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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/4001/the-state-conquers-the-parking-lot/

The State Conquers the Parking Lot

August 26, 2005 by

The federal and state governments pass handicapped parking laws, and the local agencies enforce them by proxy. No matter how private you believe your property is — a small law firm, a dance studio, a picture frame shop — some of your property, the most desirable part of your property, must be reserved by order of government decree.

There is a strong symbolizing here, not unlike that associated with a conquering army and its flag. The handicapped parking sign serves as a constant reminder that the state is supreme and may take the first proceeds of anything you do.

Opponents of liberty and the free market would have everyone believe that without government intervention there would be few or no parking spaces reserved for the handicapped. How much better had this problem been left for markets to solve? [FULL ARTICLE]

{ 53 comments }

Phillip Conti August 26, 2005 at 9:24 am

I would have found an article about the market for illegal parking stickers more interesting.

Don Beezley August 26, 2005 at 9:59 am

You touch lightly on the spontaneous culural benefits of freedom when talking about expectant mother parking. Freedom provides for, inspires and rewards common human decency in many ways. I used to own small restauarants shortly after ADA was passed. When building out a new one, the existing bathrooms were off in dimensions by a few inches. Rather than risking a lawsuit under the newly energized ADA, I spent $5,000 to redo the bathrooms (on a small budget with no money). Prior to that, it had been a pleasure to help a disabled person out with a tray, a door or whatever. After that, I could only think, “you better use my d*** bathroom!” when someone rolled in. ADA took other human beings from being someone with a challenge whom it might be a joy to help, and turned them into a burden. An enemy. This may be the true legacy of government. It’s certainly the legacy of the ADA.

joseph zack August 26, 2005 at 10:06 am

Sorry but this article stinks.

I live in an area where, if there weren’t any disabled parking spaces, I would be going out to do errands even less than I do now. Except for appointments at the VA, my travels outside average twice a week.

On good days, after two grams of Ibuprofen and three grams of Gabapentin [neutronen for the uninitiated] , I walk with a slow shuffle, sholders slumped and small steps.

On days where I cannot tolerate the above I force myself to use one of my two canes issued to me by the VA. Its a male pride issue. Most people truly injured severely have the same mindset. At least those whom I encounter.

On days where, irrespective of how much non-narcotic medicine I can tolerate, I force myself to use both of my canes and move in agony. Why?
Because the wife works and someone has to buy required purchases, etc. These days are usually very cold with very high humidity, for the most part.

The majority of these injuries were received in the service. You know. For God and Country. Mom and apple pie and the girl friend back home. And no. I wasn’t drafted. I enlisted.

Sorry but this subject is a sore point for me.

No apologies however.

I think the author should have his conscousness put into my body for a week where upon it is raining during same. Where the tempurature is nice and warm. Why? Because the pain is STILL there. Its a humidity thing I’ve been told. Some kind of Sci-Fi event would be able to effectuate this “mind switch” thing.

I would THEN be most eager to read a follow up to this article. By this author.

I’ll hazard a guess and state, that I think the article would be modified somewhat.

Respects,

JZ

David J. Heinrich August 26, 2005 at 10:40 am

JZ,

How does your situation change the points made by the author? Namely, that it should be a person’s right, as a private property owner, to decide how to allocate parking spaces on his property? The ADA, in fact, hinders those who have real disabilities, because many people who don’t or who have minor, insignificant, or irrelevant ones (regarding walking), take advantage of handicapped parking spots, thus preventing them from being used by people who really need them: people who have severe pain when walking, who can’t walk or need crutches, who are pregnant, etc.

The best way to deal with the issue is to let the free market take care of it. See the above posters points regarding free-markets promoting human decency, and government intervention discouraging it.

Tim Swanson August 26, 2005 at 10:54 am

The HEB I shop at has a couple specialty parking spots, one for pregnant women/young babies and the other for senior citizens. Unless it is late at night, apparently most people respect this non-legally mandated zoning (at least, that’s the word from one of the store managers).

Yancey Ward August 26, 2005 at 11:18 am

Phillip Conti,

As far as I can tell, it is pretty damn easy to get such stickers “legitimately”. The level of proof of disability required doesn’t seem to be much higher than one’s own word.

