Quick Roundup 511

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Blurring the Lines

A couple of news items pertaining to air travel have recently come to my attention and illustrate how debates caused (and subsequently muddled by) the mixed economy can often grease the skids for more government control over our personal lives. The first was the following reaction to news that an airliner booted one of its passengers off a flight for his horrendous personal odor: "Tough, but fair." The second was news that a Moslem woman has refused, on religious grounds, to have her body scanned in a British airport.

Neither of these items should be news since an airline should be free to do business (or not) with whomever it pleases, and excluding offensive or potentially dangerous passengers is a policy any rational businessman would follow. And yet, since airlines are so heavily regulated by the government, both are. The first airline could conceivably face a "discrimination" suit and, if the law in Britain is similar enough to that in the United States, the second would never have come up if the law did not prevent airlines from simply profiling high-risk passengers.

And so we have people feeling a need to stick up for the first airline and a convoluted debate over privacy and the "rights" of the superstitious to force themselves on everyone else. In each case, we have a political debate we shouldn't be having about what the airlines "should" (be being forced to) be doing (by the government).

The government shouldn't be issuing orders to private citizens at all, and yet that is the premise implicitly granted in each case.

How Perry Won

I found it interesting that political pundits got so many things wrong about how the recent Republican primary for Texas Governor would shake out. In particular, "Medina, the candidate who wouldn't disrespect the truthers, did best in the supposedly most sophisticated part of Texas, the [Dallas-Fort Worth area]," and "Perry won this not in rural and small town Texas but in metro Houston." [link to "Medina" added] I won't claim I could have predicted either, but it's unsurprising in retrospect.

Quote of the Day

Brian Phillips on context-dropping by "quality of life" activists: "If Crossley truly wants to promote the rational, I suggest that he try beating us with logic instead of a club."

Objectivist Roundup

It'll be hosted by Rational Jenn this week.

If the lunatics run the asylum, ...

... and the asylum is the House Ways and Means Committee, meet the new Head Lunatic:

During a town hall meeting, a constituent who opposed Barack Obama's health care plan told [Pete] Stark [D-CA], "Mr. Congressman, don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining." Stark responded with, "I wouldn't dignify you by peeing on your leg. It wouldn't be worth wasting the urine."
There's a lot more where that came from. Nancy Pelosi has installed this piece of work as at least a temporary replacement for Charlie Rangel, who is in trouble for ethics violations.

Based on this act of cynicism, we can only assume that Pelosi cares as much about our health as Barack Obama can personally attend to it.

-- CAV

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