Saturday, August 10, 2013

What Makes Macro So Hard: Busybody Politics

This is actually a combination of two ideas that already run in this series: 1) people with control issues are attracted to politics, and 2) everyone suffers from the activist’s fallacy.

Thomas Sowell calls the combination “Busybody Politics”:

… The key to busybody politics, and its endlessly imposed "solutions," is that third parties pay no price for being wrong.

This not only presents opportunities for the busybodies to engage in moral preening, but also to flatter themselves that they know better what is good for other people than these other people know for themselves.

I experienced this just the other day at Bryce Canyon National Park:

Right now, there are people inside and outside of government who are proposing new restrictions on how you may or may not visit the national parks that your taxes support. Among their proposals is doing away with trash cans in these parks, so that visitors have to take their trash out with them.

I am not sure to what extent this policy is in effect. I do know that you can buy packaged food at the general store near the rim, walk to the rim to enjoy the view, and then be unable to find a garbage can.

Bear with me here … I don’t think the next point it flippant. No doubt part of the plan with the removal of garbage cans is to increase the amount of “pack it in, pack it back out” behavior amongst visitors. Except think about this: how is that different from what we already do? People already pack in potential garbage. And the National Parks Service already packs out garbage put in cans. So the only difference is who’s packing the garbage out. Now ask yourself: what sort of mentality do you need to think that who’s packing the garbage out matters?

Sowell follows with an interesting and provocative point:

What could lead anyone to believe that they have either the right or the omniscience to dictate to hundreds of millions of other people? Our educational system may have something to do with that, with their constant promotion of "self-esteem" and especially their emphasis on developing "leaders."

Our schools and colleges are turning out people who cannot feel fulfilled unless they are telling other people what to do.

No comments:

Post a Comment