Respectful Insolence

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last seven years, it’s that there are a handful of people in the “natural health” movement (a.k.a., quackery movement) who can reliably counted upon to bring home the crazy in spades. There is, of course the granddaddy of all conspiracy sites, Whale.to, and its creator John Scudamore, for whom no quackery is too quacky, no pseudoscience too ridiculous, and no conspiracy theory too outlandish. Truly, that is a high bar of crazy to surpass, but there are certainly people out there trying to do it. Perhaps the one I encounter the most is Mike Adams, creator of NaturalNews.com, a man for whom similarly no quackery is too quacky, no pseudoscience too ridiculous, and no conspiracy theory too outlandish. The difference is that Adams has not achieved the sheer breadth of crazy, given that he tends to specialize more than anything else in promoting quackery and antivaccine pseudoscience. Lately, however, he has been branching out into New World Order conspiracy theories and the like; so maybe someday he’ll get there.

Sometimes, in bringing home the crazy, Mike Adams brings up a story I haven’t heard of before and flogs it to death. Such was the case yesterday, when I came across a post entitled Vaccination rights attorney Patricia Finn threatened with criminal charges; New York State demands she surrender names of all clients. Given Adams’ track record, if he were to proclaim that it’s raining outside, I’d stick my head out the window to verify it before accepting that it is, in fact, raining outside. Let’s just say that Adams’ view of reality is–shall we say?–skewed to the point that you can’t take anything he says at face value. So let’s see what he’s saying about Finn:

Vaccine rights attorney Patricia Finn is being targeted by the Ninth Judicial District of New York State, which has threatened to strip her of her license to practice law and even file criminal charges against her. Finn is one of several “vaccine rights” attorneys across America who helps parents assert their rights to protect their children from potentially deadly vaccines. She’s considered a hero by many, but a villain by the status quo for daring to stand up against the vaccine-pimping medical police state that exists in America today.

I decided to Google Patricia Finn in order to see if I could find out some more objective information about her, given that I’ve never heard of her before. It was difficult. The first page was nothing more than rants on antivaccine and conspiracy sites about how Finn is being targeted, or how there’s a conspiracy to silence her and prevent her from standing up to the medical/pharmaceutical complex, with Mike Adams’ piece being near the top, along with Finn’s website and her Facebook page, the latter of which gives you a good idea of Finn’s proclivities, given that she has listed as “likes” pages and organizations like the Vaccination Information Network, Dr. Wakefield’s Work Must Continue, and simlar antivaccine sources. On her webpage, she proclaims that her practice areas include:

  • Vaccine injuries and vaccine exemptions (for employees, school-age children, military personnel, immigration matters and others being mandated to vaccinate).
  • Criminal defense (DWI’s, all felonies and misdemeanor crimes)
  • Education law (concentrating in special education, suspensions, IEPs, vaccination exemptions and other school related matters.

In particular, Finn seems to specialize in obtaining religious exemptions to vaccination. Now, believe it or not, I don’t inherently object to this practice. As wrong on the science Finn is, everyone, even antivaccine parents, deserves legal representation, and the law is the law. In order to make vaccine exemptions more difficult to get, the law should be changed to make that happen. Until then, given that this is a nation of laws, everyone has the right to challenge laws in court on a Constitutional basis. She’s misguided. She’s backed the wrong side from a scientific basis. But she can certainly specialize in this area of law if she likes. More searching led me to discover that Finn has been the lawyer for a number of prominent vaccine cases. For instance, she represented a nurse named Suzanne Field who sued in 2009 to try to get New York’s regulation requiring health care workers to be vaccinated. Then, of course, she was involved with a parent in West Virginia seeking a religious exemption for her child.

Adams really brings home the crazy in his next passage. Whatever the State of New York is or is not doing when it comes to investigating Finn, no one–and I mean no on–can ramp up the crazy hyperbole the way Mike Adams can:

Perhaps even more alarmingly, a letter outlining the various charges against Patricia Finn included the demand that she immediately surrender her complete list of clients to the judiciary. When I saw this, it immediately set off alarm bells. This is not merely a gross violation of attorney/client privilege; it’s also a thinly-veiled attempt for the New York judiciary to terrorize the parents who have sought legal help in opting out of dangerous vaccines.

Furthermore, it could serve as the starting point for New York State to dispatch CPS workers to the homes of all of Finn’s clients, where their children might be kidnapped by CPS and sold into sex slavery (this is a common behavior of CPS workers across the country, where low-income children simply “disappear” into the system and suffer ongoing sexual abuse by state workers or even high-paying clients, similar to what happened at Penn State). I don’t have the space to go into all the evidence that CPS functions as a child kidnapping and sex slavery ring, but the organization isn’t called “Communist Pedophile Services” for no reason.

Yes, you heard it right. According to Adams, the real reason the State of New York is going after Finn is because they want her client list so that CPS workers can find unvaccinated children, kidnap them away from their parents, and sell them into sex slavery. It would be laughable if I didn’t know that Adams is dead serious about this. In any case, one thing that is absolutely certain here is that we’re getting only one side of the story, most likely because, as Finn complains again and again, the proceedings by the NYS Ninth Judicial District Grievance Committee are confidential. This allows Finn to go to cranks like Mike Adams and Curt Linderman at InfoWars to say whatever she wants, and the court can’t respond. It’s very much the same thing as when state medical boards go after quacks. The quacks can say pretty much whatever they want about the proceedings while they are going on, and the state medical boards are constrained by the confidential nature of the proceedings from responding.

As an example of this phenomenon, take a look at this video of Mike Adams interviewing Patricia Finn for the conspiracy site InfoWars. (Sorry, I can’t embed it.) In the video, she inadvertently provides some information that might not be consistent with her claims of persecution in that apparently there were complaints made against her and there were also apparently allegations involving false advertising. After more searching I found more information, although most of it is from sites claiming The Man is out to get Finn. For instance, there is this post by Raven Clabough entitled N.Y. Threatens to Remove License of Anti-vaccine Attorney. She seems to be blaming the action on Finn’s representation of an antivaccine–excuse me, “health freedom”–group called We The Parents, who hired Finn to represent them in legal action against the state of West Virginia, which is one of the only states that doesn’t have a religious exemption for its vaccine mandate. Finn mentions in her video that she was served with papers after having appeared at an antivaccine rally in West Virginia sponsored by We The Parents, as shown in this video:

Notice how Finn has clearly completely drunk the antivaccine Kool-Aid, with a panoply of standard antivaccine tropes, interspersed with plugs for her law office.

So what’s really going on? Again, we have only one side of the story, but even that side is at times inadvertently revealing. For instance, in her interview, she reveals that in 2009 a pediatrician filed a grievance against her alleged that she was encouraging people to subvert the law and that her actions could be a public health risk and then later charged with an advertising violation. Her most recent trouble began about a week ago, when she was served with papers. Unfortunately, the only source I could find for what was contained in those papers are Infowars and her interview. According to an InfoWars article:

These most recent charges have to do with suspected false advertising where the committee questions just how many clients Patricia has represented. This is also one of the reasons that this committee is demanding a list of names from her former and current clients, a clear violation of attorney/client privilege. This committee is placing charges on this undaunted attorney because she is bucking the system. This is plain and clear to all activists within the anti-vaccine/pro vaccine choice community since we witness these tactics on a daily basis. Patricia states in my recent interview with her, that she believes that the timing of these recent complaints was “designed to intimidate me and unsteady me, in anticipation of my key note address in West Virginia.”

Finn rails against this as a violation of attorney-client privilege and even a violation of HIPAA, the U.S. patient privacy law. Now, I’m not a lawyer, but I fail to see how requesting the docket numbers of cases for which she is representing clients is a violation of client-attorney privilege, given that, if legal proceedings have been filed, it’s all public record. Moreover, the HIPAA complaint strikes me as spurious as well, because HIPAA has explicit exemption in it for legal investigations, particularly those by state medical boards. I’m pretty sure that investigations by state boards regulating lawyers and their conduct would be similarly exempt. Moreover, as Skewed Distribution observes, if you check out Finn’s website, you’ll see that she has claimed to have handled “several cases” where vaccines have caused clients injury, but the link goes to nowhere. All it says is “coming soon.” And, as discussed above in an article favorable to Finn by a bunch of conspiracy loons, the reason the committee is demanding this list of names and docket numbers is because they want to verify that she isn’t exaggerating or lying when she claims to have represented so many important cases.

Interestingly, in the very Infowars interview with Mike Adams in which she tries to defend herself, she basically almost admits that she’s played fast and loose with advertising, saying, “I’m being barred to admission to the Supreme Court because I’m accused of not stamping an envelope with ‘attorney advertising’ when it wasn’t even in my opinion an advertisement…” All of this is attributed by both Finn and Adams to what they call as the “Wakefield effect,” which they define as, “outrageous and illegal censorship and oppression dished out to anyone who takes a firm stand against the vaccine industry’s lies.” In actuality, I think Skewed Distribution gets it right when he notes:

Regarding the potential issues with advertising, the Rules of Professional Conduct for New York (8) state the following, which may or may not be of interest in this case.

Page 31. “A lawyer or law firm shall not use or disseminate or participate in the use or dissemination of any advertisement contains statements or claims that are false, deceptive or misleading”.

Arguably, this page violates that rule in that it represents as sources of reliable information on vaccines the website of the antivaccine group the National Vaccine Information Center. Remember, that’s Barbara Loe Fisher’s group, and, as I’ve documented ad nauseam right here on this very blog, not a reliable source of information. Just type “NVIC” into my blog’s search box if you don’t believe me. Skewed Distribution also notes:

Ms. Finn’s webpage goes on to state that, “Literature on vaccines is plentiful and it is hard to find neutral information”. No, it’s not hard at all. In fact, all one would need to do is log onto the CDC website.

Whether or not any of this is part of the committee’s equation in pursuing Patricia Finn, I don’t know. What I do know is that Finn is pursuing the tried and true crank technique of taking advantage of the confidentiality of professional investigations, such as legal misconduct panels’ investigations and state medical board investigations of quacks to tell only one side of the story, secure in the knowledge that these panels and boards by law can’t refute their spin. She’s also using another tried-and-true technique beloved of cranks. Basically, she’s crying “persecution” and painting her prosecution as the end result of a major conspiracy, rather than because she might have broken the law, or at the very least screwed up big time. In doing so, she’s rallying the antivaccine crankosphere around her, and this is, I believe, an intentional strategy. Not only does it have the advantage of casting her as the underdog, but it allows her to frame her prosecution as politically motivated and directed at trying to silence her “dangerous message.” I’ll conceded that her message is dangerous, but not for the reason she thinks. Finn thinks she’s threatening pharmaceutical companies and entrenched interests. What she’s really doing is endangering children.

