A thought or two on the New Deal, Innovation, and the Size of Government
If you’ve visited here more than once you most certainly know how I write these updates. Something piques my interest and I just vomit text until I feel like I’m done. Sometimes I come to new conclusions and my own writing reshapes my life. I don’t know if that’s some kind of hubris but I certainly feel like there are two me. The thinking me and the feeling me, I’d like to say that they are one in the same but they most certainly are not and their actions motivate one another.
Today I’m going to talk about government intervention. Mostly because on the drive home I started thinking about how – and I’m being gentle here – batshit stupid it is when people say “Look that didn’t work so lets abandon it altogether!” I loathe this mindset because it requires the least possible brain power. With that in mind I’m going to describe a situation, however oversimplified, to help explain to you why hearing that makes me want to falcon punch people in the face.
People break bones all the time. This is an unfortunate reality and part n’ parcel with living on a planet that is harder than we are. There was a time where people would break bones and basically just leave it at that. It would heal wrong and everything was terrible. This still happens to millions of animals I would presume yearly. I know I’ve seen some very jenky looking limbs in my day.
Imagine then that someone in your area decides to stop this travesty. They realize that the problem is folks letting their broken bones flop about like an over leveled magikarp. The problem is that this doctor is also a little bit retarded. Not the hurtful slang mind you, but a person who selectively does stupid shit. The kind of person that would look at blood letting and say “That’s perfect.”
They begin strapping branches to people’s broken arms and legs. This isn’t too weird, people do this when they break limbs in the wild and it can turn out alright. The problem is that this doctor is an idiot and is using bent branches. Sure the arm isn’t flopping about but now it is setting incorrectly. Basically the underlying premise of setting the bone was correct, but the application was wrong.
You have two political ways to approach this (apparently). One is to say “Well the idea is sound but it needs reworking.” and the other is to say “Fuck it! This is stupid! It didn’t work 100% and we should abandon it eternally or else we are literally Hitler!” If in this fictitious example we abandoned the idea of setting bones we would be left with a populace that will sustain unnecessary and lifelong injuries that could have otherwise been avoided.
What any sane person should do is examine the data. Is there a sound and factual underlying mechanic behind the idea? If so, is it working? If not, how can we make it work? This is as far as I can tell at this exact minute the only way these things can and should be approached. I hear it a lot when people talk about the new deal, or the modern government getting involved with commerce and other “private” things. But to me, if the idea is sound and it’s the implementers that are getting it wrong, you shouldn’t be killing the idea.
You shouldn’t kill the implementers either, that’s illegal. But no town should suffer because their doctor is stupid. Whenever a plan is passed by congress and it doesn’t work this should be a sign that the current congress people need to be replaced. We shouldn’t look at their bad implementation of otherwise sound ideas as proof that the ideas can’t work.
Bureaucracy, as they* say, destroys innovation. I know many a person has used this belief to argue that less government is the solution but I feel like that will not solve the problem. Having 30 stupid doctors in your town is no better or worse than having only 10 doctors who are all stupid. Now you have less help and the same level of incompetence. Improve the quality of your representative and all good ideas will fruit beautifully.
*[They being Frank Herbert]