In Xanadu did Kubla Khan…

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… a stately pleasure dome decree. But that happened a long time ago, and is not important right now. Just down the road, on Tuesday, in Brentwood, Rockingham County Superior Court Justice David Ruoff issued his own decree. Involving the amount that must spent educating government-skooling the kiddos. Andrew Cline chides him: Markets, not judges, set prices, even for education.

There is one and only one way to determine the “true cost” of an adequate education. That is to create a competitive education marketplace. Alas, that is not the approach New Hampshire has taken.

Instead, legislators have tried to set the cost by decree. Public school districts, asserting with some justification that the amount is too low, have asked courts to… set the cost by decree.

Now a court has done so, and the results are as absurd as one would expect.

On November 20th, Rockingham County Superior Court Justice David Ruoff ruled that the Legislature’s decreed amount ($4,100 per pupil; he excluded differentiated aid) was unconstitutionally low. But, he said, the plaintiff school districts’ asserted amount ($9,929) was too high. The actual minimum constitutionally permissive state per-pupil expenditure was, he figured, $7,356.01.

Note the penny. Such precision carries the weight of both mathematical and legal certainty. 

Did I say Cline chided Ruoff? Nay, he thrashes him.

And will the extra money allow (at some point) students to study the poetry of Samuel Taylor Coleridge? I wouldn't bet on it.

Also of note:

  • We really should say something about Thanksgiving. Even though I'm under the weather, and not participating in any social jollities. James P. Freeman gets in a New Hampshire plug in his column: ‘The Old Broken Links of Affection Restored’.

    It’s altogether fitting and proper that the quintessential American holiday is devoted to gratitude. Considering all of human history can you think of another people who have more reason to be thankful? What’s remarkable is that the particular woman who willed our modern holiday into being managed to find so many such reasons.

    Six years after the end of America’s War of Independence and just one year after New Hampshire brought our republic to life by serving as the critical ninth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution, President George Washington proclaimed on Oct. 3, 1789:

    . . . both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

    … but it really didn't take off as a national holiday. That took the diligent efforts of Sarah Josepha Hale (ahem, also originally from New Hampshire). According to her Wikipedia page, she also wrote "Mary Had a Little Lamb".

  • The right people are going pre-emptively crazy. Nick Gillespie wonders: Is Javier Milei a 'Doctrinaire Hayekian' and a Secret 'Reason' Science Project?. (And I bet you're wondering: does Betteridge's Law of Headlines apply?)

    With critics like Sohrab Ahmari, the sourpuss cofounder of the conservative social democrat* journal Compact, Argentina's new president, Javier Milei, is looking better and better even before doing a damn thing.

    Writing in The New Statesman, Ahmari bemoans "Maga's foolish embrace" of Milei, whom too many are mistaking for a real populist—you know, the sort of strongman who embodies the volk, punishes certain businessmen, rewards certain labor unions, appeals to tradition and hierarchy, and generally bosses people around. Indeed, even Donald Trump—whom Ahmari slags for doing "precious little to implement a more solidaristic agenda"—congratulated Milei.

    Milei, clucks Ahmari, "rejects nearly everything 'Maga' populists in the United States, and analogue movements across the developed world, claim to stand for…. [He] is a doctrinaire Hayekian seemingly grown in a secret laboratory funded by the Koch brothers, with the editorial staff of Reason, the extremist libertarian magazine based in Washington, serving as the scientists."

    Extremist! Sohrab, I think I read a couple things a week excoriating Reason for being too namby-pamby and "respectable".

  • I am not sure who I could punch in a downward mde. David Sedaris is pretty funny. Here's his article on Punching Down.

    When I first moved to New York in 1990, I knew a total of five people. They all had lives of their own—I couldn’t just plop myself down and demand their attention—and so I signed up for a once a week class taught at the West Side YMCA, hoping I could make a friend or two there. “Writing Funny,” the course was called, and it was taught by a British woman named Freda Garmaise who was maybe in her mid-sixties at the time, and had published several books.

    “What are the rules of comedy writing?” she asked at the start of our first session.

    I put my hand up. “You should never make fun of anyone who has less power than you.”

    Freda looked at me the way I deserved to be looked at, with a combination of disgust and pity. “Where on earth did you get that idea?” she asked.

    I groped for an answer. “The Village Voice, maybe?”

    “No, no, no,” she said. “The only rule of comedy anything is that you always should be as tasteless as possible.”

    I think about that moment a lot, especially now when punching down, the phrase, has become ubiquitous—the worst crime a comic or humor writer can commit, at least according to the people who now decide such things, meaning people on Twitter who determine, based, I suppose, on your photo and a wild guess at your net worth, who you are and are not allowed to make jokes about.

    Words, we are now regularly reminded, are violence. So too is silence. I read not long ago that capitalism is violence, as is misgendering someone. Ignoring someone is violence, but so too is paying them attention. A friend recently called on one of her assistants to deliver a statistic during a business meeting and was later charged with “casual violence.” Apparently Deborah needed to give advance warning that she was going to ask a question, one that might possibly put her employee—someone who was well paid to know stuff and be able to spew it forth—on the spot.

    Whew, long excerpt. Click over and RTWT, and Happy Thanksgiving.

Last Modified 2024-01-09 6:48 PM EST