I often wondered why Governor Richardson was so enamored with the practice of appointing “Czars” to deal with New Mexico’s most serious social ills. Since becoming Governor he has, with much fanfare, appointed a DWI Czar, and a Domestic Violence Czar (subscription required). Apparently this was not a new practice for him as he had appointed a Security Czar when he served as the U.S. Secretary of Energy.
Still, the use of the “Czar” title just never seemed to sit right with me. Creating Czars in a democracy comes across as counter-intuitive. Then, I came across the following Russian Proverb in the December 2004 issue of Harper’s Magazine:
A country without its czar is like a village without an idiot.
Now, it all makes sense.