Category Archives: Reason

Environmental Quandaries

I try to implement some sense when faced with choices that are, on the face, or as dictated by the masses, environmental, ecological and/or related to sustainability. The problem I run into more often than not, however, is that the so-called quandaries I encounter are not in the slightest bit rational. On the surface, they very well could make sense, but are typically conflated to such levels that invariably render them nonsensical.

For me, it nearly always comes down to the unintended consequences of the environmentally friendly choice. As an example, consider cloth, or reusable diapers. Putting aside the carbon footprint argument, (which I don’t put much stock in, but has, in this case, found to be on equal grounds, more or less) what about the immediate environmental consequences of choosing the cloth diaper? Compared to the parent of the child with the disposable diaper, you would inevitably be using more water to clean the diapers and more energy to run the washing machine. This point never seems to be considered. The argument, of course, against the disposable diaper is that it is plastic and will end up in a landfill someplace, spoiling the earth. I am skeptical of this claim. And frankly, it seems to me that if these landfills were a problem, that we’d find a way to strip-mine for petroleum products to be used as a fuel source.

Now, as I’ve mentioned, there are certain things that just make sense. Sustainable living, for instance, need not require the worship of Gaia. A certain level of respect, surely, but I don’t intend to sacrifice myself, or others, for its sake.

Another aspect of this argument I must comment on is its tendency to pervert or retard the market process. A perfect example of this is the decision of the federal and state governments to ban the use of incandescent light bulbs of 72 watts or more starting in January of 2012 (this wattage will gradually decrease until 2014 where it will cease at the 29 watt maximum). Now, if it made sense for the consumer to purchase more expensive, less effective light bulbs, they would. But it doesn’t. There is a reason why the attempted ban in New Zealand was overthrown, and that people are stockpiling 100-watt bulbs in droves. Also, what about the proper disposal of these new light bulbs? According to the new guidelines, one has to recycle them, but not as part of your regular recycling, because there is neon in them, which is a hazardous material. Does one need to drive them to a special disposal site; maintain a bin of neon in the corner of your living room so as to point out to future guest, “here’s the living room, and over there the lovely bin of neon.”

To back up for a moment, I do think the shift towards more effective, less energy consuming light bulbs will happen. It makes sense, surely. But I don’t think that should be up to the government to decide. It’s no surprise that big box retailers are following suit, reducing their inventory of incandescent light bulbs. With the pressure of the federal and state government on their shoulders, and the looming “ban,” how could they not? They need to survive.

At the end of the day, I want to make rational choices. Some of these rational choices are, in fact, mindful of sustainability. I think that’s important. On the other side, however, I wish for cognizance of certain invariable unintended consequences.

Go Green or Die, Bitches

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I Want My Kids To Do Drugs

I want my kids to do drugs. Wait, perhaps that’s not entirely accurate. What I want, as a parent, is to create an environment in which my (future, as in it will happen sometime in the future; not as in they are from the planet Zorbatron some 75 years into the new millennium) kids are given the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. I was discussing this with a friend recently. We decided, when we do become parents, that we wouldn’t provide all of the answers; nor would we strip the child of the opportunity to glean from a poor choice, or unreasonable decision. And I want to provide the emotional and intellectual support in order for those choices to be made.

So, do I really want my kids to do drugs? Probably not. But do I want to provide them with an environment that fosters and values deductive reasoning? Absolutely. I don’t wish to be strict, or choose to limit the opportunities for mistakes simply because I, as a shit-scared parent, don’t want to deal with the consequences. And for those parents out there, you’re probably thinking that this is wishful thinking; that I am naive; that I simply need to start having kids, then I’ll change my mind. You know what? You may be right. I may give in. But I don’t intend to. If the urge to intervene is present, I’ll do what I can to fight it.

I don’t want to be like Senator Adams.

(Hat Tip: Hit & Run)

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Tim Minchin’s Storm – The Animated Movie

If you love witty quips, Shag-style animations, and musings that can only be described as reason-fused and cleverly concocted, then you’ll love Tim Minchin’s “Storm.”

