The Department of Nice

The other day, I was at the Department of Nice. It is in the Imperial Capital area and while it is not a very pleasant commute, once you are there, it is very nice. It’s still technically winter here, but the weather was very mild, in the 60’s with a gentle breeze. Many of the nice people, who work in the Department of Nice, took advantage of the nice weather and were out enjoying a walk around campus. It’s nice that they call it a campus. It has that same feel, like an oasis, where you see none of the coarseness of the adult world.

Walk around any big city and you see the full range of human society, from bums to businessmen. Everyone seems to have a purpose and everyone looks a bit hurried. Even the bums will have an urgency to their panhandling. It’s also noisy out in the regular world, even when you get away from the big city. The cars, the car horns, the construction and usually, in most cities, young people being loud. This usually means urban youth shouting and boasting or maybe hardhats yelling to one another.

It’s rarely noisy on a college campus. Maybe if there is an organized event with a PA system it can get noisy for a while. In good weather, the kids will be out playing games, but that’s not the noise of the outer world. Those are the noises of the schoolyard and no one can be vexed by them. It’s not like a car alarm going off or a jackhammer tearing up the sidewalk. Young people having fun or laughing as they enjoy the weather on a bucolic campus, just reinforces the beauty of it, the niceness of it. The campus is nice.

At the Department of Nice, I had some time to kill so I sat against my car, eating my lunch, watching people saunter around, enjoying the nice weather. The quietness is what struck me. In my neighborhood, it is only quiet in the dead of night and even then it is not very quiet. Outside the campus walls, in the Imperial Capital, it’s not quiet. The other thing that struck me was the relaxed look on the faces that wandered past. Nowhere did I see anyone with a worried look about what comes next. Everything is just nice.

On the ground floor of the building where I was needed, they have a nice little coffee shop, like you see at an airport. It’s not quite a shop and not a kiosk. It’s a counter with some couches and chairs scattered in front of it. I saw some young people, maybe in their late 20’s, hanging out and socializing, like you would see on any college campus. One of them was a skinny, hippy looking guy with a pony tail. He reminded me of a guy I knew in college, who would bring a guitar to parties. It was his hook to charm girls.

Spend any time at a government facility and you quickly see, if you are the noticing sort, that it is a different world. The Department of Nice is pretty much an adult daycare center, like every college campus. Except it is not a college campus. It is a government facility allegedly doing necessary work. Trying to find anyone who can tell you what it is they do and why it is necessary is not recommended. It’s not that anyone will get upset at your questions. It’s that no one in government land is defined by what they do. They are defined by their credentials.

The people who find their way onto the college campus, or the government campus, are not there to confront life. They are there to escape it. Once on the campus they quickly forget about the rest of the world. They become institutionalized, like convicts that spend decades in the penitentiary. The government never fires anyone and there are never tough times, requiring the bosses to make hard decisions. For the career civil servants, death is the only thing that can get them off the payroll.

It’s why everyone is so nice and relaxed. When you don’t have to worry about hard times, you can spend all your time enjoying the good times. There’s plenty of office politics, of course, and the stress that comes with it, but the people in the Department of Nice are secure in their positions. They know the check will be deposited every two weeks into their account. They know their job will always be there. They know that no matter what happens out there in the world, everything will be fine on campus.

The director of the Department of Nice was a pleasant fellow, described to me by his subordinates as a visionary. He presented me with his card, which had two lines of letters indicating his credentials. Other than PhD, I had no idea what the letter combinations meant. Similarly, I could not figure why he was considered a visionary. Maybe he described to his subordinates the world outside the campus. Maybe he told them of his plans for expanding the Department of Nice. Maybe visionary just means really nice.

The other thing about the director that stood out to me as that he was very aware that I had no reason to be there and we had no reason to meet. It was all ceremonial. Everyone else carried on as if it mattered, but the director was the exception. Maybe that’s why they see him as a visionary. He’s the one guy who knows there is no real purpose to the Department of Nice other than to perpetuate the Department of Nice. Maybe they admire him because he visionaried his way to a position where he could afford a Mercedes.

