What ever happened to our “public servants”?

posted at 7:21 pm on August 27, 2013 by Bruce McQuain

That’s essentially what Glenn Reynolds asks in his USA Today piece:

All over America, government officials enjoy privileges that ordinary citizens don’t. Sometimes it involves bearing arms, with special rules favoring police, politicians and even retired government employees. Sometimes it involves freedom from traffic and parking tickets, like the special non-traceable license plates enjoyed by tens of thousands of California state employees or similar immunities for Colorado legislators. Often it involves immunity from legal challenges, like the “qualified” immunity to lawsuits enjoyed by most government officials, or the even-better “absolute immunity” enjoyed by judges and prosecutors. (Both immunities — including, suspiciously, the one for judges — are creations of judicial action, not legislation).

Lately it seems as if these kinds of special privileges are proliferating. And it also seems to me that special privileges for “public servants” that have the effect of making them look more like, well, “public masters,” are kind of un-American. Even more, I’m beginning to wonder if they might actually be unconstitutional. Surely the creation of two classes of citizens, one more equal than the others, isn’t the sort of thing the Framers intended. Why didn’t they put something in the Constitution to prevent it?

Reynolds goes on to talk about Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution and titles of nobility.  As you probably know, they’re prohibited here.  But that doesn’t stop us from having what appears to be a defacto nobility at times.  A group we collectively call “public servants” or people we’ve hired to do the work of governing and management.  Our employees.

However, somewhere along the line the “servant” part of the description morphed into a completely different animal.  Now we have an elite which, in many cases, enjoys special privileges that they’ve granted themselves.  That has also translated into an attitude.  The “force of law”, which they enjoy cloaking themselves in, has changed many “servants” into perceiving themselves as masters and citizens into subjects of their will.  Consequently many of them see themselves not as someone hired to do the will and work of the people, but instead in a position to dictate to the people what they will do.   Michael Bloomberg among many, many others, comes immediately to mind, as do many petty and faceless bureaucrats.

As our “public servants” have gathered power unto themselves and built their little fiefdoms, they’ve also leveraged that into positions of privilege and abuse.  The partial list Reynolds provides doesn’t even touch on Congress.  They exempt themselves all the time from rules, regulations and costs  the rest of us have to bear.   Instead of having to live with what they impose on the rest of us by the “force of law”, they simply exempt themselves.  And because of that, they haven’t any idea of the hardship their actions may impose or the real consequences of their law.

All of this should be unacceptable to the rest of us.  We should require service from our public servants.   They have no right to exempt themselves from any law in a land that claims equality under the law as one of its highest ideals.  Until we hold them accountable and make them live with the same rules they impose on us, this elite class with continue to grow and abuse it’s power.  And the scandals of today will pale in comparison to the abuses we’ll see in the future.

Reynolds is willing to consider “compelling government interests”, narrowly defined, as an exception to the “no special privileges” rule.  I’m less inclined to give government even that much – mostly because abuse will surely follow as night follows day, even with a narrow interpretation.  Maybe it’s necessary to take that risk.  But what is clear to most is the privilege “public service” now grants itself in many areas is not consistent with the concept of equality under American law and must end.

 

~McQ

Blogging at QandO


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The masses smell when they visit DC,,,

OmahaConservative on August 27, 2013 at 7:23 PM

Too easy, they all have become , self servants.

Bmore on August 27, 2013 at 7:25 PM

It’s not just the ‘special privileges’, they stopped being public servants years ago when their salaries, benefits, bonuses and pensions became far better than what is available in private industry.

They truly have become the ruling elite.

slickwillie2001 on August 27, 2013 at 7:28 PM

When we stopped HANGING THEM FROM TREES when they committed crimes against the country, we stopped getting ” servants “.

TX-96 on August 27, 2013 at 7:30 PM

All of this should be unacceptable to the rest of us. We should require service from our public servants. They have no right to exempt themselves from any law in a land that claims equality under the law as one of its highest ideals. Until we hold them accountable and make them live with the same rules they impose on us, this elite class with continue to grow and abuse it’s power. And the scandals of today will pale in comparison to the abuses we’ll see in the future.

