Tom Evslin: ‘Overabundance of caution is excessive and dangerous’

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Out of an overabundance of caution, the school board in Burlington shut the high school over high air-born PCB readings. The fault is more with the state, which apparently set the threshold so low that it could be exceeded even with local source of PCBs.

This commentary is by Tom Evslin of Stowe, an entrepreneur, author and former Douglas administration official. It is republished from the Fractals of Change blog.

How many times in the past few years have we heard leaders say that some action was taken or not taken out of “an overabundance of caution.” This usually means that a politician is willing to impose an unknow cost on a large number of people in order to escape the risk that he or she will be blamed for doing nothing or, even worse, be blamed for something which does go wrong. Here are a few examples, glad to have you add to the list.

Out of an overabundance of caution, Germany started closing its nuclear plants after Fukushima.

Tom Evslin

The cost is overreliance on Russia for energy and an income flow to Putin which enabled and still enables his onslaught on Ukraine. How many lives has that overabundance of caution cost so far? The environmental cost is not only the emissions from war and burning cities, but also greenhouse and noxious gasses from burning coal to keep the lights on. We’re all paying the economic price at the pump – especially Europeans. Winter fuel will be an enormous problem.

Out of an overabundance of caution, the FDA pressured a manufacturer to shut down a huge infant formula plant without evidence that any contaminated product came from the plant. Out of an abundance of caution, the manufacturer complied.

The cost is babies going without formula or drinking ersatz concoctions. The cost is parents desperately driving from one unsupplied store to another.

Out of an overabundance of caution, public schools stayed shut long after the initial “short-term, bend the curve” Covid shutdowns.

The initial shutdown when hospitals were running out of space and supplies was probably a good call, especially given what we didn’t know about the virus at the time. We are still tallying the cost in lost emotional development and education from the extra one and a half years some schools stayed closed.

Out of an overabundance of caution, police didn’t attack the active shooter in Uvalde, Texas for more than 70 minutes.

No comment.

Out of an overabundance of caution, the school board in Burlington, Vermont shut the high school over high air-born PCB readings.

The fault is more with the state which apparently set the threshold so low that it could be exceeded even with local source of PCBs according to an article in 7Days. Hard to blame the Board for using the state figures which are now NOT being used in the screening of other schools for possible PCB contamination. However, Burlington is now facing a more than $200 million cost to build a new high school and tear down the old one. Is it an overabundance of caution which is preventing simply going back into the old school?

Out of an overabundance of caution and fear of offending Putin, we haven’t given Ukraine the weapons it needs to defeat Russia on a timely basis.

It’s understandable that we didn’t ship weapons to Ukraine in the first days of the war when almost everyone believed Russia would overwhelm the country quickly and end up with any weapons shipped in. But now that we’ve seen Ukrainian’s ability and willingness to fight, we ought to be adding to their arsenal as quickly as we can. Our weapon escalation should not come after public dithering. The first Putin should know that Ukraine has longer range artillery, better ship-sinking missiles, or more planes is when these new weapons break the back of planned Russian assaults or drive Russians back. The price of our caution is Ukrainian lives and a greater threat to our own and European freedom.

Caution is often appropriate. An overabundance of caution is excessive and dangerous.

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6 thoughts on “Tom Evslin: ‘Overabundance of caution is excessive and dangerous’

  1. The West has cuckolded Russia for over a century, including but not limited to the introduction of Communism; a new form of slavery. The idea that Russia is to blame for the recent debacle in Ukraine is ludicrous. The West ‘poked the bear’ way too many times in setting up bio labs, sex trafficking in Ukraine.

    • Hungary and Germany and France have stated they do not trust Ukraine’s former-comedian Zelinsky, who was financed into office by Zolomoisky, a multi-billionaire oligarch, in a poor, corrupt country

      Zelinsky has said, on numerous occasions, give us the long range weapons and we will get all Russians out of all of Ukraine.

      The Pope in Rome blames the US-led NATO for moving infrastructures and personnel to Russian borders, to “bark at the gates of Russia”, after promising not to move “one inch beyond East Germany”, in 1990.

  2. I think/am sure it comes down to we have politicians that have no education in what we are asking them to look at. It is to easy for them to study it and who they ask to study it may not have the skills and the politician has no clue.

  3. I wish you had an edit button, however. I always see commenting as an indulgent use of my time. So I always screw up the grammer and spelling.

  4. We should be cautious about allowing ourselves to believe the media, with its allowable embedded CIA operatives courtesy Obama and the patriot act. We should be cautious about hating Russia because America can’t stand to look at itself as the bad guy, to face our shadow side. What did you all miss the blip of coverage regarding the biolabs we have been funding in Russia, or the clips from a few years back of Biden boasting that he strong armed Ukraine to rid itself of a pesky attorney general ( I recall?), by withhold aid until they did- the thing they accused President T of. How about the Hunter Biden cover up, that’s not a theory any longer. NO is the real insurrection, now that 2000 mules has the floor when it comes to proof of an election that was faked ! Now what about the covid treatments the early treatments that were censored. I am thankful for True North, where I can speak my mind.

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