Comments

  1. #1 prn
    February 29, 2012

    Given the governments’ size of economic share, increasing elements of force and coercion, and track record (Nifong, child grabs, some massacres, and previous mass detentions), irrespective of a lawyer’s potential misbehavior, a lot of people don’t want to be on a list placed in potentially unfriendly officials’ hands. I’ve been around places where that pot boiled over and it wasn’t pretty. Really.

  2. #2 Lawrence
    February 29, 2012

    Reminds me of that lawyer in CA that was suing for the Obama birth certificate. She was finally stomped on by the judiciary and ABA, not because she was being persecuted, but because she was a complete nutjob….

  3. #3 Narad
    February 29, 2012

    Apparently, Ms. Finn has even managed to generate complaints at MDC, e.g.,

    When I spoke with her a few years ago, she never asked me what, if any, religious beliefs beliefs I held … not even my religious denomination. Never asked me any questions at all as a matter of fact – not one question regarding how I felt about the practice of immunization. She was very quick to try to get my credit card number and send a cookie cutter letter right out though.

    She charges $600.00 to “write” a letter which contains a bunch of scripture. Apparently the laundry list of scripture is supposed to tell the story of one’s religious beliefs without ever giving an explanation of the beliefs. Also, she’s under the impression that submitting a letter on law firm letterhead is going to have some sort of magical powers over a school district in New York … it does not.

  4. #4 Narad
    February 29, 2012

    One more, from the same MDC poster:

    Just a little side note, Mr. [James] Filenbaum has been disbarred in NY. Now he has Patricia Finn charging $600.00 to write letters in his place. Because Ms. Finn recently told a parent to refuse to explain her religious beliefs after the school requested the explanation, the school (public) denied her exemption and of course Ms. Finn[] got a lot more than $600 when an appeal had to go before NYS Dept. of Education Commissioner Mills.

    Filenbaum is indeed listed in New York as “resigned from bar — disciplinary reason” and is even panned briefly in this cached CFIC bit. If it does come down to charging once to do something improperly in order to charge more on appeal, her problem may be worse than advertising materials.

  5. #5 Narad
    February 29, 2012

    Oh, and the three appeals Finn has brought before the Commissioner of Education in New York (15217, 15310, and 16324) have all failed. For an example of how she prepped her client for the federal version of the last one, check out the testimony here (PDF; highly recommended as an illustration of how not to go about such things).

    Now, I haven’t read through the Commissioner’s decisions in a while, but it’s quite possible to survive the sincerity testing. Basically, it seems to not involve shooting yourself in the foot in feigning religiosity. If one were a competent attorney, one might follow those leads, including not blowing off the superintendant when asked for a meeting, because that’s the least strict scrutiny you’re going to be looking at for some time in case, you know, you kind of messed up the original letter.

  6. #6 stephenwv
    February 29, 2012

    LOL. “There they go again.” This entire article is all about Slinging mud and name calling to avoid the truth of the issue: Destruction of freedom, the Constitution, and the rule of law. When liberals lose on the issues they sling mud to divert from the truth. I agree with Hillary Clinton:
    December 28, 2010 | Associated Press
    “U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton led a chorus of political figures in the United States and Europe in condemning the ruling, saying that it raised “serious questions about selective prosecution and about the rule of law being overshadowed by political considerations.”
    Using the Judicial system to terrorize the people. The THREAT of publicly exposing their actions is a coercion to attempt to force their behavior to conform, against their will and their freedom, the confiscation of the ability to control their own private lives and what is best for their children. The government and progressives, contrary to their own anointed beliefs, do not know what is best.
    It is time to Legalize Freedom and Restore the Constitution.
    When the people fear the government there is Tyranny. When the government fears the People, there is Liberty.

  7. #7 captainahags
    February 29, 2012

    I Can capitalize RAndom lEtters Too. IT doEsn’t make youR quOteMine any more Effective.
    In all seriousness, your personal freedom ends where it starts to impinge on others. IE, you can choose not to vaccinate your children, but if you do so, they will not then be given the freedom to attend a public school and expose others to infectious diseases without significant vetting. The knife cuts both ways- you have all the freedom you want when it comes to vaccines, but don’t expect others to have to compensate for your kid’s lack of immunity.

  8. #8 Science Mom
    February 29, 2012

    Patricia Finn is the attorney representing some anti-vaxx parents in NY I wrote about last week: http://justthevax.blogspot.com/2012/02/anti-vaxx-parents-take-their-case-to.html

    While I’m not a lawyer, the case does not appear to have any merit, particularly since the parents agreed to keeping their children home during an outbreak of a VPD when they signed the exemption.

  9. #9 Science Mom
    February 29, 2012

    LOL. “There they go again.” This entire article is all about Slinging mud and name calling to avoid the truth of the issue: Destruction of freedom, the Constitution, and the rule of law.

    What is the “truth of this issue” then stephen? We only have a notoriously anti-vaxx lawyer appealing to a consistently erroneous website with her version. How is anyone’s freedom being “destructed”? I don’t seem to recall any Constitutional right to eschew vaccines. Parents can refuse them in 48 states based upon States’ rights.

  10. #10 Igor
    February 29, 2012

    Even as a practicing NYS attorney, I can only guess the specific instances of Ms. Finn’s behavior leading to these disciplinary hearings. Proper enforcement and just adjudication of cases involving unethical behavior are difficult to implement given the confidential nature of disciplinary proceedings and self-imposed rules. However, even here can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the necessary.

    NYS Rules of Professional Conduct contain certain major prohibitions as well as ineffectual suggested ethical or unethical behaviors. Among the ones applicable to Ms. Finn I can think of a restrictions on advocating breach of criminal or administrative code, which in this case involves possible fraud against the State and violations of the health code. A perjery prosecution is unlikely given the difficulty in proving scienter of the witness, Ultimately, federal Judges in the area are not uninitiated at seeing through the rouse, as Judge Jones did in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area. It is no surprise that faking an anti-vaccine religion is harder then they thought, given the mark it can have on the family lives.

    It is legal and ethical incompetence for an attorney to recommend what amounts to potential perjury by a client in circumvention of a public health law. Past laws that were deemed constitutionally unjust were usually challenged head on Finn’s tactics shame me as a member of her profession.

    P.S. Her client list, as long as it doesn’t contained sealed names or records or information from the client to the attorney for purposes of representation, is not covered by the attorney-client privilege. Most of this information should be public as it would be very hard to represent a client without someone taking note of attorney appearances down the line.

  11. #11 Denice Walter
    February 29, 2012

    I have a slightly different take on Mikey: this isn’t just ranting and raving, it’s ranting and raving with a *purpose*- although he portrays himself as a *health* expert, a great deal of his articles deal with political topics. Since the economic collapse ( Fall ’08), NaturalNews has increasingly shown political and economic diatribes representing his particular point of view: libertarian, small government, low tax, non-interference.
    (Null is an even worse offender- btw- he also sued NYS in 2009 over vaccines)

    Alt med providers recognise that the government controls things: what you can sell, what you can claim, who can function as a medical professional, how much taxes you pay- this “interference” irks them to no end. Simultaneously these guys understand enough about people to realise that others also have an axe to grind against the government ( as well as corporations and medicine) thus they publish inflammatory nonsense to get followers who agree and support them, as well as buy their products.-continued-

  12. #12 Igor
    February 29, 2012

    It is time to Legalize Freedom and Restore the Constitution.

    What is this, the legal version of alt med – alt law of sorts?

    I noticed the constitutional knowledge of an average U.S. citizen extends no further then labeling every unfavorable law or SCOTUS ruling as unconstitutional. Well, constitutionality, especially with the bill of rights, has very specific implications. Not every perceived injustice is immediately an unconstitutional encroachment on some freedom.

    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton led a chorus of political figures in the United States and Europe in condemning the ruling, saying that it raised “serious questions about selective prosecution and about the rule of law being overshadowed by political considerations.

    By which Clinton was referring to conviction of Kodhorkovsky who was Putin’s challenger for the presidency. YOu would know that if you bothered reading and comprehending things you blindly copy and paste. When given an example of real legal abuses occurring under a totalitarian regime without checks and balances and think it somehow relates to the political abuses in U.S. It is pathetic how little you know or care about the actual deprivation of basic freedoms, having likely been sheltered by the very principles you now deem unconstitutional.

  13. #13 Dangerous Bacon
    February 29, 2012

    I for one am glad that NaturalNews is looking out for us and exposing the forces of Tyranny, Coercion and Mud.

    Those brave folks uncover plots everywhere, my favorite being the government raids on innocent lemon tree owners:

    ht_p://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/?p=35266

    Thanks to NaturalNews I have not heard of a single instance of lemon trees (or their owners) being sold into sex slavery or forced to have Gardasil injected into their veins at gunpoint.

  14. #14 Denice Walter
    February 29, 2012

    They appear to have three *betes noires*: the government, the medical establishment and the mainstream media- their recent forays into media are attempts to prevent followers from getting medical information from more reliable sources ( freeing them from the tyranny of reality, I suppose).

    As they frighten listeners/ readers about illness they similarly invoke fears about economic diaster and political oppression- in other words,”Don’t trust your goverment, doctors or TV news- Trust me!” Tales of rampant corruption in medicine, government and media follow.

    There’s talk of leading marches, boycotts, new political parties… I can’t tell whether this is purely a way to get people excited as a marketting tool or truly a reflection of their own grandiosity. They may actually believe themselves to be revolutionaries as well as brave mavericks.
    After the Fall, they will lead followers in re-creating a simpler, more natural and sustainable life style: an organic farm, far from the devastated cities, free from gangs and scarcity. Now, I don’t know how they got from anti-vax to the New Jerusalem but somehow they do.

  15. #15 lilady
    February 29, 2012

    I agree with Igor about the confidentiality of client’s records. There were complaints made against her and they could even be totally unrelated to her “vaccine practice”.

    Could this be a preemptive move on the part of Ms. Finn…to rev up her supporters in the anti-vax movement…when she is facing disciplinary charges for mishandling client money (dipping into escrow accounts), for instance.

    There is more going on here…a lot more.

  16. #16 Igor
    February 29, 2012

    Since I am an expecting father, it bothers me that so many parents come up with excuses to avoid vaccinations required to enroll in public schools. Finn is a bit upstate from me, but close enough to be a source of concern.

  17. #17 MikeMa
    February 29, 2012

    @stephenwv
    Your constitutional whining has fallen flat. I get a laugh at the bashing the constitution gets when it is invoked to protect religious minorities from tyranny of the majority but when a loon perceives (mostly wrongly) some personal persecution, its all restore this or restore that. Bullshit. If you want to protect the constitution, give to the ACLU. That is what they do.

