One of the things that made “Disruptive Politics in the Trump Era,” John Fonte’s recent column for American Greatness, so provocative was his insight that the depredations of the Administrative State are indissolubly allied with what he calls “the cultural leviathan,” the progressive-left-dominated institutions that define the uplands of American social and political life. Many conservative commentators have lamented the Administrative State on Monday, the cultural Left (read: “leviathan”) on Tuesday without quite making the link that Fonte makes in his column.
A second thing that makes the essay worth pondering is Fonte’s inclusive anatomy of the beast that is the cultural leviathan. “Today,” he notes, “the facts on the ground tell us that the progressive Left dominates major institutions of American life: the universities, the mainstream media, the mainline churches, the entertainment industry, and the human resources departments of the Fortune 500.”
Any Tom, Dick, or Harry knows that the universities, the MSM, the mainline churches, and the entertainment industry are wholly owned subsidiaries of the Left. But it took a commentator of Fonte’s insight to roll corporate HR departments into the mix. No, it’s not an entirely original observation—I seem to recall that Heather Mac Donald, for example, has made similar arguments. But the synthesis, the articulation is arresting.
I had always sensed, without quite analyzing the feeling, that HR departments were the enemy. Fonte’s taxonomy afforded one of those “Eureka” moments that made Euclid’s bath [oops! I meant Archimedes, of course] so exciting. Of course! The Orwellian-named “human resources” department: of course it is a locus of politically correct, big-nurse imposition.
Like a suppurating orifice, the human resource department provides an ideal site for the multiplication of the bacterium politicus correctus. For one thing, such departments are always organized as top-down, unaccountable bureaucracies. HR departments are known for their arbitrariness masquerading under the rubric of “policy,” Wizard-of-Oz-like impersonality, and slavish conformity to faddish diktats promulgated as “best practices,” weenie speak for “do it my way.” In this sense, HR departments are like pseudopods of progressive government bureaucracies grafted onto the pliant stock of corporate timidity. It is not surprising, then, that HR departments tend to attract meddling and astringent personalities whose most cherished delight revolves around lording it over others.
And that brings us to the secret fuel of the enterprise: power. At many companies, the human resources department is the chief gateway to employment, advancement, and company perquisites. There is an almost biological dynamism surrounding the existence of power. Like a patch of moist soil, it cannot exist without soon being populated by a teeming, metabolic exchange. And so it is not surprising that HR departments are perfect handmaidens to what Fonte calls the cultural leviathan: pullulating sources of petty and not-so-petty regulation and enforcement.
I thought of all this the other day when reading about NBC’s new “anti-harassment rules for the workplace.” Stung by the predatory antics of former NBC anchor Matt Lauer, who had a button on his desk to lock his office door when he wanted to “entertain” some hapless female, NBC is now taking a “zero tolerance approach” to romance among staffers. Big Brother would have approved:
Staffers have been told that if they find out about any affairs, romances, inappropriate relationships or behavior in the office, they have to report it to human resources, their superior or the company anti-harassment phone line. . . .
Plus, there’s been a series of ridiculous rules issued on other office conduct. One rule relates to hugging. If you wish to hug a colleague, you have to do a quick hug, then an immediate release, and step away to avoid body contact.
Also there’s strict rules about socializing, including [not] sharing taxis home and [not] taking vegans to steakhouses. [!?]
I am not quite sure how the vegan/steakhouse interdiction comes in, except perhaps under the rule of thumb that for “progressives” anything that is not mandatory is forbidden.
Naturally, this preposterous regime will be enforced by NBC’s human resource department (whether or not it operates under that exact name). Perhaps some bureaucrat there stumbled across a fragment of W. S. Gilbert’s libretto for the Mikado and, not realizing it was satire, decided to put the Mikado’s “stern decree” into action.
Our great Mikado, virtuous man,
When he to rule our land began,
Resolved to try
A plan whereby
Young men might best be steadied.
So he decreed, in words succinct,
That all who flirted, leered or winked
(Unless connubially linked),
Should forthwith be beheaded. . . .
This stern decree, you’ll understand,
Caused great dismay throughout the land!
For young and old
And shy and bold
Were equally affected.
The youth who winked a roving eye,
Or breathed a non-connubial sigh,
Was thereupon condemned to die—
He usually objected.
