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The Federalist Diaries

 

Is Everyone “LOCO”?, Part 3

"Now that we have exceeded so many of our limits -- personal, emotional, relational, physical, financial -- we have no margin at all.  Yet because we don't even know what margin is, we don't realize it is gone. We know that something is not right, but we can't solve the puzzle beyond that.  Our pain is palpable, but our assailant remains unnamed."
-- Richard A. Swenson, M.D., American physician, author, educator

In part 1 about “LOCO”, “Limits on Constructive Output”, it was said that our lives were too complex for us to make the right decisions all the time.   In part 2 we learned that LOCO affected police officers and teachers.  The statement was made that LOCO permeated and pervaded civilization.  We left off with the questions “Who or what is the culprit?” and  “When we learn that, what might the solution be?” 

Would it sound odd if we named population growth as a culprit?  As population grows, so does population density, as people move to areas where they hope to find jobs.  As density grows, the need to regulate human behavior increases, so that the meek and weak be less exploited, and the caged and enraged seek satisfaction in ways other than bloodletting.  The regulation of human behavior is not arithmetically proportional to the increase in population density, but, rather, is geometrically proportional.  In other words, regulations increase more than population increases.  And in trying to keep the peace, regulations create their own problems.  One problem is the ability of us humans to keep up with the regulations, either to remember them or to enforce them.  The job of police officers becomes ever harder;  our society’s response is to spend more money.  It is cause for concern that there is no acknowledgement yet by our society that this increasing difficulty for police officers could be alleviated by taking LOCO into consideration. 

Another culprit underlying LOCO is our idealism, which translates into elevated expectations.   For example, the concept of federalism has worked in our country for over two hundred years;  yet, there are unwanted consequences.  Federalism does not let a municipality customize a solution to address a local problem.  This means that, in Montebello, our hands are tied with regard to finding an effective solution to graffiti abatement.  Also, we have a grand initiative like “No Child Left Behind”.  Given the diversity of conditions under which children grow, live, behave, and study, the challenge for teachers becomes ever harder;  our society’s response is to spend more money.  It is cause for concern that there is no acknowledgement yet by our society that this increasing difficulty for teachers could be alleviated by taking LOCO into consideration. 

There is a quotation by the late President Ronald Reagan which contradicts the quotation by Dr. Swenson above. 

“There are no such things as limits to growth, because there are no limits to the human capacity for intelligence, imagination, and wonder.”

President Reagan spoke idealistically, not scientifically.  LOCO is based on science, not idealism. 

If we did take LOCO into consideration, what would we be doing differently?  Not only will we explore this in the next part, but, also, this writer will explain how a statement which he made based on LOCO resulted in his being excused from jury duty in November.

March 1, 2007

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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