Thursday, April 19, 2007
The Real Voiceless Victims
Animal "rights" activists will often claim they speak for the "voiceless". This claim to moral superiority, like their entire notion of rights, rests on ignoring the role of the mind. The utterances of a voice mean nothing if not shaped by a mind, and the whole concept of rights depends on the fact that the being which is supposed to have them depends on the use of its mind in order to survive.
Having said that, I was reminded of that leftist contempt for rationality when I encountered Mike N's blog about the indoctrination tactics used by global warming activists against children. Here's part of an excerpt he made from a Washington Post article on the subject.
... 9-year-old Alyssa Luz-Ricca's mother returned from a business trip to Costa Rica with a T-shirt of a colorful frog and the words "Extinction is forever." Alyssa looked at the T-shirt and, she says, "I cried."You wonder whether this witch flew her daughter out to Vancouver as a Christmas "gift" upon getting wind of the crucified Santa Clause last year.
"She cried very hard," clarifies her mother, Karen Luz of Arlington.
"I don't like global warming," Alyssa continues, her eyes huge and serious behind her glasses, a stardust of freckles across her nose, "because it kills animals, and I like animals." [my bold]
This is monstrous. I completely agree with Mike that children are ill-equipped to deal with such complex topics as climatology. This is emotional abuse, pure and simple, and this child's own mother is perpetrating it in the stead of the care-free time of play and learning (i.e., psychological and intellectual development) her daughter should be experiencing.
Arnold Kling on the Ball!
For once, Arnold Kling has written an article I do not find objectionable from start to finish. He makes an interesting point about a mistake in cost-benefits analysis that commonly occurs in the debate over socialized medicine.
[E]rrors are inherent in medicine, because knowledge is imperfect and decisions must be made under uncertainty. Given the uncertainty, one cannot reduce errors of one type without increasing errors of another type. Most importantly, the existence of errors does not prove that the system is flawed.He also discusses a couple of other examples of how one must make decisions with limited information, including the subject of terrorism watch lists.
Speaking of which, this analysis is useful in the appropriate kind of context (like whether one should do an MRI and how government interference might skew such a decision) but worse than useless in others (like passenger screening for terrorism). In the case of MRIs, physicians, in the normal course of their work must make this type of decision, and this analysis can show how government interference can result in bad choices. (This remains only an adjunct to making moral arguments against enslaving physicians, however.)
But why is our government wasting so much of our time and money screening for terrorists? First, because it is pursuing the wrong strategy overall concerning the Islamofascist threat. And second it is also doing so many other things wrong, such as violating the rights of airlines that might wish to "discriminate" against some passengers by refusing them service if they seem suspicious.
To go into a similar cost-benefits analysis of terrorism screening may be an interesting academic exercise, but it strikes me as something that too easily confines our public policy debate to thinking within a small box when we really need to be climbing out of it. In fact, this loss of the larger context is precisely the danger that comes with this type of public policy argument.
Will "Global Warming Denial" Be Next?
The European Union is considering a measure that would criminalize Holocaust denial, a violation of freedom of speech that some of its member states are already guilty of.
For Sale: One Useless Cat
This "ad" is hilarious. (HT: Found on the Web)
Those Mesmerizing UPS Ads
Have you found yourself strangely fascinated by those UPS television ads featuring some long-haired guy using a magic marker on a whiteboard to regale you with tales of shipping innovation? If so, you can now watch them at your leisure and find out all about them at Slate. The story behind the ads was worth the read.
If, like me, you were puzzled about how some guy with long hair ended up in an ad geared at least in part towards business executives, you'll find out why. (And at least now I know I'm probably not the only one who has to keep from getting up and looking for a pair of barber's shears every time I see one of those ads....)
That number is probably close to my "permanent age", as Scott Adams, who is a "42", put it.
Perhaps that explains my bemusement and mild annoyance with long hair on men. (HT: Found on the Web)
Adams on Copyright
And yes, Scott Adams, whose comic strip Dilbert I rank as a favorite, has a blog. (How did that slip under my radar?) I've added it (The Dilbert Blog) and Found on the Web to my sidebar.
In any event, I found his post on the subject of copyright law (as it applies to an artist wanting to sell books) both very amusing and very worthwhile. His analogy: "[C]opyright violations are analogous to borrowing your neighbor's underpants without asking, then laundering and returning them before he returns home." His point: "[T]he artist who loses legal control over his creation feels violated...."
There's much more, and it is very good. Among other things, you learn that he had to work hard for a decade to make his strip the success that it is today.