The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Changes Made, But Nothing Really Changes

General Shinseki steps down but nothing really changed. And nothing will change much. The problems at the VA are "systemic", they say...

    1. of or relating to a system, especially as opposed to a particular part.
    "the disease is localized rather than systemic"

That is, the problems with the VA medical treatment are now a functional part of the system. How deep the roots have grown, I have no idea. Problems that are systemic tend to be the worst kinds. They seem so embedded in the environment of the malfunctioning system that to clear them, it seems easier to just abandon the system and replace it.

I have a minor disability aggravated by events during my time in service. It is nothing more than a hearing problem coupled with Tinnitus. I have lived with it for a very long time and I have adapted. For the most part, it is a minor annoyance; it doesn't interfere with my sleep, it might be affecting my balance, but its main effect seems apparent only when I take a hearing test. My Tinnitus mimics the sounds you are supposed to hear during these tests. It takes me longer than others to discern the machine's tone from the Tinnitus sound.

In general, it is not what I would call a "real" disability. It affects my quality of life only marginally. When I went to the VA, I expected nothing much. After all, there's not much that can be done about it. Oh, there are "remedies" on the market which may, or may not, work for some. But, as I said, it is a minor annoyance and I do not bother with these things. Yet, I was treated as if it was important, as if I was important. With sympathy and kindness, something I did not think would happen with a government agency. Something that rarely happens at the DMV, say, or with the Social Security system.

But I know about systemic problems. I have seen them in various places I have worked and in other activities; when the system itself seems to be the problem.

When a sports team is not performing, the general manager or the coach, is blamed and often loses his job. But, if the problem is systemic, that won't improve performance in the long term. It might shake things up enough that a short term boost in performance is noticed but it won't last. Maybe firing the guy in charge will help if he sets policy or encourages the attitudes which fuel the problem but it's mostly a cosmetic solution.

So I don't think Shinseki's resignation will matter much.


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