Obstructius (Great Government Philosophers – Part 1)

For many thousands of years people have lived with forms of government that varied from feudal systems, totalitarian monarchs and dictators, forms of democracy, or in some cases, total anarchy. During this time, there were some significant thinkers who studied the way the systems worked. They developed advice for those involved. Prior to working in government, it is wise for potential bureaucrats to take time to research these philosophers and think about the environment into which they are going.

While numerous individuals have studied the area, four major philosophers carved out reputations as being at the forefront of this field. These are Obstrucius, Burocrates, Futilius, and Dillayus. The first of these is Obstructius.

Obstrucius – The first and greatest

Not many people have heard of the great government philosopher Obstrucius. He lived from 550 BC to 470BC in a time when China was still fragmented. He is an often forgotten philosopher who had many pearls of wisdom about how governments should be run. The list is extremely lengthy, however I have included a selection of some of the more pertinent quotes that with which the new government employee should become familiar. Successful public servants may want to have some of these motivational sayings pinned somewhere around their workstations.

• By three methods may we run government: First, by obstruction, which is noblest; second, by procrastination, which is easiest; and third by out-sourcing, which is dearest.

• To be able to practice the five paradigms everywhere in government constitutes perfect virtue: delay decisions, cover one’s arse, show no initiative, do not communicate and remain anonymous.

• Look at a public servant’s acts, watch his motives; find out what pleases him: the public servant is then yours to manipulate.

• If one learns but does not think, one is suited to government. If one thinks but does not learn, one’s government career will be imperilled.

• A public servant who commits a mistake and does not correct it should follow government paradigm number two.

In addition to these first five quotes, there were many, many more pearls of wisdom that came from this great man. He delved into the numerous arms of government and spent hours devising appropriate advice. The view that he eventually came to was that every employee within every arm of the bureaucracy could probably use the same advice. Unfortunately his guide for bureaucrats is now lost, but some of his quotes remain. Below are five more that bureaucrats should become familiar with and use to remind themselves of their purpose in life. There is no record of the death of Obstrucius and it is widely rumoured that he is eternal and continues to run governments all over the world.

(This is an extract from You Can’t Polish a Turd (the Civil Servant’s Manual) published in 2010)

About George Fripley
I am a writer who enjoys writing humour, satire, poetry and sometimes a bit of philosophy. I live in Perth, Western Australia and occasionally get a poem or article published. It's all good fun! I have two books available for unwary readers, Grudges, Rumours and Drama Queens- The Civil Servant's Manual (This contains all that anybody could ever want to know about why government runs so slowly) and More Gravy Please! - the Politician's Handbook. (available through Amazon)

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