensions for the slugs.
This is not a thought piece, this is a demand for action. Time is short. If you do not quit, the country will sink into the mire. Do not pretend that you will be spared. Remember, the District of Columbia began as a swamp, and it will end as one.
You can still get out. Walk out the nearest door into the sunshine, breathe deeply, and be yourself again. Don't be afraid, your true self is in there somewhere. Burn off the barnacles, shed the smarmy arrogance and pride, forgive all of your colleagues their trespasses, and leave, never to darken that bureaucracy's door again. Two million strong, you will abandon the capital to the swamp, the cockroaches, and the slugs.
But time is short. Time is not only of the essence, it is the essence. Your college profs lied to you. You can't save the world. But if you quit, you can save your country.
The choice lies before you. You have only two options.
Or write another memo.
September 3, 2010
Christopher Manion [send him mail] is a columnist for The Wanderer, America's oldest independent Catholic newspaper, founded in 1868. He is president of Manion Music, LLC, which produces copyrighted, royalty-free music collections for telecommunications media and commercial and hospitality sites that use background music or music-on-hold. He writes from the Shenandoah Valley, where he is a volunteer Spanish translator for local law enforcement.
Copyright © Christopher Manion 2010. All Rights reserved.