Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Enlightened Local Government

Local government today suffers from a crisis of ineptitude.

"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education."
― Thomas Jefferson

Participation in the process of government requires an educated, enlightened citizenry. In a society where rational discourse, critical thinking and evidence based decision-making is not taught in schools and is discouraged by popular culture, those who populate local commissions, committees, boards and councils are left with no basis for "wholesome discretion."

“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”
― Thomas Jefferson

Beyond those who actively participate in the process of government, the general public is uneducated in the day to day role of citizens in a democratic nation. Public meetings have become rowdy expressions of entitlement and unreasonable demands. Mob intimidation has replaced cogent comment and supportive participation. Individualism and personal consumption have displaced concern for the common good.

If we must have government, it should arise of itself from an educated populace, not be imposed from above by a powerful elite minority.

“Government should be weak, amateurish and ridiculous. At present, it fulfills only a third of the role.
― Edward Abbey