Citizens Opposed to Bureaucratic Bullying and Excessive Regulation

COBBERs Manifesto

Australians are a tolerant people. That is why this country is a great place to live. But if we are pushed too far, we will stand up for ourselves.

The price of democracy is eternal vigilance. In recent years, we have let our freedoms be gradually eroded by an ever-growing bureaucracy – making more rules, imposing more fines and charges, and enforcing more unreasonably.

Some regulations are needed, but so much unnecessary regulation has been heaped upon us in recent years, the Australian quality of life has been reduced. People who try to do new things with their home or business or organisation will often find today that we are no longer living in the free country we used to have.

We have a new elite of bureaucrats who increasingly interfere in our lives, impose regulation rigidly, and leave us little or no room to move. We never voted for this takeover. It is a coup, gradual but decisive.

Bureaucrats often impose unreasonable regulations on home-builders or home improvers, causing waste, expense, delay and heartache that has nothing whatsoever to do with the common good.

Bureaucrats routinely crush harmless personal freedoms, like the old man in the country with his chook shed – not hurting anyone.

We squash wholesome community life, like the mothers of the parish sharing child-minding, on the grounds of “not enough toilets”.

Or the fathers who have built some camp huts for the school kids to use once a year – banned on the grounds they’re “not regulation ceiling height”.

Bureaucrats oppose enterprises desperately needed by local communities, on the grounds of some academic “zoning code” of their own invention.

In each case, there is a reason given for the regulation – a slight possibility of “harm”, which is often remote and trivial when compared with the social damage done by the bureaucracy itself.

We’ve created a haven for dobbers, people who report others just to get them into trouble – often for ulterior personal motives like revenge, or just for the sheer hell of it. Because there are now so many ways of “getting” anybody, local councils and government departments are often (wittingly or unwittingly) actually doing the dirty work of miserable anti-socials who are simply using the system. These dobbers are encouraged and protected by the bureaucrats.

We used to be able to do anything except what was prohibited. Now we can do nothing except what is permitted. The initiative has shifted from the citizen to the official. By a thousand small steps we have changed into a society that is ruled by bureaus – departments, local governments, ministries, commissions, etc. The role of the citizen now is to be controlled, milked, treated as a lower life form, treated with contempt.

It takes many years of one’s life to learn what narrow paths of action are still permissible within our over-governed society. To young people it seems that nothing is allowed. If the limited life we have left them is not fulfilling, it is hardly surprising that they become depressed, lose interest in life, and become careless of their own well-being.

Every day, thousands of people are browbeaten by officials, and frustrated in their attempts to build something, operate as a community, create something, harmlessly enjoy – to live their own lives their own way, without hurting others.

Yes, some regulations are needed to avoid harming others, but in many cases, the only party offended is officialdom itself. The greatest crime as far as these tyrants are concerned is to not live by their rule.

This is not government for the people.

Every time another regulation is invented, another restriction imposed, the power of the little dictators grows, and the freedom of the people diminishes. The justifications put forward for each new stricture – safety, health, monitoring, revenue-raising – are never weighed against the cumulative effect of over-regulation on the quality of life. No department, no official, no politician has taken responsibility for that.

The new rulers assemble in committees behind closed doors – often in grand buildings paid for by their subjects, constantly finding new ways to reduce the freedom of the people. Some of these self-appointed nannies, wrapping us in regulations, actually think they are bettering our lives.

The nannies think they have such superior wisdom, that they should make ever more of our life choices. This is arrogance. They are no longer public servants: they have become public masters. The nannies make the red tape with which to hobble us.

Then the street level officials snare the citizens in the red tape. Many of these officers exercise no discretion, but are mere screws. They stop people in their tracks, they bring them down, frustrate their plans, punish initiative, sometimes shatter their dreams. These people are fond of saying “Regulations are regulations.” They do not exercise judgement, values, common sense or mercy. Alas, these jobs are often taken by characters who enjoy having the legal authority to throw their weight around, to indulge in power for its own sake.

Other positions in society are earned through talent and effort. But petty officials simply assume power over citizens. Every day, some of their kind are oppressing their fellow Australians by insisting on enforcing regulations that fail to serve any useful purpose. This is oppression. These people screw the public, by enforcing their dictates without using common sense.

Bureaucracy brings out an unfortunate side of human nature. This is reason enough to reduce the staggering volume of regulation now in our country. The bureaucrats, the nannies & their screws, have seriously undermined the great Australian principle of the fair go.

COBBERs aims to restore it.

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