    Your quote

    When liberals lose on the issues…

    is pretty funny in that many nutjobs refusing to vaccinate are liberal in many other areas. I believe Mill Valley, CA was a hotbed of anti-vax and suffered for it. Cannot get much more liberal than that town.

  18. #18 Alexis
    February 29, 2012

    As wrong on the science Finn is, everyone, even antivaccine parents, deserves legal representation, and the law is the law. In order to make vaccine exemptions more difficult to get, the law should be changed to make that happen. Until then, given that this is a nation of laws, everyone has the right to challenge laws in court on a Constitutional basis.

    In case you or anyone else isn’t aware, NYS has an extremely strict religious exemption. You must have a religious objection to the practice of vaccination. Not to specific vaccines (so, no saying “we don’t do the MMR because we have a religious objection to the use of fetal cell lines.”) School districts can and do force parents to prove the sincerity of their religious beliefs; antivaccinationists like to post videos of examples. I occasionally pop into the local area on MDC and have seen multiple requests for navigating the system. Seems like fertile ground for an anti-vaccination lawyer.

  19. #19 Igor
    February 29, 2012

    The theory that fringe ends of the political conversion circle explains the frequent shared reality challeneged goals beween the fringe left and fringe right members. White supremacists and some OWS 9/11 truthers see Jewish bankers as the core of all evil, vaccinations are either a liberal conspiracy to corrupt and poison our youth or corporate reckless indifference for public health due to greed. The opposition agrees on the target issue but differs in explanatory approaches.

    Personally I don’t care about the political affiliation of the fringe mindset. Vaccines are overwhelmingly safe especially when compared with the actual dangers of contacting the disease. Without some evidence to the contrary, Jesus and Huffington Post will be equally non-credible sources on the issue.

  20. #20 Andreas Johansson
    February 29, 2012

    Denice Walter wrote:

    As they frighten listeners/ readers about illness they similarly invoke fears about economic diaster and political oppression- in other words,”Don’t trust your goverment, doctors or TV news- Trust me!” Tales of rampant corruption in medicine, government and media follow.

    One someone ascribes hidden political agendas or financial interests to their enemies, among the first things I tend to do is to wonder about their own agendas and interests. If you tell me to be suspicious, you can hardly be surprised if I’m suspicious about you.

    Except lots of people, incl most of the “alt” crowd, seem to function the opposite way. If you tell them you live in a world of conspiracy, they assume you’re a beacon of honesty and transparence.

  21. #21 hoary puccoon
    February 29, 2012

    Dangerous Bacon @13 “Thanks to NaturalNews I have not heard of a single instance of lemon trees… being sold into sex slavery….”

    That’s just because lemon trees have spines. Wait ’til the evil government forces go after maples, and THEN you’ll see!!

  22. #22 ConspicuousCarl
    February 29, 2012

    >This accusation makes absolutely
    >no logical sense, of course, given that even the
    >vaccine pushers claim their vaccines offer
    >absolute and total immunity against infectious
    >disease.

    Mike Adams could at least be creative with his lies. This one is just boring. Where are the baby-eating accusations? Mike Adams has clearly sold out for mass-market blandness.

  23. #23 ConspicuousCarl
    February 29, 2012

    >This accusation makes absolutely
    >no logical sense, of course, given that even the
    >vaccine pushers claim their vaccines offer
    >absolute and total immunity against infectious
    >disease.

    Mike Adams could at least be creative with his lies. This one is just boring. Where are the baby-eating accusations? Mike Adams has clearly sold out for mass-market blandness.

  24. #24 Todd W.
    February 29, 2012

    @stephenwv

    When the people fear the government there is Tyranny. When the government fears the People, there is Liberty.

    When the government fears the People, there is Liberty, or, y’know, the Reign of Terror. Tomato, tomahto.

  25. #25 Chris
    February 29, 2012

    alexis:

    School districts can and do force parents to prove the sincerity of their religious beliefs; antivaccinationists like to post videos of examples.

    I swear a few months ago I saw an article where a parent lost case where she tried to get a religious exemption from vaccines. The problem was that the school was a Catholic parochial school, and if the Vatican says that vaccines are better than the diseases, there is no religious exemption.

    Unfortunately I cannot find the story, so I may have just dreamed it up. Looking a bit early, it does seem to be several. Some with Ms. Finn involved, and some parochial schools letting the kids in. Here is one I found:
    http://overlawyered.com/2009/12/parents-who-wont-vaccinate-kid-sue-catholic-preschool/

  26. #26 Denice Walter
    February 29, 2012

    @ Andreas Johansson:

    Conspiracy is certainly the coin of the realm: during the darkest days of the economic crisis ( late’08- early’09- still not resolved, -btw-) alt med customers may have asked themselves,” Can I really afford expensive vites and ‘superfoods’- or should I pay the rent?” – woo-meisters began a campaign to show how truly essential their products and ideas were : they ramped up the political / economic rhetoric, relentlessly pounded governmental malfeasance, bank fraud, medical/ pharma “crimes” while painting themselves as saintly, charitable, spiritual leaders- rather than entrepreneurs.

    They advise their charges to become self-sufficient and independent thinkers**: get off the grid, self-educate, grow your own food, don’t shop at malls, eschew mass media and entertainment, avoid doctors like the plague they are. They warn of up-coming cataclysms and societal breakdown *endlessly*. I have heard economic advice – that if followed- would have devastated accounts ( basically, sell stocks at lows, avoid banks *plus* buy gold and silver @ record highs).

    Whatever emanates from these new media somehow involves a way to make money for woo-meisters: alt med or alt news.

    ** but listen to them and buy their products.

  27. #27 Darwy
    February 29, 2012

    @25 Chris

    Yeah, the official stance for the Catholic Church is that, although the abortion which occurred was ‘evil’ the vaccines produced from it are not.

    Many Catholic schools would grand a philosophical exemption from vaccinating, but not a religious one.

    http://home.catholicweb.com/dosp_ocsc/files/ImmunizationPolicy04072011.pdf

  28. #28 Sid Offit
    February 29, 2012

    @captainahags

    your personal freedom ends where it starts to impinge on others. IE, you can choose not to vaccinate your children, but if you do so, they will not then be given the freedom to attend a public school and expose others to infectious diseases without significant vetting. The knife cuts both ways- you have all the freedom you want when it comes to vaccines, but don’t expect others to have to compensate for your kid’s lack of immunity.

    What does “impinge on others” even mean. Perhaps you mean when it violates the rights of others. Since no one has a right to force others to protect them from illnesses those others don’t even have, your point fails.

    As to schools, the government doesn’t “give” freedom. Our right to be free predates government. The only legitimate role of government is to protect those freedoms.

    As to others having to compensate for the unvaxxed, they can stay home if they find attending school with those unvaccinated children too risky. Again, as with most anything, the solution is to get the government out of the school business. Then 100% vaccinated schools would emerge in addition to school without such a silly requirement.

    You don’t get to create, through force, an “educational” system, paid for by stolen taxpayer money, upon which society has become dependent, then force absurd demands upon those who have to use it and are already paying for it. Besides the public health menace extends its tentacles into private schools as well

  29. #29 Chris
    February 29, 2012

    Mr. Schecter:

    Besides the public health menace extends its tentacles into private schools as well

    And yet, in the state you live in a private Waldorf school closed due to a pertussis outbreak, and a public charter school had several kids come down with measles. The latter caused by a kid coming back from Switzerland with an extra infectious souvenir. One that he passed on to babies too young to be vaccinated, essentially “forcing” his illness on others.

    Anyway, no good libertarian would send their child to a public school. You are welcome to create your own school that ignores any and all public health policies.

    But you have been told that before. Yet, you either don’t bother to learn or you just don’t care.

  30. #30 Heliantus
    February 29, 2012

    Quoting the deranged health ranger

    their children might be kidnapped by CPS and sold into sex slavery (this is a common behavior of CPS workers across the country, where low-income children simply “disappear” into the system and suffer ongoing sexual abuse by state workers or even high-paying clients, similar to what happened at Penn State)

    Err, History revisionism, much?
    I assume this refers to last year’s pedophile scandal at the Penn State University.
    In this story, if the CPS is guilty of anything, it’s of not having involved itself earlier.
    To their defense, they may never have heard of any complaint until last year: the crux of the scandal was that a lot of people at Penn State, from Joe the super Coach to the university police officers to the board of the university, couldn’t be arsed into investigating (or even properly reporting) a possible claim of multiple child rapes, despite one direct eye witness and a few children complaining, over a ten-year period.
    The man accused of this was using his own charity society to find his victims and cover his actions.
    Yeah, it’s all the fault of government interference.

  31. #31 herr doktor bimler
    February 29, 2012

    an “educational” system, paid for by stolen taxpayer money, upon which society has become dependent

    Curious now. Is there any difference between ‘an educational system’ and ‘an “educational” system’?
    I am wondering why “education” warrants scare quotes, more than (say) the tendentious word ‘stolen’ in “stolen taxpayer money”.

  32. #32 Lawrence
    February 29, 2012

    @Sid – no one is forced to go to public school. Nowadays, there are plenty of options, including private and home-schooling. The only requirement is that children be provided with an education – the place where that education is received is variable & only has to conform to certain (fairly lax) standards of quality.

    It is very good school policy to require vaccinations, since outbreaks tend to remove large numbers of students from the environment for periods of time ranging from a few days to several weeks, which results in those students falling behind their peers & having to work harder to attempt to catch up.

    Your dyed-in-the-wool libertarian attitudes are pretty tiresome. I did see a great piece related to that – if you really want to see Liberarianism in action, I would suggest moving to Somalia – an almost perfect paradise of “government non-interference.”

  33. #33 Pareidolius
    February 29, 2012

    Mike Adams is incorrect as usual. The children that are “abducted” in the name of “protecting” them from their “abusive” parents aren’t sold into slavery by CPS. What utter tosh!. CPS sells them to Glaxxon PharmaCOM for labor requiring tiny, dexterous hands. They are never sexually exploited, they simply have Paroxian Mind Adders placed in their ears and become docile, slaves of the Glaxxon, who treat them considerably better than Republicans would. Oh, and evidently Sid is an extreme Libertarian (redundant?). Now my crank bingo card is complete.

  34. #34 Lawrence
    February 29, 2012

    Having the misfortune to click on the link to Robert’s blog, I find his anti-vaccine rants to be funny, but also sad. He rejects medicine in general, doctors in particular, and seems to be perfectly fine with a return to the good old days before the AMA or government regulation of water quality, medical devices and pharmacological products, or health/safety issues in general.

    Again, I would certainly point in the direction of Somalia as a prime example of exactly what Libertarianism looks like in practice.

    It is one of those philosophies, like communism, that looks great on paper, but it absolutely horriic in real world applications.

