I have a confession to make. I'm in my late thirties and I am a completely and utterly disillusioned lefty. In my late teens and early twenties I was full of idealism and hoped for a more equal and egalitarian society. Year by year, step by step, I slowly and methodically got that silly idealism knocked out of me and a good dose of reality knocked into me. I realised that in the history of western civilisation there has never been anything even vaguely resembling a fair, or egalitarian society and that history alone should demonstrate that such a thing will never be a reality, other than in people's imaginations.
So what does that have the thread title? Well, being a lefty I was also a big supporter of the public sector. Public health, public education, I wanted private enterprise out of it and big government in. Let the government run it for the benefit all all Australians I very foolishly thought. After all, isn't that what government is for? My youthful naivety makes me chuckle now but at the time I was dead serious and very passionate about it.
Like any good lefty I defended public education and public health against all criticism, valid or not. I railed against the evils of private enterprise and that it was up to representatives of the Australian people to care for the health of and educate Australians. I made excuses for the under funding and under staffing of Queensland Health, blaming it on the conservatives even though nothing changed when Labor was in power. I even made excuses for the system that allowed Dr. Jayant Patel to tear through the town of Bundaberg with a scalpel leaving too many dead and disfigured in his wake, thinking it had to be better than the alternative.
Things started to change dramatically when I started seeing a girl who worked in the Queensland public health system in project management. I started to hear stories of horrific waste. Money pissed away on wholely unnecessary airfares, accommodation, catering, more than one person doing the same job, expensive projects with no point or purpose but simply to justify someone's position or for political reasons and the system being unable to get rid of terribly incompetent people that shouldn't have ever been there in the first place. Basically, everyone within the system knows its government money, that there is very little accountability unless it all goes pear shaped, and they all just want to rort the system for all it's worth.
You can't escape human nature, can you? And I guess it's that realisation that made me question the role of the government in managing almost anything. We have a failed, politically correct public education system that turns out kids who can't spell or construct a reasonable sentence but can mindlessly parrot partisan propaganda about the lefty cause of the moment such as global warming or whaling.
So what do you think government is good at managing and what do you think it should manage? Can private enterprise do most things better and more cost effectively? Is it possible for the public sector to ever escape the terrible waste and bureaucracy that is it's trademark?
What exactly, in your opinion, should the government be running? Given their track record (and I am talking about both major political parties) I'm not sure they should be running much of anything.