Laurence Vance August 26, 2005 at 11:30 am

JZ, nowhere in my article do I imply that a) there would be no handicapped parking if left up to the free market, b) that I am opposed to the idea of handicapped parking, and c) that handicapped parking would change in any way at any government or non-private facility.

But you have no “right” to special parking at a private business no matter what your disability. And why did you enlist in the service? That was a bad mistake that you are paying for now but it doesn’t justify the government regulating parking lots.

Don Beezley August 26, 2005 at 11:48 am

It is instructive how one’s own situation somehow becomes a rationale for dictating other people’s lives to them. I’m curious, from anyone who can tell me, what is the standard, the exact threshold of pain or need, that makes it okay to start stealing other people’s property from them? And that not only makes it right, but makes it the basis for a self righteous campaign of un-apologetic conquest of other people’s lives? There is also no reason to believe that handicapped services wouldn’t evolve in the market place. In fact, to the extent there is real need, there is every reason to expect that they would–except on a non-violent, low cost, efficient, beneficial basis as opposed to the sledge hammer, one size fits all basis of government solutions.

Enlisting, BTW, is probably a less compelling argument than being drafted. If you are plucked out of your home against your will, that is truly a tragedy; not that the chaos and death caused by government isn’t a tragedy regardless of how one gets pulled in to it and harmed by it.

Howard l August 26, 2005 at 11:51 am

The naivite of the writer about what the American society has become coupled with the worn phrase, “free-markets”,is remarkable.

All the writer has to do is to get on a crowded bus or commuter train and look at how many people give their seat, voluntarily, to an elderly person, a handicapped person, a parent carrying a child or a pregnant woman. Handicapped parking may or may not be used all the time but it should be a mark of a civilized society to care for those of us who are not blessed with complete mobilty or are in need of help or because of longer life have great difficulties moving about.

Market forces has also become a political euphamism for greater profits. It has become the mantra for those who wish to garner greater profits while at the same time it becomes the excuse for governmental restraints against those who seek other venues for buying the very same goods and services-at a lower cost.

The ADA act was not established to give those in need a “right” to handicapped parking and toilets which would accomodate wheel chairs. Shamefully, it was done because our society prefered to eliminate these people from participating because it would have cost a few extra bucks.

How sad and how destructive the forces of society which argue against those in need. It certainly shows how less civil we have become and is pointing to how low and uncaring we are.

Andrew August 26, 2005 at 12:19 pm

I guess, in this case as well fed gov grabs jurisdiction inside 50 states by attaching regulations to certain gov giveaways of money or privileges. In this case by switching to proprietorship, not being involved in foreign commerce and not taking any money from fed gov one can position himself outside of federal jurisdiction and not be subject to such regulations.

Lisa Casanova August 26, 2005 at 12:20 pm

“Shamefully, it was done because our society prefered to eliminate these people from participating because it would have cost a few extra bucks.” Could you furnish some proof of that please? I see people giving up seats on the bus with some regularity, as I am sure you yourself would do. If you wish to regulate society on the grounds that other people are not as good as you are, do you have some proof that people really are that bad, or are we to be regulated simply on the basis of your cynicism and misanthropy?

Kai Schulz August 26, 2005 at 12:33 pm

Congratulations,

you hit it right on the head. As a proud recipient on an Economics degree, I love reading articles such as yours. So many times, people try to make everything so complicated by imposing rules and guidelines on our lives, all in the name of fairness and justice.
It can be so simple; just let the free market take care of itself. It works. As one of my final exams in college once asked: You are the dictator of a new country. There is no infrastructure, no government, no police, hospitals, schools, etc. What should your first step be in ensuring that the country will prosper economically, socially and politically? (I am paraphrasing the question, but it is close).

The obvious answer was: “Nothing”

It was the fastest and easiest final exam I have ever taken. That’s the way it should be. Hands off of everything, let the market take care of itself.

Best Regards,

Kai Schulz
Sealy, TX

Kai Schulz August 26, 2005 at 12:34 pm

Congratulations,

you hit it right on the head. As a proud recipient on an Economics degree, I love reading articles such as yours. So many times, people try to make everything so complicated by imposing rules and guidelines on our lives, all in the name of fairness and justice.
It can be so simple; just let the free market take care of itself. It works. As one of my final exams in college once asked: You are the dictator of a new country. There is no infrastructure, no government, no police, hospitals, schools, etc. What should your first step be in ensuring that the country will prosper economically, socially and politically? (I am paraphrasing the question, but it is close).

