Bureaucracy: Legalism versus Integrity

canadapassport

I discovered a great deal about identity today.

I went to the passport office to renew my Canadian passport.

I was treated very politely and given the necessary form.

I filled it out accurately and completely. Went to the passport officer and presented form, new photos and current passport. She opens the passport and looks at the photo page and says, “This passport is invalid.”

I reply, “I worked in the United States for one year using that passport, the TN1 visa is still inside.”

She says, “You didn’t sign the passport. It’s invalid.”

I think to myself, “I could take the passport outside, sign it and come back in.  In fact, I could take the passport and sign it right in front of her.  There was never a requirement for a witness; it could have been signed by anyone. This policy is retarded.”

She asks me for additional identification. I don’t have a driver’s license because I sold my car and decided I would use public transit. I offer my Social Insurance Card, but the signature has been rubbed off. I offer my birth certificate, but it has no signature. I offer my provincial health card, but it has no signature. I offer my credit card, my debit card and my library card.  I consider my Movie Village card because the signature is laminated.

She takes everything to her manager. She comes back and gives me a slip of paper. “This is the address of the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission. They are on the far side of the city. Have them provide you with a photo ID with your signature and fax me a copy.”

I tell her, “I don’t drink.”

She replies, “You don’t have to.”

I jump on a bus and I go across town. I give the MLCC all the same ID that I gave the passport officer. They have me sign a form and in five minutes I have a photo ID with my signature.  Because the signature pad is electronic and does not provide visual feedback as I am writing I find the first name and last name of my signature overlap.  Maybe it is designed to emulate your signature when you are blind drunk.  I’m over 40 and for the first time I have a card that explicitly states I can legally drink alcohol.

I travel all the way back across town to the passport office. I explain that the passport officer required me to provide another piece of identification. I am directed to a special officer. She makes a photocopy of the MLCC photo ID with signature and says, “Thank you, that’s it.”

Can you explain to me what was achieved by my going to the MLCC which cost me an additional $25 when you include bus fare, which couldn’t have been achieved by me simply signing my passport?

I protected one bureaucrat’s legalism by exploiting another bureaucrat’s legalism.  And the bureaucracy doubled its money.

I will have a renewed passport in two weeks.

They call themselves “public servants”, so why is the public required to jump through mindless hoops to make them appear vigilant?

We do these unnecessary and costly things bureaucrats tell us because we are not willing to sacrifice the greater cost of preserving our integrity and the integrity of policy.

Consequently, the bureaucrat keeps her job, politicians maintain the illusion of governance and we all lose.  Time, money, value.

Will my passport protect me and the global community?  Yes.

Did I also perform a mindless ritual?  Yes.

I believe that a healthy society is regulated by public servants.  However mindless observance of regulations by public servants fails both the public and the policy makers.

Anyone who tells you to violate your integrity to preserve theirs has none.  All they are doing is seeking a bigger piece of the pie at your expense.  It’s a measure of bargaining not morality.

Nationalism: “Natural Born” Feng Shui

wethepeople

I have been stumbling into some blogs recently that have been claiming to be objective about their mud slinging.  The one that pushed my button tried to rationalize the ineligibility of Barack Obama to be president because of his place of birth.

Now let’s stop for a minute and think about this constitutional requirement.  What magical power does being born within the boundaries of the United States give you?  Since every American is descended from immigrants it certainly doesn’t mean you were molded by some deity out of American clay.  And is American clay contagious?  The boundaries of the United States have been changing continually.  Am I more American if I was born in Pennsylvania than if I was born in California?  What are national boundaries if not some type of ancient Feng Shui or geomancy?  Or is it something more simple and arcane?  Perhaps you are the property of the incumbent power structure of the United States if you are born there.  Oh, yes you are.

What was the American civil war about if it was not a battle over human resources and whether humans should have all their needs attended to by the plantation and bound with chains or none of their needs attended to by the company and bound with debt?  Who won?  Have Americans eliminated their debt?  Have Americans eliminated their enemies?  Have Americans eliminated disease?  Is that what you are ultimately born into if you are not in the top 10% of the power structure?

