No Second Best for Us

I recall talking to a teacher about the nightmare of "no child left behind," teaching to the standardized test, and so on.

"Well, I said, we really should return to local control of the schools: the higher levels of government should only be involved to even out funding."

My interlocutor was aghast: "No, that would be awful!"


"Well, then different localities can teach non-standard material."

Because the workable solution of local control of schools would not eliminate every possible problem, he was willing to embrace a completely unworkable solution that held out the promise of perfection.

I think this problem is pervasive in our culture, and extremely damaging. Think about our recent health care legislation: I am in favor of helping poorer people get the health care they need. So, what about giving every person who makes under... $50,000? $80,000?... a government-funded voucher to buy health insurance? The bill could have been about 5 pages long. But no: there might have been some fraud! Perhaps some insurance company wouldn't have covered contraceptive sponges! Someone might not have gotten their lexapro paid for!

So, instead, we get a 974-page attempt to make everything perfect. Which, of course, will wind up being far, far worse than the simple plan, with its obvious problems, would have been.


Popular posts from this blog

Central Planning Works!

The biggest intellectual nothing burger of the last century?