The obvious answer was: “Nothing”

It was the fastest and easiest final exam I have ever taken. That’s the way it should be. Hands off of everything, let the market take care of itself.

Best Regards,

Kai Schulz
Sealy, TX

Georgist August 26, 2005 at 12:41 pm

One thing I’ve never understood is, how much walking do the spaces really save you? How much are you going to walk inside the store? By my rough estimates, walking inside, for example, a grocery store, requires walking maybe 1000-1500 feet. The closer parking space may save you 100-200 feet of walking. Now, I’m aware of the insights of marginal economics, but if you can walk 1500 feet, why can’t you walk an extra 200? If you can’t handle more than 200 feet, how are you going to handle 1500? (Note to un-American readers: 1 meter = 3.28 feet)

I’ve posed this problem elsewhere, and people responded: “This isn’t true! Handicapped people don’t walk long distances in the store! They just go to the first cashier, give them a list, and wait at the front.” It wasn’t immediately clear at the time what the problem with this expanation, but now it is: 1) Very few handicapped people do this, so it would only justify a fraction of the current spaces. 2) Why not call ahead with the list, and pick up the goods by driving to the front door?

Granting of handicapped tags has also imbued many (especially the undeserving) with an entitlement mentality. I’ve seen rude and clueless handicapped drivers far out of proportion to their percentage of the population. But I guess that’s getting off topic.

David J. Heinrich August 26, 2005 at 12:44 pm

Almost everything Howard said is pure humbug. There are many who give up their seats for the elderly, hold open doors, etc. It is also ridiculous to think that all, or even most, business’ deem it a negative NPV project to accomodate the handicapped. Indeed, it cannot be such. If one entrepreneur refuses to cater to this group of people, another will gladly take up their business. To the extent that civility has declined, you can blame State-interference in the free-market, and largely social security (which creates a generational divide, thus deters norms of civility and respect for the elderly of being passed on). In any event, no-one has the right to anything on anyone else’ property.

Bruce August 26, 2005 at 1:04 pm

This article is silly. Alas, I’m old enough to remember a time when handicapped parking spaces weren’t mandated by law. The market did not provide them. Period. Why can’t the author just come out and say that helping the handicapped shouldn’t be a social priority? Why pretend that the market will solve all the problems?

I know that Austrians reject empirical evidence and don’t believe in the testimony of history, but this is too much.

Bruce August 26, 2005 at 1:05 pm

This article is silly. Alas, I’m old enough to remember a time when handicapped parking spaces weren’t mandated by law. The market did not provide them. Period. Why can’t the author just come out and say that helping the handicapped shouldn’t be a social priority? Why pretend that the market will solve all the problems?

I know that Austrians reject empirical evidence and don’t believe in the testimony of history, but this is too much.

Nat August 26, 2005 at 1:11 pm

Kai, you have piqued my curiosity. What school did you go to and what was your grade on that exam? Thanks.

iceberg August 26, 2005 at 1:43 pm

Congratulations Howard, you are the hands down winner of the 1st Annual Humantropy Award.

Humantropy is:
1) A dismal outlook on the state of human condition and the expectation for further entropic degradation ultimately leading to chaos in all human relationships.

2) The state marked by which one is suspicious of all others, and lives in a fearful, Orwellian-type world identified with statements to the like of: “the free market doesn’t work because people are greedy and if you base a society on unbridled greed, health and happiness will not be the outcome”

3) The condition onset by disciples of the Aneristic Principle, whom suffering this illusion cannot appreciate the erisian lessons of discordianism, and will therefore be fearful from any activity not strictly regulated in the illusory cosmos enforced under government fiat.

ORIGIN human: late Middle English humaine, from Old French humain(e), from Latin humanus, from homo ‘man, human being.’
+ entropy: mid 19th cent.: from en- 2 [inside] + Greek tropÄ“ ‘transformation.’

USAGE: A victim of the pernicious humantropy meme suspects and distrusts everyone around him in society, leaving the victim with no true friends, and many questionable alliances.

iceberg August 26, 2005 at 1:51 pm

Wait a second, you can’t be said to win “hands down” if your’e anti-laissez faire, right?

