Good article by Bruce Charlton, via Chuckles:
There should be zero tolerance of dishonesty among politicians, executives, managers and other public figures.
Public life is so riddled with dishonesty nowadays that it seems a ridiculously high standard to insist on honesty from public figures – but things are much worse that they used to be in this regard, and a getting worse.
It seems that the modern ‘sensible’ ‘pragmatic’ attitude to dishonesty and celebration of hype, spin, marketing etc is merely an indulgence of the dishonest at the expense of the honest: successful liars are in power all around the world – the few truth-tellers (and there are a few) are given no credit – indeed are often subjected to that especially condemned form of lying called ‘bearing false witness’ – they are subject to denigrations by campaigns of malice, gossip, innuendo etc.
Indeed the mass media (itself a confederation of liars) deliberately corrupts the words to do with honesty; for example by name-calling people liars for advocating policies with which the media disagree; or name calling liars for having different religions or ideologies than the media support. This in the name of a sophisticated understanding of truth and dishonesty, when the real issue of truth and lies is easily comprehensible to a young child.
Rossa sent a link on the teaching of sex in schools to younger kids and I’m not even going to look at that, it’s so upsetting. The worst aspect of it is who will do the teaching – the last ones on earth who should be anywhere near children! You don’t hire your local leftist to teach your kids about sex, as in get into it under pain of peer pressure.
That issue does become highly relevant though, as Bruce moves onto the bureaucratic management bloat:
How can we cure bureaucratic bloat and managerial takeover in an institution?
The simple answer is that we can’t.
When there has been bureaucratic bloat and managerial takeover, there can only be destruction and replacement, because reform is (in practise) impossible.
Once an organisation has crossed the ‘event horizon’ at which management is dominant (e.g. many universities and colleges now employ more people with higher salaries in managerial and administrative roles than in teaching and research/ scholarship roles) – the organisations can only be (coercively) closed down, and new organisations started-up to replace them.
In theory, a corrupt organisation, bloated with bureaucracy and bureaucrats, can reform itself by eliminating non-essential administration while retaining productive capacity; in practise it cannot reform itself; since the whole set-up, the power structure, the rules and regulations, are all designed to sustain management.
(The people who are supposed to devise and implement reforms, are the exact people who need reforming.)
It’s not just government, is it, though the fish rots at the head. This is right through society, through every council, every committee, ever school, all trying to follow this “corporate” model of operation theyimagine is efficiency and accountability.
Except they seriously have no idea – as Bruce says, they are precisely the ones who should be replaced. It’s like “playing at being busineesmen” – no idea but it all sounds real gung-ho and “thinking outside the box, rolling out this or that”. Zero to do with teaching itself, the realtions and nuances between teacher, pupil and parent.
There is the oft-quoted [at NO] example of the Scottish Arts Council and Julia Middleton holding a meeting, some years back, on how The Arts should be run in Scotland. She’d invited 15 movers and shakers in the ArtWorld who’d agree with her. One didn’t and asked her point blank whence her legitimacy.
She pointed to the others there and said they were the legitimacy, the artists of Scotland.
They weren’t the “artists of Scotland”, they were administrators with big ideas about themselves. And on the basis of that meeting, funding for Scottish Art was not immediately determined there and then but was recommended for those who complied with the government taking over “Art” in Scotland, whatever that is meant to mean.
It’s all about “merging” and “taking over”, “reducing budgets”, implementing recommendations – truck loads of ordure, in other words, entirely unnecessary and only in place to justify the salaries of huge numbers of administrators, as in the NHS.
The issue then becomes how a school can resist the juggernaut of administrative bloat.
At the moment – it can’t.