Parallel & Coincidental 2 Suggested Ground Rules (Re: Beggars in
Thu, 8 Jul 1999 17:23:24 EDT

Conversation demonstrating the you're-on-your-own libertarian vs
democrat-in-denial stances.

>or, rather, the template for making decisions about political action, is this
>Imagine a 3 x 3 grid/matrix, lie tic tac toe
>Across the cop we have High, Average, and Low.
>Down the sides we have Frequency, Severity, and Predictability (where
>predictability is define as "you could see it coming--you have considerable
>influence on whether this event happens or not--thus it is predictable that
>jumping from an airplane without a parachute will cause injury or death;
>being hit by a falling rock while driving in a falling rock zone on a
>is not predictable--you in no way contributed to that. So we have:
> ____High Average Low___
> | |
> |
>Frequency |_________|________|_____ ___|
> | |
> |
>Severity |_________|________|________|

> | |
> |
>Predictability |_________|________|________|
>and we can put life's troubles into the boxes. Something that is infrequent
>and not severe and not predictable, goes into the category of "shit happens"
>and governemtns and people should and can do little about it. So what.
>Something that is infrequent and severe and unpredictable--for example, a
>medical catastrophe to my parents causes me to have to choose between
>educating my child and taking care of my parents--when I cannot possibly
>have been responsible for their medical catgastrophoe--falls into the
>category where we might--as a community, as a polity--agree that the best
>to handle that risk is to share it. That is, since it could happen to you,
>could happen to me, it could happen to anybody but we can't predict who,
>maybe this is one where we all agree to chip in to the kitty (through taxes
>or some mandatory insurance) so that there's protection for whichever of us
>gets the terrible luck.
>Where predictability is uncertain--the moderate predictability area--is
>probably the venue for the courts to decide, to outline principles and to
>judge the facts in individual cases.
>where there are frquent, severe, and predictable things, we'd want
>regulations or laws to change things--predictable means "can be fixed" so
>let's fix it.
>Etc--go thru, decide what box something belongs in,--which would take
>political haggling, I agree--and the non that basis you have a guideline: do
>nothing; private insurance; educate people; make regulatory or structural
>changes; etc etc.
>brilliant, yes?
Infrequent, severe, unpredictable things can be covered by risk-sharing
known as "insurance". Can you say IN-SUR-ANCE? Very goooood. Those who
can't or don't buy insurance fall into a category similar to "shit happens"
known as "life's a bitch".

Venue is misused.

Social policy where things end up in the courts by design is shitty policy.
Actually, it's cowardly policy. And it overloads the courts. Only a tiny
tiny minority of issues should be in court, and then only those where there
is a fundamental disagreement among the parties. Legislatures are supposed
to define principles (not outline them, but define them) and policies, the
executive is supposed to implement policies and principles, the court is to
resolve disputes when they arise. The writer is a liberal court-activist
lackey who wants God (the courts) to decide things for him based on
fundamental principles, or, more accurately, he wants the undemocratic,
royalist solution of Judicial Legislation- laws made by a tenured royalty,
not by democratic institutions. And be sure, the courts are our LEAST
democratic governmental institution, designed to check democracy, not
supplant it.

Arguing about which box things go into is what policy debates have always
been about. Algore wants to put "not having internet connection in a
school" in the frequent-severe category. Clinton wants to treat shootings
in schools as predictable-severe (everyone agrees it's severe). This moves
it into the category where governmental action is the "proper solution".

This is putting the obvious into a chart and then saying all you have to do
is decide how to apply the chart. Sort of like helping somebody make
elephant soup: "I'll help- here's the recipe: carrots, onions, water,
salt, mushrooms and one elephant. Now that I've done the hard work, all
you have to do is catch an elephant. See how easy it is to make elephant
soup once you know how?"