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Question.

From your point of view, which level of government suggests to you that most politicians and their bureaucratic hirelings are either:

1 - complete idiots

2 - complete sociopaths who are only pretending they care about their constituents

3 - ordinary people who figure that going into politics is a good way to earn a decent income via salaries, perks and bribes (plus you get to rub shoulders with celebrities and influential business people.)

4 - idealists who believe that going into public service is more noble than serving the public by producing stuff and providing services

5 - doing a good job

For me, it depends upon which level of government you are talking about.

It is much more difficult, from my point of view, to really understand what is going on at the provincial or federal level.

Of course, I do have an opinion. And I am confident that my opinion is close to the truth.

For example, at a provincial level here in Ontario, we have a government which obviously knows all the right buttons to push, and which levers to pull, in order to secure their positions of power. They know who to pay off with subsidies and favourable legislation in exchange for votes. They know how to scam the public with phony scares (Oohhh! The earth's climate changes! We must prevent it.) And they know who they can screw with impunity.

The more you acquaint yourself with history, the more you will be able to recognize this pattern.

On a federal level, the same principles apply but again, it is more difficult for the average voter to determine whether there is some grand design to the policies adopted by the rulers, or whether it's just another myopic enterprise intended to enhance political careers at the expense of the population.

My theory is that the closer you are to your government, the more likely you will be able to see how screwed up it is because it is more likely to affect you directly. Whether it's getting an unjustified, tricky, or spiteful parking ticket, or having your business damaged by unnecessary, ideologically-driven road construction, whether it involves mind numbingly stupid transportation planning that consistently makes it more difficult and expensive to get around, or whether you are in a local government regulated industry, like the taxi business, who gets blamed for the results of regulatory incompetence, I would put my money on local government as conforming most closely to choices 1 - 4 above.

If you agree with me that it is easiest to see how counter-productive and dysfunctional government is at the local level then just imagine what it implies if this same principle of dysfunctionality applies at all levels of government.

If local government is responsible for so many undeserved misfortunes, like unnecessary traffic congestion, hugely overpriced services, numerous impediments to the conduct of business, including outright bankruptcy, the funding of special interests, the fines and the suspension, brake, tire and steering repairs necessitated by all of the potholes, speed bumps and other "traffic calming" mechanisms etc., imagine how serious the consequences could be at higher levels of government.

I've been reviewing the history of WWI for the last week or so. Even though the conflict happened about 100 years ago, the magnitude of higher level government failure strikes me with as much force as if it were happening today. (Note: I think it would have been much less likely to have happened if the majority had been better educated and more thoughtful than the average football fanatic. Look at all of those ecstatic young cannon fodder, cheering and waving their hats at the outbreak of hostilities. Poor fuckers really thought they were going to play soccer or something. - I remember my mother telling me that when she was just a teenager she honestly believed that the British soldiers were going off to have fist-fights with the Germans. What she said did not strike me as being highly significant until recently. Note 2: Why was Viet Nam the first, and last Televison War? Well, I used to be a real war fan as a kid. After seeing all of the dinner-time news reports, the burning Bhuddists, the napalm girl, the Saigon execution, and all of the torn bodies on stretchers being rushed to the medevacs, I came out of the 1960's in a decidedly anti-war frame of mind.)

Today, the political landscape looks just as crazy as ever. The whole world is starting to resemble "No Man's Land."

And on and on it goes, with the same old politicians spewing the same bullshit, and promising to fix things.

I may not have encyclopedic knowledge, but I definitely notice patterns. Patterns, like statistics, may not be able to provide exact conclusions, but in the absence of more precise data, they are better than nothing.

The more I observe current events, along with allocating time to learning about history, the more the same basic patterns become visible.

Perhaps a day will come when the "virtue" of leadership will be seen as a vice. That is when the healing will begin.

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