As a libertarian, I always strive to judge people based on their individual merit, and not fall victim to believing in any sweeping stereotypes or generalities based on someone’s association with any particular group. However, there is one particular group of people for which this is rather difficult to avoid: government employees. Let’s be honest here – a rather large percentage of them are some mixture of stupid, lazy, and corrupt (I should know, I used to be one!).
Now, your average Democrat or Republican will lament this fact as a sorry state of affairs, one which we should be actively seeking to improve. Why, we need the best and the brightest among us to be serving the “public good!” One obvious solution (to them) is to offer higher pay and more elaborate benefits for public sector “service,” despite the fact that government employees as a whole already make more money than their private-sector counterparts. The Republican reformer might suggest some sort of “get tough” policy, where the weakest employees are identified and fired.
We libertarians can have a laugh at the expense of government employees all we want, but we should also keep in mind that it is a net benefit to society that government employees are generally incompetent. Remember, some of the government’s stated objectives are to spy on us, monitor our activities, steal our money and use it for pet projects, debase our currency, and fight unnecessary foreign wars. Do we want these initiatives spearheaded by the best and brightest, or do we want them managed by corrupt morons who couldn’t hack it in the voluntary sector? The worse the government employees are, the less likely it is that the government will be able to achieve its objectives, most of which are completely opposed to the idea of individual freedom. Imagine how much trouble we’d be in if everyone who worked for the government was intelligent and highly motivated to succeed in their job. Freedom wouldn’t have a chance!