“Healthy Choices”

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People have been trained not to think with precision – to use words sloppily – a necessary bit of groundwork for authoritarian demagogues to succeed.Mencken

For example, it is easy  – because people don’t think about it precisely – to characterize Libertarians as “selfish” because they (supposedly) don’t want to “help” others.

You know, like Democrats (and Republicans) do.

But hold on. When a Democrat (or a Republican) politician talks about “helping” others, doesn’t he mean taxing others? Is he reaching into his pocket?

Or someone else’s?

Defined with precision, “helping” others in modern political parlance means the use of state power to redistribute wealth – with the politician acting as a middleman. This is a very different thing – morally as well as actually – than one person freely giving of his time or resources to assist another person in need, the precise (and intellectually honest) definition of helping others.

So how about “safety”?

The federal government – the politicians and bureaucrats – claim that anyone (like me) who opposes things like mandatory air bags in cars is opposed to… “safety.”demagogue

No, not at all.

I hold that anyone who wants to – and is willing to pay – should be able to purchase a car with as many air bags as they like. Throw in back-up cameras, anti-whiplash head restraints (that make it hard to see anything behind you) a roof that will support the weight off the car if it turns upside down (even if it adds several hundred pounds of weight to the car and so makes it use a lot more gas) and so on.

I am opposed to none of these things.

I am opposed to being force-fed these things.volvo wagon

And to being made to subsidize these things.

If – as we are regularly told – America is a free country, then why on earth are we not free to choose for ourselves how much “safety” we want and are willing to pay for? And why are some of us made to subsidize the “safety” other people want but aren’t willing to pay for themselves?

Isn’t this – forcing everyone to buy (and so, subsidize) the degree of “safety” deemed appropriate according to the arbitrary decrees of unelected, ensconced-for-the-duration apparatchiks within the bowels of the federal regulatory agencies – exactly the same as being required to buy only “nutritious” food?

Well?

And if we can be forced to buy things like air bags because a federal bureaucrat or politician believes they are “good for us” then why couldn’t we also be forced to buy “nutritious” food?green Beetle

Why not?

The only reason why not is because the politicians and bureaucrats have gotten around to that…. yet.

But, they will. They must. It is inevitable.

You may remember the history of the Income tax. It was sold as something only “the rich” – the very rich – would ever have to worry about. But once the principle was established that federal bureaucrats could simply take a portion of anyone’s income, it was established that they would eventually take a portion of everyone’s income. An ever-increasing portion. Ta-da. And here we are.

But the dull bought in – because they are dull.They do not insist on precision of language – much less of principle.

Demagogues depend on it.

The not-dull understand that – to get back to car stuff – “safety” is of value to most people, but in varying degrees.

Example: Few people – proportionately – ride motorcycles, in part because motorcycles offer less in the way of “safety” than an enclosed car. But motorcycles are not (yet) illegal and people are free to buy them or not, according to (among other factors) their comfort level with the degree of risk involved in riding a bike.demagogue 2

But no one is forced to buy or ride a bike.

Or not to buy (or ride) a bike.

Why doesn’t the same principle apply to cars?

It used to.

There were “safe” Volvos – the company specialized in that, built its reputation on that – and comparatively less safe cars like the original VW Beetle. The former was a big, heavy car – built literally like a tank. The latter was comparatively flimsy but cost a lot less and was also very light and so very nimble and got good gas mileage, too.

The big (and heavy) Volvo didn’t.

People were free to choose – and pay for – the type of car that met their needs and which provided the degree of “safety” (vs. other parameters) that met their criteria. As opposed to the decreed criteria of a federal bureaucrat.

Today, all cars are Volvos – or might as well be.'16 NX200 air bags

There are no “unsafe” cars (as defined by having all the equipment mandated by the government) but as a result of this there are also very few – if any – low-cost, lightweight and simple cars.

Are we – as individuals – better off as a result of no longer having the opportunity to decide for ourselves what balance of “safety” vs. cost and other parameters best suits us?

Would it be a Hindenburg-like disaster if we were free to choose?

It seems to work ok (for now) for so many other things. Why not for cars?

Consider the oddity of the paternalist bureaucrat’s logic. He tells us that “safety” is a very important thing – that is, it’s a value. And yet, this value must be forced on people. Who apparently do no appreciate the value.

In fact, it is the paternalistic bureaucrat’s idea of value that must be forced on people. Like your mother hectoring you about eating your veggies. Only we are not children – and federal bureaucrats and politicians are not our parents.Uncle veggies

These bureaucrats cannot abide people freely deciding for themselves. It is not enough that – as it was back in the ‘70s – some cars would offer things like air bags, which people were free to buy if they wanted to buy them.

