Government Sauce

An excerpt from the fictional tales of Alien on Earth.
A story of an extraterrestrial’s warped interpretation of life on planet Earth.

When I was a software developer, I’d get requests for functionality that if fulfilled would result in imperfect code. So I resisted including features that cluttered the code-base. For my satisfaction, the underlying logic needed to be sound and neatly designed. Government is like that. It provides a functionality that users require yet it cannot be implemented cleanly. It’s spaghetti code.

Government therefore, is an art. Its imprecise sloppiness is a brutality on the idealistic brain. As in software design, it often seems easier to scrap the preexisting code and start from scratch. But that is a mirage that tricks inexperienced programmers. The complexity and functionality of the original system is not fully understood and not so easily replaced.

An idealist nature is apparent within the founding documents, but the implementation is pure pasta. But what choice is there? It’s a legacy system that must be maintained. Replacement would only lead to unforeseen catastrophes popping up everywhere as functionality was missed or poorly reimplemented. It’d be plugging one leaky hole after the next.

In software, sometimes major functionality can be abandoned due to requirement changes. Sometimes a better methodology is introduced that simplifies major aspects of the implementation. Government tries to fulfill the new as well as the legacy functionality expected of it, which is difficult. So either the requirements change or some innovative technique comes along — lest it gets even more unmanageable.

What’s the problem with spaghetti code? It’s difficult to improve and add new features. And even worse, subpar and confusing design leaves a system highly vulnerable to exploitation. Those seeking to profit can take advantage of inherent weaknesses in the system while those seeking to do good are stymied by the mess.

Like software, Government is a living system that requires constant monitoring, patching, and updating. If such mechanisms are not in place, then it’ll be rife with exploits. In other words, if the underlying process of government is not regularly maintained, then the system is likely compromised and controlled by exploiters.

A hacked system is one whose resources are diverted for use by the hacker. The exploiter might steal data or use the actual processing power to commit other attacks. Whatever the goal, the hacker gains at the end-user’s expense. Without effective monitoring and corrective measures, these actions can continue indefinitely unbeknownst to the end-user.

Like an operating system, the goal of a democratic government is to manage resources amongst all the processes and programs. If some are getting inordinate amounts of processing power, then the system is malfunctioning. The rogue process must be terminated before it destabilizes and crashes the entire system. Again, this requires monitoring and the ability to shut down resource hogs.

There’s a lot of creativity and maintenance involved in software and government. They’re living systems vulnerable to decay and exploitation. The most successful incarnations feature an honest and continuous dialog between developers and end-users, with feedback influencing design, where vulnerabilities and exploits in the framework are quickly patched, and the goal of each is cooperation toward an improved product.


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