Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Algore Abroad

Is it really appropriate for the former holder of the second-highest office in the USA to be talking like this in another country? Tell me a Republican who did this kind of stuff during the Clinton Administration's years. I don't there's an example of it. Gore should be an embarrassment to the Democratic Party. The fact that he's not speaks volumes.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Click It or Ticket -- the downside

Although I find him kind of hard to listen to when he fills in for Rush, Walter Williams is a brilliant man and a guy I wish we could clone and put in every college economics program, or, better yet, in every high school civics class.

I recently got nailed by the local gendarmerie for not having my seatbelt fastened. In addition to ticking me off, it also seemed ridiculous that four (count 'em) FOUR county cop cars were required to man a seatbelt check station. Professor Williams makes a great case for why (besides the $25.00 fine) this sort of thing SHOULD tick me off. Read on.

As the professor says, fastening my seatbelt is a good idea, and I should be doing it. But should I be compelled to do it? We've reached the stage in this country where the justification for a law -- essentially the threat of the use of force to guarantee compliance -- is that "it's a good idea."

Here are some other good ideas:

  • Wash your hands before eating.

  • Change your oil regularly.

  • Get exercise three times a week, at least.

  • Call your mom once in a while.

  • Floss

Are all of these worthy of a law to make sure we do the right thing? Should four county mounties come to my door and arrest me for waxy yellow buildup on my floors? Surely clean floors are a "good idea" too.

We've actually reached this level of intrusion on the smoking issue. Second-hand smoke, although not nearly the health threat the zealots imagine, is being attacked on all fronts. In neighboring St. Joseph County, even BARS cannot allow smoking. Private bars. Where people LIKE to smoke. Where the owners WANT people to be able to smoke and enjoy themselves without having to go outside (and leave the bar). Not smoking is a good idea. We've now got a gun to the head of people who want to smoke, and in most cases aren't really bothering anyone who doesn't.

As Professor Williams suggests, it is time we stop forcing people to do EVERYthing we think is a good idea. For one thing, sometimes the laws involved are dead wrong and/or based on bad evidence, second-hand smoke being a case in point. For another, and this will sound cliché, this is America. We aren't supposed to be rounding people up for personal habits, preferences, perversions or even just plain idiocy. We don't do it here. Unless you smoke and won't fasten your seatbelt.

That's all from me. I'll be driving off in my old Honda, smoking a ciggie, seatbelt off, dirty hands and unflossed teeth. Try to stop me, coppers.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006