Quick Roundup 401

Monday, February 09, 2009

The Communal Womb

It is a toss-up to me whether the speed with which the following came out after the birth of Nadya Suleman's litter or its level of presumption is the more surprising.

After years of railing against abortion laws -- reproductive rights -- of saying its my womb and I'll do what I want with it -- Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Ellen Goodman is now calling for the regulation of reproduction.

In a column today, she wrote: "Does anyone have a right to tell anyone else how many kids to have? Can only people who can afford them bear children? Do you need a husband to have a baby? These are questions that make us feel queasy when we are talking about old-fashioned families. But they take on a new flavor in the unregulated wild west of fertility technology." [bold added]
The linchpin of Ellen Goodman's argument, which assumes that the state must pay for everything as if that were some immutable law of nature, is that people like Suleman are breaking the bank of the welfare state.

As I said before, the solution isn't to violate reproductive rights, but to protect the individual rights of all. This would entail two things: (1) The protection of property rights by dismantling the welfare state so people like Suleman cannot steal from others in the process of creating families they cannot support, and (2) the protection of the rights of children from neglectful or abusive parents.

Superficially (and unfortunately), left and right appear to have switched sides in this latest twist in the debate over reproductive rights. The inhumanity of the left on full display as it is -- especially from enivironmentalists who see this issue entirely in terms of how much carbon dioxide exhaust each new baby spews out -- is bait too enticing for the right to pass up. Predictably, stands like Goodman's are being savaged, but sloppily (at best).

Take Don Surber's reaction:
So kids, there you have it. Goodman has abandoned "reproductive rights" in favor of the government dictating the size of families.

And she has abandoned the call for universal health care because, gee, it is so expensive.

Liberals used to have principles. I think.

Me? I like babies. The more the merrier.
Let's assume that Surber is not attacking abortion though the use of scare quotes around "reproductive rights". His response makes it appear that he supports socialized medicine.

Does Surber really support socialized medicine, or is he just failing to notice that he has made our choice look like "happy babies and socialized medicine vs. dictatorship"? Your guess is a s good as mine, but that is a false alternative. Our only choice is freedom and prosperity -- or tyranny and misery. Mixtures, like those supported by the left and the right, all move towards tyranny when contradictions crop up, like "reproductive freedom at 'taxpayer' expense."

The Geek Press Guide to Highway Survival

My initial impulse to the question of how one survives a skydiving accident is to say, "Ummm. By not skydiving in the first place?" I was nevertheless intrigued enough to read the article Paul Hsieh pointed to, and found it to be more generally applicable:
... [S]ituational awareness can mean the difference between life and death, whether you're hurtling toward earth at terminal velocity or driving 75 miles an hour on the interstate. Third, never give up. Many parachuting deaths could have been prevented if sky divers kept working on their problems. Human and mechanical errors might be fixable, but you'll never find out if you give up.
Skydiving isn't just a spectator sport: It's jam-packed with lessons for the rest of us!

And -- also from Geek Press -- if you have an iPhone and get pulled over by a cop while doing 75, you might be able to get out of (part of) a ticket!

Mental Clutter

Some time ago, Unclutterer, a blog about organization, came to my attention and I bookmarked it, presumably because I was going to blog something from it. (I rarely use bookmarks otherwise.) Curious, I followed the link and found a list of posts from 2008, among which was the following:
More reasons to purge disposable plastic bags and try reusable bags
With more stores and municipalities requiring patrons to use their own bags, we've compiled a more extensive list of reusable bag options -- all of which collapse. [bold added]
No! With more municipalities violating our property rights, it's time to stand up for those rights.

I've seen bags like these before, and they invariably are plastered with environmentalist propaganda. If I were forced to use these, I'd turn them wrong-side out until I could have some made with something like the logo at right imprinted on them. (And then, from where that logo came from, there are tee shirts and mugs....)

Ted Kennedy, Distraction?

