Why politicians don't come from Starfleet Academy
That would be an ideal world in which only the best of us would come to power and the permanent election campaign would finally come to an end. Wouldn't that be a tiny problem.
After the representative of the smallest parliamentary group in the Thuringian state parliament was recently elected prime minister - for at least questionable reasons - and resigned a little later, the federal chairwoman of the CDU, who was traded as the upcoming candidate for chancellor, announced her resignation and the discussions open to who should follow her. The Federal Government Commissioner for the new federal states had to go. In between, the chair of the FDP federal chairman was also considered shaky. It is foreseeable that some things will be reassigned and distributed in the coming months. All in all, not a bad reason to think about how access to public office works in our society.
In Germany, at least theoretically, every adult can get into any political office, it just has to be voted for by the relevant electorate or the relevant body. While there are minor exceptions, such as for convicted criminals, you don't have to prove, for example, that you own significant assets or property; and also no specific school or university degree. Some steps are almost essential for attaining higher office (join a political party, learn High German, wash regularly and so on), and some at least make it a good deal more likely (study law), but no particular "career path" is required by law ".
Now imagine if it were completely different. Political power is reserved for select top officials: unflinchingly brave and just law enforcers. And you cannot simply apply for civil service, you are specifically trained for it from childhood – in the humanities and natural sciences, in the sense of a holistic education, in which, among other things, the media content that the future office holders consume is checked to see whether they promote the development of a virtuous person. Of course, sport is also part of the training. Brave, wise, chosen at a young age, well educated - we may perhaps think of the members of this elite as akin to cadets at Starfleet Academy and the aim of the whole system such that supreme power in the state rests with men and women who like the captain of the "Enterprise" Jean-Luc Picard and his colleagues are. In such a social order, elections are no longer provided for, only aptitude tests. One could even discuss whether there is still politics in the sense that we understand it, or not just an administration - but a very, very good one. The fact that, at least in local politics in Germany, non-partisan administrative officials are often elected mayors (and are then also popular) suggests that the idea is not entirely outlandish. If you have a perfect administration, who needs elections, parties and all that exhausting noise?
What is actually good and right?
The idea of a state ideally led by virtuous "guardians" and holistically highly educated rulers can be found in the ancient philosopher Plato, especially in his main work "The State" (Politeia). From today's perspective, it may seem either particularly romantic or particularly negligent that, in Plato's view, the rulers should themselves be philosophers. However, there were no other significant scientific specializations in ancient Greece. Either way, the whole concept stands or falls with the ability of the putative elites to see clearly what is good and bad, true and false, necessary and unnecessary. In democratic states, however, there is a consensus – and with good reason – that it is not possible for such questions to be finally clarified by experts, but that at some point there is always some direct or indirect form of intervention for the general public must.
Nevertheless, a sort of "platonic" thinking crops up regularly here and now - whenever we pretend that what needs to be done politically is obvious and totally compelling common sense; whenever we act as if politicians are, at best, nothing but administrators in the service of truth, kept from doing what is right merely by their own weakness of character. It shimmers through a bit in the proposal to set up an "impartial government of experts" in Thuringia, preferably headed by a judge. But unfortunately we don't have a Starfleet Academy that reliably produces Jean-Luc Picards to fill our top posts; and even if we had them, there would be no objective knowledge upon which to act. We depend on developing forms of organization in which imperfect people can rise and fall from power and in which politics can – and must – be made day in and day out.