Gang-Green and the Government Staff Infection

(This article was originally published on the Freedom Foundation blog on September 24, 2014, written by Glen Morgan, while he was the Property Rights Director at the Freedom Foundation.  The original article posting was deleted by the Freedom Foundation in 2017.  It has been reposted here exactly as it was originally written)
“Big Government is in conflict with individual freedom to increase its power. The nature of bureaucracy is to perpetuate itself. When special interests like Gang Green control the bureaucracy – it only gets worse”

In today’s world, everyone apparently has a disease.

Nobody’s to blame. They’re just sick … they can’t help themselves.

With that cultural backdrop, we recognize that all government from the local to the federal level has become infected with the disease of aggressive, abusive and arrogant bureaucracy that strives to control every aspect of human existence.

While it’s always been true that government bureaucracy is generally viewed as lethargic, incompetent and costly, in recent years there are more concerns about how government has become more harmful and invasive than ever before. Part of what has caused this visible shift has been modern technology that can allow the NSA to record billions of text messages and phone calls or for a local government to use 3-D aerial photography to automatically detect if a property owner has moved a flower pot from one month to the next, for example.

Part of what has made America an exceptional nation was that it was founded with the common recognition that freedom is the natural yearning of the human condition. Government will always get in the way of individual freedom to justify its own existence. This tendency is precisely why the Founding Fathers created a Constitution whose principles supersede any laws created at the local, state or national level.

It is the nature of bureaucracy to perpetuate itself. This isn’t an evil conspiracy; it’s just how the real world and human nature work. The unending quest for power, money and control creates the incentive structure in any entity to seek more of the same. This is human nature, as well, but when handed the power of the state and the budget of nearly limitless tax dollars in a bureaucracy, this can create a monster that devours all that get in the way.

Bureaucracy is more than just an abstract concept inhabiting the murky underworld of “the government.”  It is a living organism made up of people—our neighbors, friends and, often, family members, who staff the machine of government.

While they may just view themselves as a cog in the wheel of the great leviathan grinding slowly forward day after day, they bring their own beliefs and views of the world to their job. Outside people and ideologies do have an influence on what they believe, how they do their jobs and certainly with how they focus their energy.

This is when Gang Green gets involved.

We all know people who call themselves “environmentalists.”  Everyone wants pure water, clean air, and  access to beautiful wilderness for generations. However, there are those among us who take the normal yearning for these conditions but then preach “environmental” belief agendas with a religious fundamentalist fervor.

For these zealots, this is their religion. For these true believers, it is not enough for them to live their lives as they see fit. For them, they feel empowered and called by a higher power to dictate every detail about how everyone else should live their lives, as well.

When their fellow citizens do not subscribe to every aspect of their religious belief system, they feel perfectly justified in using government as the force to bludgeon their neighbors into submission.

This is Gang Green, and it has infected government.

Gang Green organizations (like the Friends of the San JuansFuturewiseConservation Voters, and often funded by the Bullitt Foundation) and members will conduct surveillance and spy on their neighbors to ensure rigid conformity to their belief system. When someone diverges from the orthodoxy of the day that Gang Green demands, then they take photos, file complaints and ensure punishment is meted out to those who stray from the fold.

Divergence from orthodoxy is not allowed, and excommunication from the body politic and community is a threat that never goes out of style. To Gang Green, extremism in defense of its religion is no vice.

At the Freedom Foundation, our Tales of Tyranny series documents just some of these stories where Gang Green is able to infect Washington state and local government to be the enforcement mechanism for its extreme efforts to control other people, expand their own power and justify their existence.

These stories are just small samples of the potential legions of stories we could tell. We tell them to illustrate the truth and help document how real people are harmed and put last on the priority list of government.

Gang Green will always be with us. In a free society—where all points of view are allowed to exist, regardless of how delusional or harmful they may be—some people will always be part of Gang Green.

However, it is important for us to recognize the great harm big government inflicts on average people. Unfortunately, we also should note how easy it is for a special interest like the rapacious Gang Green to cause staff infection in our government. We’re now paying a steep price for allowing this situation to progress as far as it has.

This is why we must prioritize the shrinking of the surveillance and regulatory state and the apparatus that big government builds to support this structure. It will no longer be enough to tinker around the edges, sometimes amputating the Gang Green-infected portions of government will be required in order to save a free society.

It is probably one of the first steps we must take to protect the individual from the harm inflicted upon them by this Leviathan that we have allowed to exist for so long.
A recent example would be the “No Drone Surveillance” bill that passed both houses of the Washington State Legislature (despite being opposed by many of the leaders in the Democratic Caucus), only to be vetoed by Democrat Gov. Jay Inslee (a proud member of Gang Green).

This bill would have made it difficult for state and local government agencies to use drone surveillance on their neighbors without a court order. Over the summer, members of various state agencies and legislators have met to hash out details on another similar bill that will be introduced next session.

It should be noted that the Washington State Department of Ecology and the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife both want unfettered ability to conduct surveillance of citizens and private property using drones and any other method they could invent. These agencies and others have done everything they can to acquire as many tools possible to spy on citizens.

This should concern anyone who has any thoughts about privacy, freedom or private property. When an agency like the Department of Ecology, which is legendary for calling citizens “rable” (sic) for daring to show up at public hearings; which has employees who brag about “hunting” private property owners for sport (to fine them); whose staffers apparently delete public records on a regular and common basis (as shown in this email where they forgot to do so); and, which regularly uses derogatory language to describe those with whom it disagrees in the highest reaches of their management, we should be concerned.

Could any rational person trust a government agency like this with even more power to spy and inflict pain and suffering?  Of course not, but the Department of Ecology wants this power and authority anyway.

It will take political courage and fortitude to take significant steps to reduce the size and scope of the infection in government. There will be much screaming and threats of doom by Gang Green and the government staff they have infected.

This is understandable. They personally benefit from the harm they inflict on others, and they enjoy it. However, it must be stopped. Failure to stop it now will not make the process any easier in the future.

“You may not be interested in government, but that doesn’t mean government isn’t interested in you.”

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