Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A lesson in engineering for social engineers

Chet Richards is an engineer, who has penned a great article at American Thinker entitled Lessons of engineering for social engineers. I too can attest the things Mr. Richards says in his article because I was, and still am a Licensed Professional Engineer. I gave up my license in Ohio, but retain my California license. Mr. Richards notes that as a newly minted engineer, he was quite liberal, as were most of his colleagues. But the practice of engineering is one of failure. Most designs fail, and one has to go through cycles of meticulous testing, test failure, and redesign before having a successful product design. Progressives, on the other hand, seem to feel that they can design extremely complex systems that will work as designed right off the bat. But as we have seen, most government programs fail, and fail miserably, but are allowed to continue. Richards writes:
Now, consider American society. America has hundreds of millions of people. Each individual is infinitely complex and unique. Each has desires, intentions and needs that normally are incompatible with any master scheme. And yet, the left has the arrogance to assume that a master planner can engineer a social system that best for all the people -- a “one size fits all” program. There is no way, other than forcing everybody to be identical robots, that centralized social engineering can KISS. This “my way or the highway” hubris is the signal hallmark of today’s progressive busybody bullies.
Within America there exist highly complex and very successful social structures – the community, charitable, and economic structures that comprise civil society. And they have come about independent of government direction. How is this possible? The answer is that successful complex structures grow organically: Start small, and simple. Find out what works. Try adding features. Edit out those elements that don’t work and build on those that do work. But, for the changes made at each stage of increasing complexity, keep it simple! Life evolved its many forms in just such a way. Technology also evolves in this way. Consider computers. Computers today are far different, and vastly more complex, than they were at their beginning. All successful innovations start simple and evolve complexity as discoveries are made about what works and what doesn’t.
On the other hand, we are supposed to believe that complex top-down liberal programs never fail. They reach their goals and then either continue to provide popular benefits or are voluntarily terminated having done their job. Actually not: I’m being sarcastic here. Let’s test that assertion by recalling massive liberal social engineering programs which have been great successes: [crickets]. The usual excuses for these programmatic disappointments, and for the need for them to continue in perpetuity, are: “not enough money has been spent,” or, “it’s someone else’s fault,” or “conservatives are sabotaging the program.”
Richards points out that where the government has had successes is where they have either followed the KISS principle, of where they have kept within the bounds of the Constitution.  Those on the other side often disparage us as being against all government, but that isn't so.  We want a strong Federal government.  But we want it to stay within the Constitution.  The Congress, for instance, should write the laws, oversee the other branches, and the Senate should exercise consent to Federal appointments.  The Congress, by the way, should also exercise control of the currency and set the value thereof.  Its in the Constitution.  Read it.  The Executive and its agencies should execute the laws, but not write them.  The Courts should interpret the law as written, but should not write new laws.  The problem is that everyone keeps running into the kitchen and adding ingredients that the chef doesn't know about.  None of the branches of the Federal government should be involved in social programs.  That should be left to the States, which used to be sovereign in their own right.  In the States, many charities used to handle welfare programs quite nicely, and as the example of Maine has proven, when the States apply the same criteria, low and behold, the numbers of welfare applicants goes way down.

Richards has hit the target right in the center of the bullseye with this piece.  This is what being a Constitutional Conservative looks like, and why.

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