/Awards collapsed under inconsistent self-paradox and cease to exist, Universe to resume shortly

iceberg August 26, 2005 at 2:20 pm

Oh, and one last thing, for all those who think they are being sympathetic to the handicapped when they ride roughshod over other’s property rights- take a gander at Greg Perry’s Disabling America.

I believe his Lew Rockwell biography says it best:

Greg Perry may have been born with one leg and a total of three fingers, but don’t call him disabled! He prefers the term “handicapped” because the ADA advocates hate that term. You might wonder how that applies to him because Perry is the most prolific computer book author in the world and just finished his 75th computer book published internationally. He recently fulfilled his long-standing promise to expose the Americans with Disabilities Act by writing the book Disabling America: The Unintended Consequences of the Government’s Protection of the Handicapped.

Bruno Panetta August 26, 2005 at 2:45 pm

I agree with both of the following: 1) the ADA should be abolished ASAP and 2) the free market would not provide handicapped parking spaces as the ADA does. Why are such spaces needed anyway? People have just been brainwashed into thinking they are useful. More important is the issue of whether the free market would provide things like wheelchair access or disabled bathrooms.
What would the free market answer be? I think without the ADA there would be an incentive to create residential areas with houses/apartments/stores/etc catering to the disabled. Most big stores would have disabled facilities anyway, since many families have an old or sick relative at some point.
Some disabled people may undoubtedly be worse off under a free market, but I believe the majority would be better off.

Artisan August 26, 2005 at 2:47 pm

I thought this article really seems to address two different issues. The first question is what would be a good social policy that favours elderly and disabled persons (whom we, as liberals especially, owe some respect to, in the name of individual difference) to be applied around commercial areas, without hurting free enterprise. The second question is how to manage the good policy to spread in society.

I’m not sure I have the right answer, but the reactions to the article definitely show that it hasn’t been discussed enough.

Last year in Brussels, where once a week, I used to take out my grandmother (94) to lunch (Err…guess what, government didn’t force me to do it) there was on every couple of blocks a free parking spot for handicapped people, which we could use with her sticker. (Count 40 minutes looking for a parking and walking to a specific restaurant for the “average” citizen.)

So here, government, that owns the streets anyways, decides to make parking spots randomly available for the disabled. Naturally it would be stupid to force every restaurant in town to build a special parking lot because there would barely be room left for one table in many of them.

Now if you suppress government, and you make the streets private… and you believe that our so called “democracy” translates somehow wishes of the population (which keeps getting older by the way) it’s not necessarily frightning…

The real problem really is to think of a nice model of society where all streets would be private property in the first place. I mean… could just anyone decide which side of the road they drive on their ground? Or worse, grow flowers on that road and then close it? Wouldn’t THAT mean chaos? Ask Mr. Robert Murphy I guess…

Lloyd Achtymichuk August 26, 2005 at 7:48 pm

I liked this article.

I liked it becuase it points out that the State is the civilizing factor in todays society and must force its citizens to be civilized. When will we as individuals not have to be told to be civilized.

Lisa Casanova August 26, 2005 at 9:16 pm

The state is made up of people. If people will not behave in a civilzed manner unless forced to do so by the government, who is left to run the government? Do uncivilized people somehow manage to force other uncivilized people to act civilized? And by the way, I give up my seat on the bus. I need no one to tell me how to behave, and I extend the benefit of the doubt to my fellow humans, as well.

neil August 26, 2005 at 9:46 pm

I’m with Bruce on this. Prior to handicapped spaces being mandated there weren’t any. And if some people are willing to risk a fine by parking in them illegally I think it safe to say more people would abuse spaces if there was no sanction for improper use.
Governments can make laws that rise above or fall below the standards of the individuals who comprise that government.

Michael T Doyle August 27, 2005 at 1:31 am

Dear Mr. Vance,
What an excelent blog,I escpecially liked your comparison of the handicap sign to that of a flag of a conquering army.

I would like to point out some more of this handicap idiocy that you may not be aware of.
I am a long haul trucker.As of late truck stops throughout the country have been forced to set up “big rig” handicaped parking places.The stupidity of this law is that if a truck driver qualifies for handicaped parking, then he is unqualied to drive a big rig!!

Hence the only people that can use the handicaped big rig spots are handicapped rv people.You might as well have a sign on the spot that says “this truck space is reserved for non trucks only.

