As so often, new government is unpicking the mistakes of old government

As we’ve noted a number of times around here much of what government does is an attempt to manage the problems caused by earlier errors of government. Further, it never does take the form of stopping making those earlier mistakes of government, but instead piles on more layers of potential mistakes from governance.

An example here with new laws being considered in one US state concerning funerals. Perhaps, more accurately, corpse disposal:

Washington state is on the verge of becoming the first in the US to allow humans to be turned into compost, amid a surge in demand for sustainable and 'positive' funeral services.

State representative put the final touches to a bill on Friday which legalises two sustainable death care options - a chemical process of alkaline hydrolysis and a natural process of organic reduction.

We’ve long had an available method of organic reduction. Nothing so exotic as sky burial - popular though that was among certain Amerind groups - or being prepared for the birds - Zoroastrian. But that’s as good a description of burial in the earth to become worm food as we’re likely to get, organic reduction.

Given the historic nature of this form why would we need laws to allow it?

“It is an understandable tendency to limit the amount of time we spend contemplating our after-death choices, but environmental realities are pressing us to develop alternatives to chemical embalming, carbon-generating cremation and the massive land use requirements of traditional cemeteries,” she said.

As Jessica Mitford famously pointed out there are any number of American rules that lead to it being near impossible to bury without embalming. In her reading of it rules brought in to benefit the funeral directors who get paid to do it and then justified on spurious public health grounds.

Government is bringing in rules to allow exactly what previous government rules expressly disallow. Without doing the sensible thing of just cancelling that earlier government intervention which is causing the problem we’re currently trying to solve.

There is even a certain non-spuriousness to the public health argument in that shallow graves untreated will make the cemetery a noisesome place but then we’ve also already solved that. 6 foot under is common parlance for good reason.

As is so often true, new government is trying to deal with the problems caused by old government - without ever revoking the rules causing the error we’re trying to deal with.