The reason the managerial class is in revolt since last November is not that they hate Trump or the people who voted for him, at least not in a specific way. It’s that we are alien to them. The people on campus live different lives than the rest of us. They are vaguely aware of the world of the Dirt People, but they no longer feel what we feel. They have no fear of failure. They no longer feel angst. They no longer worry about the ground under their feet. Unlike the bulk of America, the people in the Department of Nice, know what tomorrow brings. In their world, everyone is nice.

Coming home, I saw a cop I know checking out a now familiar set of bums. The bums were dumped in our slice of heaven by someone, maybe the city, maybe the state, I don’t know. They just turned up the other day. They spend their days camped out by the Food Lion or wandering the streets making a nuisance of themselves. For some reason I began to think of what it must have been like for Alaric and the Goths to burst through the Porta Salaria and see the Eternal City for the first time. I bet it was nice.

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73 Comments on "The Department of Nice"

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Nori
Guest

Nice essay,and I mean that in the nicest possible way. It’s nice to know our serfly tax dollars fund such a nice,consequence-free Otherworld.

kokor hekkus
Guest

They don’t pay for it. The money is borrowed. In a few years, it will be printed…

LetsPlay
Member

For a short period of time, much of the economy was based on such “nice” work; Life-long careers with the same employers. Things have changed for the rest of the world outside the Emerald City but the denizens therein will do everything they can to maintain their little, well, not so little, slice of heaven on earth. Of course, they are completely ignorant of just what or who it is that foots the fill … the taxes paid by Deplorables.

Buckaroo Banzai
Guest

You’re being a little unfair. One of the features of the “lifetime employers” of Corporate America of the 50s, 60, 70s, and early 80s was the production of valuable goods and services that were actually demanded in the marketplace.

LetsPlay
Member

You are right, to a degree. Of course with the jobs in the real world, results mattered. But my point was more about how things change except for the Elites. But it must have been nice to spend your entire career with the same company, a relatively safe, secure place to earn a living while the world recovered from WW2.

Once credit cards, two worker families (feminism), and consumerism rose, then chaos had to reign and stability had to go.

Drake
Guest
Nice. I work at a company headquarters located on an old farm so it has kind of a campus feel to it in nice weather. Except, people walk to hallways with purpose. They’ll stop to chat for a minute, but check their watches or phones after a minute to make sure they aren’t missing a meeting. Those Goths who first burst into Rome must have thought they had entered whatever version of heaven they believed in. So much wealth – and people so fat and soft they couldn’t put up a fight. Someday out campuses and imperial capital will be… Read more »
Mel Pell
Guest

One can only hope.

Member

Just exactly why do you think Latinos and Muslims are storming through America’s various Porta Salaria?

Your campuses and imperial capital have been cracked wide open, you just aren’t yet aware of the true scope of the disaster.

Anyway, they weren’t “cracked”. As is usual in these circumstances they were opened voluntarily by crazies and traitors. But you knew that.

Jamesg
Guest

The certainty of government revenue is the root of all “niceness.”

We need a regular review of every government department that would require management to justify every single employee’s retention.

Regular pruning of deadwood would introduce an element of uncertainty into what is now life-long employment.

Give them a taste of what the rest of us live with … uncertainty.

Red Headed Stranger
Guest

Now, was that nice?

Buckaroo Banzai
Guest

“We need a regular review of every government department that would require management to justify every single employee’s retention.”

It’s called Zero-Based Budgeting. It’s a well-defined business idea that has been around for many decades. It’s not a popular idea inside the beltway.

BillH
Guest

I remember an inside-the-beltway infatuation with zero-based budgeting during the Reagan years. As I recall, it didn’t last long.

LetsPlay
Member

Then there is the corporate idea of simply asking “What business are we in?” That might lead to divesting divisions, closing others, reducing investments in some, etc., focusing limited resources on the strategic areas for optimum results. Of course, we would need to have an honest appraisal for each department/agency which would be problematic. You need zero based budgeting plus an executive team who can make the tough decisions on what gets funding and what gets cut. It just doesn’t make sense to slowly starve a dying business. Fish or cut bait.

RegT
Guest

Sorry, but your own avatar demonstrates about how likely that is to happen.

Ron
Guest

I remember my campus experience decades age populated by a significant number of single or married students working their way through school, and were well acquitted with the real world and its stresses. There was no safety net for them or me from the slings and arrows of fortune.