Everyone must have air bags.

Well, if so, I see no logical reason why federal bureaucrats and politicians may not also decree that everyone buy only “nutritious” food. It is available right now – just as air bags once were. The problem – as the paternalistic bureaucrat or politicians views it – is that not everyone eats enough such food. That they are free to choose cheese fries instead of steamed broccolli.

They may not say so openly – yet – but rest assured, it bothers them that people aren’t making “healthy” choices.

How much longer will this be allowed?

And how will we say no when the bureaucrats and politicians insist?

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22 COMMENTS

  1. Hey guys. Speaking of food and freedom. The Brits have some really interesting television shows. One I’ve been watching on youtube is called “back in time for dinner” The first episode is the 1950’s, this nice family lives just like the time period.

    This is after WW2, there is food rationing. What struck me as insane. Other than the WW2 itself. They were suppose to be fighting for freedom, right. Yet the government takes all the food and limits what they could get in order to send food to the countries that the government destroyed. They had things like National bread and national butter which were horrible products. The bread had the husk and shaft of the wheat ground up to make a “fortified” flour. The butter had crisco added. They required women to keep detailed journals of the meals they prepared.

    Watching shows like that makes you realize that they can and will do what ever they want and they’ll find a way to make you happy they are doing so.

  2. Some people make a big deal out of people who talk on their sail fawns while driving. Saying that isn’t a healthy choice. As if distracted driving is a real thing, and not another bureaucratic buzzword and cog in the pantheon of the psyopticon.

    If I were going to tell another how to live. I would demand they stop their 24/7 Live Action Role Playing while the tiny remnant of uncompromised people are busy trying to build unique proprietary systems to support their lives and achieve their own ends to thrive in a world of scarce resources and limited time.

    Quit assaulting me with your housewife hysterics about founding framers and rules of the Washington Wizards or whatever they’re called. All these demons you vomit forth are devouring the world as we all sit here, catatonic before our screens.

    All that political delusion is dangerous. You’re making the entire world a hostile environment unfit for human habitation. Stop with your imagined superiority that what you are doing better serves the rube-goldbergian ethics that exist only in your head. Your game. The corner drug dealing, pimp, knockoff goods huckster’s game. The Pope’s game. The Ayatollah’s game. They’re all endangering me and you need to at least tone it down a bit, and keep it to yourselves.

    Your incessant sacrificings and yalping about the Sacred Myths of Authority is endangering our real non-fiction lives. Just say no to fictional reality already.

    I shouldn’t have to build a competing violence hierarchy to convince you to do what’s best for all including yourselves. I should be able to reason with you.

    You shouldn’t expect that I build you a new Real World Reality game so you can put down your newspapers, turn off your radios, turn off your televisions, at least the shows that are spewing this toxic filth.

    Sail Fawns. Proll O’tics. They’re both equally trivial and dangerous. Get off ’em when you’re trying to move about the real world.

  3. “And how will we say no when the bureaucrats and politicians insist?”

    In Hawaii, politicians could fuck over the common folks good and hard and get away with it … except for food.

    They tried to put warning labels on frozen shipped in bread … trying to get them to buy freshly baked bread (not coincidentally, baked by UNIONIZED workers) … and the voters revolted.

    Food and guns … these are the few things that get push back.

    Unfortunately, not so much with free speech any more. And if THAT goes, more overt tyranny is possible.

    Politicians can and will take away any freedom that you don’t fight for, because taking away freedom is all they CAN do.

    • If you have to vote then you’re still a kind of cattle aren’t you.

      Your freedoms are entirely scalar. You have them so long as your sitting on your couch or in the drivers seat of your car or your office chair at work.

      As soon as you attempt to do something with them. To engage in purposeful movement and to be a free vector. You quickly find out just how wooden and inanimate your freedoms are. They’re cardboard. They’re plastic and tin idols that fall over as soon as you try to move them and employ them.

      If Hawaii we’re really free, I move their and start my own bread baking empire. Make enough bread for everyone in Hawaii. Include some anarchist webiste addresses on the packaging. And sell them at cost. The people get cheap food and I get a chance to get the message across.

      Thing is Hawaii can’t possibly be a United State. It’s clear out in the pacific ocean for crissakes. If enough of those island people read enough of the messages. They’d realize they don’t need to be subjects of any foreign delusions, and they’d demote any current squatters who live their who are making them believe otherwise.

      Racially realistic Chinese Soap Commercial. Most Chinese women don’t want diverse boyfriends and culture enrichment
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xq-I0JRhvt4

  4. Now Volvo struggles to even stay in the car business, as its angle is now the norm. What is the irony in that? Most now see it as just another premium car (which it is), which there are lots of choices to pick from.

