Archive for May, 2008

Abolish the City Crane Inspectors?

Posted in Rule of Unreason on May 31, 2008 by ragnard

No sooner than I finished writing that the people would never stand for a free market in medicine, I read this article talking about the collapse of a crane in NY City.

Nowadays, every rainstorm, draught, tornada, warm day, cold day, or drowning polar bear is blamed on global warming.  And every injury or death is blamed on the lack of regulations:

“If the crane did indeed meet all city safety regulations, what went wrong?”

In case that went by too quickly, let me try to analyze it.  You see, safety is caused by inspectors.  Lack of safety is caused by lack of inspectors, QED.

But we had inspectors, so it’s not possible to even conceive of how the crane crashed!

Anyone who’s rational can see the logical error here.  That is about 1% of the population.


Abolish the FDA?

Posted in Blind Elephants vs Donkeys on May 31, 2008 by ragnard

I’m putting this one into the Blind Elephants bucket.  The author starts out on solid ground:

“Incentives matter in all areas of human endeavor…”

“There is no open marketplace for medical technology…”

He’s right.  But then he segues into another line of reasoning:

“The majority cannot make the leap to see an unregulated marketplace…”

The problem isn’t “making the leap.”  The problem is that people are deeply suspicious and envious of those who succeed in business.  Can you name one recent movie about a good businessman?  How about an evil one?

People believe that drug companies would sell deadly poisons, or at best carelessly make mistakes that would kill people, chasing “the almightly dollar.”  If it has to do with money, people feel it’s evil.

Comments like this one are illustrative:

“Every time there is a disaster involving a drug, device, biologic, etc., the American public asks the FDA to do more…”

He’s right.  The public wouldn’t stand for a free market in drugs and medical devices.  They would clamor for what we have now, or something even more restrictive.  So long as they view the profit motive as the root of all evil, they always will.


Posted in Definitions on May 30, 2008 by ragnard

I think “exploitation” has a funny defintion as it is actually used today:

exploitation. n. When someone accepts terms that you would not.

Coyote today captured this today with a perfect anecdote.  The money quote is:

“All of my jobs in Arizona are included in their count of “bad jobs.”  And you know what?  We have a waiting list of over 200 names of people who would take another of these jobs tomorrow if I had one to offer.”

The error is intrinsicism.  A job is neither good nor bad in and of itself.  Each has to decide for himself what job (or anything else) is good or bad.

For God’s Sake, Don’t Call Them Scholars!

Posted in Fighting Against Jihad on May 29, 2008 by ragnard

JammieWearingFool posted today about the “Manhattanization of mecca”.  Yeah, right.  As if this islamic pest-hole could ever be 1% of what NY is, even now in its decline!

Anyways, he noted the folowing irony:

Next week Mecca – which is strictly off limits to non-Muslims – will host a three-day conference on the importance of dialogue with other religions. The event, to be opened by King Abdullah, will feature scholars and academics from the Islamic world. [emphasis in original]

For God’s sake, man, don’t call them “scholars” and “academics”!  They are not.  They are witch doctors.

Bisphenol-A Phobia

Posted in Pseudo-Science, Short Comments on May 29, 2008 by ragnard

Gus Van Horn notes that BPA is perfectly safe, but people prefer to ignore science in favor of their fears.

It’s ironic, then, that Forbes published an article this month on a company that is capitalizing on this fear with BPA-free baby product (which, of course, cost a lot more than regular baby products).  Forbes didn’t bother to mention that BPA is safe.  They celebrated this snake oil salesman as if that’s what capitalism is all about.

NY Times, Washington Post Push Racism

Posted in Rule of Unreason on May 29, 2008 by ragnard

Just look at this disgusting marriage of self-loathing with overtly racist ideas.  The NY Times quotes the Post:

“The Post’s op-ed page is too male and too white.”

The Times’ own opinion:

“This lack of diversity is, frankly, a broader problem…”

And to think, I was trained that argumentum ad hominem was when you dismissed an argument because of who said it.  “That’s just a typical white opinion,” neatly avoids any actual need to address the point itself.

But there ya have it, folks.  Skin color uber alles.

How Now, Blind Elephant?

Posted in Blind Elephants vs Donkeys on May 28, 2008 by ragnard

Senator Tom Coburn writes today in the Wall Street Journal that the Republican Party has lost many voters because it has stopped behaving like Republicans.  Simple enough (and true enough).  Today’s Republican Party is virtually indistinguishable from the Democratic Party of 30 years ago (with the exception of their pro-military view).

The first part of the article is pretty good.  It’s not the words, GOP, it’s the deeds!

But then we get to the money quote:

“Compassionate conservatism’s starting point had merit. The essential argument that Republicans should orient policy around how our ideas will affect the poor, the widow, the orphan…”

There you have it.  It’s OK to start with the poor, widows, and orphans.  Just don’t spend “too much” on them!

“…is indisputable – particularly for those who claim, as I do, to submit to an authority higher…”

So much for the idea that the GOP is about free markets.  It’s about how to implement the Christian God’s will on earth.

“Common sense and the Scriptures show that true giving and compassion require sacrifice by the giver…”

So where is a regular guy to go?  One party’s leaders say that it’s about “deliverance from poverty” based on scripture.  The other is driven by hatred for America.

What if you don’t want scripture or multiculturalism rammed down your throat?

Isn’t this a false alternative??