C. August has an interesting thought concerning some of Ted Kennedy's recent public appearances:
Now I wonder if Kennedy is playing his part as a distraction--collapsing at an inaugural lunch, riding into Congress on a white horse to standing ovations and tearful accolades, all the while dramatically vowing to fight for the government takeover of health care--while the rest of Congress passes nationalization bills in the dark of night.
Read it all. We're in danger of getting health "care" that isn't from a "stimulus" bill that won't stimulate.

Trust Slug Nation

Stephen Bourque has a good discussion of the latest silly (but dangerous) idea to come down the pike: the idea that every baby should be a "trust fund baby".

-- CAV


Ryan said...

My father basically said the same thing that Goodman. Before that he even advocated the sterilization of people attached to the welfare state. Yet, when I advocate removing welfare and simply prosecuting abusive and neglectful mothers, I'm being an unreasonable jerk.

Gus Van Horn said...

You have caused me to make a very interesting connection here.

As the implications of altruism become ever more explicit, it can become easier to argue that it's wrong.

Your dad may not see that advocating sterilization is "being a jerk" (to put it charitably), but other people, more open to reason might.

Use it!

Thanks for leaving your comment.

Jim May said...

Another similar idea that I hear over and over again is the idea of "licensing parents". I live in screaming-child central (Thousand Oaks, California) so I can see why some people would find that idea appealing.

But I would hope that they get disabused of that notion after they nearly get killed on their drive home by idiots with government driving licenses...

Gus Van Horn said...


Martin Lindeskog said...


Burn the plastic bag and you get watervapor! I use plastic bags, but feel free to support EGO blog and spread the good word with an EGO tot bag from CafePress! :)

I have plenty of horror stories from my time as a purchaser of e.g. cartons and other packaging material for a production facility. We were forced to pay "packaging" tax due to forces from the "Green Point" ("Grüne Punkt") legislation.

Gus Van Horn said...

"We were forced to pay 'packaging' tax..."

On top of all the others, of course, I am sure.

Martin Lindeskog said...

Yes, of course. We had to sit and calculate how much we thought we would use and then send in the figures. After they had implemented this rule, they increased the fee every year. It was hard to put this extra charge into our computer system in order to calculate the total purchasing price.

Dismuke said...

Comrade Goodman exhibits the disturbing trend of breakdown in Party Discipline - she thinks she is an independent entity and that it is appropriate for her to formulate policy opinions.

The more children born into the welfare state the better - it creates more demand for government programs and helps breed a new generation of Democratic voters who, in turn, will multiply rapidly and become totally dependent upon government programs. Cost of medical care? The answer to that is simple: one just begins to provide the same quality of medical care that Comrade Castro makes available to the average Cuban which consists of little more than a government owned rusting bed and costs the State next to nothing. Suleman ought to be given some sort of medal for being so socially conscious and held up as an example for others.

The same breakdown in Party and social discipline is evident in the environmentalists who are concerned about how much carbon babies will generate. Environmentalists are socially useful to the degree that they rationalize more power to the State - but these days they frequently cross the line and think that THEY and not the Party should be the State.

Liberals such as Goodman who subscribe to the quaint notion that the welfare state is somehow compatible with things such as prosperity and quality medical care were useful in the early stages of the game in terms of giving our side a broader appeal. But now that the contradictions are starting to manifest themselves, there is the big concern that Comrades such as Goodman might not embrace the socially correct side of the contradiction.

Suleman's children will grow up completely unaware of the prosperity and standard of living that once existed and they will know of no alternative to the sort of medical care the State will soon be providing for free to all Comrades. And the government run schools are going to make sure that they don't ever learn what life in this country was once like. The last thing we need is windbags such as Comrade Goodman who might clue them in.

Periodic purges within one's own camp are very beneficial and provide the blood which fertilizes Party discipline and ideological purity as was demonstrated by Comrades Stalin and Hitler. We are long overdue for one here. Once we manage to get some version of the Fairness Doctrine in place to once and for all silence the evil reactionaries on the Right and find a way to liquidate them, we will need to turn our focus upon ourselves. There will be fewer but better Leftists.

Gus Van Horn said...

Ah! So Ellen Goodman's last act of Useful Idiocy has been to identify herself as being in need of a purge!