Sunday, May 04, 2008

Rhetoric v Results

This may be the best thing Isthmus Executive Editor Marc Eisen has written.

When policy trumps results: This earnest but unhelpful committee delved into the abstractions of what distinguishes "equity" from "equality," how the board might commit to equity and what esoteric guidelines could measure that commitment.

If you are already slipping into catatonia from the meaningless rattle of words, that's understandable. This is stuff that appeals to progressive professors at the UW-Madison School of Education and to graduate students who aspire to become progressive professors at the UW-Madison School of Education.

"Equity," the committee announced in its report to the board, "involves opportunity; access; elimination of barriers; distribution of resources; protection of specific groups; recognition and acceptance of differences" and marches on for another 75 words in an act of faux definition.

The lack of discipline in Academic writing is shameful. We have institutions of higher education demanding a magnitude and frequency words on paper, to demonstrate and justify scholarly activity, yet there is no corresponding requirement these words concisely express thoughts and concepts in simple clear understandable terms. This is how gibberish thrives and now we have gibberish masquerading as reasoned public policy.

I can't for the life of me see them rallying around a pompous and abstruse equity policy, especially one that reads like it was formulated by the UW Department of Leftwing Social Engineering.

Marc Eisen is making the point that Madison is saturated with the thinking that creation of policy is the purpose of government, however, this is not counterbalanced by an insistence that real world results of public policy are the standard of final judgment. In the private sector, performance dictates policy which explains why the private sector works for the public more efficiently than government. Especially government, for example, where leadership holds firm to a belief that Inclusionary Zoning works because it works on paper.