Great Design

Transparent Entrapment

In my previous post, I took a look at one government dysfunction.  Although bigger problems in Texas might theoretically exist, it’s really no different than any other dysfunction in terms of how it can be fixed.  The solution, in my own words, is transparent entrapment.

We are actually told by the Bible that it’s God’s preferred model.  We are told that God has designed transparent entrapment for humanity.

The Temptation of Christ by the Devil.  By Félix-Joseph Barrias in 1860.
The Temptation of Christ by the Devil.  By Félix-Joseph Barrias in 1860.

It’s entrapment because the subject is being tempted to take an action he or she would not otherwise take.

It’s transparent because the subjects have been given forewarning or foreknowledge of it.

One can certainly debate the merits of entrapment, and plenty of other theological questions, but I will tell you this… I have trained a number of dogs employing this device.

For humans, the legal definition of entrapment centers around the use of coercion and other overbearing tactics to induce someone to commit a crime.  In general, this method is a legal non-starter, and a solid defense strategy in court is simply to shine a spotlight on it.

Opaque entrapment would simply be the use of entrapment, but without any advance warning that such activity was taking place.  Saddam Hussein was allegedly a prolific, incredibly successful practitioner of opaque entrapment.  And his long-time grip over his government and his people more than validated that attribution.  Iraqi government figures were solicited for betrayal, and if they chose betrayal, they vanished.

Opaque entrapment has an interesting quality, in that if the subjects start to suspect this model is being used, the model still works.  And it was said that this was indeed the case in Iraq.  Saddam’s regime acquired an unofficial reputation for using this model, and it still worked perfectly, and it still snuffed out nearly all hope of internal opposition, because the subjects could never discern whether a betrayal solicitation was genuine or a trap.

In the free world, it’s generally agreed that opaque entrapment borders on cruel.  However, a closer look must be given to transparent entrapment.

Why not tell federal judges they will be intentionally solicited for bribery several times a year?  That in fact, this is all part of the job description.

Why not tell members of the CIA that they will be intentionally solicited for betrayal several times a month?  And that their friends and family will also be intentionally solicited for use in soliciting them?  Yes, there’s obviously a cost there, but I think it’s easy to argue that it’s worth the cost.

And, for example, why not tell Texas Boll Weevil employees that they will encounter intentionally broken, busted boll weevil traps on the ground near their work sites – just begging to be taken back to the boll weevil laboratory?  Failure to return them is considered failure on the job.

Why shouldn’t our public employees be held to high standards?

The fact that it’s transparent may provide a legal defense of the method, but if not, constitutional-level changes would admittedly need to be made.  I really can’t see how it wouldn’t be justified.

This is perhaps the method for rooting out almost any undesirable trait, in any context.

Poor Processes

Don’t Mess With Texas?

Anyone from Texas, or travelling through Texas, has surely seen the iconic “Don’t Mess With Texas” slogan, often times emblazoned on highway billboards as an admonition against littering.

Once again, by all accounts, Texas is anti-garbage.

But yet even with all this momentum, we still have a classic government agency dysfunction in our midst…

Take a good look at the image below.  What are these things?

Badminton Equipment?
Badminton Equipment?

It looks like plastic, and maybe related to a badminton game?

Well, actually these are part of a boll weevil trap.  State employees place these around farm fields to trap boll weevils as a part of a larger plan to eradicate them.  This is what the entire trap looks like when it’s upright and operational:

And acting as a minor pest in its own right, this collection of state employees will then leave these plastic, non-biodegradable trap pieces behind in the Texas landscape.  Whether the traps are busted or broken, or just not being used anymore, often times their life cycle ends with state employees leaving them as garbage on the ground.

Garbage left behind - just a few feet from a working boll weevil trap.
Garbage left behind – just a few feet from a working boll weevil trap.

Last time I checked, broken, busted boll weevil traps weren’t a part of Texas’s state seal.  Nor are they included in the official state song, or the state pledge of allegiance!  And I’ve never seen a single Texas highway billboard singing the praises of a boll weevil holocaust.

But they’re left behind – by state employees – as if this makes sense and they’re some kind of blessing for the Texas landscape.

Nothing confuses me more than state employees caring less about the state than ordinary citizens, people working for the county caring less about the county than people not working for the county, and federal civil servants caring less about the country than people working in the private sector.

So, to recap, you have entomological employees working for The Lone Star State (AKA The “Don’t Mess With Texas” State), leaving behind their non-biodegradable garbage everywhere, for a job, that by all appearances, isn’t even close to being on par with the state-wide anti-garbage mission.

Commemorative coins:

Yes, there are even pot holders:

In case anyone doubts your fervor.
In case anyone doubts your fervor.

Throwback:

(Can you imagine a boll weevil re-mix?  Neither can I.)

 

 


Epilogue