But with the advent of easily accessible school loans, it appears that most college students are living in lotus land, and look at the real world as a anomaly that puzzles them as to why everyone can’t be serene and ordered as they are in their secured playpen.

RegT
Guest

Especially now, when they have their “safe spaces” to retreat to, saving them from having to face that ugly thing called “reality”.

Buckaroo Banzai
Guest

“Similarly, I could not figure why he was considered a visionary.”

In my experience, “visionary” means “bullshit artist”.

Doug
Guest
There’s reason right there what Z is saying, to be deeply concerned what the so called deep state will do to pull off their coupe against the duly and legitimate elected President Trump and his administration. I keep trying to figure out what limits there are if any to how far the city of nice will go to survive it’s illegitimacy. They certainly appear to be a separate class of people who rule by the rule there are no rules but their continued survival. Are they capable of destroying everything in their desperation to retain their corporate slave world? The… Read more »
Al from da Nort
Guest

Doug;
This is actually a favorable report, be calm and don’t alert them. Q: Who else had a completely unwarranted sense of invincibility_? A: Team Hillary/MSM/NGO World, and for the same kinds of reasons.

Doug
Guest

What’s the Greek axiom about those who presume absolute power the god’s drive crazy?
Though inbreeding of the clouds may be having long term effects.

Ron
Guest

MacBeth, thought he had finally gotten away with everything, secure in his castle by the prophecy from the witches that until Birnam woods moved he was safe. Until the day came and the woods moved, and everything fell apart. That’s what’s in store for these playpen progressives when reality and consequences that they choose to ignore come calling.

Molon Labe
Guest

Well, not all nicers are safe. I read the other day that our new Sec. of State canned the sacred members of the 7th Floor State Department gang: those who have “deep state” status. Much acrimony–but all gone. Need much more of this.

Wayne Parker
Guest
Sadly, they are still safe. It’s called the Potomac two step, where former senior and middle management government officers find work with a “Beltway bandit” consulting firm/government contractor that is retained by the federal government for a myriad of tasks for their supposed expertise. Often times, that is actually a better gig overall than working directly for Uncle Sam. Such firms live and die by government contracts and there is never a shortage of such lucrative contracts. I’ve seen government employees work for the USG for 30 years, “retire” and then come back to work in the same building as… Read more »
Member
Of course, most of the people who work at the Department of Nice weren’t actually “on campus” when you visited. Bob and Susie in Accounting left early to attend their 8 year old’s poetry recital at school, and will be “working remotely” the rest of the day so they don’t have to use up their paid vacation days which would shorten their 2-week vacation trip to the Bahamas this spring. Hajib from IT has class tonight, so he, too, is working remotely. There’s a big test tonight as he wraps up his CISSP and GIAC. It’s free for him, since… Read more »
roger
Guest

By their certificates and their ostentatious display of them you will know them. Attempting to read them from a distance is one way to look serious in a meeting with them in their office.

Member
Government certifications are a racket that is as close to a self licking ice cream cone as you can get. OPM allows agencies to pay for certifications. Therefore, certifications are invented to give the agency something to pay for. The employees sign up because it is free, AND they can escape the office to attend the classes, plus the certification affects their step and pay. The agency gets to talk about the expertise of its employees, and how it is “taking care of people”. The certification organization collects the money, and uses it to develop additional certification levels (which everybody… Read more »
Clayton Bigsby
Guest

OMFG hokkoda, this is so good ! Tell It Tell it Brotha!!

Tax Slave
Guest

Fuck, I’m itching to burn that shithole to ground, maybe rape some of the women and cut the throats of the betas as I grab them by the pony tail.

Member

Go around back and enter by the Porta Salaria.

Al from da Nort
Guest
Nice Essay 🙂 I recall that where actual stuff gets made or done there was not much time or money for ‘nice’. For example, In the operational units of the Armed Forces during the Cold War, desks were steel (GSA gray #2) and office partitions were only other than gray in ‘flag country’. Don’t know about the pentagonal puzzle palace because as a field officer you avoided it like the plague. Not many good things were likely to happen to a JO caught out of cover by the many, many WWII holdovers looking to regain their long lost sense of… Read more »
Ron
Guest

Facade for sure. At a prominent progressive liberal university that shall remain unnamed to protect the innocent,lower tier employees are overworked, underpaid, and lack sufficient resources to do their jobs because of ongoing budget restraints,yet upper tier management always seem to enjoy their pay raises, extra admin support, and perks. Seems even among liberal academics some are more equal than others.