  35. #35 Pariedolius
    February 29, 2012

    Lawrence,

    As usual you have hit the proverbial nail on the head without resorting to ad hominems, sarcasm or just being a snarky d-bag in general. You should work on that . . .

    Sincerely,
    Count Snarky Von Dbag

  36. #36 lilady
    February 29, 2012

    Lawrence…quite a coincidence that you responded to Offal’s libertarianism views and Somalia. I responded to Offal’s comment on the Ho-Po, two hours ago about the 2011 Minneapolis measles outbreak:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/monica-gallagher-sakala/child-vaccinations_b_1304119.html

  37. #37 Sid Offit
    February 29, 2012

    Bimmer

    Scare quotes to the the tenious claim that children are educated in school. More like indoctrinated and/or institutionalized.

    ———–
    Chris

    You are welcome to create your own school that ignores any and all public health policies

    Do you not realize private schools are subjected to the same laws as public ones?

    One that he passed on to babies too young to be vaccinated, essentially “forcing” his illness on others.

    Yes, illnesses are passed around when people live together
    ——————-
    @LAwrence

    I would certainly point in the direction of Somalia as a prime example of exactly what Libertarianism looks like in practice

    That’s just a simpleminded collectivist taking point. Libertarians mostly support the concept of a government that defends rights not no government. And those anarcho-libertarians that would abolish the government entirely realize that a belief system must exist within a particular society that believes the initiation of violence to be immoral. That of course does not describe Somalia.
    ——————–

  38. #38 Lawrence
    February 29, 2012

    No one is arguing that these diseases aren’t more survivable today then they used to be, because of advances in modern medical science, including antibiotics to counter opportunistic infections and other care including IV liquids should they be required.

    What hasn’t changed is the chance for other permanent side-effects of the diseases, including blindness, sterility, and swelling of the brain….all of which occur an order of magnitude or more often than any side effects of modern vaccines.

    Trying to argue otherwise is willfully ignorant.

  39. #39 lilady
    February 29, 2012

    Offal…did you “lift” you quote from Wikipedia?:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarcho-capitalism

    When are you going to respond to my comment on Ho-Po about the measles outbreak in the Somali community in Minneapolis last year?

  40. #40 Lawrence
    February 29, 2012

    @Sid – yes, a belief system that looks great on paper, but doesn’t work in the real world.

    I still don’t understand how you can reject modern medical science, government regulation of things like drug and food safety, and still expect that in your perfect world, mortality rates would stay exactly where they are today….

    Enlightened self interest, as you most likely believe as your core value, quickly breaks down to simple self interest and selfishness in reality.

  41. #41 Chris
    February 29, 2012

    Mr. Schecter:

    Do you not realize private schools are subjected to the same laws as public ones?

    And yet it is the private schools where the outbreaks occur. Something I pointed out, and apparently it went right over your head.

    You are a very silly little libertarian.

  42. #42 herr doktor bimler
    February 29, 2012

    Scare quotes to the the tenious claim that children are educated in school. More like indoctrinated and/or institutionalized.

    Sadly, any non-school modes of education involve indoctrination as well. I’m really not seeing any Platonic indoctrination-free form of education to stand as a contrast to the less-genuine school-based form, and justify the scare quotes around the latter.

    The scare quotes are a useful rhetorical shorthand — a way to proclaim libertarian leanings — but they don’t say much about education systems per se.

  43. #43 Chris
    February 29, 2012

    Mr. Schecter is an example of how well libertarians use their education, they don’t. I have noticed that many have not even read all of Atlas Shrugged. Plus they think that mathematical laws are just suggestions, especially when applied to science.

  44. #44 Sid Offit
    February 29, 2012

    a belief system that looks great on paper, but doesn’t work in the real world.

    You have not demonstrated how it does not work in the “real world.”

    I still don’t understand how you can reject modern medical science, government regulation of things like drug and food safety, and still expect that in your perfect world, mortality rates would stay exactly where they are today….

    I don’t reject medical science

    Unsafe food claims would be addressed by the courts

    There is no such thing as a perfect world. When have I stated there was one?

    Mortality rates improve when economic progress occurs (see China, India, Soviet Union.) In a free society, that progress could be expected to lead to a healthier population.

  45. #45 Ichthyic
    February 29, 2012

    Since no one has a right to force others to protect them from illnesses those others don’t even have, your point fails.

    actually, there are in fact many infectious diseases that if you carry them, your rights are indeed directly impacted.

    go out and infect yourself with ebola and see how your rights change.

    now with the case of vaccinations, the idea of rights is based on collective immunity. If enough of a population refuses to obtain vaccinations, and it only needs be in the single digits in some cases, herd immunity is spoiled, and yes, then you have in fact risked the entire community.

    so, no, his point is not moot. You’re just bloody ignorant.

  46. #46 Ichthyic
    February 29, 2012

    In a free society, that progress could be expected to lead to a healthier population.

    but all experiments to that effect previously have proven otherwise.

    libertarians are so simple minded.

  47. #47 Chris
    February 29, 2012

    I love how Mr. Schecter puts education in scare quotes when he demonstrates again that his own education is severely lacking. He lives in some kind of fantasy land where only the things he believe in are relevant. He likes to pick and choose what medical science to not reject, blithely forgetting that does not work in real world.

    Plus he likes to rewrite history. It is pretty hilarious he the term “free society” in the same paragraph as China and the Soviet Union. Then forgetting when the Soviet Union disappeared and became more libertarian, and mortality from diphtheria increased: Diphtheria in the former Soviet Union: reemergence of a pandemic disease.

  48. #48 Sid Offit
    February 29, 2012

    @Ichthyic

    but all experiments to that effect previously have proven otherwise.

    Like your comrade Lawrence, you fail to support your assertions.

    Also, unvaccinated =/= infected

    Finally, the role of government is not to produce the phenomenon of herd immunity.

  49. #49 DLC
    February 29, 2012

    [meta] ignoring the trolls. [/meta]
    Advising your client to break the law is a big fat no-no.
    If that’s what she’s done, then she deserves some level of punishment. Misrepresenting yourself in advertising is also actionable by the ethics boards. Me, I long for the days when attorneys were barred from advertising.

  50. #50 Ichthyic
    February 29, 2012

    Like your comrade Lawrence, you fail to support your assertions.

    your ignorance of all of human history is not my problem.

    Also, unvaccinated =/= infected

    read for comprehension fail on your part.

    Finally, the role of government is not to produce the phenomenon of herd immunity.

    perhaps you should take that up with NIH and the CDC.

    moron.

  51. #51 Chris
    February 29, 2012

    So what happened when Japan made measles vaccination voluntary instead of mandatory (which is is now)? From Measles vaccine coverage and factors related to uncompleted vaccination among 18-month-old and 36-month-old children in Kyoto, Japan:

    According to an infectious disease surveillance (2000), total measles cases were estimated to be from 180,000 to 210,000, and total deaths were estimated to be 88 [11,12]. Measles cases are most frequently observed among non-immunized children, particularly between 12 to 24 months. However, a nation-wide survey conducted in 2000 showed that measles vaccine coverage in Japan was 81.4%, which is not enough to prevent outbreaks [13]. In this context, the Japan Pediatric Association, the Japan Child Health Association, and the Japanese Association of Pediatrics jointly appealed to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare to promote vaccination against measles in July 2001 [14].

    It doesn’t take a large percentage skipping out on measles vaccines to cause outbreaks that kill real people. If Mr. Schecter does not understand that, it shows a typical lack of education from your average libertarian.

  52. #52 lilady
    February 29, 2012

    @ Offal:

    “Mortality rates improve when economic progress occurs (see China, India, Soviet Union.) In a free society, that progress could be expected to lead to a healthier population.”

    Yeah, Offal…we know what happens in “free societies” when “economic progress occurs”. We also know what happens when vaccination against diphtheria is not a priority:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2640235/pdf/9866730.pdf

  53. #53 Lawrence
    February 29, 2012

    I love how Sid / Robert automatically labels everyone or anyone that disagrees with his libertarian stance as a communist…hence his derogatory use of “comrade” in describing me.

    He believes the government should protect his right to do whatever he pleases, with no thought to any protection afforded to society as a whole.

    He wants to enjoy the fruits of all of our labors (roads, bridges, public sewers and water systems, mass transit, etc) without being beholden to any of the responsibilties for the health or progress of society as a whole.

    When food industries were regulated, there was a marked decrease in food-borne illnesses. When the AMA codified medical education and utilized the scientific method to test and prove treatments, the overall health of the population was enhanced.

    Sid / Robert would like people to believe that all of this came about because of free markets, but in truth, time and time again the government or associations have had to step in and enforce standards and rules, rather than a free-for-all, to guarantee even minimum standards of health and safety.

  54. #54 herr doktor bimler
    February 29, 2012

    I’m not going to slag off Sid for espousing a Libertarian philosophy (there are already enough fora for that kind of exchange). And I imagine that the label covers a wide range of thought, so it is not fair to ask him for the single, canonical Libertarian position on any given issue, or expect him to account for contradictions in some other libertarian’s arguments.

    But Ichthyic raises an interesting question:

    actually, there are in fact many infectious diseases that if you carry them, your rights are indeed directly impacted.

    Take the case of Typhoid Mary… or anyone who, through no fault of their own, has contracted an infectious disease. Should the minimalist government, in its role of defending rights, restrict that person’s right to work in food preparation? I can imagine a libertarian who accepts that kind of government role in mandatory public health.

  55. #55 Sid Offit
    February 29, 2012

    Herr doktor

    Yes, there are circumstances when an infected person placing others at risk of contracting an illness could be restrained by the government.

  56. #56 Sid Offit
    February 29, 2012

    Lawrence, talk about a strawman:

    He believes the government should protect his right to do whatever he pleases

    I see it like Jefferson, who said:

    “rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others”

    When food industries were regulated, there was a marked decrease in food-borne illnesses. When the AMA codified medical education and utilized the scientific method to test and prove treatments, the overall health of the population was enhanced.

    Correlation does not equal causation. But that’s not to say “regulation” in a different form is not acceptable. For instance someone selling adulterated milk as real milk should be prosecuted as should someone knowingly selling other unsafe foods. Punishment targets the guilty, regulation targets the innocent.

  57. #57 Denice Walter
    February 29, 2012

    @ Lawrence:
    While I’m sure I’ll be labelled as a communist (weak-tea socialist might be more apropo), I beg to differ with Sid/ Robert about several issues- but I’ll limit myself to two:

    Education as *indoctrination*; total diagreement-when you get a vast overview you can pick, choose and select as it *suits* you: no one can tell you how to think. I studied social sciences and can remember students’ wild, angry debates over issues and theories ( both in economics and diverse areas of psychology). A few words were enough to set off an argument: “free market” was one, so were “psychoanalysis” and “stimulus-response” or certain names- if we were all indoctrinated why was there so much debate ( screaming matches, actually)? And such partisanship?

