I’m on a continuing quest to get as far away from Microsoft products as possible. Since I don’t fiddle around with i-Anythings and my telephone is a cuss-worthy box o’parts, getting away from the corporate octopus isn’t easy. Much of the world is managing, however, so there’s hope for humanity.
What I have been able to do is find good, lightweight, and functional programs that do exactly what I need them to do without arguing about it. When I want to defragment my hard-drive in a hurry, MyDefrag does the job. I do most of my writing on OpenOffice software. When Windows Media Player balked at playing what I wanted to watch, I got this.
But the title of this article promised politics, and I’m about to deliver. I look at government programs in a way similar to my take on computers. We citizens don’t exist to serve government. Government exists to work for us.
My favorite example of good government is NASA. Said agency has never had even five percent of the Federal budget, but look at all that it has achieved. And it has done this without preventing others from operating in space. Look at SpaceX and Virgin Galactic for examples. The former of those is now delivering cargo to the International Space Station.
Take in contrast the Microsoft-esque attempt at healthcare reform. That massive piece of political software is being rolled out over a period of years. The beta testing has so far given mixed results. And soon, lots of Americans are going to face the bureaucratic equivalent of a pop-up that asks, Are you sure?
I have no objection to government being helpful. But that help should be genuine. It should be effective. And most importantly, it should come with no compulsion.
What I’d like to see, for example, would be a government insurance program such as what I discussed here–in other words, a lightweight program that does only what it claims to do and does that well and without argument.
The problem is that political software developers so often are afflicted with big visions while at the same time lacking in the quality that the best engineers are blessed with–a love of simplicity. Politicians so often operate under the fear that the voters are coming, so they’d better look busy. Many of them have a heartfelt desire to do good and confuse the nature of their desires with the nature of their ideas.
The principle that I’m suggesting here is that when considering the creation or expansion of a government program, we must ask what is the smallest number of actions that will accomplish a worthy goal.