Severian
Guest

Can confirm. We recently cut some scholarships and are cutting back adjunct hiring due to budget cuts; the Diversity Outreach office still has a Dean, an Assistant Dean, a Provost, an Assistant Provost, a Coordinator, an Assistant Coordinator… and the football coach still gets paid approximately $500,000 per victory.

thor47
Guest

I mentioned football coach salaries to an ardent fan of a particular college one time. He said, ” yeah, but football supporters bring lots of money into the college. ” When I pointed out that money went into the football program and nowhere else, the subject immediately changed to cars.

Buckaroo Banzai
Guest

“that money went into the football program and nowhere else”.

Undoubtedly true, but at least Football coaches can financially justify their existence. You can’t say that about most of those employed in academia.

Member
Well, I work in government too, albeit not in your country. The security is nice, although we’ve seen major cuts in the past 20 years a couple of times it’s still not the private sector. OTOH, my department is not on a campus, it’s in a once-nice building just off downtown. I often pass by our major downtown mall of an evening or weekend, and it’s in a neighbourhood with several rescue missions and shelters yet also adjacent to our main restaurant and club district. The main street is about as urban as our nice country gets. The 24hr Mcdonald’s… Read more »
LetsPlay
Member

You don’t know whether you will fear or welcome them? Go back to your history man! You had better fear them and prepare accordingly, or get thee to a safer space. They will take no prisoners and they will torture you and kill you slowly. It may be our last legacy will be to at least take as many as we can with us for posterity.

Seth Rogaine
Guest
Sounds like Ottawa. My sister-in-law is a federal employee there. She basically does jack shit and routinely takes four- to six-week leaves of absence to do … well, who knows. Plot her retirement, I guess. My wife worked for the CA federal government for all of a week then quit because of the fake work everybody spent their time pretending to do. My mom worked for a short time in D.C. at an agency under contract to the DOE. She did lots and lots of crosswords, and every Friday was (unofficially) a half day because all their counterparts at the… Read more »
Member
Apropos of nothing, a contrast that illustrates our world for me, today at least. This morning I am listening to Brahms’ Variations on a Theme By Haydn, Elgar’s Enigma Variations, and selections from Wagner’s Parsifal, in recordings ranging from 1958-1975, on a disc produced by Deutsche Grammophon in 2005, in a Japanese edition that just arrived from Japan via an Amazon order. I’d miss this version of our world. OTOH, last night for entirely unrelated reasons [I was doing a search on the surname] I learned about feminist philosopher Astrida Neimanis. Near as I can tell without studying phenomenology, she… Read more »
Member

Comparing the state of things now to Rome I’d have to say that we are still in the Principate phase. The Dominate is yet to come where everything is set up along military lines in order to facilitate efficiency and order. It will give the impression that things are running more smoothly and that they are more manageable, but they won’t be. It will SAP the strength out of the people even more so. Then the barbarians will be able to walk in. Only we will be the barbarians.

Member

You hope We will be the barbarians.

Michael Murray
Member
I believe we live in a sort of faux society of nice. The last 50 years in the USA have been one of those unusual bubbles in time where virtually no one starved, animals wouldn’t eat you, and the tribe over the next hill wouldn’t try to kill you and take your stuff. This has convinced most Americans that this is normal, when it is anything but. A big part of the job for those in the assorted Departments of Nice, is to convince the sheeple that this “nice” is normal and it exists because of the Nice workers. For… Read more »
Member
Member

Good one! Thanks!

notsothoreau
Guest
We had sort of an amazing thing happen, here in blue state. We are looking at a house in another county. We found out they replaced the septic tank in 1994 without any permits. In this county, this would be an excuse for the bureaucrats to make your life hell. My husband called and talked to the bureaucrats in that county. They said no big deal. They aren’t interested in what happened back then. Said we’d just need to have it inspected before we buy it. And they didn’t think we’d have any problems putting in a new well, if… Read more »
Member

I know that you are NOT talking about Massachusetts.

