Wednesday, February 15, 2006

I am not a Number! I am a Free Man!

I don't usually read the Opinion section of the Post Gazette. To me "Opinions" are like assholes: both can be found on blogs. This piece from Mark DeSantis caught my eye, partially because the title contained the words "Government" and "Infantilizating." The second word there, I was disappointed to discover, had nothing to do with wearing diapers and getting spanked. What can I say? I have a fetish.

Don't go judging me.

Where was I? Ah:

Every now and then you read, hear or see a very small act and it speaks volumes of information. It could be someone's posture in a meeting or one brief line in an e-mail. The act itself is of little consequence but what the action often says is profound.

The small act in this case is the city government's new policy limiting Internet access by city employees to 30 minutes a day (in 10-minute chunks)....

In the Post-Gazette article last week about the restriction, Howard Stern, the city's chief information officer, said, "This is part of professionalizing city government." That is the deeper and disturbing message embedded within...

The next impression is how infantile and degrading it is. Put yourself in the shoes of a city employee. You are told you cannot access the Internet for more than 30 minutes because you apparently lack the self-discipline to tear yourself away to do your job. What an inspired act of leadership!...
See, this is what I've been going on about.

Bureaucrats are not mindless automatons, reacting to stimulii. Restricting Internet usage is not going to increase productivity any more than a team of managers chanting "work smarter, not harder" will increase productivity.

Reduction of employees to cogs in a wheel, to a labor commodity to be exploited, is a ridiculous proposition.

So, I guess I'm trying to say: hug a bureaucrat; we get lonely.

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