Fluoridation: Our Precious Bodily Fluids Are in Danger!

Hayek: “The problem assumes the greatest importance when we consider that we are probably only at the threshold of an age in which the technological possibilities of mind control are likely to grow rapidly and what may appear at first as innocuous or beneficial powers over the personality of the individual will be at the disposal of government. The greatest threats to human freedom probably still lie in the future. The day may not be far off when authority, by adding appropriate drugs to our water supply or by some other similar device, will be able to elate or depress, stimulate or paralyze, the minds of whole populations for its own purposes.” (Constitution of Liberty, 216)

Rothbard on fluoridation.

Deer Park water’s mineral contents.

Some non-fluoride toothpastes, perfectly respectable:

Tom’s of Maine
Nature’s Gate

Don’t Recycle

Here is a little piece of environmentalist propaganda on the “Science” channel: “Recycling one ton of paper saves 17 trees.” Well, whoopty doo. Nonsense! First, recycling increases the supply of paper. That means that given a demand, the equilibrium quantity demanded rises. The quantity demanded for tree-made paper does not diminish by the entire amount of the produced recycled paper but by something less. (Yes, it is possible that “17 trees” takes this into account but how likely is that?)

Second, this assumes that forest-owning entrepreneurs do not plant new trees when mature trees are cut down. Yes, some trees are unowned and people do not care to replenish their supply, because such trees are not private property. But in many cases the trees suitable to be a material for making paper are specifically re-grown. It is simply not the case that forests are not well cared for resources.

Third, the reason why I have such a wide choice of shoes is precisely that so many other people also want shoes. Their demand and their consumer competition are not an obstacle to me but a blessing. Similarly, if the environmentalists convinced everyone to stop eating meat, then the number of chickens alive would plummet. Same with the trees. Some tree farms are deliberately created where there were no trees before at all in order to satisfy the demand. The “derived demand” for the trees exists only because of the original demand for paper. If people stopped using the paper, these farms would cease to exist.

Re: On Facebook: Israeli Soldier Posed With Bound Arab

There is the story of how “a former Israeli soldier posted photos on Facebook of herself in uniform smiling beside bound and blindfolded Palestinian prisoners.” Over 15,000 comments have been posted in response to it on Yahoo!, all of which are extremely stupid.

For the obvious unknown so far is whether the prisoners are in her custody legitimately. If they are, then the most the woman can be accused of is bad taste, even less than that: perhaps she is a bit flighty and just snapped the photos for fun. “Oh look at me, I’m so tough, I’m holding these sons of bitches by the balls!” What is the big deal, especially when in Israel women are required to “do time” in the military? In short, if the prisoners ought to be there (as known terrorists, say), then she did nothing wrong.

On the other hand, if the prisoners are not supposed to be there, have in fact been kidnapped, are being held without trial, etc., then a picture (are you kidding?) is beside the point. The outrage is not that she is seemingly enjoying her power over the inmates (have people not heard of the Stanford prison experiment?) but that an injustice is being perpetrated: these men are innocent or at least have been wronged by the Israeli state and must be freed at once, and those who seized and imprisoned them unlawfully ought to be punished. The woman may have done us a favor by exposing a corrupt prison regime.

That’s about it.

Oh yes, the numerous back and forth accusations of hypocrisy, you know, “if it were Muslims holding Israelis captive, no one would care,” etc. are nonsense. The “argument,” if it can be called that, comes down to “everyone’s a scumbag, so it’s Ok if the Israeli folks are, too.” Bleah.

Mosque in Manhattan?

Obama: Muslims have “the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances.”

It’s interesting how left-liberals suddenly come to appreciate private property rights in such a sensitive a matter, rights for which they usually have neither interest nor patience. Then there is the fact that Obama dares to express his opinion on this matter at all. Like all US presidents, he sees no limits to his power. Even local affairs find themselves subject to his scrutiny.

But let’s be honest and point out that he is right: this is a private deal between the owner of the land and his customers. If the mosque people offer the guy the most money, there is nothing objectionable in his taking it. That’s free enterprise in action. And that’s how private property resolves conflicts: any private deal is none of anybody’s business.

Still, the terrorists derived some of their ideology from their Muslim faith. And there are plenty of “folks” out there who hate Americans with a passion. Maybe they actually hate the US federal government and its foreign policy, but, like most Americans, too, they fail to make the distinction between the state and the people. Here’s a clue: hate the state? Don’t attack the people. Again, hate the state? Attack state property, like aircraft carriers. Nobody would care if a couple of these technological terrors sank. Have yourself a normal war, terrorists.