A nobility in all but name has been slowly forming for decades. The dynasties we see with the Bush, Clinton, and Kennedy families are not that different than European noble families.

The peasants are kept silent with Internet entertainment, drugs and public handouts.

sharrukin on August 27, 2013 at 7:31 PM

To Serve Man

VorDaj on August 27, 2013 at 7:32 PM

I suspect the laws enacted would be fewer and fairer if Congress, State Legislatures, and City Council’s were required to live by the same rules they want to impose on the rest of us.

EdmundBurke247 on August 27, 2013 at 7:34 PM

I honestly believe most of them went to DC believing they could do good things. Then, they figured out they could get rich. That changed everything.

Term limits is the only fix now. We should be demanding it.

BacaDog on August 27, 2013 at 7:35 PM

Why is it so hard to get this? We have stopped being citizens and are now subjects. The political elite gerrymands it districts to assure reelection and then sells itself to the highest bidder. The executive assumes power not its own. The supreme court rules as the philosopher kings and queens they believe they are. The entire system is enforced by government employees that are paid better than the subjects with the subject’s money. The NSA and IRS scandals do not have to have their origin in top leadership, the bureaucracy may just be protecting itself by these actions. Any dissent from this system is countered with the power of the state to suppress even the thought of anything different.

Rumpole of the Bailey on August 27, 2013 at 7:35 PM

Us serfs only have 2 ways to slow them down.Vote them out until we get the right one or remove them from the planet by whatever means it takes.

docflash on August 27, 2013 at 7:35 PM

The political class has become, for the most part, grasping, self serving, conniving,calculating, manipulating charlatans who fancy themselves to be American aristocracy.

The cronyism, corruption, and nepotism displayed by the political class is astonishing. They even feel entitled to pass their political careers down to their children, as though the political office they’ve held, the political capital they’ve accrued through cronyism and corruption, and ruling this nation, are their hereditary right.

They listen only to one another and their respective donors. The only time they even remember the constituents who elected them is when they wish to campaign for re-election.

The political class, career politicians, largely live in Washington DC. The majority of their work is there, their social circle is there, their networks are there, they take the majority of their entertainment there, and their children attend school there. Most only return to their ‘home state’ when they are on vacation, just to make an appearance for the constituents, or running for re-election. They’ve long since lost any connection to those whom they ask to re-elect them.

Why do they get re-elected over and over? Because the people who are most frightened of change are most likely to vote, and the career politician is an expert and trading on that very fear.

It’s time to fire the career politicians, institute a two term limit ( if it’s good enough for the presidency, surely it’s good enough for senators and representatives), and try to elect people who have a real, human, investment in our communities.

thatsafactjack on August 27, 2013 at 7:38 PM

Out of curiosity I thought I’d look up the phrase public servant.

Did you know it was once used as a synonym for a convict?

Kid you not.

At some point public servant became synonymous with civil servant, but IMHO the earlier use is more apt.

INC on August 27, 2013 at 7:44 PM

What ever happened to our “public servants”?

…they are “REIGNING” now!

KOOLAID2 on August 27, 2013 at 7:46 PM

I honestly believe most of them went to DC believing they could do good things. Then, they figured out they could get rich. That changed everything …

BacaDog on August 27, 2013 at 7:35 PM

Washington used to be just “Hollywood for the ugly”. Booze, drugs, parties, sex, etc., paid for by all of us. It’s now that and much more, the ultimate rags-to-riches playbook for the the ugly and dumb. Dumb, as in the vast majority of them couldn’t start or successfully run a shoeshine or lemonade stand.

TXUS on August 27, 2013 at 7:49 PM

What ever happened to our “public servants”?

They found that the public trough was unguarded and they’re gorging themselves.

Flange on August 27, 2013 at 7:49 PM

Absolute immunity for judges is the correct rule.

Then the lawsuit is fought in the original proceeding, not a second lawsuit brought by the losing party against the judge.

