Friday, January 16, 2004
Concentration - The Game
Truth in Advertising
American Socialist Party Candidate Using the Alias Democrat
Presidential candidate Joe Lieberman yesterday said he would limit insurance company profits to 2 percent a year in order to reduce the cost of health care. He would also focus on reducing medical errors in half, he said.
“I think if you put a reasonable profit limit, which is what this is, a reasonable profit limit, then that will have the effect of lowering costs underneath,” he said.
“It’s not government take-over,” the Connecticut senator said about his plan to control health costs. “It’s a public-private partnership that really can provide insurance for people. And I have no doubt that I could sell this to a number of Republicans (in Congress) to support this.”
Should require no further interpretation, if it does, go read Kim’s.
Via Kim du Toit.
“I Did It My Way”
I highly doubt that when Sinatra sang that song he was thinking of individual sovereignty as an alternative to the nanny state. Be that as it may, here is an essay, written by Sunni Maravillosa, titled Do It Your Way.
Via Claire Wolfe.
“War is the health of the state” - An Short Examination
David Carr, posting at Samizdata, looks at validity of the statement which is the title to this post. But it is David’s final analysis that rings true.
Yet, despite all of that the only true health of the state lies in the lumpen apathy of the citizens and their mystifying readiness to assign great swathes of their individual sovereignty over to those that govern them. Wartime, peacetime, anytime.
Its Only for the Votes
If Kerry thinks smoking pot is no big deal, he ought to come out for legalization. If Kerry thinks it is a big deal, as his website claims, he shouldn’t be joking about it.
The Bainbridge post was in response to viewing a FOX News item which ran a home video showing Kerry singing along to “Puff the Magic Dragon” while pretending to smoke a joint. I’m wondering if Kerry also feigned inhaling in the video. Bainbridge then juxtaposes the preceding image with this statement from Kerry’s website.
In order to deal with the problem of illegal drugs in this country, efforts must be focused on keeping drugs out of the country and our communities, as well as reducing demand for illegal drugs. John Kerry supports aggressively targeting traffickers and dealers, as well as making a commitment to sufficiently fund drug prevention and treatment programs.
Bainbridge, correctly, states that Kerry should come out for legalization, among other suggestions and comments at the end of his post.
So far, so good, but, at this point it breaks down. There is not a candidate out there, from either wing of the socialist party in America, who would have the cojones to stand up for a principle he believes in, most especially the drug issue. It would cost them “votes” and strip the pockets of the “voters” bare. And if the “voters” pockets are stripped bare, no candidate would be able to rake in the “voters” “votes.”
I don’t mean to be a killjoy, only realistic. Smoke em if you got em.
Thursday, January 15, 2004
Venezula Supreme Court Judge Lobbies for Crime
Principles, world wide, are dying, along with principled men, upon the dogooder altars of altruism and misguided pity. It breaks my heart. Go read this post by Nicholas Provenzo at The Rule of Reason, and the accompanying Reuters article, which Nicholas links to, and you will see exactly what I mean.
UPDATE: Link to Reuters article is no longer functional at The Rule of Reason. Link available here.
A Conundrum or Sophistry?
Tyler Cowen, a professor of economics at George Mason University, posts, yesterday, at The Volokh Conspiracy, a Conundrum of the Day. Tyler invites comments in regards to the post, which I oblige here.
There is an arbitrariness in defining the relevant class of risky events. In my lifetime as a driver, I stand some (fairly low) chance of killing an innocent pedestrian. Few people would argue that I should be prohibited from driving. Assume, however, that science prolongs (fit) human life forever, at least unless you are struck down by a car. My chance of killing an innocent pedestrian then would approach certainty, given that I plan to continue driving throughout an eternal life. In fact I could be expected to kill very many pedestrians. Should I then be prohibited from driving? When we make a prohibition decision, should we measure the risk of a single act of driving, or the risk of driving throughout a lifetime? Measuring the bundled risk appears to imply absurd consequences, such as banning driving for people with sufficiently long lives.
Alternatively, measuring the risk of only the single act is vulnerable to counterexamples. Imagine an involuntary game of Russian roulette with very many chambers in the gun, played very many times against me. The chance of my death from any single firing is very small, but surely we would prohibit such a game, looking at the high overall risk of the bundle. In this case we consider the bundled risk, but does this mean that we should stop immortals from driving cars?
Tyler blogs on this subject also at Marginal Revolution under the heading Would potential immortals be risk-averse? In that post, Tyler links to this post by Lawrence Solum at Lawrence’s blog Legal Theory Blog.
The basic premise, as I understand it, is, if anti-aging drugs available for general consumption, or advanced medical technology, would, result in immortality, would this change our behavior? Specifically, in the realm of risk. Tyler clarifies his query with this statement,
“I asked the different question of whether an immortal is necessarily a murderer with a probability approaching one, given the recurring risk of accidents.
in response to Solum’s post, which was a response to Tyler’s initial post at The Volokh Conspiracy.
Enough background. When I first read this, over a cup of coffee this morning, my initial thinking was, what a crazy subject to be thinking about. But, not wanting to make too rash of a judgement, I decided that I wouldn’t comment on this “conundrum.” Instead, I went outdoors and shoveled my driveway, sidewalk and my neighbor’s sidewalk. Contemplating this while shoveling, did not markedly effect my initial thoughts, but it did, somewhat, assist me in clarifying them.
First, regarding the concept of whether an immortal is a murderer. The probability of a human individual being immortal is quite small. Though the question is asked in a serious and investigative manner, I fail to find any merit in pursuing an answer. Would not the minds that can posit such a “conundrum” be better utilized in pursuing answers to individual rights in the here and rational now?