Even that will be extremely stupid, as it will only enrage the Leviathan. Look what happened after Timothy McVeigh’s own personal war. He single-handedly discredited local “leave us alone” movements against the feds. Bill Clinton bragged how McVeigh’s actions (evil surely in themselves) hurt his opposition. But a “normal” war would be an improvement.

Anyway, the key proposition I want to defend is: Let them hate so long as they (a) fear and (b) think it more profitable than dying to sell us their Middle Eastern junk. Hatred kills the hater not the hated. But as long then the former don’t fly airplanes into tall buildings or drop bombs on (again) the people, it does not matter to me what attitude they have toward me. You see, we in America have a freedom of emotions. You know, those private feelings which, if not expressed in plans and actions, are completely invisible to others? If that freedom is taken away from us, then which are going to be left?

And think about this: if terrorists feel like attacking the World Trade Center area again, maybe they’ll decide against it, because they’ll fear harming the mosque.

South Korea Fails to Hate Iran

So, this guy Bolton was on Fox News today and excoriated South Korea that it failed to impose some sanctions on Iran. “The measure for which the United States is trying to rally international support, the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act, targets Iran’s energy sector, which sustains its economy.”

The nerve these guys have for doing something of which the US hardliners disapprove. Outrageous, apparently, and all that.

Why can’t Seoul reply as follows: “South Korea is a free country, in which free enterprise flourishes. We do not consider cutting off peaceful trade between individuals and business firms located in different countries to be a foreign policy tool. The South Korean government will not participate in the malicious program of impoverishing both the country, its trading partners, and the world.”

I mean, the sanctions explicitly “target” the sector which “sustains the economy.” How is that not a declaration of war? How is that not a total war on the citizens, including women and children, of Iran?

Are there no, you know, normal ideologies anymore? Is a single prominent libertarian voice in public life too hard to find these days? Is everyone either a fool or a coward? Come on, South Korea, reject the crazed sanctions idea!

Just Drug War?

A just war is a rarity, because in order to be just, at the very least a war must be essentially private. A group of people voluntarily come under command of a general, pay for their own weapons, never attack the citizens which had nothing to do with the cause of war but fight against a precisely delineated group of enemies who are claimed to have aggrieved the soldiers.

Is the drug war going on in Mexico right now just or unjust? A simple reply is that it is neither; it is rather insane: it’s arbitrary slaughter.

Still, this is indeed a private war between the Prohibition-induced militarized drug producers and the naturally militarized government. G-men, as it were, battle against gangs of drug-men. The citizens are mostly unharmed. Yet it was the government that made this war a reality by imposing and enforcing the Drug Prohibition. The drugmen could be said to be fighting for their natural right peacefully to produce private goods for the consumers. It is true that idealists of various kinds have for many decades tried to “save us from ourselves,” and for that they have a lot to answer. They “disapprove” of drug use, as if anybody cared for their solicitude. The idealists want to be Moses-like lawgivers presenting us with commandments like “Just say no to drugs (and if you don’t, we’ll kill you).” To them drug buyers and sellers are disgusting vermin to be exterminated or shoved into a government cage. They aim to cleanse the earth from the “impure.”

Anyway, the drugmen have the right to continue in their occupation of drug manufacture, and the government is being unjust in outlawing their trade and punishing them for it. The drugmen are in the right in jus ad bellum if obviously not in jus in bello. But the latter injustice is, too, an easily foreseen consequence of the Drug Prohibition.

“Her Death Was a Blessing”

So said a woman who drove us to the airport when we were leaving Florida in mid-June regarding the death of her very mentally ill daughter years ago. And I wondered, first, for whom was it a blessing?

For the woman, because her daughter’s death freed her from a tiring duty to care for her? That seems a bit selfish, don’t you think?

For the daughter who may now be enjoying some sort of heavenly existence with her powers restored? But in that case, if her death was a blessing to the girl herself, then by all logic the mother should have mercy-killed her. That would have caused the “blessing” to occur sooner than it actually did and released the daughter from her apparently miserable and subhuman existence. The fact that it never occurred to the woman indicates that she did not use “blessing” in this sense.

For the world as a whole which now has less pain and suffering than before in some utilitarian sense? But everyone undergoes suffering, and there is no perfection in this world. If the world, as I note in the previous post, were truly cleansed from the impure and the unhappy, there would be no one left.

What then is the meaning of “it was a blessing” supposed to be? When is death ever a blessing? I suggest that one must eventually give in to death and declare the earthly battle over, nevertheless death is never a blessing, whatever the state of the person is.

