Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Sovereign Individual
Just finished reading Davidson and Rees-Mogg's The Sovereign Individual. Every so often you read a book that changes your view of life. I now look at government power with a more jaundiced eye than ever before. And I wasn't exactly a collectivist in any case! I've been a confirmed objectivist (note the small "o") for some years.

It struck me that a lot of the crises cobbled up by environmentalists and health crusaders have a perhaps not unintended effect. Global warming, for instance, enforces the logic that only national or supernational (not "supranational" - the UN is just a bigger state, not a different kind of state) entities can solve the terrible problems caused by greedy stupid capitalist white men. The same rationale applies to acid rain, the ozone non-hole, AIDS, world hunger and every other putative problem of recent years. Without these problems, we wouldn't need anywhere near as much government power. The Sovereign Individual predicts the decline of the nation-state, as well as the frantic efforts of those who depend on and profit from the nation-state to retain and strengthen its power. It all makes sense now, how the media and the political system work together. Hey, paranoia is when you think you know what's going on, right?
Funny living in Tallahassee how sometimes national events jump up and grab you. I walk through the Capitol courtyard several noontimes a week, on my way to the library or a restaurant. Yesterday I headed over to the library and bought a book (I never borrow books from the library, but have found it a good source of bargain tomes) on dieting: Kurzweil's rant about low-fat living The 10% Solution. I've tried Atkins and not been able to stay on it, so thought I'd give the much-despised low-fat regimen a try. So I'm heading back to work through the Capitol plaza, thinking about how hungry I'm going to be for the next, oh, thirty years or so. Then I see a couple of "Don't let Terri Schiavo die!" protesters wandering around aimlessly looking for a TV camera or at least a couple of legislators. One of them was holding a sign reading: "Don't starve the living!" So I'm thinking, is this a message for me from the diet gods? But then I realized it was OK. If the low-fat fanaticism turns out to be as painful as all that, I'll never stick with it, anyway, and go back to high living - high cholesterol, high blood pressure, high anxiety and gout all day every day. Now Terri's husband has chosen the ultimate low-fat, low-calorie diet for her. I just wish I knew more about her mental state or lack thereof, so I could get all worked up over keeping her "alive" or letting her die, whichever is more appropriate. The case is an education in how people take sides without having full information. And in these days of blogging, more information than anyone could want is available somewhere. But deciding rationally spoils all the fun. Where are the MRI's, EEGs and all the other brain scans that might prove whether anything's going on in her brain? You would think the educated populace would be clamoring for them. But I guess they're more concerned with soundbites.