Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Of course we're ALL sinners 

Reaction to the poll comes down to approximately two responses:
  1. Republicans sponsor pork too; and
  2. There are ways to mitigate the bill's impact, like plastic ketchup bottles.
The first defense is an example of the tu quoque fallacy. Because you can find Republicans who sponsor pork or goofy legislation doesn't invalidate the goofiness of the bills introduced by members of the DFL House Caucus. That is a red herring argument. I oppose pork, period. When comments run that one of the bills is sponsored by a Republican in the Senate while a DFLer in the House, it doesn't invalidate that a) it's goofy and b) a DFLer sponsored it. I haven't looked at the Senate's offerings yet; if Republicans propose these, they deserve criticism.

I'll even note another one for you: One of the lists circulating with weird DFL bills included this one from Larry Hosch (DFL-St. Joseph) ... and Sen. Michelle Fischbach (Rep. -- Paynesville). Larry Schumacher reports that they are sponsoring the bill to help a local manufacturer sell an $799 contraption that automatically dispenses bear bait. Is this a wacky bill? Some think so, but you can find dozens of such bills. Most such bills are like this: One noisy constituent wants to do something that the government has made illegal, often unintentionally. Rather than address the root cause -- the regulation of bait in hunting, which seems to be a cause celebre with animal rights people, and which reminds me of this joke -- you write some law that says that only for bear can one use reusable bait containers, and clean up after yerselves!

My libertarian tendencies lead me to find this entangling web threatening to our freedom, that eventually all activities will run afoul of some law and that we will all know that we could be arrested for something. But on the list of things leading us on the road to serfdom, a favor for a bear bait manufacturer-constituent is less offending, less ridiculous than a law prosecuting the Avon grocery store for not having a proper child restraint in its shopping carts, or the boater on Lake Shamineau who made the mistake of not buying the plastic ketchup bottle for his lunch.

Of course both parties do it; 'twas and ever shall be. Yet as Lew Rockwell -- a fellow far more libertarian than me -- puts it, the modern Democrats have really missed the point of liberalism:
They have never come to terms with the great insight of the old liberal revolution, which is that society is self managing over the long term. People can work out their problems. Human relationships are characterized most often as cooperative rather than antagonistic. People, not bureaucrats, know what is best for their own; and pursuing their self interest is compatible with, and even enhances, social well-being.

Such propositions are entirely rejected by most of the Democratic hopefuls. It's true too that Republicans have their own objections to the old liberal view, but we'll save these for another day. For now, suffice to say that party elites among the Democrats regard regular Americans as the problem and not the solution, so it is no surprise that they continue to have problems finding candidates for whom people are willing to vote. Think of it: They suppose all these awful things about the structure of the society in which we live and act, and then they ask us--the incompetent, pathological, unenlightened masses--to vote for them.

The heck of it is that the policies they promote end up bringing about conflict where none existed, and thus makes society reflect the very reality that they posit as their underlying theory. Their cure is the very disease that they sought to eradicate.

So sure, there are plastic ketchup bottles, but we are not trusted to make the choice of plastic ketchup bottles any more than we are trusted to choose cans for beer, or in general to care for beaches. We can't be trusted to look out for our children in shopping carts. We need to be told to pick up our reusable bear bait containers. I'd be tempted to call it the nanny state, but at least your nanny tucks you in bed at night, reads you a story and kisses your forehead good night. These knaves expect you to vote for them while they call you ungrateful for not wanting to pay more for their ensnaring laws.

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