Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Connecting the Dots of Failure

A commentary from today's Star Tribune summed up a lot of my thinking about what you might call the crisis of leadership in our current democratically elected government institutions. Minneapolis architect George Hutchinson connects the dots between our own desire for superheroes, Fox News, and the no-new-taxes mantra, among more nebulous things.

My favorite might be this one:

Dot No. 4: Competence breeds complacency. By some fluke of history, there have been some marginally competent big public programs that work — Social Security, the military, the interstate highway system. The apparent success of these projects lulls us into thinking that all public programs should always work. Never mind Dots No. 1, 2 and 3, and the disdain visited upon public service by the ghosts of heroic entrepreneurs. We think because we can drop missiles on desert despots from thousands of miles away that the Department of Motor Vehicles should process our license renewal expeditiously. False but attractive syllogisms replace clear thinking.
The world is a complicated place and simplistic ways of thinking don't make anything better. Thanks to George Hutchinson for putting it into words.

1 comment:

Gina said...

A government program is only as competently run as the people who are hired to run it. That means those who deal with the general public, not the leaders, although they need competent leaders, too. Unlike Jeff Johnson's view, I see Mark Dayton as a competent leader. Does that mean that all the state's programs are competently run? Not necessarily. I just renewed my license. The clerk I dealt with was quite competent and knowledgeable. Whoever gets to process my application and issue the license may be another story. Let's see if I get my new license in 2-3 weeks as I was told to expect....(smile)