England’s Utility

I’m not terribly interested in the linked piece; what I want to point out are the intro and outro blurbs that Professor Reynolds wrote when he posted:



ANSWER: BY NOT BEING TARRED AND FEATHERED WHEN THEY START TO OVERREACH. How Bureaucracies Creep Into Life-and-Death Medical Decisions.

Obviously good advice in general, but much trickier in detail. I guess the best example is firearms: we say “just what part of Shall Not Be Infringed don’t you understand?” and of course the answer is all of it. So if some Unstable Freaks In Black Robes ™ decide that somehow the plain text means something other than what it says and “we” (however you wish to define that) go down and literally tar and feather the idjits as thanks for their efforts, we all cheer and raise a cold one to the folks who are busy cleaning tar off their hands. But this won’t occur in a vacuum. OPFOR will see this (if for no other reason than we’ll broadcast this to the rooftops) pour encourager des autres, and when a Court makes a Constitutionally proper decision, those guys will get the same treatment, just from the other side.

Seriously, the best way to fix this is to have the fighting and bleeding happen somewhere else, which brings me to the outro:

From observing British culture today, I’ve noticed that even a modest threat of bombing or beheading seems to produce a much more cooperative mindset in the bureaucracy. I wonder how long it will be before others in British society pick up on this lesson and apply it.

This might very well be wishful thinking on the Good Professor’s part. Because of the closeness of our countries and cultures, it’s easy to project American values on people who are not American. Yes, we share a language, even if they speak it with a funny accent and maintain some weird spelling conventions. We honor many of the same cultural touchstones and historical markers. Some of us, including me, share DNA with the English, but they are not us.

Our differences are such that if/when the British population starts to revolt, it might well be over something that matters a great deal to the English but won’t translate well over here. And then there is the all too likely chance that those we most want to absorb and learn from this will simply Not Get It. Still, if either of us goes down that road, it’ll be much better if that happens on the other side of the Atlantic.

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