HB V

is older than it's ever been and now it's even older

6/13/2001

Blind Spots


In articulating my personal philosophy, I’ve run into a few problems in sorting out the Difficult Questions. I don’t think this means my thinking is overall a bad thing, because there are Difficult Questions for every philosophy to deal with, and anyone who claims they have all the answers is either trying to sell you something or trying to proselytize you. In neither case would I trust such a person. Nonetheless, I have most of the answers, and will gladly share them with you if you just buy this book from me.

Sean wrote me an email after my first round of political drivel asking what I’d do about the case of health care and seatbelt laws, especially for those that don’t pay for their own health care. That is a tough one. If you take my fundamental premise of society, which is that certain basic boundaries respecting individuals shouldn’t be compromise, it seems obvious that two come into conflict. One is the right to life, which could be construed as meaning a right to health care, as well. If health care exists and isn’t utilized for a dying person, that really is the same as causing that person to die on his or her own. (Such as the urban legend of Dr. Charles Drew’s death, who supposedly died when he was denied a blood transfusion after an auto accident. He did get a transfusion, but still died. Sorry for the non sequiter) Two is liberty; the liberty of the individual forced to buckle one’s seatbelt is constrained by such a law. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, my general feelings of Utilitarianism are itching to make people I pay for constrain to certain nonrisky behavior. On the other hand, a slippery slope of constraints seems fairly obvious. If we can force someone to wear a seatbelt, what else can we enforce using the same reasoning? I can think of several things, from banning cigarette smoking to forcing sterilization for welfare parents to outlawing buggery. In fact, to some degree, society has attempted to do many of these things, with profoundly negative results. I suppose that explains why seatbelt laws don’t seem like desirable uses of government power to me. Let people be stupid. Society may have to pay for it, but it’s someone else’s face through the window.

My feelings about electrical deregulation and the California energy crisis are also testing my libertarian resolve. As stated previously, I have a good background in understanding the basic premises of economics, and as such recognize the distorting effects that governments can have on markets, including energy markets, when price controls are instituted. I recall learning about the “Windfall Profits Act” in my microeconomics class, and specifically noting how this price ceiling helped send more money abroad to foreign producers of oil who weren’t subject to price controls while hurting domestic producers and on balance making us more dependent on foreign oil. Yet, there are strong reasons to support a governmental interest in our electrical markets. I’ll pick up there tomorrow.
”Blog” is so passe

The term Blog is a shortage of Weblog, and I’ve noticed that none of the Cool bloggers use it very much any more. I hereby declare that I will continue using blog until it is obvious that I don’t care about being cool; at which point I’ll be cool again due to my contrarian standing up against the masses. You watch. I’ll be cool yet.

The Null Device (yes, I took a link from him yesterday too. Unless he’s coming over from Australia to kick my arse, I don’t think that’s a problem) linked this article criticizing the Harry Potter books from a marxist perspective. I read the article fully expecting to guffaw and decry the author for picking such a stupid target, and then all I could really think was that the author really had a point. I submit this quote:
the institution of the Sorting Hat translates a very problematic form of repressive-productive (producing house members to fit a certain type) authority out of its real-world manifestations into a naturalized form: being suited perfectly to one's given social niche (given by Dumbledore or the Sorting Hat or genetics, who Know What's Best). And that is very dangerous indeed. More clearly, the same thing happens with the happy race of house-elf slaves in Goblet: they love being slaves and those who are freed (against their will) turn to drink and self-destruction. It's a paradigm familiar from Gone with the Wind: conveniently for the oppressors, the oppressed love and willingly choose their status.


This just makes me feel a bit guilty for enjoying those books.

From Jeff: perhaps we should do away with all the war rhetoric in use to describe professional sports. At center stage right now is the NBA finals. Big deal. The NBA disgusts me. I used to enjoy it, but the rank commercialism and amount of money flowing from the pockets of working class people to extremely rich morons fills my stomach with bile. I understand that criticism is the same for all professional sports, but my love for football makes me like the NFL for its quality of play and the team aspect of the game mitigates that nagging concern at the back of my mind. The NBA has Allen Iverson, the poster boy for childish, tantrum throwing, moronic, impulsive, decadent empty materialism as well as non team oriented ball-hoggery.

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