    • You are right on, rich.

      Cars in general have become amazingly similar. I’m a car nerd and I have trouble telling the bland sedans and crossovers apart (even ‘premium’ ones).

      I have had Volvos from the ’70s, ’80s, 90’s and oughts, finishing with a 2001 XC70. In that time they went from ugly but bulletproof, to nice but finicky (and fwd – yuck). The new ones are fine, but as you say there are many, many choices with similar prices, configurations and experiences.

      Had I known this was the direction things would go, I would have kept one of my manual 245s.

      • Try going to a junkyard nowadays and naming a make/model from 20 feet away that doesn’t have headlights or tail lights, once those identifiers are missing, it gets real tricky.

  5. Words are not only used sloppily, they are also redefined and misused and acronymed until they become meaningless. Obfuscate the vernacular until the vague and meaningless platitudes that typically spews from the mouths of politicians becomes commonplace. Martin O’Malley is a prime example as a speaker of incomprehensible verbiage. So are most people lauded as experts on any situation that requires extensive news coverage. All 24 hours of the daily news cycle must be filled with continuous blather.

  6. Redistribution is theft, bad in and of itself. But it wouldn’t hurt so much if such a large portion of the funds being redistributed didn’t stick to the fingers of those doing the distributing.

  7. There are a few important clues to the nature of things.
    1) Ever notice that when some meddler finds a problem with people’s choices to solve or something new to meddle in it is justified by some ultimately arbitrary measurement of lost productivity?
    2) The cost to society. The more that is socialized in cost the more that the meddlers can insist on controlling people’s behaviors and choices. If someone is in a crash in a VW bug then he might need more medical resources so the meddler decides to get rid of light weight cars.
    3) Government calculations are based on our monetary value. Remember in the Ford Pinto case how supposedly Ford didn’t do something because it would cost more than the lawsuits? Well that was a evil twist of calculation the federal government required of automarkers. The automakers had to calculate the cost of a new mandate vs. the economic value of the lives saved. That economic value was assigned by the government.
    4) Herd management. Government manages society by statistics. Airbags for instance are considered to save more people than they kill. Vaccines help more people than they hurt. The list goes on. The mandates come down based on such measures. If you’re one of those hurt or may be hurt, well it just sucks to be you according to government and its supporters.

    Now what do these add up to?
    Consider for a moment an industrial farm. The kind that raises or uses livestock. What is it concerned with? The productivity of the animals. Minimizing the losses of the animals. Minimizing the costs of the animals. Management doesn’t care about the animals as individuals or their well being or how they feel it cares about the bottom line.

    People are sold that these things government does and does to us are because the politicians care. They don’t. We’re livestock to them. Much like the attitude of the business man character in this episode of Peter Gunn (starting at about 17:25):
    https://youtu.be/k6_aKlFkKY8?t=1035
    “They’re not people, they’re dots.”

  8. Choice is only for our betters, apparently.

    For years, the fedgov pimped a food pyramid that literally killed people. New research shows it now to be nearly upside down. The history of how the pyramid came to be is as dirty and retarded as you might suspect.

    Nice pic of the orange Volvo, btw. I have had several 240 series over the years. They were phenomenal cars. Just really dopey looking. The turbo rims can’t quite offset the hideous mid-’70s color choice.

    • Hi Yeti!

      I actually liked those old Volvos. Probably because they were so different – and I like having a variety of car types to choose from as opposed to just different brands of the same thing.

    • Yeti, a friend had one of the coupes back then. It would fairly haul butt and had nice seats, handled well, rode well and had good ergonomics. What wasn’t butt-ugly back then though? Hell, my Elco had bumpers a dump truck would have been proud of.

      As for the food pyramid, they’re still pushing it even though last year they were supposed to cease and desist and tell the truth.

      Go to a doctor and be concerned about cholesterol and BP and all those other circulatory problems and he’ll still be spouting the “cut down on cholesterol” bs and not addressing the different types or if he does, he’s still telling you the wrong source of arterial plaque. I guess that’s why they call it a “practice” cause they damned sure don’t keep up with much.

      • Well, they are at least beginning to admit that the Framingham study was faulty. But they are still not really correcting it.
        Dietary cholesterol has little to no correlation to serum cholesterol. Your body requires cholesterol, and will make it itself.
        As for saturated/non-saturated fats, turns out the culprit is not naturally saturated fats, as in animal fat, but artificially saturated (hydrogenated) fats (like Crisco or stick margarine), now known as ‘trans-fats.’

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