    Taxes? Well, because I’ve lived in several places and made investments I’ve paid all sorts of taxes- this will kill you, Sid- a few times in my life, I was privileged to pay a real lot of tax- *because* I made lots of extra money- one year I sold a property, in others I sold stocks and bonds at profit, etc. I’ve lived in expensive areas: I prefer to drive on maintained roads, have police and fire assistance if need be, have reasonably good schools in my area and laws to protect people. If I wanted to live in a backward place, I can always move. And I have seen awfully miserable places- even as a child, I was never sheltered from reality.

  58. #58 Narad
    February 29, 2012

    Do you not realize private schools are subjected to the same laws as public ones?

    In terms of vaccine mandates, this is up to the individual states last I checked.

  59. #59 Lawrence
    February 29, 2012

    Once again, I find good reason to disagree with Sid / Richard. I prefer that we not have to see people get sick or die from foodborne illness before corrective action is taken….same applies to other adulterated products. I can’t see how requiring even minimum standards can be considered bad – given the track record where various industries have in the past, present, and will continue to push the limits and grey areas, if it means making a few extra dollars here and there.

    Don’t get me wrong, the vast majority of businesses and business people are honest, hardworking & are rightly concerned about the quality of their goods and services. Unfortunately, there is a minority that is the proverbial bad apple in the bunch, that makes it necessary to hold industry in general accountable for the safety and efficacy of the products they produce.

    We can go around and around and around again on all of this – there is just a fundamental difference on how you view the world versus the rest of us, and while we have history to back us up as far as the effectiveness of the ways things have been done, all you have is blind conjecture.

  60. #60 Chris
    February 29, 2012

    Lawrence, have you read The Poisoner’s Handbook? It has the story behind Elixir Sulfanilamide. I’m sure that Mr. Schecter will concur with the company’s owner who said “We have been supplying a legitimate professional demand and not once could have foreseen the unlooked-for results. I do not feel that there was any responsibility on our part.”

  61. #61 Narad
    February 29, 2012

    For instance someone selling adulterated milk as real milk should be prosecuted as should someone knowingly selling other unsafe foods. Punishment targets the guilty, regulation targets the innocent.

    Aha. And this would be “prosecuted” by an individual? Who would have no reference standard for “real” milk, thus necessitating… what? This of course is Natural Law, so it can’t depend on the existence of refrigeration to preserve evidence. How does a plaintiff demonstrate that something was not “real” milk or, given the lack of oppression of the innocent by regulation that would crush their doe-eyed yet freedom-loving spines with a standard of testing and record-keeping, that it was even adulterated in the first place?

  62. #62 Sauceress
    February 29, 2012

    Sid Offit: All hat and no cows.

  63. #63 W. Kevin Vicklund
    February 29, 2012

    For instance someone selling adulterated milk as real milk should be prosecuted as should someone knowingly selling other unsafe foods.

    What if they were unknowingly selling unsafe foods? Do you have to prove that they knew in order to prosecute? Without regulations requiring accurate and detailed records, how would you prove they knew?

  64. #64 Todd W.
    February 29, 2012

    Sid’s position seems to be, let everyone do whatever they want…until they get caught. Regulate food before it gets to market? Heavens, no! But certainly prosecute sellers of adulterated milk after people have already suffered harm.

  65. #65 Sauceress
    February 29, 2012

    Sid’s position seems to be, let everyone do whatever they want

    I wonder if Sid extends that position to all pharmaceutical companies as well?

  66. #66 lilady
    March 1, 2012

    And, I see it like Jefferson who said:

    “Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its
    extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law,’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the right of an
    individual.” –Thomas Jefferson to Isaac H. Tiffany, 1819.

    Odd, isn’t it, that some people cherry-pick Jefferson’s quotation?

    “Punishment targets the guilty, regulation targets the innocent”.

    Punishment targets the guilty, regulation protects the innocent.

  67. #67 augustine
    March 1, 2012

    Lilady,
    Skeptics tend toward socialist government policies. It’s just they way they are. (I think it’s a control issue) Are you a socialist?
    Do you understand what cognitive dissonance means? I don’t think you do.
    How do you reconcile being a skeptic AND a “christian” at the same time?
    Do you understand the philosophical concept of metaphysics? Do you understand non-contradiction?

    Holding two opposing contradictory ideas in your head at the same time is insanity. Denice Walters will be able to confirm. At least she’s all in.

    You? Not so much. You hold on to crazy. Tell us again how smart you are because you worked at the local county health department.

    @Denice,
    Can one be a Christian and a Skeptic at the same time?

  68. #68 pilotgrrl
    March 1, 2012

    Cite for prior comment regarding Catholic not allowing unvaxed kid

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/09/13/new-york-parents-sue-catholic-school-required-vaccinations/

  69. #69 Narad
    March 1, 2012

    Cite for prior comment regarding Catholic not allowing unvaxed kid

    Wonder of wonders, it’s Finn aginn. They had no soap with the preliminary injunction.

  70. #70 Anne
    March 1, 2012

    The Health Ranger has some fuzzy copies of the disciplinary charge on a YouTube video. From what I can see, this is a false advertising claim, accusing Finn of scamming the public by having a statement on her website that her firm represents “thousands of children and parents across the U.S.” and has an “impressive record of precedent setting cases.” To make matters worse, the charges say that Finn was admonished a couple of years ago for making a similar “thousands of clients” claim, and she just blew it off and continued doing it.

    Finn has been invited to rebut the charges by identifying by name and docket number these thousands of clients, and providing copies of the precedent setting cases. She says she’s not gonna do it.

    There’s no apparent attorney-client privilege issue. It doesn’t look like the subject matter of her practice is a factor. Finn is just trying to deflect attention away from the fact that she’s being accused of misleading the public with sleazy lawyer advertising.

  71. #71 Todd W.
    March 1, 2012

    @Sauceress

    I wonder if Sid extends that position to all pharmaceutical companies as well?

    Of course not. They are greedy, giant, evil behemoths trying to poison us for their own gain and should be regulated into the ground! [cue dramatic thunderclap] Not like the saintly alt-medders, who give of themselves freely and without thought to personal gain. [cue angelic music]

  72. #72 Sauceress
    March 1, 2012

    Todd
    Nail head meets hammer.

  73. #73 Denice Walter
    March 1, 2012

    Mike Adams is truly reliable: like Niagara or Victoria, he can be counted upon for producing endless torrents that stagger the imagination- except in his case, it’s not water.

    (Today @ NaturalNews): Air travellers are ” intimately searched”, raw milk is prohibited, fluorides and aspartame poison us, vaccines are foisted upon the innocents *however* massive safety reviews will be mandated for vitamin C and ginger root, helmets must be worn on bicycles- not ski/ snow board slopes and a history of horrors unfurls: Tuskegee, chemical warfare and ( -gasp- and pearl clutch- *simultaneously*).. the Guatemalan experiments! Yes, the government itself is the greatest threat of all!

    Odd, but the woo-meisters keep telling us that stress destroys health while they continuously provoke it.
    ( Note to Todd W.: Perhaps we should duet in the apocalyptic mode?)

  74. #74 Denice Walter
    March 1, 2012

    Oh Augie, I can’t fathom why you are so interested in what another person believes- do you honestly think that if you were to find a “‘logical’” inconsistency that would somehow invalidate the material lilady brings? And what’s *insanity*- I think that that’s a legal concept- psychology is more concerned about how a person functions in the world. Here’s a news flash: people are not simple- their beliefs are complicated and constantly in flux- and please don’t mangle Professor Festinger’s concept- the poor man’s dead.

    I hate to say this but I think that you just don’t like smart ladies- Last I checked, I’m one too… what difference does that make- if I were a lady, a gay man or even a large tawny cat.. if what I *write* makes sense. If we truly *are* spirits temporarily esconced in the material world does it really matter what we have between our respective legs?

    You know Augustine, I think that you would benefit from reading more of the references that our esteemed and beneficent host ( a/k/a the Doctor) so graciously provides. You argue about the surface of issues. I am now gone. Bother someone else. That’s it. So long. Bye bye.

  75. #75 Composer99
    March 1, 2012

    ugh troll:

    Your freedom of action ends when it impinges upon my rights. Since I (or anyone else) have only limited temporal and physical resources to defend our individual rights we pool resources and delegate authority to do so to agencies given appropriate regulatory power – governments, in a word. Nothing socialist about it. Unless you think, say, defending rights to person, privacy and property are socialist.

    Since you are asserting that your freedom of action (or the freedom of action of cranks & quacks) to lie and defraud others (in the context of medical products and services) and spread without restraint communicable diseases with non-trivial mortality & morbidity (through your anti-vaccine crankery) outweigh others’ rights to person & property, you are in fact espousing an authoritarian position, far closer to the kind of state socialism you are trying to associate others here with than with any reasonable defence of individual rights.

    In short, you are a dishonest hypocrite.

  76. #76 Composer99
    March 1, 2012

    I should note that my comment applies equally to the blathering of Shechter. His freedom of action ends where others’ right to person begins.

  77. #77 Denice Walter
    March 1, 2012

    @ Composer 99:
    Oh good, you addressed “socialism”, I addressed his other issues ( in moderation): saying so, I wash my hands of him.

  78. #78 lilady
    March 1, 2012

    @ Anne: I viewed the two part interview and she claims that she faced disciplinary charges several years ago and signed some sort of agreement, so that she could maintain her license to practice law. She also “claimed” that she was coerced into signing the agreement, because everyone at the Appellate Division-Second Judicial Department was biased against her.

    Her hearing is scheduled for March 23rd.

  79. #79 JGC
    March 1, 2012

    Punishment targets the guilty, regulation [protects] the innocent.

    FTFY.

  80. #80 augustine
    March 1, 2012

    Flute Boy

    Your freedom of action ends when it impinges upon my rights.

    Please give evidence of conscientious non vaccinator having impinged upon your “rights”. You have no evidence.You only have your feelings.

    If a vaccinated person “spreads” a disease to you, did they impinge on your “rights”? How would you legally and practically determine this.

    Everything else you have said is blah, blah, blah.

    you are in fact espousing an authoritarian position

    The irony meter just exploded.

    http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/44640/authoritarianism

  81. #81 JGC
    March 1, 2012

    Sid, how exactly do school boards steal the “taxpayer money” they’re using to underwrite public education?

    Is it some complicated Ocean’s 11 style attack, with a crack team of experts in explosives, security systems, pick-pocketing running a big con? Or is it more of a smash-and-grab, with a truck full of armed thugs rolling up on the Fed, capping a few guards, taking hostages and forcing the managers to open the vaults at gunpoint?

