For the last century, almost all top political appointments [on the planet Earth] had been made by random computer selection from the pool of individuals who had the necessary qualifications. It had taken the human race several thousand years to realize that there were some jobs that should never be given to the people who volunteered for them, especially if they showed too much enthusiasm. As one shrewed political commentator had remarked: “We want a President who has to be carried screaming and kicking into the White House — but will then do the best job he possibly can, so that he’ll get time off for good behavior.”
— Arthur C. Clarke, Imperial Earth, 1976
Cue up… Al Gore?
You know this novel? Tres kewl!
I have used that quote for over thirty years.
Imperial Earth is one of my favorite books… nice quote!
…the definition of a servant…doing it because it has to be done not because one wants to it.
A Dutch colleague and I were comparing and contrasting Netherlands vs. American political systems yesterday. He mentioned that thanks to their monarchy and coalition governments, the PM usually ends up being a no-name who doesn’t really want to be there and enjoys a lot less name recognition than the queen, which according to my colleague is good because being known globally then doesn’t go to the PM’s head. Their system neither encourages career politicians nor can sustain them for very long. I call for four-year term limits, even if said election winner (and his/her party) is the best and most efficient damned thing since sliced bread.
Isn’t this exactly the manner in which we are told Augustus I ascended to the Purple?
“Open the pod bay doors, HAL! Open the pod bay doors, HAL!”
“Kicking and screaming” I mean
Mencken proposed a similar system.
Political offices work like jury duty: you get selected randomly, and have one year to perform the duties of your office. If you do it well, you return home to your neighbor’s accolades. If you screw up, you and your family are viewed as a disgrace and you have to move to another town.
[…] OK, those are my ideas off the top of my head. I’m sure there are many more that could be added. It won’t be easy and the task should not be approached lightly. Remember, the idea is to send the candidate off screaming and kicking. […]