Maybe it just snuck by me over the weekend, but I haven’t seen much reaction at all to an article Dave Weigel posted at Slate a few days back. Weigel observes that we really shouldn’t be surprised that bureaucrats would target conservative groups because most folks who go into government gigs will skew to the left, or at least toward support of Leviathan. Civil service is a natural draw for such folks — some, like my dear friend the Mad Dog, actually believe in the big-government project, while others may simply see burgeoning government as a means of job security or a corresponding growth in personal power.
But as someone said recently, what difference does it make at this point? Either way, these are people who have a vested interest in big government, and therefore in the party affiliated with same. It shouldn’t surprise us, then, that like any other organism, the bureaucracy will act in its own self-interest, in this case harassing conservative and Tea Party organizations and activists like a body’s immune system attacking a perceived antigen. The bureaucracy sees forces like the groups it has recently targeted as threats to its health and strength — and not without justification.
We don’t blame white blood cells for being white blood cells — they do what they do. Likewise, we shouldn’t be shocked when bureaucrats and agencies like the IRS attack groups opposing the big government project. However, when an immune system goes overboard, it becomes a disease in itself, either in the form of an allergy or such debilitating auto-immune disorders as MS or Myasthenia Gravis. An allergy can be an inconvenience, or it can be fatal — it depends upon the severity of the reaction. What we are seeing with the current IRS misbehavior is an organism’s immune system out of control. But it’s not anything we couldn’t see coming.
I would argue that the immune system in this case is a threat principally because of the size of the organism — the government and its bureaucracies. The larger a role it plays in our lives, the more damage we face from its actions, either conscious or autonomic. While government of some sort remains necessary, these recent events should remind us that it is in our own best interest to minimize its size, lest we burn from its fevers or be crushed when it thrashes in its delirium.