    I’m surprised the fact that recurrent theft on such a grand scale has never made the news…

  82. #82 Dangerous Bacon
    March 1, 2012

    Total hijack here, but “Patricia Finn, Esq., antivaccine lawyer” reminds me of a character on a radio show I heard years ago in Kentucky – “Huckleberry Raskolnikov, the all-American boy with the Marxist orientation”.

    Anybody remember that show and from what station/performers it originated?

  83. #83 Mu
    March 1, 2012

    Reading those decisions on religious exemption denials in NY, looks like if you believe vaccinations are safe you actually would have a better chance to get the exemptions compared to people afraid of them. Looks like most decisions say “yeah, genuine fear of vaccines, just not for the right (legally speaking) reasons”. Weird.

  84. #84 dedicated lurker
    March 1, 2012

    Can one be a Christian and a Skeptic at the same time?

    It makes a lot more sense than being an Objectivist and a Christian, since the former explicitly repudiates religious belief.

  85. #85 Beamup
    March 1, 2012

    @ Mu:

    Well, if you do believe they’re safe but are looking for an exemption anyway, that’s pretty convincing evidence that you have some other reason. Basically the likely reasons would be
    – Belief they’re unsafe
    – Non-religious philosophical objection
    – Religious objection

    and if you can demonstrate that it’s not the first then you’ve made progress towards demonstrating that it is the third. So it makes more sense than it may seem at first glance.

  86. #86 Chris
    March 1, 2012

    I found it ironic that Ms. Finn was defending people trying to get a religious exemption to attend Catholic schools. Especially when the Catholic Church actually recognizes that the cell line is from a couple of babies aborted about fifty years ago (during a rubella epidemic), and that the vaccine protects future life. From the Catholic News Service:

    Parents who do not immunize their children against rubella would be responsible for the malformations and subsequent abortions of malformed fetuses that might result from a pregnant women being infected by the unvaccinated child, both the study and Msgr. Suaudeau said.

    With an added bit of guilt on the vaccine refusers:

    In this case, the parent would be in “much more proximate cooperation with evil” than if he had accepted a morally questionable vaccine to begin with, he said.

  87. #87 Narad
    March 1, 2012

    like Niagara or Victoria, he can be counted upon for producing endless torrents that stagger the imagination

    With G-d as my witness, my pre-coffee brain merged this into “like Viagra” and gave me great pause.

  88. #88 Denice Walter
    March 1, 2012

    My dearest Narad:

    Didn’t you realise that *Viagra* is a portmanteau of Niagara+Victoria- which is what its inventors *hoped for* in their wildest, fevered dreams.
    On that lownote, I’ll leave for my appointments.

  89. #89 Narad
    March 1, 2012

    I found it ironic that Ms. Finn was defending people trying to get a religious exemption to attend Catholic schools.

    This isn’t so far-fetched, as it is the religious nature of the belief that is at issue rather than its “validity.” A successful New York appeal involving a Catholic school is here.

  90. #90 Chris
    March 1, 2012

    Narad, it is still ironic.

  91. #91 Andy
    March 1, 2012

    Hm. I’m a pro-vaccine (daughter is fully vaccinated as well), libertarian attorney. I’m also on the autism spectrum (diagnosed with Aspergers). Unique perspective? Maybe.

    1. There’s clearly a libertarian argument to be made in favor of requiring vaccines to go to public school. It’s John Stuart Mill’s Harm Principle in action. By not vaccinating, you’re harming others in the public space. Government force shouldn’t be used to force everyone to be vaccinated, but I have no problem with requiring it for public school. I made sure when picking a preschool for my daughter that it was one that required vaccines (it’s private; the only exemptions they allow are for documented health reasons. No religious exemptions allowed).

    2. Lawyer-client privilege is pretty sacrosanct. I can’t even reveal who my clients are unless they give me express permission. That being said, once her name’s on a public filing identifying herself as the attorney for Client X, that goes out the window. I’m not sure how asking for the docket numbers makes any sense (in that it can be searched for with a bit of effort), but it’s not going to be barred by lawyer-client privilege.

    The kneejerk hatred of anything “libertarian” in here is silly, though. Leaving people alone to do what they want unless their actions affect others. What could be wrong with that? (and Lawrence, Somalia isn’t a libertarian society. It’s an anarchistic society. There’s a large difference)

  92. #92 Lawrence
    March 1, 2012

    @Andy – there isn’t a hatred towards Libertarians or Libertarianism as a philosophy, either here personally or with this group in general. The problem lies with people who expouse such a philosophy without any conditions or considerations of reality.

    As far as pointing to Somalia, it seems to be a pretty good indicator as to the “endgame” of where a libertarian society ends up. So, me saying it is a Libertarian paradise is exactly the same as pointing to the USSR in, say 1970 & calling it a Communist paradise….since in practice, neither philosophy can be applied in ideal circumstances (human nature being what it is and will continue to be).

  93. #93 lilady
    March 1, 2012

    @ Andy: Have you seen this video?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f74xvtRijMc

    Ron Paul has not deviated from his libertarian political views, since he first came on the political scene. (Unlike other Republican candidates who are pandering to that group)

    “I made sure when picking a preschool for my daughter that it was one that required vaccines (it’s private; the only exemptions they allow are for documented health reasons. No religious exemptions allowed).”

    If you ever have another child…I suggest that you question your baby’s pediatrician about his/her policies regarding *mommy intuition* regarding immunizations. You wouldn’t want to expose your infant in the waiting room… to pertussis or other vaccine-preventable diseases, before your baby has been fully immunized.

  94. #94 Chris
    March 1, 2012

    Andy, and adding to what Lawrence said: I have found some of them are willing to be the type of people Ayn Rand despised: those wanting to get the benefits of society while not contributing. In fact, Mr. Schecter has actively acknowledged to be a leech on herd immunity. One morphing troll who has been banned thought he could pay folks to work for him instead of doing it himself (it involved his own little post-apocalyptic shelter).

    These people are not libertarians, they are parody of libertarians.

  95. #95 Beamup
    March 1, 2012

    The kneejerk hatred of anything “libertarian” in here is silly, though.

    I don’t think that’s an accurate description. It’s more a well-earned disgust with a particular moron who claims to be “libertarian.”

  96. #96 Sid Offit
    March 1, 2012

    @JGC

    Sid, how exactly do school boards steal the “taxpayer money” they’re using to underwrite public education?

    They send me a bill and if I don’t pay they put me in a cage. Simple enough for you?

    And why do you keep calling it “education?”

  97. #97 dedicated lurker
    March 1, 2012

    I don’t think that’s an accurate description. It’s more a well-earned disgust with a particular moron who claims to be “libertarian.”

    I’ve also noticed that the people who seem to embrace the most antiscience beliefs tend to identify themselves as libertarians.

  98. #98 Anton P. Nym
    March 1, 2012

    Please give evidence of conscientious non vaccinator having impinged upon your “rights”.

    Super Bowl measles outbreak ignites vaccine debate.

    — Steve

  99. #99 dedicated lurker
    March 1, 2012

    They send me a bill and if I don’t pay they put me in a cage. Simple enough for you?

    By that logic, the military is also stealing money from you. And road maintenence workers. Oh, and town dumps. And interstates. And libraries.

  100. #100 rw23
    March 1, 2012

    @andy #91:

    (and Lawrence, Somalia isn’t a libertarian society. It’s an anarchistic society. There’s a large difference)

    Somalia isn’t an anarchistic society, it’s an anarchic one. There’s a huge difference.

  101. #101 Narad
    March 1, 2012

    By that logic, the military is also stealing money from you. And road maintenence workers. Oh, and town dumps. And interstates. And libraries.

    Let’s not forget the foul stench of socialism that still oozes from the pores of TCP/IP v4.

  102. #102 Todd W.
    March 1, 2012

    @Anton P. Nym

    Careful. Sid will try to dismiss it if you were not personally affected by that outbreak (or the MN outbreak, which can be demonstrably linked to anti-vaccine activists, specifically Sid’s pals at AoA).

  103. #103 Sid Offit
    March 1, 2012

    There is nothing preventing private roads and they were common in the past. The government had no business getting involved with them in the first place. Town dumps? A sanitation company could not buy a piece of land and haul it’s trash there. The government must be involved in that? Libraries? You can’t rent books like videos? Every human activity must be facilitated by government? The military is a little different since it is a mechanism to ensure rights and some would argue that is a legitimate role for government. One argument is that it’s permissible to take money to protect rights. Another is that there is no reason the military could not be privately funded. Currently we spend $1,750 per capita. Other countries less. So the money is there. After all. we donate about half of the military budget to charities each year.

  104. #104 Mu
    March 1, 2012

    And why do you keep calling it “education?”
    Reading Sid’s writing, I’m wondering that myself.

  105. #105 JGC
    March 1, 2012

    Sid, are you really incapable of discriminating between taxation and theft? There’s such a thing as too simplistic.

  106. #106 Sid Offit
    March 1, 2012

    Spell it out for me. I have money that I want to keep but someone uses force to take it. Where’s is the difference?

  107. #107 Mu
    March 1, 2012

    The difference is a thief takes your money and runs, while you get something back for your taxes. In your case, mostly protection from the angry hordes that would otherwise storm your house to make you shut up. Can’t get First Amendment rights without paying for someone to enforce them.

  108. #108 Gray Falcon
    March 1, 2012

    If you purchased repairs for your car, and refuse to pay for them, then that’s also a situation where you have money you want to keep but someone uses force to take it. Hardly the best way to define “theft”.

  109. #109 Sid Offit
    March 1, 2012

    Funny, the Bill of Rights was written to protect the people from…. the government.

  110. #110 Sid Offit
    March 1, 2012

    Grey Falcon:

    If you purchased repairs for your car, and refuse to pay for them, then that’s also a situation where you have money you want to keep but someone uses force to take it. Hardly the best way to define “theft”.

    Yes, but the government is like the Soprano’s in the sense that they put all the other auto shops out of business so you have to use theirs – then they charge you whatever they want. Besides most of what the government does does not resemble a scenario in which I’m getting at least something from them -albeit of poorer quality than what would exist without government monopoly.

  111. #111 Gray Falcon
    March 1, 2012

    Sid, consider what would happen if we privatized fire departments. People in poorer areas wouldn’t have any assistance when a fire breaks out. Then the wind blows, and the fire spreads, and everything is in ruins. There are simply some things that cannot be privatised.

    Likewise, we have public education for a reason. It’s much cheaper building schools than prisons.

  112. #112 Anton P. Nym
    March 1, 2012

    There is nothing preventing private roads and they were common in the past

    And they were crap roads, notoriously badly undercapitalised and undermaintained so they were rutted and slow to travel. That’s not necessarily the fault of those owning the roads; it’s tough to get people to pay the real cost of road constructiona and maintanance, because us humans are dumb that way.

