In praise of Keith Swift's recommendation

Keith recommended a book call “The Death of Common Sense: How Law is Suffocating America.” (Philip K. Howard).

It is a SUPERB and easy read. Very concise writing style punctuated with a myriad of compelling examples. IMO this should be required reading for anybody involved or interested in regulatory policy.

The book is out of print, but used copies are available (I used Amazon).

Keith, if you are out there, thanks for the recommendation!

Russell in Texas

I haven’t read it yet but I was thinking about this very thing last night while reading some articles on the internet. We have become a nation where many rules, regulations and requirements are placed upon us every day by people who are not elected into an office. They can be anyone from the people hired for local governmental offices, bureaus, and agencies. Many time the rules or regulations they impose on us never go through any kind of scrutiny or have oversight by ruling authorities. These same organizations also seem to be immune to redress by the affected people. Couple that with the often accompanying nepotism that exists everywhere and you have a disaster in the making. Good ole boy networks that do not give a flip about efficiency, cost effectiveness or quality and the jobs going not to the most qualified individual but to a friend or relative.

Well said.

The book is an argument against the “rationalistic” approach to regulation first begun in the 1960’s. It was thought that sufficiently detailed regulation could eliminate variation. Instead it has spawned MASSIVE rules which defy useful comprehension but facilitate manipulation by special interests.

And by “theoretically” eliminating the role of discretion, the bureaucratic outcomes often defy common sense. The examples are numerous and, although tragic, amusing to read.

“We are a nation of laws: Badly written and randomly enforced” - Frank Zappa

Russell, yes, I’m still out here and still whining about injustice. (See my recent post on mediation). Also, after I’m done helping Nick to get NACHI a better insurance deal, I have grander plans that I hope will help the membership to avoid litigation. Tort reform is the penultimate answer, but we’re never likely to get that, so I’m going to work on lesser things, which I don’t want to announce incase I cannot accomplish the task I’ve set myself. Thank you, for what you’re doing.

Novel idea, Keith. :slight_smile:

Seriously, Jason. There are two things that I’ll be working on for the membership, both of which may well have been done better and by people who are a lot smarter than me. So, I’ll give it my best shot, explain why I did it, tell why I like what I’ve done, and then give it to the NACHI membership, to sink or swim. However, if I announce it now, I may invite opposition before I’ve even started, which could discourage me from going forward.

PS It’s not something that I’ll be selling either.

Good thinking. You were in the same room as me last month. HI’s can be a bit of a reactionary rabble :wink: