Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe, Vogons, and the Dictatorship of the Bureaucracy



Yesterday, I wrote about the dictatorship of the bureaucracy. (See below.) While writing it, I was reminded of a quote from one of my favorite books, Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. (It's a terrific farce and situational comedy.) The quote is about a race of space aliens, the Vogons, whose soul raison d'être is to be the galaxy's bureaucrats. Here's their description:

They are one of the most unpleasant races in the galaxy - not actually evil, but bad tempered, bureaucratic, officious and callous. They wouldn't even lift a finger to save their own grandmothers from the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal without an order, signed in triplicate, sent in, sent back, queried, lost, found, subjected to public enquiry, lost again, and finally buried in soft peat for three months and recycled as firelighters. If you want to get a lift from a Vogon, forget it. They are vile and ill tempered. If you want to get a drink from a Vogon, stick your finger down his throat. If you want to annoy a vogon, feed his grandmother to the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal.

To anyone who has suffered at the hands of government bureaucracy, you can appreciate the truths offered in this description about those who serve as minions within the system. We've all encountered these creatures in the post office, the DMV, or the unemployment office.

This is an apt description of what most of us will have to deal with as our government takes over the regulation of all medical insurance in the US and forces us to live within its bureaucracy. It's a sad testament to the people of the US, who used to be full of industry and common sense, that we have sold ourselves to a whole new level of bureaucratic dictatorship.