    Roman roads is what you get when you use taxation to pay for transport infrastructure; you get Dark Ages’ mud-tracks when you don’t.

    I’ll also point out that Rome had private fire departments; Crassus notoriously used his to become the largest property-owner in the ancient city, and the richest and most-hated man in the Republic right before the civil war his machinations precipitated brought the Republic down and led to the creation of the Roman Empire.

    The secret of Crassus’ financial success? He’d arrive at a burning building and use his firefighters to cordon off the block, then make the owners of the properties at risk grossly unfair offers to buy them out. Offers that got even more unfair as time went on and more of their belongings were reduced to ash, because he wouldn’t start the pumps until he had the deeds… government is far from the only possible source of coersion.

    A sanitation company could not buy a piece of land and haul it’s trash there. The government must be involved in that?

    Which only shows how little Sid knows about waste disposal; it’s more than just piling garbage on a chunk of land, if you care at all about drinking water, crop irrigation, and air quality.

    And that’s the big problem with the Randroid set; no appreciation at all of the complexities of an industrial society and too much faith (in the religious sense) that “the Invisible Hand” will take care of anything they haven’t considered.

    — Steve

  113. #113 Lawrence
    March 1, 2012

    I’m sure Sid / Robert is more than happy to detail his “government-free” lifestyle, where he avoids using all roads, public transportation, city water, sewers, or any other government-supported service or product…..

  114. #114 Chris
    March 1, 2012

    Anton P. Nym:

    And they were crap roads, notoriously badly undercapitalised and undermaintained so they were rutted and slow to travel.

    Another example was a dam that when the state no longer needed was sold to a private company. Unfortunately they weren’t that good about maintaining the South Fork Dam, and the result were over two thousand deaths from the Johnstown Flood.

    It is folks like Schecter that I would love to have retreat to their own Randian compound where they would enjoy only the fruits of their own labors. They would have to generate their own electricity, grow their own food, not let anything in or out of the walls (because that involves federally paid for roads, air safety regulations, etc) and never ever use any computer network system that has been supported by government funds.

  115. #115 Lawrence
    March 1, 2012

    @Chris – of course, I remember the old ARPANET – which we now know as the Internet, a perfect example of a government sponsored program which was readily adopted and expanded by the private sector, but wouldn’t have existed if not for the original government funding.

  116. #116 jgc
    March 1, 2012

    the major difference, Sid, is that in the case of theft property is taken in violation of the rule of law, while in the case of taxation revenue is secured in full accord with the rule of law.

    You are familiar with a little thing we like to call the US Constitution, I hope?

  117. #117 Peebs
    March 1, 2012

    The Roman Fire Service analogy is a good one but has a later comparison.

    In the 18/19 centuries early insurance companies in London had their own distinct Fire Departments and would refuse to fight any fire not covered by that company.

    In fact the firemen would ignore and ride past a burning building letting it burn.

    The various fire services were fairly swiftly amalgamated into the London Fire Brigade and exists to this day.

    I believe this was the model on which all Fire Brigades/Services/Departments work even in the 21st Century.

  118. #118 Andy
    March 1, 2012

    lilady @#93: I talked to her pediatrician about that at her 12 month appointment (which, scarily, was nearly 2 years ago). They don’t seem to have a policy about not seeing unvaccinated kids, but he does actively support vaccination and tells parents who question it that there is no vaccine-autism link or secret danger to vaccines that evil pharma won’t tell you about. But they do have a separate waiting room for newborns at least.

    Chris @94: I do think it’s something of a parody of libertarians. There’s a lot of people who don’t really understand libertarian thought. Bill Maher and Glenn Beck both call themselves liberterians. Neither is close to being one.

  119. #119 lilady
    March 1, 2012

    @ Andy: Did you view the video of Ron Paul? Is he a “libertarian”?

    When my kids were young, our pediatricians did have a separate waiting room for “sick” children, but we didn’t have to worry because (in my area of the country), there wasn’t a “philosophical/religious exemption” to vaccines. And, the young moms actually lived through the scourge of childhood illnesses prior to the availability of vaccines to prevent them. My childhood chum died from polio and my cousin was left with lifelong neurological deficits, due to measles encephalopathy.

    When I worked as a public health nurse, I saw firsthand the devastating effects of invasive HIB and meningicoccal diseases and the devastating effects of pertussis, when an infant who is not fully immunized, contracts the disease.

    Again, I pose the question to you; is Ron Paul a “libertarian”?

  120. #120 Denice Walter
    March 1, 2012

    A few years ago, the talented Mr Adams embarked upon a new enterprise: he had grown tired of the mindless regulation and stifling of freedom so preponderantly evident in his native land so he packed up his hiking boots and non-GMO granola bars and travelled in search of Paradise Found.

    And he found it- in Ecuador’s Vilcabamba- the valley of longevity. He set up his villa in a small town- because there were no unions, he was able to entice native workers to build his dream hacienda for practically no money! In this lovely verdant location, he grew organic vegetables and had a marvellous fruit orchard. Like-minded visionaries settled nearby and many people came on holiday: Mikey led them on strenuous hikes through the national park, taught them wild-crafting skills and how to create organic smoothies. He dug his own water wells, built roads and exercised regularly. Everyone was happy and healthy- no disease-mongering doctors foisted pills and vaccines on these brave new maverick beings: living toxin-free and un-encumbered by the iron hand of governmental agencies. It was truly Arcadia, Shangri-la and Eden rolled into one! Plus it had internet!

    For some reason, he moved back to Arizona and then re-located to Texas. Perhaps like those righteous ones who have tasted Nirvana- his sympathetic heart nearly broke at the thought of leaving so many un-enlightened beings behind, suffering as they watch television and eat fast foods.”Sleepers, wake!”, he cries as he types his epistle to his followers: “Behold a pale horse and a pale horseman- he should get more sun, vitamin D is *good* for you!”.
    Upon hearing his words, I vanish like a mist, suddenly incorporeal but forever thankful that I don’t live anywhere near Austin.

    .

  121. #121 Anton P. Nym
    March 1, 2012

    VThe Roman Fire Service analogy is a good one but has a later comparison.

    There are quite a few, actually, but I chose the Roman one because with malice aforethought because it undermines the argument that free enterprise always maximises political freedom as well as illustrating the pitfalls of privatisation of emergency services.

    In the 18/19 centuries early insurance companies in London had their own distinct Fire Departments and would refuse to fight any fire not covered by that company.

    I believe those were quite common in the US at the time as well… not so common here in Canada, but back then we were pretty rural and probably our economic base was too small to support anything like that, instead relying on volunteers for much of the period.

    I rather prefer the iron hand of government coersion version, thanks. Saves more lives at lower cost.

    — Steve

    PS: You’d think that these pro-business entrepreneurial types would be all over the ROI perspective and look at the cost differentials between public and private services… but it’s all dogma and no math, all the time.

  122. #122 Sid Offit
    March 1, 2012

    Gray Falcon:

    People in poorer areas wouldn’t have any assistance when a fire breaks out

    In poorer neighborhoods much of the property is owned by people who are not poor. They would be able to afford fire insurance. Besides less government, less poverty. Also poor folks buying a home could have fire protection attached to mortgage payments. A million different solutions would emerge in a free economy

    when the wind blows, and the fire spreads, and everything is in ruins

    What? Are we living in straw houses these days. Less building regulations, more affordable housing, more money for fire insurance.
    —————
    Antoyn (sorry if it’s misspelled, I’m tired)

    The secret of Crassus’ financial success? He’d arrive at a burning building and use his firefighters to cordon off the block, then make the owners of the properties at risk grossly unfair offers to buy them out. Offers that got even more unfair as time went on and more of their belongings were reduced to ash, because he wouldn’t start the pumps until he had the deeds… government is far from the only possible source of coersion

    Interesting but I’d like to see more details to give a full commentary. What strikes me is that people were better off because of Crassus. If not they would not have sold.

  123. #123 Chris
    March 1, 2012

    Mr. Schecter:

    Interesting but I’d like to see more details to give a full commentary. What strikes me is that people were better off because of Crassus. If not they would not have sold.

    There are these things called “books.” They are often housed in government buildings called “libraries.” Try using some of tax dollars by reading about the history yourself instead of having the information spoon fed to over the Internets.

  124. #124 Anton P. Nym
    March 1, 2012

    What strikes me is that people were better off because of Crassus. If not they would not have sold.

    *cue horselaugh* They weren’t “better off”… they were selling the property at much less than true market value under duress, because it was sell for pennies on the dollar/denarius or be left with nothing. Crassus’ boys, of course, would not allow others to fight the fire while they were present; that’d weaken The Boss’s negotiating position.

    If nothing else, think of the wasted capital this strategy entailed; all the products, tools, and raw material lost that might’ve been saved if the firefighters went to work promptly. It’s a remarkably inefficient way to transfer assets with enormous wastage, more prone to trigger economic contraction than growth.

    — Steve

  125. #125 lilady
    March 1, 2012

    “What? Are we living in straw houses these days. Less building regulations, more affordable housing, more money for fire insurance.”

    Straw Houses, brick houses…it doesn’t make any difference when you live in California:

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-bigpicturefire,0,5985825.htmlstory

  126. #126 Militant Agnostic
    March 2, 2012

    Less building regulations, more affordable housing, more money for fire insurance.

    Less building regulations = more rapid house to house spread. Why am I surprised that a loonytarian thinks a pound of cure is preferable to an ounce of prevention.

  127. #127 Shay
    March 2, 2012

    Less building regulations, more affordable housing

    Yes, that worked so well in Port au Prince.

  128. #128 Sid Scipio Offitius
    March 2, 2012

    Steve, you magine in a Libertarian society it is pemissable to initiate violence against those wishing to fight a fire?

  129. #129 Lawrence
    March 2, 2012

    @Sid – once again you fall for the Nirvana Fallacy, that somehow if you are able to institute this “perfect” system that human nature will suddenly change & everything will happen according to the tenents of your beliefs.

    The Communists in Russian thought the exact same thing in 1917 – again, your philosophy looks great on paper, but would be an absolute horror in reality.

    You can continue to rail against society as it exists today, because unless you get a vast majority to “buy in” to the kind of substantial changes you’re pushing, it isn’t going to happen anyway. Ultimately, it is always the “bad apples” that will spoil the bunch, whether they be communists, libertarians, conservatives, liberals, etc – unless there are mechanisms in place to maintain stability.

    And it does bear saying that no society is perfect, there can & should be a movement to improve all aspects of society, government, etc. – and there is no single answer that gets it right all the time.

  130. #130 flip
    March 2, 2012

    @20 Andreas

    I think it’s part of the “tell it like it is” concept. People most likely already think of conspiracies and then when they discover that someone else thinks similarly, they feel as though that person is “telling it like it is”… and don’t bother to go any further in checking that person’s references or whether or not the “telling” is logical or anything but vague platitudes.

