Hildegarde

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A Link For The Day

with 9 comments

Go here:

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2013/mar/07/its-your-own-good/

I’d say I was flabbergasted, but I’m used to it.

 

Written by janeh

February 19th, 2013 at 5:15 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

9 Responses to 'A Link For The Day'

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  1. Its true enough that people are poor at evaluating risks and applying statistics to themselves. The author assumes that people want long lives. Lets look at some of the risks.

    Alzheimer’s and dementia, tinnitus (A loud noise in your head 24 hours a day can be very annoying), having to leave your home because you can no longer climb steps, giving up your hobby of gardening because you can no longer pull weeds, hearing and eye sight problems.

    I’m sure others can add to the list. Is it really so bad to die at 75 instead of 80?

    To change the topic, I browse a newsgroup called soc.history.medieval. They usually manage to stick to history and avoid politics but this gem showed up last week:

    Indeed, but the nation needs a leader to impose a
    war-time state of emergency to cut the congress
    impasse. raise taxes especially import taxes, gun
    licence fees, and a lessening of state powers.
    He’ll sure need some balls!

    I leave it to Mique and Robert to comment!

    jd

    19 Feb 13 at 5:46 pm

  2. I’ll just see your “flabbergasted” and raise you an “outraged”. Or I would if I took such an arrogant dickhead seriously.

    Mique

    19 Feb 13 at 5:52 pm

  3. I notice the author being reviewed wants government not to keep us from getting what we want–except when we can’t REALLY want it, like smoking a pipe while thinking, or having a glass of wine at the end of the day. The reviewer is a “nudge” person and thinks Obama’s “cost benefit analysis” executive order has meaning.

    But the reviewer shares the author’s implicit assumption that government is so much wiser and better informed than mere people, and thus able to steer us toward the light. (They also share the notion that Prohibition “didn’t work” which is not compatible with statistics on alcohol-related diseases, by the way.) And they agree that “an element of coercion is inherent in the modern regulatory state.” Well, they’re right about that, at least.

    Does no one study the history of government? I could pile up more lives ruined and people dead through ostensibly benevolent governmental actions than they manage to rack up in most wars, but it never shakes the conviction of this sort of person that THIS time, they’re surely right. Hence my continued belief that they do not promote government to achieve some other end. A powerful, intrusive government IS the end.

    robert_piepenbrink

    19 Feb 13 at 5:55 pm

  4. jd, looks like he has a plan there. Sweep away all those pesky laws and constitutional restrictions leaving nothing but the Big Man with his army and police–what could possibly go wrong?

    Natually, Pol Pot, Hitler, Stalin and Mao would be too far out of period–as would be Alexander the Great, assorted Hellenistic rulers and various Julio-Claudians. And he’s probably too busy with medieval history for the names Amin, Mugabe, Assad and Hussein to mean anything. But I would like to speak to your man’s History prof and find out how he missed Henry VII, Henry VIII and Bloody Mary, not to mention Pedro the Cruel and assorted Byzantine and Muslim rulers. Anyone else remember the bit in A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS about chopping down the forest of law and leaving people completely exposed to the will of the ruler?

    But it’s an oddly common thing in medievalists. Textbooks always describe the extinction of limits on crown power as a Good Thing. I suspect the writers see themselves as the monarch’s tutors and council, not as persons hauled before said council.

    Call it Trotsky/Bukharin Syndrome.

    robert_piepenbrink

    19 Feb 13 at 7:15 pm

  5. Robert, I agree completely with you about the poster from the history group.

    Going back to the book being reviewed, the author has more faith in science than I do.

    Trans fats are bad for us? Maybe but are we sure they don’t have benefits we haven’t noticed.

    And costs-benefits analysis assumes we know all the costs and all the benefits that will occur over a lifetime.

    jd

    19 Feb 13 at 8:20 pm

  6. My day to go off topic. But we discuss education a lot so I’ll post this link.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/20/business/college-degree-required-by-increasing-number-of-companies.html?hp

    jd

    19 Feb 13 at 9:49 pm

  7. JD, I’m going to have to disagree on whether tinnitus is enough to make me want to die. Speaking as one who’s had it for 41 years (so far!) I can say that it can be lived with.

    And I don’t think the real question is longevity anyway. The real question here is why the mayor (any government) feels the need to force people to comply with their own wishes. This doesn’t even have any data to back it up – first, unless they’re NOT going to bar people from drinking 16 oz of diet soda, they’re misrepresenting their reasons for the ban. And second – honestly, I can offer myself as further anecdotal non-evidence that this is wrong: I don’t drink much soda and when I do, it’s diet.

    And yet I’ve managed to be overweight. Imagine.

    MaryF

    20 Feb 13 at 3:00 pm

  8. Mary, I’ve had tinnitus for about 15 years. Some days its a gentle murmur and other days its roaring like a jet plane and I wouldn’t wish it on my worse enemy.

    And I don’t drink soda and I’m overweight. I just eat too much and exercise too little.

    jd

    20 Feb 13 at 6:10 pm

  9. Ah yes, that evil manipulative government, ever trying to find new ways to exploit its citizens.

    Counterpoint, the long con:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/magazine/the-extraordinary-science-of-junk-food.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

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