Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Title II and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

I'm having a hard time with these two large sections of the Civil Rights Act.  I will explain why in person.

Text of act: http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=97&page=transcript
Wikipedia for simple explanation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_Rights_Act_of_1964

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Death Penalty in the U.S.

In a "Universal Periodic Review" of the U. S., the United Nations emphasized the death penalty as a major human rights violation in the U.S. Why does the U.S. continue to support this practice, which has been banned in most developed countries?

Four Loko Drink Ban

The FDA has threatened to ban the popular canned beverage that contains large amounts of caffeine and alcohol. Robin Hanson of Overcoming Bias claims that the ban comes out of "naked classicism."

Monday, November 15, 2010

San Francisco attempt to ban circumcision

Taking the banning of personal choices to the next level. 

Happy meal ban repealed

So the mayor of San Francisco has vetoed the "happy meal ban."  Good or bad?  Methinks good.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Obama to Appoint Web Privacy Czar

How big of a problem is internet privacy, and why should the government care?

Obamacare and the new Republican House

Republicans in the House of Representatives will likely try to repeal the new health care bill. I just wanted to use this to talk about the health care bill in general. Exactly what problems does the health care bill present? Is there a better alternative to fix a seemingly broken system?

Affirmative Action and Political Correctness on Campus

John Stossel of Reason Magazine holds his own affirmative action bake sale after one run by students at Bucknell University gets shut down by the school's administration. Why would a school oppose a bake sale that implements a system similar to the one used in its own admissions process?

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Banning Happy Meals

San Francisco has passed an ordinance that prevents restaurants from including toys with meals that contain a certain amount of calories and fat. McDonald's famous Happy Meal is no more. What role should the government have in curbing childhood obesity? Does childhood obesity constitute abuse? If so, who is to blame?

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Societal Responsibilities

Does society have responsibilities for some people, or not? Surely we would agree that for healthy adults society has no such responsibility and that those people are responsible for their own well-being. But what of children and those who physically or mentally disabled through no fault of their own?

My own, personal, thought on the matter is based on the idea that "the cost of freedom is self-responsibility" and that if someone in society is denied complete liberty (outside of aggressing against others) then in return society must care for them. Thus, I think it only right that those whom society denies complete liberty, minors, the mentally ill, ect., should be provided a minimum standard of care by society. Furthermore, I don't believe there is certain age where all minors turn into mature, self-responsible adults. In fact I have no doubt that there are some individuals mature earlier then 18, while many others don't mature enough to be self-responsible until years later. Therefore I suggest that society should provide for a minimum standard of care for all minors (and others who are not fit to care for themselves), and that the entry into mature adulthood should be voluntarily accepted by every individual. But, unlike how the current system of welfare is run, society should also collect the cost of the care it supplies from those who receive it, namely, their liberty. In this way everyone who accepts care from society also accepts to abide by its rules. They would be treated as minors by the state, not being given the vote, not being given the liberty to drink or smoke or do drugs, will be susceptible to curfew laws, and may required to attend mandatory schooling or employment.

Those who have voluntarily accepted adulthood in the eyes of society would be given full Liberty (limited only by the non-aggression principle) but would also be ineligible for any type of government assistance. Those who value freedom would get exactly what they want, as would those who want the government to be their responsible care taker. But, unlike as how today's system works, people would not be able to have their cake and eat it too. Today adult welfare recipients hand over the responsibility for their maintenance over to the rest of society but largely retain their freedoms to live however they want. This comes at the expense of those who want to be free and self-responsible who are forced to abide by paternalistic and moralistic laws, but also are forced to pay for the care of irresponsible smokers, drinkers, the obese, and many others besides.

The cost of freedom is always responsibility. But, today the cost of that freedom is not being born by those who exercise that freedom. This is an artificial government-created externality. I guess the cure for this gets back to our old question of how it is best fixed, by fixing the problem in the government, or by getting rid of the government altogether.

Happiness VS Freewill

Many philosophically minded people throughout the ages have come to the conclusion that Happiness is the ultimate human intrinsic good because everything humans do ultimately seems to come down to attaining happiness or avoiding the things that make us unhappy.

But, are there no competing intrinsic goods that can be identified? For example, what of human free-will? If you could live a happy life, but while being controlled both physically and mentally by others, would that be acceptable to you? If the only way you could gain your freedom was at the cost of a significant amount of happiness would this be a rational decision to make?

If you were plugged into the Matrix and living a happy life, would you choose to sacrifice that happiness to live in a much more harsh, perhaps even miserable, world in order to attain freedom and truth?