Monday, September 26, 2005

Our Gaia, Who Art In The Ozone

Thanks to Jonah Goldberg of NRO's Corner today, I find this excellent analysis of only state-favoured religion in Canada and the US: environmentalism. Thanks to Steven Landsburg (and his book "The Armchair Economist"), I have a template for the letter I expect to have to write myself in a few years. I'm going to quote the whole thing here:

Dear [pre-school teacher]:
When we lived in Colorado, [my daughter] was the only Jewish child in her class. There were also a few Moslems. Occasionally, and especially around Christmas time, the teachers forgot about this diversity and made remarks that were appropriate only for the Christian children. These remarks came rarely, and were easily counteracted at home with explanations that different people believe different things, so we chose not to say anything at first. We changed our minds when we overheard a teacher telling a group of children that if Santa didn't come to your house, it meant you were a very bad child; this was within earshot of an Islamic child who certainly was not going to get a visit from Santa. At that point, we decided to share our concerns with the teachers. They were genuinely apologetic and there were no more incidents. I have no doubt that the teachers were good and honest people who had no intent to indoctrinate, only a certain naïveté derived from a provincial upbringing.

Perhaps that same sort of honest naïveté is what underlies the problems we've had at [pre-school] this year. Just as [my daughter]'s teachers in Colorado were honestly oblivious to the fact that there is diversity in religion, it may be that her teachers at the [pre-school] have been honestly oblivious that there is diversity in politics.

Let me then make that diversity clear. We are not environmentalists. We ardently oppose environmentalists. We consider environmentalism a form of mass hysteria akin to Islamic fundamentalism or the War on Drugs. We do not recycle. We teach our daughter not to recycle. We teach her that people who try to convince her to recycle, or who try to force her to recycle, are intruding on her rights.

The preceding paragraph is intended to serve the same purpose as announcing to [my daughter's] Colorado teachers that we are not Christians. Some of them had never been aware of knowing anybody who was not a Christian, but they adjusted pretty quickly.

Once the Colorado teachers understood that we and a few other families did not subscribe to the beliefs that they were propagating, they instantly apologized and stopped. Nobody asked me what exactly it was about Christianity that I disagreed with; they simply recognized that they were unlikely to change our views on the subject, and certainly had no business inculcating our child with opposite views.

I contrast this with your reaction when I confronted you at the preschool graduation. You wanted to know my specific disagreements with what you had taught my child to say. I reject your right to ask that question. The entire program of environmentalism is as foreign to us as the doctrine of Christianity. I was not about to engage in detailed theological debate with [my daughter's] Colorado teachers and they would not have had the audacity to ask me to. I simply asked them to lay off the subject completely, they recognized the legitimacy of the request, and the subject was closed.

I view the current situation as far more serious than what we encountered in Colorado for several reasons. First, in Colorado we were dealing with a few isolated remarks here and there, whereas at the [pre-school] we have been dealing with a systematic attempt to inculcate a doctrine and to quite literally put words in children's mouths. Second, I do not sense on your part any acknowledgment that there may be people in the world who do not share your views. Third, I am frankly a lot more worried about my daughter's becoming an environmentalist than about her becoming a Christian. Fourth, we face no current threat of having Christianity imposed on us by petty tyrants; the same can not be said of environmentalism. My county government never tried to send me a New Testament, but it did send me a recycling bin.

Although I have vowed not to get into a discussion on the issues, let me respond to the one question you seemed to think was very important in our discussion: Do I agree that with privilege comes responsibility? The answer is no. I believe that responsibilities arise when one undertakes them voluntarily. I also believe that in the absence of explicit contracts, people who lecture other people on their "responsibilities" are almost always up to no good. I tell my daughter to be wary of such people — even when they are preschool teachers who have otherwise earned a lot of love.

Sincerely,

Steven Landsburg


Recycling is worse than voodoo. It forces us into a raccoon-like intimacy with our trash. And it amounts to a sacrifice of wealth on the altar of anti-life statism. If recycling were profitable, it would not have to be mandatory. It is mandatory, therefore it is not profitable. Therefore it is a waste of money. Therefore my wealth is being reduced--i.e. stolen--by fiat... and I am simultaneously compelled to finger through my garbage like some sort of flea-ridden rodent.

