Concerning wizards

Not everyone unfit for his job is a bad person.

Frank Rich, in a widely-posted column, compares the Katrina catastrophe to the moment when Dorothy’s dog Toto pulls back the curtain and reveals that the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz is no more than Professor Marvel, a travelling snake-oil merchant. As Toto unmasked Professor Marvel, says Rich, Katrina has unmasked the real George W. Bush.

This is grossly unfair: to Professor Marvel. When Dorothy — realizing that the Wizard has humbugged her into stealing the Ruby Slippers by pretending to powers he does not in fact possess — says to him, “You’re a very bad man!” he replies, accurately, “Oh no, my dear. I’m a very good man. I’m just a very bad Wizard.”

Only one of those statements is true about George W. Bush.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com