Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Intent vs. Result

One of the things that annoys me most about certain strands of political thought is the idea that one's intentions matter more than one's results, such that as long as one has "good intentions," endless amounts of public money must be devoted to perpetuating that policy even if it results in no improvement or is in fact counterproductive. A couple quick examples:
  1. Public Education: The solution to every educational problem is always more federal money, even though private schools and even home schooling produces better results with usually far less resources. Is it just possible that ideas like performance based (rather than tenure based) teacher salaries, making public schools compete for students (rather than assigning them by geography, and setting achievement standards that must be met to move up a grade with no possibility of dropping out at without graduating would produce better outcomes?
  2. Wind, Solar, and Bio-Energy: None of these technologies are economically feasible apart from government subsidy, and converting the nation to them would result in the despoliation of millions of acres for new wind and solar farms (not to mention massive land seizures via eminent domain) plus the land required for new transmission lines to carry the resulting power. But offshore drilling, nuclear power, and oil shale can't be tried, ever, lest St. Al and his buddies fail to feel good about themselves or lose money on the massive "carbon offset" business they started to make money through government regulation.
  3. Sex Education: The teen pregnancy and STD infection rates have not decreased, despite massive amounts of money spent supposedly educating teens about the risks of pre-marital sexual activity. Yet we may not teach abstinence, or better yet, remove the topic from the school curriculum entirely as beyond the educational mission of the school. Why not? Because if we did, then our society might slip into a new Victorianism, I suppose (would that we were in serious danger of that!).

1 comment:

Greg said...

It would be interesting to see how schools could take a frugal, home-schooling approach to improve student performance. That idea facinates me but I can't see it ever being implemented.
As for Al Almighty, we just need to take his mirrors away from him.
Sometimes the desire for a solution outways the practicality of the solution. We are talking about becoming more "green" at work (I now hate that color!) and the suggestions kept taking more and more comforts away from us until I envisioned us walking to work in the dead of winter in burlap so as to not hurt the environment.
I am all in favor of doing my part but there has to be a balance. We don't have to live a hedonists but God does wnat us to enjoy His creation.
Ok. I'm done now. Sorry to preach, Preacher. :-)