I wanted to share this observation a reader e-mailed to me a few days ago, prompted by the OC Register’s article of the Anaheim Police Department’s crime-clearance statistics (a report greeted by much glee in police critic circles):
“One thought that seemed to crystallize in my mind after reading the Register article is that is in fact there is a problem with the crime capabilities of the Anaheim police department, why would a citizen review committee have the skills necessary to uncover such a problem much less solve the problem, is that what the council was elected for and is that what professional law enforcement is supposed to figure out. If we are losing a war do we appoint a citizen committee to solve the problem? No, we look to the president, our elected officials and the professional staff at the pentagon to solve the problem.”
I think that is an excellent point. It is an ironic symptom of modern, progressive democracy to respond to policy and governance issues (real or perceived) by creating new, unelected government bodies and expanding the degree to which we are governed by those we did not elect. Not only does this rarely solve the issue at hand, but it blurs the lines of accountability. It further attenuates the relationship between government and the governed in the name of removing “politics” from the process — which, in fact, never happens: the politics remain as embedded in the process as ever, but are less amenable to being changed by the citizenry.