A case for making Lord Vetinari our president- and thus essentially the only government- in 2012.
[Warning! Discworld Spoilers!]
So we have another election year bearing down on us like a tidal wave of endless campaign updates and a never-ending circuit of commercials with ominous music and voice-overs. I don’t know about most of the people in this country, but I end up getting depressed and annoyed every single election year, since none of the candidates seem capable of leading a one- acre farm. But after much thought and reflection on the state of our country, I’m going to humbly cast my support for:
Lord Havelock Vetinari, current Patrician of Ankh-Morpork.
“But he’s a tyrant!” you say. “This is America, dammit! We don’t put stock in dictators here!”
Hear me out! Vetinari may not be democratically elected, but he isn’t technically a dictator- he’s the Patrician. He runs the country by sitting back and talking to a few people, using just a few words. Then he lets the country work itself. Anyone who’s read the Discworld series knows that this is how Vetinari operates. He arranges everything so that it falls into place and arranges itself. He doesn’t actually do anything to the city he’s ruling. Which is the current mode of operation for most of our politicians, except that when they don’t do anything, nothing gets down.
Having the Patrician running our country would completely do away with the problem of the two-party system. For instance, Republicans say they want small government, but never seem capable of actually reducing the size of our bureaucracy. Vetinari’s government is minimal, with everyone who is not by birth, sex, or creed Lord Vetinari being excluded from participation. That’s about as consolidated as it can get. Spending wouldn’t be a problem- Vetinari leads a fairly austere life, and he doesn’t need to waste his money on such things as private helicopter flights. And though it’s unclear what Vetinari’s environmental policies would be, it’s safe to say that he wouldn’t give those evil oil barons too much of his time. One doesn’t need much in the way of ‘support’ when one has the whole country in the palm of one’s hand.
And for the Democrats, who seem to cling to their various committees and boards like their lives depend on it, Vetinari’s method of running things would provide Guilds, Leagues, and various secret societies. There’s the Merchants Guild, which could effectively substitute for unions; the Thieves Guild, which is very stringent about having a license for thieving (I think the IRS would be in charge of this one); the Decency League for anyone who wishes to maintain standards of good conduct, regardless of method and success of those standards; the Assassins’ League (though good luck trying to assassinate Vetinari. It won’t go well at all); various groups for the rights of golems, dwarves, trolls and others (when Vetinari adopts affirmative action, he does it thoroughly) and much more. Almost any committee a Democrat desires could be found under Vetinari’s system of government, probably running much more efficiently than it would under any previous incarnation.
Meanwhile, with most of the talking heads set to arguing with each other at Guild functions, ordinary citizens can get on with their lives just as they always have.
“But what about staff?” you ask. “Even a tyrant needs an entourage and heads of public relations! Who will make up his executive, legislative, and judicial branches?”
My good citizen, this isn’t the way Vetinari operates. He chooses the wrong man and puts him in the right place and then sits back and allows that man’s nature to take its course. Vetinari is the Patrician wise enough to put alcoholic Sam Vimes as head of the City Watch, and just look at what a fine institution that body of men, women, dwarves, werewolves, trolls, and whatnot is. Vetinari is also the Patrician who discovered and instituted Moist von Lipwig, the arch-swindler who managed to make a Post Office functional.
Think about that, ladies and gentlemen. Lord Vetinari put a man in charge of a post office AND THAT MAN MADE IT AN EFFICIENT MEANS OF COMMUNICATION. The Patrician has a discerning eye. You can trust him to pick the right man for the job, even if the choice seems absolutely ridiculous at the time.
I strongly urge you all to consider the Patrician when filling out those ballots come Election Day. But if this hasn’t convinced you, read some of the Discworld novels, starting with Guards! Guards!, the beginning of the Watch series. Acquaint yourself with Vetinari. And then ask yourself if you want a democratically elected official who couldn’t be trusted to run a mud puddle without making it dry, or if you want the tyrant who can sort out everything from assassins to dragons to sentient firearms.
Don’t let me detain you.
Oh, and buy one of the bumper stickers! (Not my idea, someone else’s entirely, but you know they’re awesome).