Gibson, Isolated

So, it’s neat that William Gibson has a blog, but it’s not of much use to me, because he doesn’t allow comments. What’s the value of that? It’s a one-way deal, probably just for publicity, rather than for the purpose of engaging in dialog.

The post that set me off on this is this one, about sex education in the US.

Regarding that story, here’s an idea: people are dumb. Really dumb. Even if you told them the best and most accurate of the scientific knowledge available they would (a) not care, (b) get it wrong, (c) get it, but ignore it in favor of what their friend said last week, or (d) forget it altogether.

The thing that really gets me about the liberal population is that while they, admirably, seem to think the best of everyone, that sort of thinking just doesn’t work in the real world. When you leave things to people to be done and assume they will be done because it’s in their own best interest, or that people are generally good, it often doesn’t work out. You need economical motivation. The blogs I read have been full of stories about schools paying students for good grades, but regrettably I can’t find anything about it to link to right now. Short version of the story: pay kids a little for good grades, their grades jump dramatically. Extend this to behavior, with pay for good behavior and fines for bad, and kids don’t fight too much anymore. To paraphrase (since I can’t find the article), one kid said “I have to make sure I don’t hit anyone, or I could lose 4 or 5 dollars!” Apparently $4 or $5 was considered to be a lot in the classroom economy. This particular case used an invented currency exclusive to the school that could be cashed in for stuff.

So not that Bill Gibson is ever going to read my blog, but just in case, stop assuming the best about everyone, Bill. It’s naieve and it’s folly.