It’s funny on the stage. In the workplace, not so much. Even as the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman works to modernize that Islamic theocratic regime, granting women the right to drive and even go to pop concerts, corporate America seems bent on re-segregating the sexes and imposing a caricature-Victorian species of pudeur. Who knows, excess burkas may soon flood the market from Saudi Arabia. Maybe NBC can pick some up cheap.
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Directly on point of Fonte’s essay on how President Trump is dismantling the Administrative Swamp is this wonkish December 30th Washington Post article titled How the Trump era is changing the federal bureaucracy:
In so many words, just as in the judicial appointments, President Trump is filling his campaign promises.
Why did the department of interior escape? Have to work on that this year.
Basically to all Govt employees a slight cut in the increase in spending means they can no longer “do their jobs” so instead start sending threats to CItizens over Dog Licensing to make up for lost “revenue”.. That and CIvil Asset Forfeiture of course.
They miss spelled “parasites”.
What a waste of words. How to treat a trivial topic in a banal and irrelevant way. Five yawns.
Wow, cognitive Dissonance much? You are the poster boy.
Look up the definition of the term. You are misusing it.
Your problem isn’t high self esteem, its pathological narcissism.
And yours is pathological stupidity. Is “Dusty” a nickname or a description?
Liberalism is a mental disorder.
It is long past time to reopen the Mental Institutions and put you leftwits back where you belong.
I wish I could give that a star or something.
Yet here you are, commenting.
Having invested/wasted the time to read it I thought a comment was not out of order. Do you?
Certainly not. George Soros paid for your labour, he should get his money’s worth.
You look dumber with every post. IQ at 70 and falling fast.
???? Yes that’s the problem.
Roger, what you left out was that HR department are almost completely run by women of radical feminist bent. But apart from that, Dirty Harry had their number over 40 years ago:
That is hilarious.
Note also Bradford Dillman’s un-PC practice of smoking a cigar in his office. Imagine that today!
“There are only three kind of people in this World, Di*ks, Arsholes and Pu$$ies”…
you can add Compliance and Legal Departments to the list of Orwellian Lefty beachheads in Corporate America
That pretty much sums it up perfectly…
Ha- my brother married the woman who trained him at a job-
He basically told me the above – “it’s not the action, its the guy”
Yeah. Here’s another dynamic: good-looking guy A compliments good-looking girl B. Girl B is happy. Next day, same guy A compliments girl B. Girl B is still happy. Next day, same dynamic, but homely girl C, feeling catty and left out, decides to complain to HR about A “harassing” B. Since HR complaints of this kind are anonymous, A gets called into HR and gets put on probation, never knowing who may have “taken offense” from his very natural behavior.
==> Theory: from prohibition to gun control, from spread-eagle immigration to HR departments, from the overmedication of K-12 boys to nanny-ism at universities, the West has brought this on by putting women in traditional male roles. Couple this with the insane trivialization of the most important and (frankly) divine female role (procreation and running the household), and historians 300 years from now (if capable of rational thought–another male trait that is quickly disappearing) will be able to explain how the Western world died in a whimper, to be replaced by a primitive but high-T Islam.
McCarthy told us all “when the left gains control of the degree and licensing processes America is lost”
McCarthy wasn’t a verb MCCarthy was Prophet.
A good article, though with one tangential chuckle:
Because of the font used in the above, at first I read “hugging” and “hug” as bugging and bug. The images that conjured up are better imagined than described.
During my time as a hiring manager in corporate America, it was an open secret among my fellow hiring managers that HR was only about ensuring compliance with government regulations and minimizing lawsuit risks. Period. Once I understood that, everything about the way HR behaved made sense. HR was worse than useless when it came to recruiting or retaining talent. In fact, my colleagues and I used to joke that our HR department was so incompetent at identifying and attracting talent that our HR department operated as our competition’s best recruiting tool! Fortunately, our competitors were hamstrung by their own HR departments.
HR departments are turning private corps into government bureaucracies that fear their own shadows – in other words, the libtards are having their way.
Archimedes, not Euclid.
You are quite right. Bonus Homerus dormitat.
Burkas are Pence’s solution to Nasty Women.
At most, the HR types are stooges of the ruling class. The CEOs and other top brass, amply brainwashed in the very best schools, are the ruling class. How they must chuckle when Democrats publicly rail against the liberal corporate hands that feed them!
Congratulations on learning that HR departments are staffed by incompetent radical left wing nutbars. The rest of us have only known this for 30 years.