Not only is this an inconvenince,but it is dangerous.since most truck stop parking lots fill up at night fall,a handicaped spot means that one tired trucker will have to A) continue to keep driving even though he needs sleep, of B) park ilegally and posing a great danger to a drowsy motorist who may veer off the road and slam into a 40 ton rig.

The irony to this government stupidity is that it probably puts a few more people in wheelchairs owing to the reasons mentioned above.

Sincerely,
Michael T. Doyle

komaster August 27, 2005 at 2:06 am

Continuing from the morality article (utilitarianism vs. deontology)… I think there is a flaw in the argument used by alot of the writing here (even though I agree with it).

The handicap parking issue is at root a moral question: is it right to force a person to be altruistic? And I think the person who wrote the article (and those that agree with him, myself included) would still be opposed to parking lot tyranny even if the free market (i.e. people left to their own devices) made no concessions for the handicapped.

But the problem is that deontology (and natural law) is axiomatic in the same way that the rules of logic are axiomatic… it has a feeling of correctness about it, so we take it as self-evident (the ‘feeling’ being the result of natural selection and/or divine gift). So how do we argue in support of it?

Tragically, the terms of debate were set by the challengers to natural law and deontology (much in the same way Marx ‘named’ capitalism, as though it were just some arbitrary replaceable ‘system’). And so here we’ve taken the perverse position of defending deontology with utilitarianism… which means that we’re really already functioning under utilitarianism.

I’m not sure if people fully appreciate the perversity of calling for tax cuts on the grounds of ‘creating incentive’ (and not because it’s bloody robbery)… “you may keep what’s your’s only so that we may better rob you later”, as if we are cattle, where you don’t slaughter it immediately only because you can get more meat if you kill it later (letting it live as an ‘incentive’ for it to grow).

I’m not sure it’s even possible to argue in support of natural law without subordinating it as a means to whatever end you use to defend it… I think it might be something to “justify by faith alone”.

averros August 27, 2005 at 4:54 am

JZ –

> The majority of these injuries were received in
> the service. You know. For God and Country. Mom
> and apple pie and the girl friend back home. And
> no. I wasn’t drafted. I enlisted.

With all due respect, you are an idiot who betrayed your family, your girlfriend, and went to kill other people for the bunch of lies.

Study some history, not from the official propaganda but from serious researchers. After that, if you find the reason to be proud of what you’ve been a willing part of, then, sorry, I have zero compassion for your self-inflicted wounds.

Uriah Sky August 27, 2005 at 2:16 pm

One thing I think is being left out is handicap enabled bathrooms. I don’t know if you are lumping all of the ADA requirments for business into on thing and saying “no, let the free market decide”. I know of some business that had to go under because they couldn’t afford to put in the ramps and the modified bathrooms but I still think they should be required, including the handicap parking spaces. What is the big deal anyway? So we people who function normally have to walk a few extra feet to get to the store? Is that such a burden? But the people who really need them, especially the bathrooms and ramps wouldn’t be able to shop there without them. How many times have you been to a store or gas station that didn’t have a bathroom and you really needed one? You would run around to the next store you see and hope they will let you use theirs. I have driven to specific stores because I knew they had bathrooms that were open to the public. Now imagine if you were in a wheelchair and had that problem and there wre no ramps or bathrooms that you could get your wheelchair into and you had to park at the end of the parking lot?

Ryan Fuller August 27, 2005 at 5:56 pm

Uriah, this is a matter of principle, not convenience. Would it matter if I stole a dollar out of your wallet once a week? The harm done to you would be minimal, but the principles of private property would be violated. That’s what this is about; the government takes the best parking spaces in the lot and disposes of them how they want, not how the owner wants.

Kai Schulz August 27, 2005 at 8:54 pm

Nat: The answer to your question is: University of Arizona (Grade A).

R.P. McCosker August 28, 2005 at 1:22 am

Vance’s article (correctly) mentions that many drivers with the tags don’t seem handicapped.

I’m no expert on the subject, but I know a little. My mother (now 89) has had a tag for many years. All that’s required is to submit a note from one’s physician to the appropriate government agency, then paying a modest annual fee. Most physicians are happy to oblige their clients over 60 in this way, no matter how spry the latter may be. (For the record, my mother suffers much stiffness and discomfort from arthritis.) Perhaps it’s a bit like, from what I’ve read, male porn actors getting prescriptions for Viagra — when in reality “erectile dysfunction” as commonly understood is the least of their difficulties.

