Friday, November 28, 2003

People, Not Policy

From the comment thread on this post on zero tolerence (scroll down a little) by the geek with a .45, I explained why I don't like laws:
Laws, processes, procedures, policies and regulations do not have brains. Students, teachers, principles, judges and parents have brains. Zero tolerence policies place people with brains in the service of objects without brains. This can't produce good results.
But the geek, in an excellent analysis, explains how laws should be used:
The way I explain it is that a policy/procedure or procedure AT BEST can be an IMPLEMENTATION of a PRINCIPLE that makes sense in a given CONTEXT to effect a desired OUTCOME.

The moment the context shifts, the policy/procedure is no longer valid, and the outcome is likely to be perverse.

On the other hand, a well founded PRINCIPLE can be applied to ANY context, and only beings imbued with sentience and good judgement are capable of that.

I've always found the assertion that a mere policy is somehow superior to the application of a root principle by the considered judgement of a sentient being to be offensive.
He's on the blogroll.