Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Ration Cards in Britain?
I have occasionally referred here to the "carbon credits" pushed by global warming alarmists as "fuel rations", thinking that if that proper name ever caught on, many would have a better chance of seeing the true nature of such silliness as "cap and trade" schemes, and reject them.
Perhaps we'll soon see whether my approach would work in Great Britain, where a politician is actually proposing that all adults carry ration cards.
Every adult should be forced to use a 'carbon ration card' when they pay for petrol, airline tickets or household energy, MPs say.Unfortunately, if the rest of the article is any indication, this approach, of naming the true nature of "cap and trade", would not work well in Britain, for it depends on the public rather commonly holding the premise that individuals may acquire and dispose of property by right rather than by government permission, that people are generally individualists.
The influential Environmental Audit Committee says a personal carbon trading scheme is the best and fairest way of cutting Britain's CO2 emissions without penalising the poor.
It is a very bad sign when the biggest "objection" to such a scheme is that it is "ahead of its time".
There is no substitute for upholding the correct philosophical fundamentals when making arguments in favor of individual rights. Granted, you can't even outline the full case for individual rights every time, but if you don't make it clear that morality (and the facts) are on your side, people convinced that they are "doing the right thing" will not shrink from your pointing out what they are really doing.
What's Wrong with the Libertarians, Part 873,004
Recently, I saw the following short news story in the Houston Chronicle, which I reproduce below. Its title was, "Libertarian Party fest lacks one element: mainstream", which a subtitle elaborated upon with, "Delegates don't even have to part with their dollars to see strippers".
It's the strippers who give it away, the not-very-well-kept secret that the Libertarian Party Convention is a little different.Notice the complete confusion here. I oppose the government legislating morality, but the last thing I'd permit at a political conference where, presumably, people were gathered to discuss issues of personal and national importance, is a stripper booth.
At the average mainstream major party convention, such things as adult entertainment are off campus, left to delegates to find themselves. At the Libertarian fest in the basement ballroom of a Denver hotel, the strip club has its own booth.
And why not? Libertarians detest the idea of the government regulating morality.
Shotgun Willies occupies prime turf in an exhibit hall booth outside the convention meeting room.
The club shares a divider with the campaign booth of presidential hopeful Bob Barr, a former congressman from Georgia who gained fame by helping press the impeachment of President Bill Clinton for lying under oath to conceal an affair.
It's just around the corner from the Marijuana Policy Project, which fights to make marijuana legal for medical use -- and for nonmedical use.
And Shotgun Willies sits across from the Liberty Dollars booth, where Joby Weeks of Denver sells a nongovernment form of money that boasts, "in just eight years, the Liberty Dollar has become America's second most popular currency."
Before you can ask why it took eight years -- was there another No. 2 currency ahead of it? -- consider Weeks' pitch about how silver retains its value while the government's money has lost its value. (Libertarians hate the Federal Reserve.)
"An ounce of silver bought five gallons of gas in 1950, it bought five gallons of gas in 1970, and it buys five gallons of gas in 2008," says Weeks. "The price of gas hasn't gone up. The purchasing power of a dollar has gone down."
But the best reason? "The strippers take silver," he offers.
Forget about the personal moral and psychological issues that patronizing a stripper might bring up. Have these people any inkling of setting priorities? Of professionalism?
And notice how that silly quip about using silver to pay a stripper removes all seriousness -- or sense of being in the right -- from what might have been the start of a halfway decent argument against fiat currency.
You can't dumb down an intellectual argument and drag a moral cause into the gutter and expect to ever attract the mainstream. For all the faults of American culture, most people do still have an ounce of sense and a modicum of self-respect.
Obama's Latest and Greatest Gaffe (So Far)
Not especially to defend President Bush, but Power Line reports something I bet you won't hear the Bushism calendar set laughing about:
On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes -- and I see many of them in the audience here today -- our sense of patriotism is particularly strong. [bold added]So do the people who ridicule Bush on a daily basis, and yet let 57 states fly under their radars not see a problem here? Or do they really believe that, in addition to declaring peace and plenty, Barack Obama can raise the dead?
6-3-08: (1) Corrected typo. (2) Added hypertext anchors.