Thursday, August 01, 2002

So I am sitting in Starbucks on Tuesday, as I often am. I am working on an upcoming philosophy course, and I have George Smith's Atheism: the Case Against God on the table. Now to be totally honest, I should say that I kind of purposely put the book in prominent view because the table next to me was occupied by two young women reading from the bible and writing letters to their neighbors. I think they were Jevohah Witnesses. I was, in retrospect, asking for trouble.

A table near the other side of the shop had a group of high school students, and they left shortly after I sat down and placed Smith's book on the table. About five mintues later, though, one of the young women that had left, tapped me on the shoulder. she handed me a brand-new King James version of the Bible. I told her that I didn't want it, and she says "I'd feel better if you had it." I told her again that I didn't want, that I didn't need it and that I would probably just leave it in Starbucks. She put it down on my table, and said "I just want you to have it." And then she left.

She had caught me off guard or I would have come up with some clever quip. Anyway, I put the book on the table next to me and went back to my work. But I noticed that the front cover had some writing inside it, in marker and not print. And so I opened it up and the woman had written: "Dear Sir, He is the true God. Read some bible passages listed. We will be praying for you. If you have any questions, call pastors name and number"

Now, I have to keep the book, it makes too great of a story. But as I thought about this, it really is kind of obnxious and rude. 1) Why should she assume that I am an atheist because I am reading a book about atheism? I could just be comfortable enough in my beliefs not to be threatened by counterarguments. 2) What business is of hers anyway?

But at least I got a great story out of it, and a free bible, to boot.

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

An interesting article at the Jewish World Review: Should Israel go Nazi? A bit irreverent and harsh, the article examines what the Middle East would be like if the Israelis were the oppressors that their critics claim them to be. Anti-Israel folks often use Nazi imagery to taint Israel and Jews, calling the Jews Nazis and claiming that Israel is engaged in genocide. Perlmutter asks, the historians what if? What if Israel was bent on genocide and expansion over the Middle East?

His answer: there wouldn't be any Palestinians or Arabs left. Israel would have run over everything from Bagdad and Damscus to Cairo and Tunis. There wouldn't be terrorists today because they'd be all dead. And what Arabs remained wouldn't protest and throw stones, becuase they would know that they would be rounded up and killed.

Of course, now of this has happened and it won't happen. Could Israel have militarily taken over all this territory? I doubt it, but Perlmutter's point is not this. His point is that the Israel's are actually motivated by peace and morality, not hatred and expansionity ideology. They consider the moral consequences of their actions and don't kill innocents indiscriminately or purposefully.

Sunday, July 28, 2002

I got the NY Times today to read David Kelley's letter on Ayn Rand and Greenspan. A good letter, it should get the Center some much needed visibility. The original he sent to them was of course much stronger, but they edited it down.

Anyway, practically right next to David's letter is a letter about health care. This individual claims that our health care system "is not driven by common market forces" and that "is not governed by the conventional principles of economics." And this is why is should be centrally and publicly planned!!

Ironically the title NY Times gave the letter is "Health Care's Logic" Because letter displays the more common logical fallacies, his conclusion is a non sequitur and his case is circular.

First, his conclusion is a non sequitur because it doesn't follow from the premises that Health Care operates differently than other markets, that it should be centrally and publicly planned. He needs more premises that show that when a particular market functions differently than common markets that it should then be planned. (and by the way, he also needs to explain how these differences solve all the economic problems of centrally planned markets.)

Second, his case is circular because the reason that Health Care doesn't operate like other markets and according to conventional principles of economics is not that there is something different about Health Care as a market, but because health care is so heavily regulated by governments.

Entrance in to the health care field is government controled through licenses. The majority of the tools used by health care providers, (drugs, equipment, etc) are regulated by the FDA. Prices and compensation is largely regulated through medicare. And so on and so on. Of course health care doesn't operate like a other markets, it is not free to do so. The government has prevented it from operating like a market through its regulations. More government control and planning is not the answer, freeing the market from the burden of regulations is the answer.

Saturday, July 27, 2002

So its started. Everyone said libertarians we crazy for arguing that once the states were done with Tobacco, they'd go after Fast Food. They said it'll never happen. they said the slippery slope wouldn't run to Fast Food.

Well. Some yahoo has filed a class action lawsuit against McDonalds, Burger King, and Wendy's for making him obese. He didn't know, he claims, that fast food could make you fat. Appparently it makes you stupid too.

Not that anyone is reading this...I am watching that show "The Agency." It usually is pretty decent, at least for Saturday night TV. One character actually says "No one is saying that we should end the drug war" and another, I guess the head of the CIA, said "we have a moral obligation to fight drugs" (emphasis mine)

A moral obligation? I'll never get that. I think that a case could be made that anything more than casual or recreational use of drugs is immoral, but this is because the likelihood that such abusive use is bad for the individual's life. But from where does the Government get a moral obligation to fight drugs? Its too late at night to start considering whether government can have any moral obligations, but certainly if they have any it should be to protect individual rights. And not to sound like libertarian record but whose rights are violated by drug use, even abusive drug use?

Friday, July 26, 2002

This is the first post. This is just a test so far...