Thursday, June 02, 2011

The Civil Servant as Conservative

A minor dustup back in my natal state helps to call attention to an important but often-overlooked ironical first principle of politics.  The incident involves two Republican legislators who have quit their leadership positions, why?  Because the party is too anti-union.   From press reports we glean that they are both retired state employees, which brings us to the point: civil servants tend to be a temperamentally conservative bunch.   They're strong for good order and decorum; they exercise; they floss.  But they are also totally comfortable with a culture of  raccomandazione, of "we don't want nobody nobody sent"-- "get a good government job," as Ignoto's mother counseled, "and keep your nose clean."   Well, qualify that: "clean" does not exclude keeping your own proboscis in the public honeypot.   "Live free or die," says the New Hampshire license plate.  But this is the emended version, says my old friend Rich, who worked on the Public Service of New Hampshire bankruptcy.  The full text reads "Live for free or die."

Footnote:  even less well understood, this principle applies in large measure to universities, those hotbeds of leftism.   Grant there are a few whiners in comp lit who have their lips to the microphone, but go check the voting rolls in chemistry, or range science, or mechanical engineering.  These guys understand what freedom is all about, and cutting public employee benefits is not on the agenda.

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