The practice of government

This thread is intended to address government as something that needs to be done well. Good government is not a myth, but it does take work, and people dedicated to learning the mechanics and sublimating their egos in order to do the people’s necessary business. At best, it is a thankless task. More often it is frustrating. It almost always subjects practitioners to public abuse.

It is amazing that anyone will do it at all.

People who do choose to serve in government often do it for reasons that don’t actually make sense, either. One pervasive motivation is that an honest and caring citizen can step into a political role and use common sense to solve issues that ‘career politicians’ can’t. I think of this as the ‘Mr. Smith goes to Washington’ construct.

This is simply completely untrue today, if it was ever true at all. Government is complicated and often without signposts and it is simply not enough to have good ideas and mean well. There are a lot of things that need to actually get done. This kind of motivation seems to me much like throwing open NASA’s manned space flight program to anyone interested in astronomy and sending the person able to get the largest number of others to vote for them into space in a vehicle with unlabeled controls.

One outcome is that the vehicle, which has to be operated by someone, is then run by the ground control people. Early astronauts called this being ‘spam in a can’. In government, it provides an enormous opportunity for outside interests to fill the vacuum.

Hmmm…. How about actually training the people we elect for the work they need to do  instead?

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