After the fire the cost to connect to town sewage (we were forbidden to reconnect to our working septic field) was 45 thousand dollars. And our water/sewer bill the decimal point moved one point to the right.

The big reason, cleanup of Boston Harbor. Until we were forced into connection none of our sh*t went into Boston Harbor.

Nice. See? I’m smiling Sir.

Nori
Guest

Big Nice State loves you,always. Continue to fund the Niceness. Lest there be less Nicities provided to those who decide who pays for their nicety. Have a Nice Day!

karl hungus
Guest

Forget it Jake, it’s Massachusetts

notsothoreau
Guest
No, but it’s in WA state! We have a piece of property that has a mobile home on it. We’d like to replace it with a newer one It’s considered in the city, as they drew the lines to take in the park net to us. (They also zoned our place park even though it’s been privately owned since pre-statehood). We can only put in the exact same sized double wide, but it has to be newer than 2006. The problem is that they didn’t make double wides our size in 2006. They were bigger. So we can go through… Read more »
Tax Slave
Guest

If someone in the Trump administration is reading this, please be so good to pass this idea to the President. Order the Park Service to construct wooden scaffolding just in front of the Capitol along with functional gallows and hemp rope, large enough to dispatch about twenty poor souls at once. No prior announcement, no sigange, no comments. Just let it stand there and let’s see what happens next.

A.T. Tapman
Member

If you build it, they will come.

Gary
Guest

Can someone please explain to me why government employees were ever allowed to be given loans of any kind? Is a mortgage or a car loan not a direct tax on working people?

neros lyre
Guest

The original meaning of “nice”meant you were a damn moron and extremely gullible.Funny how language gets twisted.Great story BTW and thank you.

Member

… don’t even mention “Gay”.

Severian
Guest
Ahhh, campus. I’m a deep-cover shitlord at the local U, and it’s every bit as nice as you describe… and every bit as clueless. Since Trump’s ascent I’ve been all smiles, as they’ve never experienced anything like a challenge to their worldview before and it’s just so easy to tweak them. I’ll hear some colleague or student go off about how much she fears the coming TrumperiKKKa Gestapo, and I reply “why yes, I’m terrified too, that’s why I bought a nice new Mossberg 12 gauge. They’ll never take me alive!” Totally fries their circuits. Their brains are tapioca, but… Read more »
Member

The Goths had better be us (the dirt people). Nobody is going to like the alternative.

LetsPlay
Member

We are the Deplorables! But there are the others who want what we have. The wolf is always at the door, and he has friends inside the gates (domestic enemies).

Mel Pell
Guest

Z-Man, who put a nickel in you? You have been on a roll.

Xennady
Guest
If it isn’t worth doing at all, it isn’t worth doing well. That became one of my favorite sayings from the moment I read it, and I think it applies here. All the governments bureaucrats in their nice sinecures- like the nice diversity consultants and nice sociologists and nice human resource managers- are too often rather indifferent to their jobs. After all, it doesn’t really matter. If you make a mess someone else always has to clean it up- or else. That isn’t nice- but so what? If you’re a government bureaucrat, you make the rules and set the penalty… Read more »
kokor hekkus
Guest

Epic, and I don’t mean “nice!” Earlier today, I was pondering the fact that, like the Department of Nice, a couple of my friends live in a complete fantasy world of infinite expenditure for no actual purpose, which is not a problem because more money can always be printed or borrowed. I’m starting to wonder if Trump is living in such a world….

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[…] Reprinted from The Z Man Blog. […]

Danne
Guest
This is dead-on accurate and why it’s more important to impose job term limits on ALL Gov’t employees as opposed to closing a Dept. here or there or reducing it’s size. ABSOLUTELY NO Federal employee should be permitted to work for the FED in any capacity for longer than 10 years (about a quarter of one’s productive working years), after which time they MUST exit Fed service and seek employment in the private sector. No connection with the FED IN ANY WAY allowed in the civilian sector job. Do this for all FED employees…NO EXCEPTION. It would then become unpopular… Read more »
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