The protections for everyone are that federal judges can be impeached like Alcee Hastings.

State judges can be recalled, voted out of office, impeached, or criminally prosecuted.

slp on August 27, 2013 at 7:50 PM

thatsafactjack on August 27, 2013 at 7:38 PM

That’s an accurate and complete description of who they are while they treat the rest of the country as a sort of indentured servant.

INC on August 27, 2013 at 7:51 PM

thatsafactjack on August 27, 2013 at 7:38 PM

So right on, Jackie, I might find a need to go off somewhere and twerk.

TXUS on August 27, 2013 at 7:52 PM

They’re all worthless meatbags with pensions.

Mr. Arrogant on August 27, 2013 at 7:53 PM

As long as the public servants are making the laws, they will always exempt themselves from the laws.

DAT60A3 on August 27, 2013 at 7:56 PM

They cooked the books to “serve man”. Head on a plate with an apple in our mouth. Bastards all.―

Thomas Jefferson“The Democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.”

jpcpt03 on August 27, 2013 at 7:58 PM

They found that they could become multimillionaires, that’s what.

Cleombrotus on August 27, 2013 at 7:59 PM

Glen Reynolds wouldn’t be suggesting that our “public servants” be subjected to the awesome benefits of Obamahcare like us commoners- now would he ?

FlaMurph on August 27, 2013 at 8:05 PM

I honestly believe most of them went to DC believing they could do good things. Then, they figured out they could get rich. That changed everything.

BacaDog on August 27, 2013 at 7:35 PM

It may have been that way long ago, but honestly, I suspect the opposite is true. I think very few go there believing they can do good things, but rather head that way eagerly and pretty sure they will be in a position to aggrandize themselves at our expense.

Midas on August 27, 2013 at 8:06 PM

I’m glad others are starting to wise up and understand this isn’t about dems/reps anymore. It’s about a small elite ruling from on high.

I guess we answered Reagan’s question:

Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revo!ution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.

unseen on August 27, 2013 at 8:10 PM

And yet, people keep voting for them. Voters are as much a part of the problem as the “public servants”. A perfect example of this is the fact that they’re even considering putting the Clinton’s back in the WH. How could anyone with a lick of sense want a repeat of that mess?

scalleywag on August 27, 2013 at 8:17 PM

I honestly believe most of them went to DC believing they could do good things. Then, they figured out they could get rich. That changed everything.

BacaDog on August 27, 2013 at 7:35 PM

I honestly believe power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. And the only way to have servants instead of masters is to chain government before they chain us. I have no faith in human nature. history is ripe with instances that men and women have forsaken their oaths, duty and word to enslave other people for nothing more then a few dollars or some perk. So it doesn’t matter what they believed going in, the system is corrupt and will corrupt all who enter it to one degree or the other. thus it is important to pick people of high character and morals to be our representatives. Not liars and cheats and thieves like we send up there nowadays.

unseen on August 27, 2013 at 8:18 PM

Let them eat cake

Unfortunately there is currently a guillotine shortage.

MaiDee on August 27, 2013 at 8:18 PM

Living High off the TaxPayers Hog somethings…………….

canopfor on August 27, 2013 at 8:22 PM

************** OUT OF TOUCH ********************!!!

canopfor on August 27, 2013 at 8:22 PM

And yet, people keep voting for them. Voters are as much a part of the problem as the “public servants”. A perfect example of this is the fact that they’re even considering putting the Clinton’s back in the WH. How could anyone with a lick of sense want a repeat of that mess?

scalleywag on August 27, 2013 at 8:17 PM

not just the Clintons but the Bushies also. But then if you were a mobster wouldn’t you want another mobster in charge? the problem is we have no choice most elections. the house gets re-elected at almost 90% because the parties no longer fight in every district nor every state. They have a gentleman’s agreement to not rock the boat. the two party system is the problem.

