The Profit of Reform
called for a remedial law and more enforcement agents, until at long last the farmer of America finds himself controlled, regulated, and otherwise harassed by the authorities. The dream of reform always portends a profit for Pharaoh.
When we reduce the abstraction "political power" to its operational reality, to the way it actually works, we see how it feeds on reform. Every proposal to improve man's lot by political measures calls for the enactment of a law or an official edict. The law presupposes that some people are not doing what they ought to do or are doing something that ought not to be done. Hence, the purpose of the law is to regulate human behavior. The very premise of the law is that violation or evasion will ensue from its enactment, that it will not be self-enforcing; therefore, the heart of the law is a punishment clause. No law is worth the paper it is printed on without such a clause, and no law has any effect unless it is implemented with a corps of enforcers. Therein lies the secret of the accumulation and perpetuation of political power.
Joseph's reform law was carried out by what the Bible calls "officers"—stout fellows who performed their duties with finality. Where authority is diffused and highly formalized, as in this country, the arbitrament of force is resorted to only when the subtler methods of suasion and bribery have been exhausted, methods that require the services of highly trained "officers," currently known as bureaucrats. The bureaucrats are people, not unlike the people whose direction is entrusted to their care under the law; they too are bent on getting the most out of life with the minimum of exertion, and they too adjust their thinking to the means at hand. They develop an occupational frame of mind, a bureaucratic psy-