Webster

The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)


Friday, March 4, 2011

Defination of insanity: Do more of the same and expect different results

This article on higher education – despite using my absolute least favorite metaphor in its title – is worthwhile. It’s not an overtly political article, but these question got me thinking:
"What good does it do to increase the number of students in college if the ones who are already there are not learning much? Would it not make more sense to improve the quality of education before we increase the quantity of students?"
On so many issues, the Obama administration has approached problems by just insisting that if we do a lot more of the same, things will work out. Education is one example: Our children is not learning? Send them all to college. There’s no concern about the quality of education, that students carefully select what career and educational path suits them, or that education costs too much. No, simply having more of it will fix the problem.
This is the preferred solution in other areas: Healthcare costs too much and not enough people have insurance? Well, we could address the underlying issues that are forcing the price of healthcare too high (hard), or we could just make everybody buy insurance (easy). Our massive deficit spending is draining capital from the economy and inhibiting growth? Well, we could analyze the budget and keep those programs that are genuinely productive while making cuts elsewhere that will free up capital and spur growth (hard), or we could just borrow more for investments while leaving current deficit levels alone (easy). The most heavily regulated industry in America, banking, has an utter meltdown and millions of people lose billions of dollars? Well, we could take a serious look at how the regulators failed and rearrange our system to reflect the understanding that the government cannot adequately monitor every single aspect of a free market and it shouldn’t let investors think that it can (hard), or we can blame it all on the greedy bankers, ignore the failings of the government, and add on significantly more regulation while telling everyone that we’ve fixed the problem and the market is safe again (easy).
It’s even apparent in the president’s political activities. Failing to convince the American people that your signature legislative policy is a good idea? Well, we could slow down the process, schedule a few carefully crafted speeches that take our opponents’ arguments seriously, and gradually advance a convincing argument (hard), or we could just have the president on every channel half a dozen times a day repeating the same talking points for months on end (easy). Trailing badly going into a midterm election? Well, we could consider the things about our administration that people don’t like and carefully coopt the issues that we think we can sensibly address without ticking off our base and make rational arguments for why our policies are a success (hard), or we could insist that we’ve done everything right and send the president out every single day to hammer into the minds of the American people the most important facts of this election: D stands for Drive, R stands for Reverse, and Republicans drink a lot of slurpees (easy).
Time and time again we see that this administration has an utter lack of imagination. Obama should be near the top of modern liberal intellectualism: two Ivy League degrees, married to a woman with two Ivy League degrees, community organizer, civil rights lawyer, race-conscious author, with his pick of advisers from among the most celebrated academics in the country. Every tenet of the modern Left tells us that this man should be among the most able men around.
And yet, I’m not sure I’ve seen a spark of original thinking, or a hint that he’s open to creative solutions, since his inauguration. There’s nothing wrong with the status quo that more of the status quo can’t fix.

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