[ExI] If Politicians were Innocent and Honest

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Fri Mar 27 05:14:03 UTC 2009

Spike wrote (in "[Exi]punishment")

 > If we elected the most perfect, honest, intelligent government
 > imaginable, what could it do?

Ah, a very nice challenge. Thank you.

 > Could it govern away all our problems?  Would it magically find
 > a huge pot of money no one ever discovered before, and use it
 > to fill our gas tanks and pay our mortgages?

No, and no.

 > Imagine tens of thousands of clones of yourself, holding
 > every political office, so the government will do whatever
 > you think is right.

Me? That's absurd. I have an inadequate temperament and
insufficient knowledge about how laws are written,
committees overseen, and justice formally administered.
Besides, those things don't interest me at all, and my
IQ is never above 60 when I must act or opine on matters
that don't interest me. (If you don't believe that,
just ask the guy who does my taxes to estimate my IQ,
or simply recall that I have only the vaguest idea of
what the difference is between Exxon and Enron.)

So instead, I'll alter your scenario mildly by reducing
it to two new axioms: (1) all politicians are drawn at
random every few years from concerned, interested, and
knowledgeable citizens who have no connections with any
special interest groups or lobbyists, (2) all politicians
are scrupulously honest.

In that case we would still have many problems because
(a) there would still be huge ideological divides (b)
there would still be some problems, such as the nature
of the free-market business cycle, may be more or less
incapable of complete solution.

Still, the effects would be absolutely and indisputably
marvelous. The lobbyists would suddenly find themselves
without power, ditto the corporations, ditto the rich.
Ditto the unions, ditto all the political action groups---
from the pro-choice to the pro-life, from the Gay and
Lesbian movement to the anti-gay organizations (whatever
they call themselves).

This would be sensational in the extreme! Now, if you
couple that with complete honesty on the part of the
politicians---and have them point blank refuse all
campaign contributions over $100---then ideological
differences or not, a nation would be on its way to
healing itself.

Of course, because of (a) there would still be a
chance of succumbing to socialism and the belief that
in principle the Post Office and the DMV can be better
run than the supermarkets and the dry-cleaning firms.
(Ah, wouldn't it be great if the Department of Motor
Vehicles and the Post Office were as eager for your
business, and as solicitous, as are the latter? Have
you ever, ever, ever had to wait as long in line at
a supermarket or drycleaner as you do at the DMV
or the government Post Office?)


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