Saturday, January 12, 2013
Condescending and Wrong
New York's Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, speaking in defense of new restrictions on the availability of painkillers from city hospitals, inadvertently raised the best argument against the ban not once, but twice. The ban will substitute judgement of a few government officials regarding how much medicine someone "needs" for that of doctor and patient, at the threat of legal penalties.
Bloomberg immediately blunders into admitting that -- surprise! -- (1) government officials are not infallible, and (2) forcing people to live according to their mistakes can have adverse consequences:
Number two, supposing it is really true, so you didn't get enough painkillers and you did have to suffer a little bit. The other side of the coin is people are dying and there's nothing perfect … There's nothing that you can possibly do where somebody isn't going to suffer, and it's always the same group [claiming], 'Everybody is heartless.' Come on, this is a very big problem."Translation: "If I have made a mistake and you suffer, tough. Also, you're a wimp if you oppose tyranny so that you might avoid avoidable suffering." And note that, behind this bullying is the cry of, "'You' (meaning Bloomberg) can't help it!"
But Bloomberg is nowhere near done insulting the intelligence of his constituents:
"We talk about drugs, heroin and crack and marijuana, this is one of the big outbursts-and it's a lot worse around the country than it is here. It's kids and adults getting painkillers and using them for entertainment purposes, or whatever field of purposes, as opposed to what they are designed for," he explained. "If you break a leg, you're going to be in pain, nothing wrong with getting something that reduces the pain. But if you get 20 days worth of pills and you only need them three days, there's 17 days sitting there. Invariably some of the kids are going to find them, or you're going to take them and get you addicted."Now "you" really means "you", and Bloomberg is playing mindreader as he attempts to justify preventative law by telling us we're all addicts waiting to happen. (Has he ever heard of flushing surplus pills down the toilet?) There are numerous good reasons (not all found in the law, believe it or not) not to become a drug addict or to pass out pills to children. Bloomberg is unaware of this or ignores it as he tries to keep you from making your own decisions.
"In a [truly] free market, individuals with pre-existing conditions would likely have several options to choose from." -- Amesh Adalja, in "If Insurance Companies Can't Utilize Pre-Existing Conditions, Then They're Not in the Insurance Business" at Forbes
"The rich should not be treated as second-class citizens." -- Richard Salsman, in "The Lopsided Fiscal Cliff Deal: All Tax Hikes, No Spending Restraint" at Forbes
"Don't insult your young adult by treating him as a child if he has, in fact, been functioning as a competent member of a college community." -- Michael Hurd, in "Is Your Kid an Adult?" at The Delaware Wave
"There will always be people who will try to 'guilt' you." -- Michael Hurd, in "Guilt is not Love" at The Delaware Coast Press
My Two Cents
As a parent who will sometimes imagine what his daughter will be like as an adult, I appreciate the first of the Michael Hurd columns linked above. My own parents transitioned from treating me like a child to treating me like an adult very smoothly: So it is that I appreciate his outlining the possible pitfalls, so I can better follow their example when the time comes.
I always get a chuckle out of the "unitasker" posts at Unclutterer. This week, Erin Dolan reviews the mis-named "Double Dip Bowl".
This is one of those items that when you see it your first thought is, "ingenious!" Then, you pause for a moment and remember you don't own a restaurant that serves guests olives as appetizers.Doland then does what I always do when confronted by such a contraption: try to imagine actually using it. She concludes -- rightly -- that it would make a great dust collector.
While we were still living in a matchbox in Boston, I came up with my own nickname for such items: "storage problem". I still use it.