Creating the Perfect IT Government
I spent over 20 years of my career working in IT. What most IT experts understand is that we are typically at our most effective whenever people forget that we even exist. Certainly, the role of IT is to provide specific and valuable services to our users. However, beyond that about the only time we are on someone’s mind is when IT related issues are interfering with their ability to fulfill their own role. Our role is to provide services that enhance our user’s lives, not to control or interfere with them. The role of IT is meant to be that of support, not predominance.
Government should function much the same way that IT departments do. Governments are at their worst when they are on everyone’s mind. The best possible government is one that provides essential services, but then gets out of the way and lets its own citizens do whatever they are trying to accomplish for themselves. Governments, like IT, should be seen as service organizations. They are there to serve the citizens, not the other way around. Typically the only time governments are high profile is when they are trying to control or interfere in our lives. Basically, it’s when they are screwing things up.
If you allow an unfettered IT department to become the dominate factor in a company it will eventually attempt to automate all non-IT functions out of existence. Not just because it must justify such a lofty role, but also because at some point anything that extends beyond the role of IT becomes more of a liability than an asset and is therefore viewed as a threat to the control of IT. The same can be said of governments. At some point governments reach a critical mass where anything beyond the control of government becomes a liability. Nazi Germany can be seen as an easy example of this. People tend to forget that the Nazi’s didn’t just try to exterminate the Jews. They also did their best to rid themselves of the lame, the elderly, the mentally challenged, and many other groups that failed to conform to the government controlled Arian standard of usefulness.
In IT the user is what is ultimately the most important, in government it is the citizenry. Our Forefathers understood this concept and designed a government that was meant to be “by, of, and for the people”. They had already escaped from countries that were designed around government centric philosophies and they knew that they could do better. They knew that if given the opportunity they could thrive with a citizen centric government and as it turns out they were right. This nation didn’t become the greatest place on Earth by mere accident. It became that way by design. It didn’t become the greatest because of its government. It did so because of its people. Let’s make our government its most effective by getting it back to a point where people can forget that it even exists.