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?
Now and again, some journalist proposes awarding a Nobel Peace Prize to WalMart. There have certainly been less-worthy recipients, but I understand WalMart is a supporter of increasing the minimum wage, mandated provision of health care, and has turned to local governments for assistance in acquiring desirable properties through the political process. Still, the notion of honouring a commercial organization for benefiting humanity has some merit, and if I were looking for a Canada-specific example, a more worthy nominee than UsedEverywhere would be difficult to find.
In the past year, UsedEverywhere (more specifically, UsedVictoria) has increased my well-being several times. Through their website, I have gotten free fence panels, firewood, pallet racking, and more. In addition, I have saved literally thousands buying second-hand items for my business, and some frivolous things that I would never indulge in at full price. The people from whom I got these things have been able to rid themselves of unwanted items, not only saving themselves the time and trouble of hauling them away, but even making a few bucks. These mutually beneficial arrangements have come at no cost to my trading partners and me, all thanks to the self-interested conduct of the UsedEverywhere operators. Their actions have enabled a great deal of happiness where none was possible before, and caused harm to no one.
If only there was a medal for making this kind of win-win-win possible.
Hit and Run added a couple of good posts recently, concerning projects to create islands of liberty in an authoritarian world. The first examines the status of efforts to create charter cities in Honduras –
” (chief of staff to President Porfirio Lobo, Octavio) Sanchez says he isn’t worried that the latest attempt will again be derailed by the Supreme Court, because the original opinion was legally flawed, and four members of the constitutional chamber that first overturned the law “were removed from office by Congress because of gross ignorance.” Non-Hondurans involved in the process think the Supreme Court decision was more a matter of internal politics and an expression of opposition to the president of Congress, the free cities supporter Juan Orlando Hernandez, who was (and still is) running for president. While another legal challenge is possible, even likely, Sanchez and others involved say the new law will be carefully crafted to be as bulletproof as possible.”
“The libertarian influence already has paid some dividends in governance. In 2007 the New Hampshire legislature voted to block implementation of a national ID card system in the state. The battle against REAL ID was lead by Joel Winters, the first member of the Free State Project to win a statewide representative seat. Winters, a Democrat and Floridian, ran for office on a platform focused on civil liberties and privacy just two years after he moved to New Hampshire.
Winters, who is a building contractor by trade, notes that other Free State legislative victories are less conspicuous, because they involve stopping bad laws before they start. “There’s always proposals to expand licensing requirements, and we’ve helped stopped those,” he says, ticking off thwarted gun restrictions and seat belt regulations as examples.”
It is a cold fact that the coercive state is under unceasing, blistering attacks on all fronts. Under such a withering assault, it cannot hope to survive.
“Based on true events and laced with wry humour, STILL MINE is a heartfelt love story about an 89-year-old New Brunswicker (James Cromwell) who comes up against the system when he sets out to build a more suitable house for his wife (Geneviève Bujold) whose memory is starting to go. Although Craig Morrison is using the same methods his father, a shipbuilder, taught him, times have changed. Craig quickly gets on the wrong side of an overzealous government inspector, who finds just about everything unacceptable, including the unstamped wood Craig has milled from his own trees. As Irene becomes increasingly ill and amidst a series of stop-work orders Craig races to finish the house. Hauled into court and facing jail, Craig takes a final stance.”
This just has ‘libertarian’ written all over it! It’s showing in Victoria, which means it might be showing in your town, too. Is it any good? I can’t say, but the reviewers at Tribute.ca love it. If you’ve seen it, please comment and let us all know.
” When I go around giving my Free-Range Kids lectures, at some point I hold up a pair of little knit things that look like mini sweat bands and I ask the audience, “What are these?” And when I finally inform them, “Baby knee pads,” they shriek in disbelief. (At least, the ones who aren’t shrieking, “My mother-in-law just gave us those!”)
Since when do kids need knee pads to crawl safely? Aren’t babies born with built-in knee pads called “baby fat”? Isn’t that why their knees adorably dimple?”
Full post here. If, like me, you think baby knee pads are something that few parents would be interested in, I encourage you to do an internet search on them. You will find they are widely offered.
If ever there was a metaphor for the way our culture deals with difficulty, baby knee pads is it. There are a symbol of the way that every challenge is softened, every adversity removed. What are the effects of this sort of molly-coddling? I can’t say for sure, but so long as crawling is made more comfortable, the longer I would expect a baby to crawl. This is not the sort of product in which I expect libertarians to be very interested. We much rather people learn to stand on their own two feet.
