You get what you wish for

Over half of U.S. voters reject the idea that public service is better than working in the private sector, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Only one out of six voters view work for the government as a higher calling.   (Rasmussen Reports, July 5th)

I read somewhere a month or two ago that of those graduating from Yale last year it was the ambition of not a single graduate to enter the civil service or any other government job. I might have mis-remembered this and be exaggerating the matter, but the point is the same.


  1. For decades right-wing commentators have inveighed against government. “Government is the problem, not the solution” they have preached. Then, once in power, surprise, surprise, nobody among their ranks wants to serve, and jobs are given to the incompetent, the unqualified and (dare I say it) the personally dishonest. This neatly feeds neatly into the distaste for public service reflected in the Rasmussen poll.

    So who exactly are the patriots?

    We must have many Libertarians, for instance, who visit this blog. I would invite them to engage in this matter and explain why trashing public service makes the United States a greater nation. I truly mean to learn.

    I suspect Epicurus, wee he alive today, would espouse a pragmatic attitude to government, given the complexity of modern life. Meanwhile, don’t leave the field to me!

  2. “nobody among their ranks wants to serve, and jobs are given to the incompetent,”

    I suspect that the general loss of confidence in governments every where is one of the reasons. Governments Do seem to be the problem. They are made up of people who appear to be there for self serving reasons rather than for the good of their country. Besides, in our time, we live in a ‘global village’ where we are interdependent on the rest of the world so governments have little power for doing very much anyway.

    The whole scenario is circular because if the ‘jobs are given to the incompetent’, then even less will be done towards social justice and fair and firm government.

    What I have said is obvious, but as a ‘grass root’ I believe I am expressising the pessimistic opinion of most of my fellow ‘grass roots’.

  3. The origins of some political realities, including the anti-democratic views of government — are not mysterious. We know the names of those Republicans (for that’s whence the anti-democratic impulses originated) who beginnning at least in the 1970s denigrated government and public service. Corporations, whose immortality in accumulating wealth is now constitutionally guaranteed by the the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment, own the media. Who financed Lee Atwater, Grover Nordquist, Ronald Reagan, Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh, the Bushes? the Cheneys? These hirelings were made millionaires and paid to undermine the basis of all democracies — informed citizen participation in decisions which affect them.

    Can a democracy survive without holding the incompetents — sometimes the criminally incompetent — accountable? I hope this isn’t a rhetorical question

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.