The Iron Law of Evaluation

The The Iron Law of Evaluation (Rossi, 1987) is that the expected value of any net impact assessment of any large scale social program is zero.

Why does this happen? The simple answer is that in a largely-rich, largely-free country, with many existing (if confusing) private and public supports for low-income people, it’s just as easy to screw things up than to make things better, no matter how much you spend.

Source: The Iron Law – spottedtoad

Pournelle on Trump and the “Conservative” Label

A great number of Americans had just got used to the notion that they were conservative, and they thought they were being conservative in supporting someone who wanted to make America great again, control the borders, stop policing the world (and if we have to keep doing it, get some other beneficiaries of the expenditure of American blood and treasure to start contributing their fair share, a real portion of their GDP not just token amounts), appoint original intent Justices to the Supreme Court — well, you know. Put American interests first. Really. With a realistic foreign policy. And if we have to fight a war, then fight it, with enough force to win and win fast and then get out, the way we always have. Didn’t we do that in four years, going from essentially no army at all, and while we were at it becoming the “arsenal of democracy” whatever that means, and doing that in two years? While coming out of a Depression, for heaven’s sake. But, we’re told, that’s not conservative, that’s something else.

So a lot of people are confused. Having been read out of the conservative movement for being insufficiently enthusiastic about globalism, I didn’t figure I owed any obedience to the label, and apparently there are a lot of Americans who feel the same way. I’d say I was for liberty, but that sounds like a liberal, and I know I’m not part of the liberal movement. Whatever I am, I know that Federal aid to education has been a disaster and we had far better schools when it was left to the states, some of whom competed to have schools run to serve the interests of the students, not the interests of the teachers’ unions. But it’s very much in the interest of the ruling class to have awful schools and to keep the price of good ones high; their kids generally don’t go to public schools anyway.

Remember the Northwest Ordinance? Probably you don’t. Or the Land Grant colleges and universities? Can you recall when public state colleges were essentially free to those qualified to be in them? I suspect nostalgia for those days is reactionary, not conservative.

But I also remember when Detroit was the symbol of productivity, and the enemies of America had the goal ending that.

Source: Working on fiction; NSS Acceptance Speech; Trump and the neocons; And a lot more. – Chaos Manor – Jerry Pournelle