If we want to take back the government the only way that I can see short of a 1776 type of solution is to ratify the 1st amendment that controls the selection of the amount of house seats. It was passed by congress, ratified by 7 or 8 states early in the Republic but never passed. It has no time limit on it and it doesn’t need congress’s approval to ratify just 3/4ths of the states. And if enacted the federal government will again answer to We the people.

unseen on August 27, 2013 at 8:22 PM

*********** Rivers of KOOL_AID Runneth Again *********************!!

canopfor on August 27, 2013 at 8:23 PM

I believe that no civilian unelected government employee should enjoy civil immunity from damage or harm they cause while carrying out their duties. And no legal awards & penalties should be paid by the taxpayer until the liable public employee has first paid as much as he/she could.

Rich H on August 27, 2013 at 8:23 PM

Unfortunately there is currently a guillotine shortage.

MaiDee on August 27, 2013 at 8:18 PM

I hear there is a lot of tar and feathers out there.

unseen on August 27, 2013 at 8:23 PM

That’s an accurate and complete description of who they are while they treat the rest of the country as a sort of indentured servant.

INC on August 27, 2013 at 7:51 PM

You know I always thought that was the way to attack the mandate in Obamacare. After what else is it for the government to tell us we have to work to enrich the insurance companies? Is that not a type of indenture servitude? Esp when the government uses the threa tof force to make us comply with that?

unseen on August 27, 2013 at 8:27 PM

INC on August 27, 2013 at 7:44 PM

Hi INC! This is O/T but thot you may want to see it in case you missed it.

http://www.glennbeck.com/2013/08/23/david-barton-offers-the-truth-about-common-core/

bluefox on August 27, 2013 at 8:28 PM

Us serfs only have 2 ways to slow them down.Vote them out until we get the right one or remove them from the planet by whatever means it takes.

docflash on August 27, 2013 at 7:35 PM

As it has been throughout history.

unseen on August 27, 2013 at 8:29 PM

It may have been that way long ago, but honestly, I suspect the opposite is true. I think very few go there believing they can do good things, but rather head that way eagerly and pretty sure they will be in a position to aggrandize themselves at our expense.

Midas on August 27, 2013 at 8:06 PM

And many today go there because they have a dream of creating a Utopia for themselves, sans all us grotty groundlings.

And have concluded that making and enforcing laws (accent on the force part) is an easier and, for them, safer way to pursue their nihilistic fantasies than protesting, spraying graffiti, or setting off bombs.

After all, why bother going to the trouble of buying the bits ad building a homemade bomb when, with a certain title after your name, you can order the military to use one of their much better-designed-and-built ones on whoever you really don’t like?

“President of the United States” is one such position that comes to mind….

clear ether

eon

eon on August 27, 2013 at 8:31 PM

I for one would welcome and I’m certain many would appreciate if someone like ITGuy could generate some simple plots that represents the accumulated worth of our ‘represenatives’ & ‘senators’ in DC.

I recall reading about the wealth accumulated by Sen. Diane (Turn in all your guns America) Feinstein and her bosum buddy SanFranNan (We have to pass the Bill to see what’s in it) Pelosi who both multiplied their personal wealth dozens (triple digits perhaps?) of times over, from the time they first entered federal level politics and now.

I’ve heard of some annual data that lists members ‘worth’ but have never seen this tracked over their time in office. Might be illuminating.
Especially if certain bumps in their ‘worth’ was compared/correlated to certain pieces of legislation that they pushed.
If you get my meaning, if you get my drift.

Missilengr on August 27, 2013 at 8:38 PM

Old Bob Heinlein pointed out decades ago

In any mature society, the phrase “civil servant” really means “civil master”.

Lazarus Long had it nailed.

CrazyGene on August 27, 2013 at 8:39 PM

And if enacted the federal government will again answer to We the people.

unseen on August 27, 2013 at 8:22 PM

Sounds good to me!

scalleywag on August 27, 2013 at 8:42 PM

STFU Bruce! Do as you’re told by your ‘betters’.

GarandFan on August 27, 2013 at 8:44 PM

So right on, Jackie, I might find a need to go off somewhere and twerk.

