For our second installment of Ombudsman Heritage Week, we turn to nature, and the ombudsmanly patterns inscribed thereon. (For the remainder of this post, we will assume a position of Intelligent Design. ID is the official position of COBA, as an impartial compromise between Young Earth Creationism and evolution.)
Many organisms in nature reflect common intentions of the (neutrally unspecified) Designer in wide-spread patterns with apparently random variations that clearly therefore display the direct hand of an intelligence at work. An intelligence whose subtlety is an inspiration to ombudsmen everywhere. One of the greatest places in the natural world to see ombudsmanly behaviour is in the insect world. In fact, it’s even been said that ombudsmanry is a pattern that imitates various aquatic insects, except for those considered “Welsh”. (“Welsh” insects are decidedly non-neutral—Designer humour?)
One trait that skilled ombudsmen are known for is that of patience. And what greater representative in nature is that of the 17-year cicada? It lies deep underground, waiting its turn for a frenzy of activity, just as the ideal ombudsman waits until it is appropriate to act in defense of the impartiality of a publication!
And what of the honeybee and their waggle dances? It turns out that every bee has been designed with an ombudsmanly trait—to limit the communication of erroneous information. Worker honeybees do this with wiggling of their behinds. Ombudsmen do it with their pens and keyboards. The similarities are striking!
Just as ombudsmanly traits have been inscribed in nature, surely they have been inscribed in the being of ombudsmen throughout history. An accident? Surely not.
TOMORROW: Ombudsmen in Renaissance art.