Thursday 17 November 2022
Not Fit For The Role
"No council or magistrate should have it in their power to stop the public business of a city."
- Niccolo Machiavelli*
During the Covid nonsense of the 2020 and 2021, governments shut down everything, including their own parliaments at times. Everything was ground to a halt for days, weeks, or months at a time in different segments of those years. Including many health services, necessary home care, schooling, services to the poor and more.
Many people warned about the danger of shutting down parliaments, shutting down government offices, shutting down public services like schools and various forms of healthcare. But largely these people were ignored, and society was forced to focus on one issue, Covid, as if it was the only issue.
The downsides of these policies are now in full effect, massive inflation caused by record government stimulus to pay people to stay home and other crazy economic policies, increased deaths caused by a variety of issues stemming from shut-downs of health services, mandated stay at home orders, and mandated experimental medications, education delays for young children, developmental delays for many other small children, supply chain fractures, and more.
The focus of society on one goal, to the exclusion of virtually everything else, caused exactly the sort of issues we should expect. Society is a complex organism, it cannot be centrally controlled or managed, it is organic, and the various aspects that help it flourish and function are beyond the ability of any government, technocracy or private institution to predict and control. Just the record number of potholes that Australians are facing at the moment is one example of how a decision all the way over 'there' has unintended flow on effects over 'here'.
The government and public functions must not halt under any circumstances, even in the face of a pandemic, because this will cause untold and unpredictable problems. Like throwing a spanner into the works of a complicated machine, can bring an entire factory line to a grinding halt. Complex systems need to be allowed to function, and government officials who are not willing to maintain their offices in the face of incredible circumstances, are not fit for the role and should resign and maintain that office until their replacement comes and takes over the role, this is not just my opinion, this is the lesson of history, and the stated opinion of Niccolo Machiavelli:
"CHAPTER L.—That neither any Council nor any Magistrate should have power to bring the Government of a City to a stay.
T.Q. CINCINNATUS and Cn. Julius Mento being consuls of Rome, and being at variance with one another, brought the whole business of the city to a stay; which the senate perceiving, were moved to create a dictator to do what, by reason of their differences, the consuls would not. But though opposed to one another in everything else, the consuls were of one mind in resisting the appointment of a dictator; so that the senate had no remedy left them but to seek the help of the tribunes, who, supported by their authority, forced the consuls to yield.
Here we have to note, first, the usefulness of the tribunes' authority in checking the ambitious designs, not only of the nobles against the commons, but also of one section of the nobles against another; and next, that in no city ought things ever to be so ordered that it rests with a few to decide on matters, which, if the ordinary business of the State is to proceed at all, must be carried out. Wherefore, if you grant authority to a council to distribute honours and offices, or to a magistrate to administer any branch of public business, you must either impose an obligation that the duty confided shall be performed, or ordain that, on failure to perform, another may and shall do what has to be done. Otherwise such an arrangement will be found defective and dangerous; as would have been the case in Rome, had it not been possible to oppose the authority of the tribunes to the obstinacy of the consuls.
In the Venetian Republic, the great council distributes honours and offices. But more than once it has happened that the council, whether from ill-humour or from being badly advised, has declined to appoint successors either to the magistrates of the city or to those administering the government abroad. This gave rise to the greatest confusion and disorder; for, on a sudden, both the city itself and the subject provinces found themselves deprived of their lawful governors; nor could any redress be had until the majority of the council were pacified or undeceived. And this disorder must have brought the city to a bad end, had not provision been made against its recurrence by certain of the wiser citizens, who, finding a fit opportunity, passed a law that no magistracy, whether within or without the city, should ever be deemed to have been vacated until it was filled up by the appointment of a successor. In this way the council was deprived of its facilities for stopping public business to the danger of the State.**
A government official who is too afraid, too ambitious, or too distracted to do his role and so he vacates his office, should be replaced. Or he should be made to maintain his office until a suitable replacement is found.
A political official who allows the shut down of public business is a danger to the state and the people, and is not fit for the role. This is simple wisdom, laid out by Machiavelli, and completely ignored by cowardly politicians, bureaucrats and public servants in the midst of the covid pandemic.
Government is so big now, that when it shuts down it takes a massive proportion of society out with it. When it enforces its will to shut down the private sector as well, it creates untold damage. So his wisdom is even more apt for today.
We need wise citizens to outlaw this so it can never happen again:
"And this disorder must have brought the city to a bad end, had not provision been made against its recurrence by certain of the wiser citizens, who, finding a fit opportunity, passed a law that no magistracy, whether within or without the city, should ever be deemed to have been vacated until it was filled up by the appointment of a successor."
It's incredible how consistently the history books got there well before us.
*Niccolo Machiavelli, Discources on Livy, Castalia Library edition.
**Niccolo Machiavelli, Discources on Livy, Kindle Edition.