My mother carries the tag — actually, a plastic placard that hangs from the neck of the rearview mirror — in her purse. When I have occasion to drive her somewhere, it’s just hung from from the rearview mirror of my own car. Often I’ll drop her off at the front entrance of a place of business, then park in a handicapped space a block or so away. (In embarrassment, I’ve sometimes feigned a limp when exiting alone from my car. Under the rules, though, I’m certainly justified in using the placard, because my mother eventually walks back to the car with me.)

I suspect one reason the general public is politically resigned to federal imposition of “handicapped” spaces is that most people think the term means one thing, while the government means something substantially different. (Sort of like how Clinton maintained that “sex” didn’t include “oral sex.”) Many assume the apellation “handicapped” must be a dire condition indeed: requiring a wheelchair, crutches, a walker, or at least a cane. Not so. Convincing one’s physician that it’s become tedious to do much walking is usually all it takes.

The man who wrote above that he needs federally mandated handicap spaces because he volunteered to fight in some (assuredly meddling and imperialistic) U.S. war — wrongly assuming he’d get the usual pats on the back here for having supposedly fought to “defend our freedom” — reminds me of another aspect of all this: How privileging ill-health creates disincentives for individuals to take active responsibility for their medical well-being. Mises and other libertarians have much noted that government-mandated or -provided health plans, disability insurance etc. encourage people to be less proactive in keeping fit. Surely volunteering to go to war fits this to the max. In addition to everything else, there are VA benefits and veteran disability pensions.

And now there’s handicap spaces. If you risked yourself skiing, rock climbing, eating unhealthfully etc., no matter — the government will assure you a convenient parking space. At the expense of others, including those stupid enough to have not taken many risks with themselves.

Since handicap spaces operate in the realm of government fiat instead of free markets, irrationality reigns. Parking is always in very short supply in metropolises like New York and San Francisco, so it often may make little economic sense for the handicapped to live in such places. The natural incentives to live in suburbs and small towns should be allowed to operate. Instead, in great cities where every parking space is extremely valuable the very same proportions are left to the handicapped, even when those spaces are then left vacant much of the time.

One last thought:

Why is the federal government involved in this anyway? One needn’t be a militant states’ righter, I’d think, to suppose that this is the kind of issues individual states and localities are perfectly qualified to deal with on their own. How did the federal regime presume to dictate such a thing in the first place?

I gather it has to do with the allocation of federal transportation funds, i.e. taking from taxpayers, keeping a massive handling fee, and then conditionally conferring back the remaining money to the states and localities where the taxpayers reside.

“Aid is control,” as conservatives in the ’50s and early ’60s used to say. Now hardly anyone even thinks about that.

George August 28, 2005 at 10:23 am

Kai,

Please tell us the name of the professor in Arizona who gave you an A for a one-word answer on an econ exam. I’ll gladly send him an e-mail to confirm this and then post his reply on this website. If your story is true, the chairman of the econ department should be told what’s going on in his department. Thanks.

George

Davd J. Heinrich August 28, 2005 at 12:53 pm

George,

His answer was absolutely and completely correct. Such an answer should be sufficient. Your jumping to conclusions about what kind of exam was given, how many questions were on it, if justification was required for every answer, etc. And what exactly should the chairman of his department be told? That his students are learning absolute economic truth? Knowing that the government shouldn’t intervene in the free market is more important than anything taught in mainstream grad schools on economics.

R.P. McCosker August 28, 2005 at 1:25 pm

George,

Let me see if I understand.

In what suspiciously sounds apocryphal, a message was posted stating that the sender received an “A” grade on an essay test by answering, “Nothing,” to a question about what a new government should legislate about the economy. Presumably the professor in question is very libertarian indeed. (Though I also suspect most libertarians would frown on this manner of grading, as it enables a student to evade the display of both specific knowledge and of reasoning processes.)

Now you want the name of the professor — so you can rat him out to the department chairman?

I wonder what motivates you here: concern for the intellectual integrity of academia, or loathing for free markets?

Considering the general growing decadence of academia, I wonder if there isn’t some tendentious selectivity here. Social “science” classes that are often nothing more than quasi-Marxist rap sessions; “women’s studies” courses where credit is given for volunteering at lesbian “community” centers; lower grading standards for privileged “underprivileged” racial groups; ideological insidership used to gain graduate school admittance and teaching assistantships; ad nauseum.

