Monday, October 12, 2009

Creeping utopianism

Insanity. We live in a world gone mad, a world where six year old Zachary Christie is facing 45 days in reform school.Zachary's crime?
Taking a camping utensil that can serve as a knife, fork and spoon to school. He was so excited about recently joining the Cub Scouts that he wanted to use it at lunch. School officials concluded that he had violated their zero-tolerance policy on weapons, and Zachary was suspended and now faces 45 days in the district’s reform school....based on the code of conduct for the Christina School District, where Zachary is a first grader, school officials had no choice. They had to suspend him because, “regardless of possessor’s intent,” knives are banned.

This is another side effect of creeping utopianism, another result of the belief that we can legislate the perfect world into existence. High school kids go crazy in Colorado so we can't let six-year olds bring camping tools to school. The one obviously has nothing whatsoever to do with the other1, and won't do anything to prevent the other (Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold went to Columbine to kill people - would a "zero-tolerance" weapons policy have prevented that? Obviously not.), but it makes some people feel good.

From a "law and order" point of view, I recognize that rules need to be enforced, because selective enforcement breeds contempt for the enforcer, and rules unenforced breed contempt for rules. But nothing breeds more contempt for rules than rules which produce this kind of idiotic injustice, and the reaction shouldn't be to enforce - it should be to remove.

1 - I grew up on a high school campus, and went to school there. In the basement of the main building was a rifle range. That's where the rifle team practiced and had meets. There hasn't been a shooting on campus in my lifetime.

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