(HT: Morgan Loomis)

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The Day I Stopped Eating – Volume Three

The cheating, if you want to call it that (frankly, I don’t; let’s call it abuse; let’s call it hate), was such a foreign concept then.

I had seen it in movies once or twice. The story in which the person cheats, but the counterpart eventually forgives them for whatever reason. They could have been “under the influence,” made a lapse in judgment, lost their mind, succumbed to the wickedness of Lucifer himself.

But, to put it colloquially, this ain’t the movies. And while my mother certainly did forgive him, and invite him back, it wasn’t anywhere near redemptive. Redemption is for the movies. For literature. For those in want of redemption.

He didn’t want it. Not truly, anyhow. He claimed to want it. He professed his pain, his anguish, his sorrow for being such a let-down, a fallen sinner, “only human,” and all of that nonsense.

Hell, he claimed such things, to want forgiveness, to be redeemed.

He wept to be seen. Tears for the outsiders. Forgiveness from the guilty altruists, the pseudo-martyrs.

Meanwhile, he sneered inside.

After all, he’s only human. They’re supposed to sin. Be forgiven.

Not anymore, I say. Take your tramps, your convenient faith, your illegitimacy.

I am done with you.

More to come your way in Volume Four (if you haven’t read the first two: here’s one and two)

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Walter Block on Why We Must Discriminate

From the Ludwig von Mises blog, and an excerpt from Walter Block’s own book The Case For Discrimination comes this quote:

It is clear that discrimination on the part of individuals, but of course not the state, is part of our birthright of liberty.

If not, coercive bisexuality would be the logical implication of the antidiscrimination movement. Why? Well, male heterosexuals despicably discriminate against half the human race as bed/sex/marriage partners: all other men. Nor can female heterosexuals plead innocence against this dread charge; they, too, abjure half of their fellow creatures in this regard. Can male homosexuals deflect this deadly indictment? No, they, too, refuse to have anything to do with all females in such a context. Similarly, female homosexuals, lesbians, also avoid entangling alliances of this sort with all men — again, half the human race.

No, it is the bisexuals, and only the bisexuals, who are entirely innocent of discrimination of this sort. They are the only decent people in the entire sexual spectrum to refrain from this evil practice. (We now disregard the fact that bisexuals also make invidious comparisons based on beauty, age, sense of humor, etc.)

Therefore, if we really opposed discrimination in matters of the heart, we would all embrace bisexuality. Because we do not, the logical implication is that we should be forced to do so. For to hang back from this conclusion is to give not only tacit but active approval to discriminatory practices, surely one of the worst things in the politically correct panoply.

It might well be objected that the laws against private parties discriminating should apply only to business, not personal, interactions. But why just in commerce and not also in human relations? Surely, if there is any such thing as the right not to be discriminated against, it applies in all realms of human existence, not merely in the marketplace. If we have a right not to be murdered, or stolen from, and we do, then this right pervades all realms of human existence. It is equally improper to be killed or robbed in the bedroom as it is in the store.

And, as a matter of fact, present antidiscrimination law does not even apply, across the board, in the commercial realm. Rather, it depends upon “power” relationships, a rather meaningless concept, at least as employed by our friends on the Left.

For example, if I hate Chinese people, and therefore will not patronize their restaurants, I violate no law. However, if the owner of the Chinese restaurant, for example, despises Jews, he will not be legally able to forbid them from entry onto his premises. Why? Because sellers, in this case, are deemed to be more “powerful” than buyers.

But it does not always work in this way. If a large buyer, say, Wal-Mart, refused to purchase from any female-headed firm because of their taste for discrimination against women, they would not for a moment be able to get away with such a policy.

Read the rest here. Buy the book here!

I personally, and philosophically agree with Block on this. We discriminate every day. It’s how we decide who we should befriend, who we should stay clear from; who we should love, who we should distance ourselves from. I’ve written about this before. See here and here.

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