But you want to crack down on a supposed professor who’s generous to those offering facile free market policy prescriptions.

Spare us the bile. Get a life.

George August 28, 2005 at 3:01 pm

Lighten up, guys: If you believe that a professor at an accredited university would give an A for a one-word answer on a test, you’ve never been to college. Maybe Kai hasn’t either. I suspect he was exaggerating the episode — or making it up from whole cloth — for rhetorical purposes. But maybe I’m wrong. Let’s see how he responds.

George

George August 28, 2005 at 3:01 pm

Lighten up, guys: If you believe that a professor at an accredited university would give an A for a one-word answer on a test, you’ve never been to college. Maybe Kai hasn’t either. I suspect he was exaggerating the episode — or making it up from whole cloth — for rhetorical purposes. But maybe I’m wrong. Let’s see how he responds.

George

George August 28, 2005 at 3:01 pm

Lighten up, guys: If you believe that a professor at an accredited university would give an A for a one-word answer on a test, you’ve never been to college. Maybe Kai hasn’t either. I suspect he was exaggerating the episode — or making it up from whole cloth — for rhetorical purposes. But maybe I’m wrong. Let’s see how he responds.

George

Ryan Fuller August 28, 2005 at 3:26 pm

A professor teaching a course that displays the many mistakes of central planning can tell how much a student has learned in that course by the degree to which they have “unlearned” the mainstream doctrines of intervention. Writing “nothing” on an exam shows that the student understands the course content, while a student who does not understand the course content will launch into an explaination of the incorrect doctrines that the course rejects.

It’s an unconventional approach to be sure, but not so unbelievable that its truthfulness can be reasonably questioned without more incriminating evidence.

David J. Heinrich August 28, 2005 at 4:41 pm

In retrospect, arguably, “nothing” isn’t the best answer for what a dictator of a country in economic distress can do. He can eliminate all taxes and any and all regulations, and he can talk regarding the importance of voluntary, non-coercive means to deal with problems the country is facing.

And btw, George, I have been to college, and am currently taking grad-classes. There are many professors who give credit for one-word answers. It’s called “Yes/No”, “True/False” questions. One professor, an econ professor in micro, gave exams with fill-in-the-boxes answer sheets, where the correct number (as calculated by supply/demand equations) gave 5 points and the incorrect one gave none.

Ryan Fuller August 28, 2005 at 5:00 pm

I think the question was describing a newly formed country without any legislative history. Not very realistic, but simple hypothetical questions are best for drawing out theoretical knowledge.

Georgist August 28, 2005 at 5:26 pm

Note: this “George” character, should not be confused with me, Georgist, who supports the ideas of Henry George.

Steve August 30, 2005 at 3:11 am

Enforcement of the handicapped space can be draconian as well. A few years ago, my firm’s company car was parked in the lone handicapped space on a weekend day. We’re not open on the weekends, and city cops won’t patrol private lots unless they’re called onto the property. Well, that day a false alarm had the alarm company send a police unit out. The officer noticed that the alarm was an accident, and also ticketed the company car! One car in an empty parking lot on a weekend of a closed business? Must have been officer Fife.

There are some advantages to those spaces, though, especially when the tight parking lot is packed and all the handicapped spaces are empty. I use them for 2-point U-turns to avoid 10-point ones. I take my sweet time just in case any self-righteous busybodies are watching. I use them as passenger unloading zones, too, knowing that nobody will need them in the time it takes to do the dropoff.

Michael A. Clem August 30, 2005 at 9:54 am

Some of the best responses have already been covered. The handicapped in favor of the ADA and similar legislation are just another special interest group seeking political favors, whether they realize it or not.

joseph zack August 30, 2005 at 5:22 pm

I neglected to include the following. It shall be brief.

In regards to my first three or four points. My objective was to plainly state, that if any individual did not experience the stated events, then any individual is simply NOT qualified to even have an opinion worhty of consideration.

I specifically base this on the following.

I have a B.A. degree. It is not in physics.
I am therefore, UNQUALIFIED to having any comment of mine being worthy of consideration.

Regards,

JZ.

