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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Give Me That Old Time Politics (A Modest Proposal)

Unlike half the (semi-)civilized world I haven't yet posted anything in my blog about the political singularity1 in US politics that occurred a little while ago in the Great Deficit Debate2. That's mostly because I'm thoroughly disgusted by the sheer stupidity, cupidity, and general malfeasance our political "representatives" have shown.  But I have a modest proposal that might prevent such disasters in the future, one I first came up with many years ago, in a simpler time, when the crimes of our masters were simpler and perhaps more easily dealt with (and I didn't think my proposal was entirely justified.  Now I do).  After the cut, I'll give you the grisly details.

1. Where "singularity'is defined as a change in technology or culture so great and so rapid that no one trying to forecast its effects beforehand can possibly do so.  I think I can safely say that no one was crazy enough to predict as recently as a year ago the particularly insane and unnecessary game of "button, button, who's got the nuclear button" on the Republican side of the deficit debate countered by the response of "we win by caving in" that the Democrats and the President replied with.

2. It's clear to me that the deficit is in their intelligence, not in our budget.

My idea harks back to the ancient era of the Greek city-states, when rulers were chosen by trial, often trial-by-combat, and the virtue of a great leader was considered a valuable resource, not to be squandered.  So I suggest that from now on we select our leaders with great care, in competitive examinations of their knowledge, intelligence, physical prowess, and character, and allow them a single, fixed term of office, during which they can be challenged by others who believe themselves superior, so that we will always have in office the most qualified of all those who've sought the positions.  And then at the end of their incumbency, whether they've lost out to a challenger or gotten to the end of their allotted time in office, we should hold a grand celebration, a feast in commemoration of their service to the nation, and there, amid toasts and laudatory speeches ... kill them and eat them.

This proposal would result in selection of public servants with a deep desire to sacrifice for the common good.  It would mean that there would be a constant, Darwinian selection of the best of breed for each office.  And it would ensure that the virtue embodied in these great statespeople would not be lost, but rather would be absorbed by those who assembled to celebrate their service.  Of course it would probably be necessary to raffle off tickets to the celebratory banquet; even the most generous of officials couldn't possibly be stretched to serve all of the voters of the nation, even by the most ingenious of chefs3.

One additional benefit of this proposal is the reduction in the number of "elder statespersons", and the concomitant reduction in their memoirs, which are typically overly bombastic and self-absorbed. Instead, ghost-written biographies, of the sort rushed into print on the death of a public figure, could be published subsequent to the banquet. The subject of the book could even be given some choice as to the photograph to appear on the end flap before going to his or her final reward.

The one potential problem I foresee in implementing this proposal is the need to find an executive chef who is an expert in dealing with the more greasy and gamey sort of meat, for that is certainly what will be available, at least until the current supply of politicians is exhausted.

3. I suppose some sort of "Politician Helper" could be developed by one of the convenience food vendors, but I think the dilution of virtue this would result in would be unacceptable.

1 comment:

Dave Harmon said...

the more greasy and gamey sort of meat

I see what you did there...