Don Boudreaux at CafeHayek.com proposes an interesting idea in his recent article: Require all politicians to be anonymous.
The gist of the argument is: politicians should be working (and they continuously tell us they are working) in the public interest: they are public servants. Therefore all they do should be for the public, not for themselves. Boudreaux proposes that each politician be identified solely by his or her PIN (Political Identification number). Their faces will then never be seen by the public. They will address the public anonymously, and even have voice disguisers.
Of course, this would exclude certain types of people from holding public office, namely those seeking fame, influence and recognition, which might not be a bad thing.
We see, however, a few problems with this theory (besides the cynical fact that most politicians would disapprove). Would Jefferson, Franklin and Washington have acted in the way they did had they known they would never be remembered? If I am just to be known as a PIN, then why not seek policies that benefit me and my family? Why not make deals with other politicians behind closed doors? Why not gamble away my reputation, since I will never be remembered?
We therefore propose a modification to this, which is that at the politician’s day of death (or possibly retirement), his or her real name be identified. This would mean that all megalomaniac tendencies will be curbed, and politicians won’t be famous or influential during their careers, but they will have to worry about legacy. This means they will work for the public good all their lives, and will know their names will be tied with their decisions forever. This will also force them to take a much more long-term approach to their decisions, which will be good for the long-term health of the country as whole.
What do you think?