One of the likely long-term impacts of the tea tasters of supposedly libertarian persuasions will be more laws limiting what public entities can do to participate in the business of their own survival, often disparagingly called lobbying. These naysayers toward institutional assertiveness, in the company of often uninformed voters, often did not take the time to consider what they were doing when they brought about rules against permitting public dollars to be used for organizational promotion or self-preservation. Not surprisingly, they now find themselves under attack for being worthless, wasteful and even dependency-creating bastions of socialism.
A self-fulfilling prophecy that doesn’t so much protect public resources as starve the very institutions that have to be able to put forward the power of the accomplishments of what they actually do. As a nation, we are beginning to understand that some social institutions – be they governmental, non-governmental or even what are now called multi-bottom line entities that blend the values of profit and purpose – have a place of importance in society, and so we must allow them to be well-armed in the competitive struggle for survival as their value unfolds. Taking away their ability to compete under the guise of saying it protects public dollars just weakens good options and relegates too much public expenditure to the waste pile.
Technology and virtual connectivity have made it nearly impossible for many institutions to hide what they are doing. And this will become truer in the future for just about any organization of note. Transparency will expose all that they do to scrutiny and make it impossible for their motivations to stay quiet. Passing laws strictly prohibiting the expenditure of public dollars to toot an organization’s horn to the policymakers who direct the use of public dollars will instead just force these organizations to try to figure out how to get around the restrictions. As a nation, I believe we would be better off understanding what they are doing and why because we could well see that their efforts will pay off in progress and community good. Everyone will win – including the all-mighty, debt-tailed public dollars that will be instruments of promotion of what actually works.
I’ve made the case before that the right of privacy is a dead concept. It came to life as a way of preserving a man’s (yes, gender was important) ability to sell his ideas and inventions to make a buck. What is needed today is instead a mutually agreed upon set of rights of participation that include various levels of transparency and allowable spaces and domains for self-preservation. If organizations and people were so invested, they and we wouldn’t have to sit and watch good programs and projects get starved of their mighty dollars in the name of a deception of efficiency when that comes across as a tea party of patriotism.
We’re smart enough as a nation to take pride in what our social and organizational investments have to offer, even if we still have to build in some levels of trust and guidance. I hope we see more of this with Obama 2.0 rather than more of acceptance that starving the good serves a rational purpose.
What do you think?
On the road. Discovering the street look of The New Man.