Harry Teasley* spent his life confronting the behaviors of bureaucrats and defined a list of rules covering their modus operandi. You can see these rules operating in government departments, corporations and with politicians themselves. Using these rules, examine bureaucratic behavior and see if the underlying rules and behavior are driving the situation.

The Rules:

Harry Teasley's Rules of Bureaucratic Behavior:

Rule #1: Maintain the problem at all costs! The problem is the basis of power, perks, privileges, and security.

Rule #2: Use crisis and perceived crisis to increase your power and control.

Rule 2a. Force 11th-hour decisions, threaten the loss of options and opportunities, and limit the opposition's opportunity to review and critique.

Rule #3: If there are not enough crises, manufacture them, even from nature, where none exist.

Rule #4: Control the flow and release of information while feigning openness.

Rule 4a: Deny, delay, obfuscate, spin, and lie.

Rule #5: Maximize public-relations exposure by creating a cover story that appeals to the universal need to help people.

Rule #6: Create vested support groups by distributing concentrated benefits and/or entitlements to these special interests, while distributing the costs broadly to one's political opponents.

Rule #7: Demonize the truth tellers who have the temerity to say, "The emperor has no clothes."

Rule 7a: Accuse the truth teller of one's own defects, deficiencies, crimes, and misdemeanors.

Look at this example with the rules placed in brackets next to the relevant comment:

In mid September European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso  called for the European Union to be turned into a 'federation of nation states' (2, 5), a vision he said would require an overhaul of the Lisbon Treaty.

Mr Barroso also set out plans for a single supervisory mechanism for all banks in the eurozone. He called the plans a "quantum leap… the stepping stone to the banking union".

The European Central Bank would get much greater powers of oversight and regulation of Europe's 6,000 banks under the plan. Mr Barroso said eurozone countries should not rely on bailouts from the ECB, saying the bank "cannot and will not finance governments" (1, 2, 4, 5).

"But when monetary policy channels are not working properly, the Commission believes that it is within the mandate of the ECB to take the necessary actions – for instance, in the secondary markets of sovereign debt," he added (6).

Chris Morris BBC News, Strasbourg writes “this was a very federalist speech. Mr Barroso made it clear that the creation of a single banking supervisor, and moves towards full banking union, are just a first step. He wants the EU to become a federation of nation states.

No-one will be forced to come in, he said, but the speed should not be dictated by the slowest or the most reluctant. Before the next European elections in 2014, the European
Commission intends to put forward explicit ideas on how to change EU treaties to reflect moves towards closer political union (2, 4).

There will be huge arguments ahead – there are big differences within the Eurozone about the pace of political change. But countries like the UK, which don't want to take part in any further integration, are going to have to work out how best to protect their interests as other EU member states pool more of their sovereignty.

"If Greece banishes all doubt about its commitment to reform, but also if all the other countries banish all doubts about their determination to keep Greece in the euro area, we can do it," he said to applause from MEPs (2A).

Mr Barroso said he was not calling for a "superstate", but rather "a democratic federation of nation states that can tackle our common problems, through the sharing of sovereignty" (4, 4A).

Harry Teasley’s Rules of Bureaucratic Behavior show in this announcement how rules 1, 2, 2A, 4, 4A, 5 and 6 are being used to slowly push the EU bureaucratic agenda. Since this is a major announcement by a major player, many of the behaviors have been engaged.

The Game

Play ‘spot the rule(s)’.

See which rules are being invoked any time a politician or bureaucrat announces something or a report is released.

At a meeting? Observe whether rules are being used by individuals at the meeting. If it’s happening in your business, you know your business has a problem.

Watching television or reading a newspaper? Look for comments used to perpetuate the behavior.

Keep a set of rules on hand as a ready reckoner! 

And finally, have hours of free fun playing this simple but tragic game.

Try spotting the rules in this YouTube video where MEP Nigel Farage names EU bureaucratic behaviors.

* Harry Teasley is retired only as a professional business executive. He is otherwise engaged constantly in thinking, writing pithy letters to the editor, and supporting liberty through his time, advice and philanthropy. It was people like him that I’m convinced Jefferson had in mind when he urged, “Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.”