Secondly, in regards to the main catalyst of the premise, at least as presented by Solum’s post, anti-aging drugs. If, the technology to create anti-aging drugs is perfected, and the said drugs are then made available, I would submit that medical technology would have advanced to such a state that death by accidental injury, think of the car accidents mentioned in the conundrum, or murder, would be of no concern either. If an individual is mowed down, by either a car or gun toting psycho, zip, the hover ambulance would show up, gather up the remaining pieces, cart the “dead” to the local miracle hospital, a stitch here, a engineered limb there, a booster shot of anti-aging adrenaline, and wa la, the individual is good as new and sent on his merry way. The other images presented in Tyler’s post at Marginal Revolution, restaurants serving only minced food, no contact sports, skiing, roller blading, etc., would also be, non-issues. If anti-aging drugs, which result in immortality, can be created and made available, medical technology would also have made the leap to level of there is no such thing as being dead. If you’re mangled, shot, or dead, we can fix you.
Though I enjoy the mental gymnastics of the “conundrum,” I fail to find any benefit in further pursuit of the questions asked.
An Interesting Read
Diana Mertz Hsieh posts an analysis of Positivism and Psychology which was written by Robert Campbell, a professor at Clemson University. A short description of positivism from Diana’s post.
Positivism is a conception of science. Roughly, it is the view that science consists entirely collecting and analyzing empirical data. To put it another way, it is the view that the only questions that qualify as scientific are those that can be answered by collecting and analyzing data.
“The Apprentice,” A Review
I’ve seen the adds for the latest drivel show, Trump’s “The Apprentice,” but, since I do not watch much television, I cannot review the show. Fortunately, Rufus, a dog living in Alaska, has been left alone with his master’s remote and in the course of his channel surfing was drawn to view the show. Although I thought a dog would much rather watch “Nature” or “Lassie” reruns. Rufus’ review exhibits the intelligence of our canine friends. Give that dog a bone.
The headline reads Jet Passenger Accused of Carrying Bullets. Five of them to be exact. Now, read the article. Within, you will find that the man in question, from Sudan, flew from Dulles to Heathrow but was not arrested until he attempted to board a flight to Dubai.
A couple of things. First, how, if he had five bullets, did he make it past the much vaunted TSA at Dulles. Possibly, the TSA staff, following the example of their now defrocked TSA Chief, Charles Brady, were drunk. Second, the article states the individual was arrested “on suspicion of possessing ammunition and involvement in terrorism.” So, did he actually have five bullets or not? And, does being in possession of five bullets qualify you as a terrorist or does being in possession of five bullets, in conjunction with being Sudanese, qualify you as a terrorist?
“May I Kill It?”
In C.S. Lewis’ book The Great Divorce, in chapter 11, there is a ghost afflicted with a lizard which whispers biliously in the ghost’s ear. The ghost is tormented by this lizard, but, all is not lost, as an angel offers to assist the ghost by killing the lizard. The ghost hems and haws about this offer, even apologizing for the lizard, but finally yields and allows the angel to kill the lizard.
This is the first thought that came into my mind this morning as I read this. This, is an article by Jonathon Rauch, published in The Atlantic Monthly, and titled “The Forgotten Millions.” An introductory statement from Rauch’s article.
Communism is the deadliest fantasy in human history (but does anyone care?)
When I look around me today, I see the bloating of governmental entitlement programs, which is simply socialism, I see the Supreme Court allowing random police roadblocks and secret court proceedings, police state tactics used effectively in communism and facism, and, more dishearteningly, I see either an uncaring populace or a populace clamoring for the expansion of the state, for a socialist agenda. Bah.
“May I kill it,” now?
Via Billy Beck, whose own comments on Rauch’s piece deserve your attention.
Wednesday, January 14, 2004
Two from The Technoptimist
I hadn’t been stopping by Duncan Frissell’s blog, The Technoptimist, on a regular basis for some time. Fortunately, I stopped by again today. Two short posts caught my eye today.
First, this post, which I repost in its entirety.
Should you answer when Cops ask?
Here is a canned answer you can give when questioned by cops or anyone in (government) authority:
“Sorry, I’d like to help but if I answer you I could later be found liable for obstruction of justice whereas if I say nothing, I avoid all possible liability for obstruction of justice. I, therefore, choose to say nothing.”
Second, a comment from this post, where Duncan points us to a Jonah Goldberg piece on “The Homosexual Question.” Duncan’s comment after reading Jonah’s piece.
It must take a truly bizarre and twisted soul to actively seek out interaction of some kind with a coercive bureaucracy. There are many worse things than neglect.
Another Billion Dollar Boondoggle
So, the Bush administration wants to spend $1.5 billion dollars to promote marriage, according to this NYT article. This is a not a promotion of marriage, it is a fatuous proposal to garner votes from the conservative base. Try as they might, such as by stating that the proposal is especially geared to promote marriage among “low-income couples,” a mere feel good statement, the fact remains that the government has no business in the field of matrimony.
What is even more disturbing, to me, is this statement from the article.
The proposal is the type of relatively inexpensive but politically potent initiative that appeals to White House officials at a time when they are squeezed by growing federal budget deficits.
Relatively inexpensive? What blather. Why should coins be taken from my pocket, or your pocket, for such whimsy? Why would any single person, bachelor, married couple, widow or widower want to pay for this? Why should we pay for this?
An American Muslim in the Middle East Wakes Up
I fled home the next week, leaving all my illusions of the Arab world in my Cairo flat. I couldn’t wait to be in America again.
From ‘Over There,’ written by Murad Kalam and published online by Granta.com. The second link will also allow you to read additional ‘Over There’ essays penned by other American writers describing their impressions over there.