TXUS on August 27, 2013 at 7:52 PM

The rest of us will grind…and watch.

egmont on August 27, 2013 at 8:50 PM

So right on, Jackie, I might find a need to go off somewhere and twerk.

TXUS on August 27, 2013 at 7:52 PM

TXUS:———————:)
==================================

Tweets All / No replies

The Associated Press ‏@AP 22m

‘Twerking’ bounces into Oxford dictionary: http://apne.ws/1aNGFth -KH
===============

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canopfor on August 27, 2013 at 9:01 PM

This is a problem that also goes right down to the municipal level in our country. Our local “public servants” have followed right along with the federal example and now feel that they can do whatever they want to us. From ridiculous construction guidelines to the de facto immunity from the law of elected officials and police, we are being pushed on all levels to a point where we as Americans must act.

Wine_N_Dine on August 27, 2013 at 9:04 PM

Very first thing that needs to happen is to outlaw public sector unions. Second is term limits for every office from village clerk to US senator.
They will NEVER do it themselves. Something along the lines of Levin’s liberty amendments, enacted by the states without the grace of the feds, is the only thing that will save this country peaceably. Frankly, I don’t think peaceably is in the cards, however much those of us who cherish liberty wish it were so. Maybe the Norks or Chicoms will make the decision for us with an EMP bomb or ten. At this point, I wonder whether or not that would be for the better or worse.

SteveThomas on August 27, 2013 at 9:11 PM

Absolute immunity for judges is the correct rule.

Then the lawsuit is fought in the original proceeding, not a second lawsuit brought by the losing party against the judge.

The protections for everyone are that federal judges can be impeached like Alcee Hastings.

State judges can be recalled, voted out of office, impeached, or criminally prosecuted.

slp on August 27, 2013 at 7:50 PM

Fair enough.

The question now becomes: by whom? Legislators will never impeach one of their own. An excellent example is Barry Sotero. He is guilty of numerous crimes against the Constitution and the senate would never convict. That would require integrity, there ain’t none in Deecee.

FOWG1 on August 27, 2013 at 9:29 PM

The day being a politician became a career path it was over.

The founders and all the early politicians were all successful Americans that went to politics in their later life to give back. Politicians and all gov jobs were poor paying jobs that were more civil servant than career. It worked and politicians self policed.

When politics became a career path the whole idea and motivation changed. Naturally a career path is to make more money and be more successful for your and your family. A career path is to build a yellow brick road for your offspring to follow with even more success. All of these goals are in conflict with the meaning of the job serving the peoples interest.

TERM LIMITS it is the only answer. Should be two terms then up or out. No lifetimes in the Senate or congress. Shorten the available time and the corrupt will have to rape it to hard and so get caught. The steady flow of new blood and even the old blood being in their last term influencing would be limited.

TERM LIMITS its the only way to start us back on the right path.

C-Low on August 27, 2013 at 9:59 PM

No assault rifles or large capacity magazines for police or public officials in any state that bans them for their citizens. Furthermore no publicly funded security outside of the respective states’ capital buildings in states that ban private citizens from owning “assault rifles” or “high” capacity magazines.

Iblis on August 27, 2013 at 10:50 PM

Fire them all and build on a new much smaller foundation.

Mason on August 28, 2013 at 12:08 AM

Well fine. Has Reynolds filed suit in federal court to seek a resolution to these BRAZEN constitutional violations? Has ANYONE? ACLU? ANYONE? Grousing about it on blogs and in op-eds isn’t going to stop it. Congress can pass legislation out the wazoo–but if that legislation is UN-Constitutional, then somewhere in this land, is a court that will notify Congress that they are BREAKING THE LAW.

I’m so outraged anymore, I hardly know what to do with all of my indignation and fury. THIS IS UNCONSCIONABLE. Congress has just exempted themselves AND their staffs from ObamaCare. This blatantly unconstitutional action says it all.

Republicans DO NOT CARE about the law anymore than Democrats do. I will not vote for any Republican who voted in favor of that legislation.

I am hard pressed to think of any reason to even vote for Republicans anymore, frankly.

mountainaires on August 28, 2013 at 8:26 AM