Sep 212007

The Daily Eudemon talks about the slippery slope:

New hero: A 72-year-old man with a wine purchase refuses to produce proof that he’s 21 years old. I understand the policy: “If we don’t card everyone, we end up on a slippery slope. Do we not card the 40-year-old? The 30-year-old? Eventually, we’ll end up making judgment calls and offending people. We might even discriminate!”

Well, deal with it in a rational manner. What the slippery slope chanters don’t realize is, everything is a slippery slope: Anything not reigned in with moderation can go too far. What the haters of discrimination don’t realize is, everyday life is full of discrimination: judgment calls, nuanced calls, irrational calls, emotional calls, reflex calls. People make simple decisions that are so complex in their formulation that we couldn’t flowchart them on movie screen, and 99% of people make these decisions just fine. The other 1% are the mentally addled, and they can’t hold down a job. If a person is mentally normal enough to hold down a job, he ought to be given the discretion to decide that a 72-year-old man is over age 20.

This reminds me of how school boards get all bureaucratic about behavior control. They come up with bureaucratic rules to apply district wide about “1st offense we do this, 2nd offense we do that,” or they come up with a zero tolerance policy about inappropriate touching and end up sending seventh graders off to jail for butt-swapping.

It seems that’s what we get when our schools too large and centralized. We can no longer trust teachers and principals to use their good judgment because they are beyond the social controls of the local communities. So we have no choice but to get all bureaucratic and formulaistic in the way we run the places.

As for the situation in the U.K., I blame it on the welfare-police state, for similar reasons. And I agree with the Daily Eudemon — the resistor is a hero.