The Planners

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you want to know why nothing ever changes for the better in Washington,
look at the man in the White House, then look at the rest of the
political cadre, and try to find a difference.

will find a difference in degree, not a difference in kind. And
what is their kind? They are central planners, and those who do
not share their love for the State are outside the "mainstream."

who do not paddle in the "mainstream" are not heard, and
to the degree they are heard, they are ignored.

an Example

may be the best example of something always changing for the worse,
with no effort given to thinking what would change it for the better.

as the man once said, the definition of insanity is banging your
head against the wall and expecting anything other than a headache,
then American education is insane.

decades, the federal government has showered the public schools
with a cascade of money resembling Niagara Falls. Yet for decades,
test scores in public schools have declined; parents are dissatisfied
not only with the performance of their children but also illiterate
teachers and the arrogant educrats hostile to their religious beliefs
and morals.

student performance plummets, the demand for more money climbs,
particularly from the educrats and their political patrons in Washington.
Aside from the obvious question of why Washington bureaucrats must
anoint money with their holy hands before sending it back to the
states from whence it came, one must ask why we persist in the nave
hope that more money will solve our "educational" problems.

in the Racket

answer is that all American politicians are fully invested in the
public school racket; i.e., planning from above. Thus, the debate
is always and forever about money and planning in Washington, although
education was better before federal intervention. When the federal
department of education opened its doors, it was a grim day for
American education.

political parties concede the federal Leviathan's control of public
schools, and discussion outside these two prevailing views is not
permitted. This is true despite the manifest superiority of private
schools and home-schooling, both of which spend far less money educating
students than the racketeers of public education.

same is true for "agriculture policy." Almost every federal
politician assumes government must plan the agricultural economy.
No successful politician suggests that Uncle Sam should drop the
hoe and abandon the farm. More generally, no popular or nationally
successful politician suggests eliminating a single program.

tenaciously tinker with fatally flawed policies. Questioning the
policy itself is forbidden. We have to "do something,"
everyone agrees, the question is what. Reform! More planning!

one dares suggest doing "nothing," or stopping what we
are doing, although given the results, doing nothing would not only
be better than doing something but also exactly what our federal
Constitution requires.

Real Problem

of course, lies the problem. The Constitution permits almost no
federal meddling, but everyone either assumes the opposite, or that
the Constitution doesn't matter. We have to be practical, you know.
It's not 1800 anymore.

it isn't. But the immutable truths about socialism and central planning
haven't changed since 1800 either. They can never change, and because
the planning never ends, things never get better in Washington.

8, 2003

columnist R. Cort Kirkwood [send
him mail
] is managing editor of the Daily News-Record
in Harrisonburg, Va.

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