Archive for January, 2014

Smoking: As Safe As Sitting At Work

Dave Killion — January 22, 2014

A CBS New York article tries to make the case that smoking does no more harm to your health than does sitting at work for hours. Of course, they present the matter somewhat differently –

“A number of studies have shown that prolonged sitting is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer and even early death.

“Smoking certainly is a major cardiovascular risk factor, and sitting can be equivalent in many cases,” said Dr. David Coven, a cardiologist at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center. “The fact of being sedentary causes factors to happen in the body that are very detrimental.”

I see the mainstream media employ this trope all the time: sitting is as bad as smoking! Oreos are as addictive as heroin! Yelling at your kids is as hurtful as hitting them! But if it’s true that X is as bad as Y, then it follows that Y is no worse than X.

So might you just as well hit your kids as yell at them? Or shoot some smack instead of crunching a cookie?

Only if you’re buying what the media is selling.

Quotation of the Day

Dave Killion — January 5, 2014

“… given that Deirdre McCloskey is correct in noting that the way we talk and what we say matters, at least as strong a case can be made for legislation to forcibly shut the mouths and freeze the keyboards of those who scream about the dangers of income inequality as can be made for legislation to forcibly take from ‘the rich’ in order to give to ‘the poor.’”

Don Boudreaux, Questions About and For Those People Obsessed With Income Inequality

Boudreaux goes on to counsel against any such legislation.

To the extent that the wealthy attain their wealth thanks to coercive state regulation, I object to that inequality on the grounds that it impoverishes the rest of us. But that inequality which results from hard work, innovation, inspiration, or luck doesn’t bother me in the least. As Thomas Jefferson said, it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. To view matters differently is to indulge in envy, and pointlessly so. Bill Gates may be ten thousand times richer than me, but his food doesn’t taste ten thousand times better, his bed isn’t ten thousand times more comfortable, he isn’t ten thousand times healthier and happier, and he isn’t going to live ten thousand times longer.