Kai August 30, 2005 at 5:45 pm

Dear George et al;

I cannot provide you with proof of my story, nor will I provide you with the name of the professor. It would be unfortunate to have his time wasted with moronic requests to dig up old files to check on grade/test questions. Besides, I would not be surprised if this individual was the department head by now anyways.
As for one word answers on exams. There have been and always will be plenty. Especially in those classes where understanding the overall concept is more important than regurgitating numbers and facts. My answer on this exam showed that I understood the free market principles involved. Prior to that exam, we received several quartely tests and quizzes that challenged our more “specific” knowledge on the subject matter. So there!
In any case, whether you believe my story or not, is immaterial to me. I am just happy that this caused such a lively debate. And by the way George; LIGHTEN UP. Go have an ice cream and smile every once in a while.

David J. Heinrich August 31, 2005 at 8:05 am

Joseph Zack,

That’s nonsense. I don’t need to be handicapped to be able to say that initiating aggression against a property owner to force him to provide special services for the handicapped is wrong. I could just as easily use the same fallicious logic disqualify your view, because, after all, you’re biased, being handicapped. Arguments stand on their own, irrelevant of the author who makes them.

ICHARD GOODE March 31, 2006 at 4:59 am

I USE TO THINK THE SAME WAY UNTIL I BECAME SERIOUSLY DISABLED AFTER A SURGERY TO FIX A HERNIA. THE DOCTOR DAMAGED MAJOR NERVES IN THE VA HOSPITAL AND THEN DENIED IT, LOST MY RECORDS. MAKING ME GO SIX YEARS ON WELFARE FIGHTING FOR BENEFITS.IN MY CITY WITHOU T THE LAW PARKING WOULD BE DIFFICULT.IT STILL IS BECAUSE HERE ARE NOT ENOUGH SPACES AT THE MALLS.STOP WHINING ALONG WITH THE EGGHEAD WHO WROTE THIS. IF YOU WERE DISABLED YOU’D APPRECIATE THE LAW. I’M FIGHTING WITH MY APARTMENT BUILDING NOW TO GET A SPACE. I PARK WAY AT THE END OF THE LOT AND STRUGGLE TO GET TO THE BUILDING. THEY HAVE NOT ONE SPOT AT ALL IN ALL THIS TIME FOR HANDICAPPED. FREE MARKET IS A OLD THEORY THAT DOESN’T OVER RANK RUDE, CRUDE, NON CARING AND ECONOMIC NEED OF HANDICAPPED. PEOPLE WOULD NOT CHANGE ON THIER OWN AND BOYCOTT DOESN’T WORK ANYMORE. CAUSE MIND SETS HAVE CHANGED SINCE THE 60′S. WAKE UP AND GET WITH THE DARN PROGRAM.GOVERNMENT DOE’S SOME GOOD AND SOME HARM, IN THIS CASE IT WAS GOOD.

Laura July 11, 2006 at 11:07 pm

First of all I would like the author of this article to get access to a wheel chair and a disabled van and see if he can get out in a regular parking spot. If that doesn’t help you, try tying something tight around your ribs, park at the back end of the parking lot and try walking into the store. If you can’t do that one, go to an Oncologist office and ask the cancer patients there if they want the government to stop regulating the parking spots. If you are in a wheel chair, have problems breathing or have problems walking and have to go to the store, if you have to walk to the end of the parking lot after shopping you may not make it to your car. In 2001 my father was diagnosed with cancer and had to under go chemo therapy. The chemo and the cancer eventually made him so tired he could not even walk. Having a permit helped out alot when ever we went anywhere. Before my father pasted away I am sure he would have loved to hear this article.

Secondly how dare you to tell the veteran it is his fault for joining the military and getting injured. Did you join the military and try to defend your country? Something tells me the answer to that is NO.

Thirdly the reason the government had to regulate the parking was because when the parking places were originally placed in parking lots there were more normal people in the parking spaces than those who were disabled. Before the fines were placed on the parking spots, I would see people in wheel chairs unable to park because a person too lazy to walk was parked in the disabled parking spot. I am a disabled veteran. If I could walk normal again I would park at the very end of the parking lot on a rainy day just because I could walk. For years I had problems finding a job because employers didn’t want to hire disabled people. I really wish you would go out get a wheel chair and live in it for one week. For one week never use your legs just use your wheel chair and your arms to get around and then read your article again. Unless you have lived in someone elses shoes you can determine what they have gone through.

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