A family member recently informed me that she had once forwarded a post (written by me in the early days of this blog) to some friends and acquaintances. Many of those good people had never even heard the word ‘libertarian’, and one of them found it interesting. So interesting, in fact, that I understand he follows the blog faithfully. If it wasn’t for this family member, I might never have known. I offer this tale as evidence on the importance of resisting the Spiral of Silence –
“The spiral of silence is a political science and mass communication theory propounded by the German political scientist Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann. Spiral of silence theory describes the process by which one opinion becomes dominant as those who perceive their opinion to be in the minority do not speak up because they fear isolation from society.”
Libertarians, being the light of the world, must be vigilant against this fear. No matter how vigorously we are attacked, we must never forget that we never know who is listening, and never doubt that we are being heard.
“What if there was a program that would cost nothing, improve the lives of millions of people from poorer nations, and double world GDP? At least one economist says that increased mobility of people is by far the biggest missed opportunity in development. And an informally aligned group of advocates is doing its best to make the world aware of the “open borders” movement, which suggests that individuals should be able to move between countries at will.”
Like abortion, immigration is an area where libertarians are frequently at odds with one another, one concern being the impact of allowing immigration of people who are very likely to be anti-libertarian. In the early days of my libertarian awakening, I felt that some government restrictions were necessary and appropriate, but my eldest son (whose biases had not been so deeply entrenched as my own) gave me an intellectual backhand by asking, “Where, in libertarianism, do you find any defence of the notion that you have the right to initiate violence against peaceful persons crossing some arbitrary and imaginary line?” In that Zen-like moment, I attained enlightenment, and have been an open-borders man ever since.
As such, I advocate for the immediate and total elimination of all state restrictions on immigration and emigration. Knowing that that is unlikely, I would be happy to see someone in Canada pushing for an international treaty allowing open borders between countries. For reasons I’ve discussed previously, I think such an arrangement between the U.S. and Canada might meet too much resistance, but if Albertans don’t bar Newfoundlanders, and Quebecers don’t bar British Columbians, then what objection could Canadians have to any law-abiding New Zealanders? This is doable, and I’d be happy to see it done.
1. “Increased financial incentives to encourage bigger families, amounting to cash gifts of S$3000 (US$1889) for the first child and savings of up to S$18,000 each for the third and fourth child.”
2. Tax rebates
3. Tax cuts on maids plus more childcare and maternity benefits.
4. “Offer graduate women with three children priority in securing places at the top nursery schools, an advantage in helping children get ahead at school, university and in the workplace.”
5. Set up “love cruises” for singles!
6. “Speed-dating and online dating services, along with an agony aunt called Dr Love.”
Somehow all of those awesome ideas didn’t make Singaporean couples want to procreate. So now the government has paired up with Mentos (huh?) to urge citizens to do their patriotic duty and make babies on “National Night.” You truly cannot make this stuff up.”
He concludes by asking the same thing any libertarian would ask –
“I guess just allowing more young people to immigrate there is out of the question?”
All of this reminds me of a previous post in which I listed ways in which an individual libertarian can help make the world a little more libertarian. Now that many advanced countries are seeing declining birth rates, and an easing of immigration restrictions will likely result, I think I will add to that list a recommendation that those of you looking for love cast your eyes abroad for libertarian partners. If you live in Canada or the U.S., you are a more desirable mate to someone living in a less wonderful place, and if the person you’re wooing is libertarian, you are way ahead knowing that he/she is at least as smart, well-informed, and open-minded as you are. And of course, if any of you try this out, please let me know how it works, and make sure to invite me to the wedding.
At “The Bright Pink Libertarian”, Chris Murphy shares some of Stephan Kinsella’s opinion concerning ‘Left Libertarianism’ –
” They want libertarians to stop saying capitalism because they want us to adopt their substantive unlibertarian, Marxian agenda. Yet they pretend it’s just for strategical or lexical concerns–which it’s not. This is yet another reason I think we should dig our heels in and not give in: they will then count it as a substantive victory for unlibertarian, leftist ideas.”
At the risk of gilding the lily, let me add this: if you claim to be either a left libertarian or a right libertarian, and by that claim you mean that you support some level of coercive governance, then you are no libertarian at all. Progressives can lean libertarian. Conservatives can lean libertarian. But libertarians do not lean. We are upright.
“Remember, your pets will be waiting for you in Valhalla to be the fierce protectors of you they always imagined themselves to be.”
Commentator Brett L, in the comments to this thread. It is common for the comments in the A.M. Links and P.M. Links at the Reason Blog to wander far and wide, and one of the other participants had mentioned her grief over the recent loss of her cat. To which commentator Sparky added –
“Or if they’re cats they’ll be waiting to engage you in glorious battle every day.”
This is how libertarians support each other. Is it not wonderful?