Does being born in the United States make you a better scientist?  Does being born in the United States make you a better leader?  Does being born in the United States make you a better professional?  Does being born in the United States make you a better accountant?  Does being born in the United States make you a better soldier?  Does being born in the United States make you a better worker?  By what magical power?  By what divination?

“Natural Born” is a meaningless pedigree for a people without any claim to fame except that they randomly plopped out of the womb and into the world within a national boundary that may not be around in 100 years.  It is as meaningless as being born among “God’s chosen people”.  It is as meaningless as being born with a particular pigmentation of skin.  It is as meaningless as being born in January versus December.

The only thing that gives our boundaries meaning is our division and our conquest by the incumbent powers.

Chanakya: Eliminate Debts, Enemies and Disease

chanakya

Chanakya was the Chief Minster of Chandragupta Maurya between 323 B.C. and 298 B.C.  Prior to Chandragupta’s reign Alexander the Great’s legacy had left much of the Indian region under corrupt foreign rule.  Chandragupta with Chanakya’s guidance was able to raise an army and eventually seize control of much of what is now known as India and reign over it for the betterment of the people for 25 years.  This achievement is considered legendary to this day.

V. K. Subramanian has compiled a collection of The Maxims of Chanakya with both the original Sanskrit and the English translation.  Chanakya has been referred to as the “Machiavelli of India”, but I do not regard that as a fair parallel.  Chanakya was a pragmatist believing that wealth was both the goal and the cornerstone of the state, however he also believed that wealth should be used to cultivate the best in rulers and the kingdom.  Chanakya believed:

Nothing should be allowed to remain of debts, enemies and disease.

But he did not believe in direct confrontation if it could be avoided.  He always felt it better to “win over” these three evils than waste the resources of the state.  The method was “other people’s money” pitting one opponent against another instead of pitting oneself against either.

The American people consider “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” as fundamental rights.  Is not life the elimination of disease?  Is not liberty the elimination of enemies?  Is not happiness the elimination of debt?  Perhaps if the United States and every nation made providing disease eliminating healthcare, enforcing inequality eliminating laws and observing debt eliminating economics the only goals of the government, business and people we would all be “healthy, wealthy and wise”.

Chanakya’s only failing was to not have the wisdom to see his legacy preserved beyond his own lifetime.

Jared Diamond: Societal Collapse

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Jared Diamond: System Collapse“, posted with vodpod

If you listen carefully to what Jared Diamond is saying in the TED video above, he is describing not a five part, but a six part power curve into a systemic singularity. This has been one of the core themes of discussion of this blog.  We all seem to be too close to our problems to see the commonality.  The interrogatives come into play here:

  1. Goals
  2. People
  3. Functions
  4. Forms
  5. Times
  6. Distances

Times and Distances being the basis on which the higher orders are built.

When we look at the recent economic “crisis” we see 300 trillion in currency circulating and roughly 1 trillion to 2 trillion shifting suddenly and unexpectedly.  We witnessed a systemic collapse, a singularity, a tipping point, a power curve, an exponential change, a phase transition or whatever label you want to call it.  These have been happening everywhere since Time and Distance began in different contexts and orders both in human and non-human systems.

What Jared Diamond and other alarmists are implying is that human society is now a system approaching its final singularity in this century on this planet.  We are implying that today we are experiencing a less than one percent crisis on a power curve into a singularity.  How many more iterations will the global system withstand?  Will humanity make the step into space successfully before we experience a global dark age?  How will the six or more factors in the power curve play out?

The truth to me appears to be that power curves whether they play out or not result in either a systemic climax or anti-climax followed by a systemic collapse.  Would it not be better if we experienced a systemic climax that led to us expanding into the solar system?

Systemic collapse seems to be the fashion of this generation.  Every generation looks with fascination at its own youth, maturition, reproduction and acceleration into mortality.  Some die early, some die late, but all die.  It is an irrevocable law of nature.  It is not about self-interest.  It is about what self-interest is defined as.

Related Posts:

Beyond the Singularity

Servitas and Libertas

Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . 2 Comments »