Why Run?
I realized today that I will probably never run for office. That's kind of a revelation to me. I was President of my class in High School, and I was a Senator in Graduate School. I have a pretty wide streak of civic duty.

With the national elections happening today, I was entertaining the idea of what I would do if I were a US Senator. I recognized that most of my time would be spent on issues that not only don't I care about, but that I don't think anyone in government should care about. For example, political infighting is counter-productive, airport names are unimportant, and the tax code is so overly complex that unless we're starting over, it's not worth the time. Furthermore, on those few topics I do care about I would have a huge uphill battle against an entrenched bureaucracy. In short, I'd spend most of my time unpleasantly, unproductively, or both.

The sweeping reforms that would need to be made to get me to take the job at all would require more effort than the job. It seems I'm stuck with a government that's largely devoted to involving itself excessively in my life, but that's supporting too many people for me to get rid of it. Stripping down the State to the point where it's efforts would be concentrated on only areas where it's needed would put so many people out of work that the government would be right back in the business of taking care of them.

It's hard for me to imagine that a person would be so motivated to work in the public good that they'd seek public office. It seems that the time officials spend doing work that needs to be done for the people is so small that it's far beyond diminishing returns. That assessment is just based on time dealing with bureaucracy and non-issues. When you consider the press scrutiny and combative environment, only the demented would accept the job, much less seek it.

So our government is responsible for so many things that the officials spend much of their time on issues that would resolve themselves if left alone. Trimming it back down to the point where it could actually address only pressing issues would cause enough problems to distract it again. The work conditions attract only fanatics ad ego maniacs, who only reinforce the insane conditions. How can this be changed?

It's a sticky problem. Maybe we need a commission to look into it.

This page written and maintained by Ted Faber (faber@lunabase.org).
Please mail me any problems with, or comments about this page.
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