Steyn Nails the Buildingpalooza


(Guest post by Greg Forster)

In the back of the new National Review, Mark Steyn’s column absolutely nails the giant new gusher of money for school buildings. Subscribers can read it online; for everyone else – well, for everyone else, online subscriptions to NR are cheap and you should have one. But here’s a taste, just in case you don’t believe everything I say implicitly:

Steyn follows up on the supposedly awful school bulding in Dillon, S.C. highlighted recently by the president and finds a number of holes in the story, such as:

Incidentally, you may have read multiple articles referring to the “113-year-old building.” Actually, that’s the building behind the main school — the original structure from 1896, where the school district has its offices. But if, like so many people, you assume an edifice dating from 1896 or 1912 must ipso facto be uninhabitable, bear in mind that the central portion of the main building was entirely rebuilt in 1983. That’s to say, this rotting, decrepit, mildewed Dotheboys Hall of a Gothic mausoleum dates all the way back to the Cyndi Lauper era.

He then moves on to the larger issues:

If a schoolhouse has peeling paint and leaking ceilings, what’s the best way to fix it? . . . Dillon, S.C., is a town of about 6,000 people. Is there really no way they can organize acceptable accommodation for a two-grade junior high school without petitioning the Sovereign in Barackingham Palace? . . . The issue is not the decrepitude of the building but the decrepitude of liberty. Maybe the president can spend enough of our money to halt the degradation of infrastructure. The degradation of citizenship will prove harder to reverse.

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