The only exception seems to be death that ends the painful pre-death agony. But even here we are again back to the idea that agony could be ended sooner or avoided altogether by killing the person. Praxeologically, if not legally, killing is the same as letting die, a deliberate human action that results in certain precise consequences.

Cf. Mises, Human Action, 13.

“We Don’t Want Society Getting Behind It”

That was the stupendous thought uttered by Bill O’Reilly in a discussion of marijuana legalization. For you see, apparently making the “drug” legal entails society sanctioning its use. Is he serious? Has he no concept of the difference between illegal and immoral or unadvised? Has he never heard the expression “vices are not crimes”? Just because something is legal does not mean that “society” must approve of that legal thing.

Marijuana users may well be shunned, denied employment, undergo family “interventions,” whatever. Yet the grass may still be legal to produce or use, meaning that cops won’t crack your skull for a smoke. Surely, the combination of “legal yet tacitly disapproved” is conceivable, happens all the time, and does not constitute “society’s getting behind marijuana smoking.”

I mean, we can argue that a nagging wife or a stingy man has a bad character trait. “Society” certainly does not get behind such nasty vices. That does not mean that nagging or stinginess ought to be outlawed.

Moreover, it is not even clear that we ought to disapprove of marijuana use (as opposed to abuse). When legalized, marijuana’s quality will improve dramatically, as big and small companies enter the industry to serve the demand and quality and price competition commences.

And for goodness’ sake, don’t scare us with the vision of children lying in the streets in a smoked (or drunken) stupor. I thought only left-liberals used the “it’s for the children” trick. Parents protect their children from numerous harms; they can easily extend this protection, as they do already, to unadvised marijuana consumption.

I mean, look, Mises was right to have written that the harm one can do to one’s soul by consuming bad ideas is far greater that the harm one can do to one’s body by smoking some pot. Seen in this light, freedom of speech is the worst thing that befell us since the bubonic plague epidemic. If paternal and benevolent government censors had been empowered to protect the masses from bad ideas, perhaps socialism would never have reach such popularity. This goes the other way, too: perhaps O’Reilly own show is dangerous to the public; what if he infects the body politic with vicious ideas?

Where does protecting people from themselves end? Must we enslave the populace for — yuck! — “their own good”? The Drug Prohibition is a policy at war with itself.

“Society” vs. “High Society” on Marijuana

In fact, in a free society1 defined as “an enduring and cooperating social group whose members have developed organized patterns of relationships through interaction with one another” in which marijuana is legal it will be almost certain that society2 defined as “a part of the community that sets itself apart as a leisure class and that regards itself as the arbiter of fashion and manners” will disapprove of marijuana use. The legality and opprobrium of marijuana can co-exist very easily, as can the legality of risky extreme sports and parental attempts to persuade their kids not to engage in them, or the legality of beer and social contempt for alcoholism. Neither society1 nor society2 will fall apart from the end of the Drug Prohibition; on the contrary, the end of unjust punishing of victimless crimes, people’s taking control over their own consumption rather than being paternalistically beaten into submission, the end of the G-men vs. drug-men vs. peaceful citizens violence, and an emergence of a private and voluntary drug culture, like the alcohol consumption culture in the US, will civilize the entire world.

Purpose of Forcing Young People to Stay 12 Years in Government Schools

It’s not in order to transmit to the new generation certain authoritative information, such as reading, writing, and arithmetic, but rather to dull the “students'” minds and crush their spirits.

There is a quadruple injustice going on here. First, government schools are tax-financed; the money is extorted from the taxpayers by force. Second, the people are paying at least twice as much for government schools as they do for private schools and much more than that as they do for homeschooling. Third, schooling is compulsory: every child must go to one of these prisons, another absurd use of government coercion and compulsion, or else the parents must double-pay (their tax money plus the private school tuition). Fourth, the money goes toward ruining the children’s minds and morals, such that at the end of their careers in these state hellholes young adults emerge mere shadows of men.

Just as the point of the Army boot camp is to teach obedience which for the military is far more important than combat skills — today millions can be exterminated at a push of a button requiring little martial skills from the soldier — so government schooling is intended to inculcate obedience. Those doctrines are propounded that justify government omnipotence and the duty of a citizen-subject to obey unconditionally. The Army’s training camp is just a logical extension of the public school life and philosophy.

And then the crazed left-liberals accuse libertarians of wanting to starve the children or deprive them of “equal opportunity” or some such nonsense. The children would be better off if every left-liberal dropped dead.

So, free the children!