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Government United States

Scott Adams Proposes a Fourth Branch of Government 341

LoLobey writes "Dilbert creator Scott Adams is proposing a fourth branch of government in the WSJ. He describes it as 'smallish and economical, operating independently, with a mission to build and maintain a friendly user interface for citizens to manage their government.' It's a humorous article with some interesting ideas including internet access as a constitutional right and a constitutional ban on all election contributions for any candidate that polls above 10%. He's primarily proposing a method of getting verifiably accurate information on various issues to aid voters in making decisions, but despairs on his own blog about reader's comments on the article."
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Scott Adams Proposes a Fourth Branch of Government

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  • Better idea (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrEricSir ( 398214 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @03:40PM (#37988958) Homepage

    How about getting rid of corruption? Corporate donations, professional lobbyists, etc.

    Just make it flat out illegal, and consider it treason.

  • Re:Better idea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jeng ( 926980 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @03:44PM (#37989008)

    Isn't corruption already illegal?

    Also, can you please point out an example of a government that is less corruptible than our own?

  • by a2wflc ( 705508 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @03:47PM (#37989054)

    Unless you can find a way to make voters care, nothing else matters. I'm afraid the UI they want has 2 big buttons "R" and "D" for voting and discussion boards where only like-minded people can post.

  • Jesus Christ (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SlippyToad ( 240532 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @03:49PM (#37989092)

    Adams was at one time a funny guy, but he's long past his sell date. His cartoons are uniformly boring and predictable.

    And his ideas about anything outside of mocking office stupidity are simply breathtaking for their sheer wilful ignorance. I've read some of his other political blatherings. I filed them in the same bird cage where I keep David Brooks' meaningless self-aggrandizing bullshit, which is piled on top of the now thank-fucking-god-that-stupid-bastard-is-dead David Broder's similar excrescences.

    God save us from over-wealthy fools who think that money equals intelligence.

  • Re:Better idea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Riceballsan ( 816702 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @03:54PM (#37989184)
    How will this solve anything. Candidate approaches, gets donations from ____ corporation to help him win, makes changes beneficial to ____ corporation, finishes his term, goes to work for ____ corporation with a huge sign on bonus.
  • Re:Better idea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jeng ( 926980 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @03:54PM (#37989188)

    Nope, all you do is turn elections into lottery's for people who are backed by corporations while also making sure that those whom get elected this way don't know enough about how the government works to be effective on their own so they end up being reliant on the lobbyists.

  • by 0racle ( 667029 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @04:01PM (#37989302)
    Further, the R/D view is part of the reason voters don't care. It creates an US vs. Them scenario for people, I vote for my team and people who vote for the other are wrong. No thought, no discussion of issues has to occur, just keep the adversarial appearance.

    The two party system in the US has broken down to not being about issues, but about the two parties themselves.
  • by Maximum Prophet ( 716608 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @04:04PM (#37989344)
    Yes, that sounds like the point.

    We currently have a system in which the decision makers can't read every bill they vote on. Each has a staff of people who presumably can be trusted to steer the Congressperson the right way.
  • by codex24 ( 130799 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @04:09PM (#37989434)

    Legally-enforced prohibition never solved anything. Look what it has done for alcohol, narcotics, and traitors. They've been reduced, but haven't gone away. If you want to eliminate something then you need to destroy its habitat, and the natural habitat of the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex predator is the unchecked flow of money that drives the current political process. As Scott alludes, Campaign Finance Reform ( is the single most important political issue in this country for any party, persuasion, or constituency. Our current system is built on the premise that money is equivalent to "speech", and that since speech cannot be restricted (1st Amendment), neither can financial support of campaigns. This is no more true than the idea that a corporation is a "person". Unlike money, speech is effective for its quality, not its quantity.

  • Re:Better idea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @04:40PM (#37989876)

    Seems rather short sighted to me.

    What if you have someone who is absolutely brilliant at legislating, and does a great job of it? "Sorry, your 4 years are up, back to Kinko's you go, now it's time for some horridly corrupt and inept person to take office and undo all the good work you've done!"

    How about, instead, we make it our goal to have a logical, educated, informed populace who evaluates the past performance of each candidate against his or her own goals, the requirements of the position they were in, and the capabilities of the person running against them, then choose the best person for the job? How about we require some minimal level of civic literacy before we allow people to vote?

    Yeah, I know, that'd require work, and all the idiots spouting off about how shitty Obama or Bush are would have to actually know something about the government before they could take part in the election of representatives, which means that somebody somewhere will come up with a reason why the plan is racist, classist, sexist, or sexual-identity-ist, because how can you expect [poor|brown|gay|female|non-english-speaking] people to know something about the democracy before they can take part in it.

    It's so much easier to just check the name with the little (R) or (D) next to it, because that's the way every member of your family has voted since your great grandpappy came back from the Great War, right?

  • by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @04:45PM (#37990010)

    I suspect that it would be physically impossible to read every vote aloud in a reasonable (50 hour work week) time frame.

    If it can't be read aloud in 50 hours, it's almost certainly bad law.

    If Congress is passing so many laws that they all can't be read aloud during the Congressional Term, then Congress is passing a lot of what are, almost certainly, bad laws.

    One easy check for a bad law - the people who voted for/against it haven't read it.

  • by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @04:54PM (#37990212)

    You know what the press does? It creates content that sells. If the public at large will only read which senator slept with which secretary, then those are the stories we will get.

    The press fails us because we fail ourselves. For the same reason that in a democracy, we get the government we deserve, in a capitalist economy, we get the press we deserve.

"Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb