[FoRK] Losing my religion

Ken Ganshirt @ Yahoo ken_ganshirt at yahoo.ca
Sat Feb 13 08:53:00 PST 2010


--- On Sat, 2/13/10, Jeff Bone <jbone at place.org> wrote:
> 
> Can politicians inspire greatness?  Absolutely; 
> no less than any other individual, and perhaps even
> more.  But the system itself is not reliable; 
> it  is not set up properly to maintain focus and
> resources on long-term goals.  
> 

I'm not disagreeing with you, but what you write begs a few ... well, more than a few ... questions. Here are a couple:

1. We (North Americans, at least) have what we call a representative system of government. Ostensibly our representatives represent our collective interests. Is it not fair to say that in matters like this they do that reasonably well? 

That is, if you laid the individual budget items -- at least the major ones -- in front of a representative cross-section of citizens do you believe they (we) would collectively choose the budget priorities significantly differently than the politicians have done on our behalf? 

In this regard, at least, I think we get pretty much from our politicians what we want. And deserve.

2. In reading all of the (quite justified) whining over the past many years about how the American government has castrated NASA I have been sorely vexed by one question regarding the suggestion that the private sector could have done better:

      Then why didn't/haven't they?

The only answer I have been able to come up with is that there's no business case for it. Private industry does nothing without a business case. 

Governments often do, wisely or not. Especially if we "ask" them loudly enough.

It seems to me that's the conundrum faced by our representatives. Damned if you do; damned if you don't. And vilified in any case.

Is it our representatives who have the attention spans of a gnat? Or is it us and they are merely responding to it?

       ...ken...


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