I’m extraordinarily tired of single-factor solutions to all ranges of problems, and yet the more I look around, the more I see of such approaches to everything, from “repeal Obamacare and all our problems will be solved” to either “less government is the answer” or “more regulations on business are necessary.” Universities and state legislatures are adopting the “business model” as the latest solution, despite the fact that the business model hasn’t worked all that well for business, let alone for education, especially in the area of “for profit” education which has the highest percentage of student loans and especially defaulted student loans.
The accounting department and the sales department of a business have different requirements and needs, yet all too many corporations attempt to impose the same management structures on both. In education, the performing arts have different requirements from history or business, and the science departments differ from either, and yet administration after administration and state legislatures all seem to impose “one size fits all” requirements on colleges and universities.
In political issues, especially the hot-button ones like abortion and immigration, the same “messianic” single-rule for all people and all situations is pushed by all too many interest groups and politicians, who ignore totally the fact that one size does not fit all. An “illegal” immigrant who was brought into the U.S. by his or her parents as an infant in arms, and had no choice in the matter, who was raised as an American, who thinks as an American, who has never committed a crime, and who speaks no other tongue than English is a far different “illegal” than a thirtyish drug runner, but one-size-fits-all mentality either cannot grasp this or doesn’t care. If they can’t grasp the difference, they don’t have the brains to be making or influencing policy, and if they don’t care, their attitude is little different from a psychopath, and I’m not particularly thrilled about either type deciding laws and policies.
I particularly get incensed when lawmakers go out of their way to find means to reach religious goals through the law-making process or through community-based extra-legal means. In Utah, that semi-sovereign theocracy of Deseret where I live, lawmakers, business leaders, and the LDS church are particularly adept at this. I understand that Mormons believe drink is the devil, but the convoluted liquor laws resulted in the wine industry citing the state as the most unfriendly to wine drinkers of all fifty states. I don’t drink, and that’s a personal and health choice, and I wouldn’t want to be forced to do so, but just because I don’t drink doesn’t mean I, or anyone else, should have the right to restrict what beverages are on the market [and I’m not talking about food safety issues] and make bringing wines into Utah that the state liquor stores don’t sell a crime. All these restrictions haven’t stopped people from drinking – all one has to do is look how much beer vanishes from the stores over a weekend and what the liquor store parking lots look like – but it raises costs and inconveniences everyone else. In Utah, we have no state lottery, again for religious reasons enshrined in state law, but Utahans travel to Idaho and Colorado to buy tens of millions of lottery tickets that support education in those states, and the net result is that Utahans still gamble, and everyone else gets the benefits.
Not that what I have to say will make any difference, because simple solutions are just so much easier to sell… and besides, according to so very many people, one size really does fit all, regardless of reality.