Skip to main content

View Diary: The failure of N.O. is not Bush's failure (149 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  It's really a matter of public relations (none)
    What we have to confront is the question whether government should be an agency of public service--i.e. providing services that the public expects and pays for--or public relations--i.e. telling individuals what to do and taking corrective action (using physical force) when the PR threats fail to curtail unauthorized behavior.

    When the latter perspective prevails, "natural disasters" merely reinforce the message that people had better do what they are told, or else.

    Government as an exercise in public relations has been on the ascendant since the Nixon administration.  That's where Haldeman and Ehrlichman had their roots and their underlings are still at it.

    To a certain extent, Democrats too have bought into the script that the purpose of government is simply to rule, to get others to do the bidding of the elite.  What distinguished many Democrats from Republicans is that where the latter used threats of punishment, the former relied largely on bribes.  And the cadre of public servants kept shrinking until now there's hardly anyone left in the public or private sector who knows how to get anything done.  Just giving orders doesn't do it.

    And then, of course, there's the false assumption that if one is successful in prohibiting a negative, the alternative action that is taken will be positive--that if you keep people from doing bad, they will do good.  This assumption is false not only because there are as many bad alternatives as good, but because there's also the option of doing nothing at all.

    (Which, BTW, is the option the captives on Guantanamo seem to have chosen in going on a hunger strike.)

    3-D Republicans=deception, disservice and debt

    by hannah on Tue Sep 13, 2005 at 07:18:18 AM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site