I hate recycling.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Guest Post: Occam's Carbuncle

When Occam took his Carbuncle off the air a few months ago, I gladly offered to put up any guest posts he decided to write. I am very pleased to present Occam's first such contribution:

Top 10 Possible Liberal Campaign Slogans (in no particular order)

1. Suckers wanted.

2. Because we’re worth it.

3. Let our fingers do the taking.

4. The quicker cocker upper

5. Yeah, we stink, but look at those guys!

6. We like it so much, we bought the country.

7. Maybe we’re born with it. Maybe it’s just another fucking lie.

8. There are some things that money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s a slush fund.

9. Now with an offensive odour slightly diminished by the passage of time.

10. Vote…don’t vote. It’s all the same to us, jerk. We’re not going anywhere.



Heh, indeed.

Thanks Occam. Your hiatus has been a real loss to Canadian blogging. It's been a gap that I haven't even tried to fill, because in all honesty I just Don't Fucking Care about Canadian politics at this point. When that changes--in 2 months or 20--I'll let you know. Until then, Paul Martin can stuff Stephen Harper's head up Jack Layton's ass, for all I care.

Actually I think that last bit is in the Tory Policy Book (motto: We're Liberal Lite! Same crappy socialist bullshit, but with 15% less support!)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Two good finds

From Gods of the Copybook Headings:
Governments are quite good at shooting and arresting people - not always the right people, but close enough for government work...


From the Volokh Conspiracy:
"Reverse Mussolini Fallacy": The argument that, because Mussolini (supposedly) made the trains run on time, it's wrong to make the trains run on time.

The latter reminds me of a killer rebuttal my brother has just taught me:

"That sounds like something Hitler would have said!!!"

Heh.

Verily, pith replete.

Free Market Salvation

Okay, so freedom may not be a panacea--but then again what is?

In a comment to one of my recent posts (insert windy sigh here), The Carbuncle Formerly Known as Occam makes the following excellent point:
If insurance companies owned the levees, New Orleans would be dry as a bone right now.

As Aldini remarks in another context, I find this to be intuitively obvious. If a company's livelihood depends on the levees surviving a Category 5 hurricane, they'd probably do a better job of it than a government whose livelihood depends instead on fooling some of the people all of the time.

Of course, if insurance companies owned the levees, they would cook poor people for food and sell their livers to Halliburton etc etc etc, but don't you think Occam's right?

And for all you big government types who get the vapours at the thought of people owning their own lives: worry not, little dingos! Privately owned levees? Ha! Like there's any chance of THAT happening in Canada! I mean, it's still illegal to pay for your own hip operation in this country! And that's just the way you like it!

Keep up the good work, you cute gov-lovers. You're the best!

Monday, September 05, 2005

Wow

Thanks to Staples for the pointer. This is one of the best essays I have ever read.

Angry, powerful, and exactly right.

Lessons

In no particular order:

1. When your city is evacuated, you should leave.
2. Water and frozen/canned cooked food: You will need more than you have.
3. Consider buying a gun. If civil order breaks down entirely, a tiny sliver of the population will clearly go mad.
4. Don't trust the government to protect you. If you believe that a Democratic (or Liberal) administration would, by its nature, likely do a better job than a Republican administration, then you are a fool.
5. Every once in a while, everything goes wrong at the same time.
6. If I were Al Qaeda, I would attack the US right now.
7. The US Dept of Homeland Security would not be able to respond adequately to a serious attack.
8. Politics is vicious. Absolutely everything is fair game.
9. There are millions of Americans--mostly black Americans--who live in a type of poverty that resembles Third World conditions. And it is always the poorest who suffer the most when society breaks down. The same thing is true about thousands of Native Canadians. 50 years of socialist intervention has not helped in the way it was intended. Is it the case that people in these desperate circumstances would be beter off if there were more government help? Or does chronic government aid impoverish people in other ways?
10. Desperate circumstances bring out the best in some people, and the worst in others, in big ways and small. Bush and Blanco have not covered themselves in glory. Neither has Robert F. Kennedy Jr.. No surprise: Stockwell Day remains an idiot, as do German Greens.

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