Bureaucracy is a permanent decoupling of activity from morality. A bureaucrat isn’t paid to understand the rules he enforces or the forms he is required to have you fill out. There is no “why” involved in his life, and so he allows no common sense or flexibility to inform his actions. Bureaucracy is there for its own sake; it is its own justification. Bureaucrats are often called civil servants, but in reality they provide no service at all: It is you, the individual citizen, who must come to serve them, to follow their instructions, to bend the knee and do exactly what they say, as a token of submission to the powers that be. Otherwise no license, no permit, no job.
-Dan Gelernter, from this post