Titles of no real value
posted October 6, 2007
NPR had a recent story on the National Transportation Safety Board, profiling two of its investigators. The story provides a clear window into the inner workings of our federal government. Certainly, some will listen in pride as the investigators allude to the value they and government provide. Yet, the free market ear will reveal a whole lot of nothing.
The first segment of the report focused on just one of the many NTSB employees investigating the collapse of the I-35 bridge. The gentleman -- identified as a "senior highway accident investigator for human performance" -- will spend well over a year conducting witness interviews -- and who knows what else -- in order to understand the reactions of drivers during the collapse. (Note to investigator: They panicked. That's what people do in such circumstances.)
Reams of interviews and analysis, backed by hundreds of appendices packed with data, charts, etc., will be printed and stored somewhere -- probably in the mushroom mines just north of Butler, PA. Those mines, along with gigabytes of e-storage, will house the accident reports for the eons. But, for what purpose?
No value is being created by NTSB employees. Sure, their titles are fancy, and they produce mines (er, mountains) of stuff, but it's all just an extravagant waste. Pull back the curtain on such government programs and the wizard looks oh so average. He's not an omniscient oracle. No, he's simply an average Joe pushing paper in a government office; wasting his time and my money.
Honesty and the state
posted October 2, 2007
The blog A Soviet Poster a Day offers a different poster from the Soviet Union on an almost daily basis, with a little history and explanation for each one (note: the politics of the blog are not libertarian).
My favorite is How to raise a child like Lenin: Don't you lie - ever! The stern yet beautiful teacher instructs her remorseful student in the virtues of the state: the politicians and their apparatus. The blogger, Alexander Zakharov, writes, "The message was quite clear – Soviet leaders are the most honest and sincere people of the world and every Soviet child should do his best to be like them."
Hey, wait a second! Drop Soviet for American and you have the very same thing being taught everyday in public schools. Some strands of indoctrination never seem to go out of style.