Reading a few distressing stories tonight and discussing them with others who tied them to local events we both knew about, I was thinking about people who were essentially unaccountable because the people whose job that was had their power tied up with them. In this instance, a wife who was co-pastor of an independent church with a husband who had had sex with a parishioner 27 years ago, starting when she was 16. (Their children were also in pastoral roles at the church, where they had all been continuously at least that length of time. We know a church like that now and knew one a few decades ago that we even had some involvement with. This dynamic occurs too often in independent ministries.) I thought of Bill Clinton, with a wife desirous of power that was tied up with his, and her lack of even ordinary wifely accountability on him. Then I expanded the idea beyond sex to scandals and infractions in general.
Tie it in to Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy and the group which over time becomes devoted to the organisation rather than its stated goals. Also Samo Burja's research that bureaucratic decay is so predictable as to be "nearly quantifiable." So is this the large part of the deterioration of organisations, that the longer one goes on, the longer a bureaucracy exists, the more everyone involved is complicit in the sins of everyone else? Not necessarily with great scandal that will make the news, but with steady drops of poison entering the water all are drinking from. I was in a single bureaucracy for over forty years. Perhaps it is best that I not launch into explanations how this doesn't apply to me. Likely, it must apply to me, and I have disguises in place.