Monday, April 11, 2011

A Tale of Two Freedoms

Chicago exerts its 'authority' over the children -
At his public school, Little Village Academy on Chicago's West Side, students are not allowed to pack lunches from home. Unless they have a medical excuse, they must eat the food served in the cafeteria.

Principal Elsa Carmona said her intention is to protect students from their own unhealthful food choices.

"Nutrition wise, it is better for the children to eat at the school," Carmona said. "It's about the nutrition and the excellent quality food that they are able to serve (in the lunchroom). It's milk versus a Coke. But with allergies and any medical issue, of course, we would make an exception."

Carmona said she created the policy six years ago after watching students bring "bottles of soda and flaming hot chips" on field trips for their lunch. Although she would not name any other schools that employ such practices, she said it was fairly common.

A Chicago Public Schools spokeswoman said she could not say how many schools prohibit packed lunches and that decision is left to the judgment of the principals.

"While there is no formal policy, principals use common sense judgment based on their individual school environments," Monique Bond wrote in an email. "In this case, this principal is encouraging the healthier choices and attempting to make an impact that extends beyond the classroom."
In sharp contrast, look to Texas driving -
The Legislature is considering raising the maximum speed limit to 85 mph, highest in the country.

The Texas House of Representatives has approved a bill that would raise the speed limit to 85 mph on some highways. The bill now goes to the state Senate, the Austin Statesman reports.

Not one to be left out of statist tactics, USA today brings up the alarmist usual hand wringing
Some car insurers, however, oppose the bill
Of course they do, they don't want to think or come up with new policies, so they turn to legislation to strong arm innovation. Further -
On top of safety concerns, speeding increases fuel consumption.
The Real Effect 
Increases fuel consumption, like you care about that with regards to ethanol. Suddenly, you're worried? Of course to maximize shock, they measure the additional usage in cost, not in gallons. (When gas is near it's record cost)

Texas is doing the right thing by raising the speed limit. Raising the limit raises productivity by allocating more time to individuals. This time is used for increases in living standards. I commute 60 miles one way, every day. That sort of increase around here would shave over 15 mins one way for a net saving of 30 mins a day. Projected out it's 2.5 hours a week, and 65 hours a year.

This is exactly what collective thinking misses completely. They have no answers for these problems because they are infinitely complex and cannot be solved. So the problem gets reduced to broad policies enforced at the barrel of a gun, or in the former case, at the cost of your diploma.

To put a fine point on this, the principals in the Chicago region believe their authority is above that of the parents. They state as much in the article. A parent prepares a meal for their child, the school doesn't like it, so it does the 'right' thing and adds to the bureaucracy. In part it is this level of insanity, multiplied out across countless decisions that is leading to the decline of America's competitive spirit and edge. We must not allow the shrill among us to dictate this type of economic constraint on the country if we are to lift ourselves from this economic destruction.

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