W. Edwards Deming once said that 85% of managerial changes make things worse rather than better. The reason was simple: the vast majority of managers shoot from the hip, making changes to systems they do not understand. Managers think that their job is to act, and so they act, blindly, without first observing and understanding the problems at hand. The vast majority of managers do this, and anyone reading this who has ever worked a job will know exactly what I am talking about.
Many in politics do the same thing, and while this is common on both sides of the political isle, it is particularly common on the left.
The left has an answer to everything. With the Las Vegas shooting, for example, the left trotted out gun control as an answer before we even knew how many people had been killed. Not only was banning guns their answer, but many on the left lamented about ‘how many must die before we act?’, a question implying that anyone not in favor of banning guns was somehow guilty of the horrific act themselves – as if gun ownership in the abstract was the cause of the killing. The left’s message here is simple: either you agree with us or you are evil. That’s a message the left uses a lot, and it is a message that seems to resonate with those who put feelings ahead of facts. Nobody wants to be evil, and as a result, many hear these claims and are afraid of taking a stand against them. Many join the left out of a simple desire to be on the ‘side of good,’ unaware that they are not.
In politics, when someone has a ‘solution’ to a problem before the problem is even understood, the ‘solution’ is often a political goal that was being held onto, in the hopes of an event coming that the political goal can be sold as a ‘solution’ for. In business parlance, one would say, “Do we have a problem in search of a solution, or a ‘solution’ in search of a problem?” and the left’s anti-gun stance is clearly a ‘solution’ in search of a problem. As Nancy Pelosi once put it, “I don’t care about the facts and statistics; I just want the guns.”
The best answers start with questions. In this case, the first question to ask would have been ‘what happened?’, and that was not known when Jimmy Kimmel threw crocodile tears at his audience (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruYeBXudsds).
The next question would have been ‘how can we prevent this from happening again?’. Several possible answers come to mind, now that we have some detail on what, specifically, happened. We know, for example, that Steven Paddock was on anti-anxiety medications, as were all of the other mass shooters in recent memory. Perhaps we should study the connection between certain anti-anxiety medications and mass-murder to see if there may be a causal link. If there is a causal link, we might avoid prescribing those medications. We know that it took between ten and eleven minutes for the police to find Steven Paddock. That’s a long time. One would think there would have been police present for the concert so perhaps we should look into the response time. We know that the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino provided the perfect sniper’s perch over the concert. Perhaps we should begin to take more steps to protect large crowds: had a counter-sniper team been covering the concert, they would have seen Paddock break the windows, and would have taken him out before he could have fired a shot.
Would a gun ban have prevented someone as wealthy as Steven Paddock from getting guns? Not likely. A gun ban would have been ineffective, and yet that is the only answer the left has. Those interested in doing good would note that a counter-sniper team could have prevented the entire attack. Those who only want to feel good won’t bother to look that deep, and simply want to ban guns, whether it will fix anything or not.
Mass shootings are not the only place where the left jumps the gun, coming to answers without first asking any questions. When people don’t make enough money to survive on, the left trots out an increase to the minimum wage. Never once does the left ask what the impact of the minimum wage on the working poor might be. Many of the working poor end up being priced out of the workforce by minimum wages. Milton Friedman’s Negative Income Tax would provide a wage floor without pricing anyone out of the workforce, but the left won’t look at that. The left’s inability to look beyond the minimum wage leads one to wonder whether the left is trying to help the working poor, or if the actual goal is to price people out of the workforce. Unions would love to take all of the people who might otherwise cross picket lines, and remove them from the workforce entirely. Unions tell us that we need welfare because there are not enough jobs for everyone, and whenever there are enough jobs, unions tell us we need to raise the minimum wage. Is the left’s laser-focus on the minimum wage based on a legitimate desire to help people, or is it based on union support? If you have any doubt of the answer, read American Apartheid.
Liberals have solutions to white privilege: socialism. Liberals never bother to ask if white privilege even exists. There might be a far better explanation for the different per capita outcomes between different groups, but to find an explanation, one has to ask questions. If white privilege were real, for example, why do Asian Americans and Indian Americans (from India that is) consistently outperform white people, on a per capita basis? White men, far from doing better than everyone else, are, as a group, statistically average. Wouldn’t we expect a privileged group to do better than average? If we started with questions, we might note that rates of single parenthood are the best predictors of economic success. From there, we might ask if it is possible that having a welfare system which only gives money to single parents may have contributed to the rise of single-parent households. We might also ask whether or not the minimum wage, which was originally implemented to subsidize discrimination (https://www.forbes.com/sites/carriesheffield/2014/04/29/on-the-historically-racist-motivations-behind-minimum-wage/#5dab334e11bb), might have a hand in the economic disparity we continue to see.
If we really wanted to help the working poor, we would not use the minimum wage.
White privilege shows just how disgusting liberalism can be: in this case, their goal is to ‘solve’ something that does not even exist. Climate change is another example of the same thing (see Canadian Climate Tyranny). At least when W. Edwards Deming was talking about managers, managers were by and large trying to solve actual problems.
Politicians are a special breed. The number one goal of any politician is to get reelected. Politicians only care about solving problems to the degree that doing so will help them get reelected, and if they really did solve things, what then would they grandstand on? If managers make things worse 85% of the time, how often do you think politicians make things worse?
When a politician peddles what looks like a ‘solution in search of a problem’ as the proposed ‘solution’ to a real-world problem, we should take them with a grain of salt. Usually their ‘solutions’ are not even designed to work. This is true of all politicians, and while I really do think the left is guilty more often than the right, the right has been guilty of this sort of thing too. As citizens, we need to understand more about the problems our country faces, and we need to demand better from those we elect. We need to understand the cause and effect relationships between the problems our society faces so that we can demand actual solutions – something politicians are not terribly interested in delivering. Getting you interested, and getting you involved – that is the goal of The Daily Libertarian!