    @121 Sid

    In poorer neighborhoods much of the property is owned by people who are not poor.

    Except in rural farming areas and third world countries I suppose…

    Besides less government, less poverty.

    Yes, people were very rich until government came along. Before then, peasants were just really wealthy and hiding it under their matresses. ;) But seriously, there’s less government intervention in plenty of third-world countries – are the people richer for it?

    What strikes me is that people were better off because of Crassus. If not they would not have sold.

    Wow that’s some serious lack of reading comprehension. Assume that these people did not drag every bit of furniture, painting, clothing, valuable, jewellery, etc from the burning building – or that the building also took down livestock or crops – what then? They’d get a small amount of money to have their items *further* damaged because the guy wanted to turn a profit rather than do the job he was supposed to do. You get a fire engine/whatever for the specific purpose of preventing *more* damage and *losing* more assets. Yeah, they sold the property. And also lost all of their possessions in all likelihood too. I suppose they could go buy new stuff, but it’s hardly going to equal the possessions they already lost – and let’s not forget that a person or animal may have been trapped in the fire. I suppose so long as they got compensation, that’s ok?

    I’m sorry I find your arguments nothing more than “I want to keep my money. Because it’s mine” without considering the absolute probability that eventually the very thing you don’t want to pay for, you’ll need; and with complete disdain for your fellow human being who in your eyes either deserved it or can afford to sue. Further compounded by your utter lack of references where any of your libertarian ideas worked in the past in the majority of cases, or history completely being against you.

  131. #131 Todd W.
    March 2, 2012

    Why do I get the impression that Sid would eagerly join a mafia if the offer came up?

  132. #132 lilady
    March 2, 2012

    When I pay my property tax bill, each of the services that Sid has named that are billed to each property owner are listed. My husband and I pay for fire protection services…even though though we have a “volunteer” force (costs of equipment, maintenance of equipment, cost of the extremely-well equipped ambulances and accident/death insurances to provide coverages for injuries/deaths of the “volunteers” on the job).

    Included in the “general tax bill” also, is the police department budget that includes our “911″ communications system. I pay “my share” of the highway department budget, our sanitation and sewer systems, the cost of the county hospital/clinics, parks and recreation, certain costs of the county community college, senior citizen centers and the county share of the health department.

    The public health department staff in addition to investigating and containing communicable diseases outbreaks, inspects all the restaurants for compliance with the health department regulations for food safety and conducts food safety classes for food handlers. The health department lab tests all our wells for water purity.

    My school taxes are billed separately. Contained in that bill are the costs that I pay for “private/parochial” school children including school bus transportation, textbooks, health and psychological services, and special education services for these children. Within that school tax bill are the costs associated with our local public library.

    Why should I continue to pay my property tax bill for services that I rarely use? Why should I continue to pay for educating young people…when my children are no longer in school?

    At the risk of being called a socialist or worse…I pay these taxes so that all children receive a free education.

    If you have ever been to countries, where many kids receive no education or rudimentary education, where disease is prevalent and food-borne/water-borne diseases affect everyone in the society…you would understand why I am glad to pay my taxes.

    Even if, as Sid maintains, the incidence and rate of vaccine-preventable and other communicable diseases reflects “enhanced” sanitation, purer water and indoor plumbing…why shouldn’t society as a whole, pay for these services?

  133. #133 JGC
    March 2, 2012

    Besides less government, less poverty.

    Support for this extraordinary claim, Sid?

  134. #134 Anton P. Nym
    March 2, 2012

    Steve, you magine in a Libertarian society it is pemissable to initiate violence against those wishing to fight a fire?

    “Sid”, you imagine that in a Libertarian society it is possible to stop someone from initiating violence?

    — Steve

  135. #135 JGC
    March 2, 2012

    Steve, you magine in a Libertarian society it is pemissable to initiate violence against those wishing to fight a fire?

    Theft, assault, perjury, fraudulent accounting practices…the list of acts which are not permissible in our current society is pretty much endless. Yet for some strange reason people keep doing them. What makes you think things would be any different in a libertarian society?

    The sad fact is that human nature is what it is, and as a result human societies need to be governed.

  136. #136 Denice Walter
    March 2, 2012

    Well obviously, lilady, you *are* a socialist!
    If you should go on a walking tour around a major western city, you might ask yourself,”Why does the style of architecture suddenly change right *here*?”,”Why did Sir Chrisopher Wren get so much work?” “Why are all of the buildings in Chinatown Edwardian while more western areas are Victorian?” “Why are there few colonial buildings in NY? or Boston?” Because of the fires.

    These present-day bastions of liberalism/ socialism grew up in fear of fire and thus *allowed* governments to usurp their rights and *accepted* regulation upon regulation. Being ports probably had something to do with it as well- sailors. The alternative is to live far from the madd(en)ing crowd, “get off the grid”, grow your own, home-school, self-treat, be self-reliant, go back to the land. Interestingly enough: that’s where the small government folks meet up with the crunchies- searching for a simpler life that is largely imaginary because it conjures a past without great fires and earthquakes: or TB, diphtheria, malaria (-btw- c. 1940 US until government interference cleaned it up), dying in childbirth, et al.

  137. #137 Andy
    March 2, 2012

    lilady: Ron Paul is a Republican with some libertarian tendencies. A lot of libertarians attach themselves to him because they believe that, for all his flaws, he’s the best of a poor bunch. My personal favorite is Gary Johnson, the former New Mexico governor who will likely be the nominee of the Libertarian Party.

    And, FWIW, not all libertarians hate fire departments/believe they should be privatized. Look up “Minarchism” on wiki. There are some functions for which government is essential.

    And my daughter’s pediatrician has four separate waiting rooms. Newborns (up to 6 months), healthy children, healthy teens, and sick kids.

  138. #138 dedicated lurker
    March 2, 2012

    And, FWIW, not all libertarians hate fire departments/believe they should be privatized.

    I know that. Honestly if I hadn’t seen Sid’s posts before I would have thought it was a parody of extreme libertarianism.

  139. #139 Denice Walter
    March 2, 2012

    -btw- Finn is slated to be a guest on Null’s show today @ noon- it will be archived @ progressive radio network.com

    @ flip:
    Hello! Oh, you’re a socialist, too. And so are the Canadians, news flash!

    I have to leave.

  140. #140 demandabanana
    March 2, 2012

    “In poorer neighborhoods much of the property is owned by people who are not poor. They would be able to afford fire insurance.”

    In other words, screw the poor people who actually live there, though! All their clothes and kitchen stuff and furniture and pictures can BURN.

  141. #141 Antaeus Feldspar
    March 2, 2012

    What? Are we living in straw houses these days. Less building regulations, more affordable housing, more money for fire insurance.

    And remember, folks, this is Schechter talking from his area of “expertise”! The fire science expert thinks buildings don’t burn ruinously unless they’re made of straw!

    What strikes me is that people were better off because of Crassus. If not they would not have sold.

    By this logic, drug dealers must be just about the bestest peoples on Earth, ’cause their customers are just so eager to buy their products.

  142. #142 Denice Walter
    March 2, 2012

    I listened to the tape: ( starts at 37 minutes in, until 51) Ms Finn and the host rave about the government clamping down on dissenters ( Null: “a police state”) while simultaneously turning up the volume on the usual anti-vax talking points thus making the 14 minutes fly by as though they were hours. No mention of the advertising issue. Null sums up with a letter to Bill Moyers ( who is *dead wrong*on vaccination, or so we’re told) and reaches out to activists *everywhere* to join his myriad efforts to reform and redeem our corruption-ridden society.

    With idiots like this leading the charge, I am exceedingly pleased with my own morally-compromised, elitist, self-indulgent waywardness.

  143. #143 Vicki
    March 2, 2012

    And sometimes fire insurance is the problem. “Ladies and gentlemen, the Bronx is burning”—that’s the sort of thing that can happen when buildings are insured for significantly more than they’re worth (in terms of either rental income or what they could be sold for).

  144. #144 Skepticop
    March 3, 2012

    I’ve always been baffled by just how a certain sort of ‘libertarian’ (scare quotes to indicate that I’m not sure that the definition actually applies) can project the current state of the world onto their imaginary utopias, without any understanding of how it works.

    Forget fire insurance in the libertopia, it won’t exist. At least, it will be absolutely nothing like what we have today. Without standardized building codes, the rates of loss are going to skyrocket, ditto when we do away with those burdensome licensing and training requirements for the skilled trades. When everyman is his own electrician and plumber, you can expect to pay a heck of a lot more for your insurance.

    Ahh, cries the ‘libertarian’, but I will be able to exercise my free choice about the matter, the rates will be high, but I’m not *forced* to pay them. Of course, this is true today as well. At least in Canada, I’m not aware that the government requires anyone to ensure their houses.

    Banks, on the other hand, usually feel differently about the matter. I assume that libertopia is a hard-currency only economy.

    The more I think about this topic (fire insurance, for cheezus’s sake), the more complex it gets. The regulatory state, for all its many problems, has insulated people from the free market for so long that they’ve been able to forget what it actually DID. Buildings used to fall down, on their own, frequently. Wildfires destroyed cities, even in the last century. Disease was the great enemy of mankind, not that we have eradicated it, but I haven’t seen a deathcart come past the house in years now, and smallpox scars are pretty rare in this part of the world too.

    I’d like to suggest that the ‘libertarians’ actually go back and read a little history, if they are able, and explain how a government that exists only to guarantee contracts and prevent personal violence could offer them the standard of living they enjoy today. Read a little of Edward Mayhew’s interesting volumes on London in the 19th century and see how the invisible hand worked for the vast majority of the people there.

    Remember: highways, electrification (particularily rural), automobiles, air travel, food distribution, the internet, the quality of the workforce, the quality of food, banking, insurance, medicine, virtually anything that differs between your life and that of a 10th century peasant, arose either with the active support of a government, or was directly implemented by one.

  145. #145 Krebiozen
    March 3, 2012

    Peebs #117

    In the 18/19 centuries early insurance companies in London had their own distinct Fire Departments and would refuse to fight any fire not covered by that company. In fact the firemen would ignore and ride past a burning building letting it burn.

    Sounds a bit like Tennessee in 2011. “Firefighters arrived on the scene but as the fire raged, they simply stood by and did nothing… South Fulton Mayor David Crocker defended the fire department, saying that if firefighters responded to non-subscribers, no one would have an incentive to pay the fee.”
    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/tennessee-family-home-burns-while-firefighters-watch-191241763.html

  146. #146 Lawrence
    March 3, 2012

    @Krebiozen – I remember that story. Pretty sad state of affairs. What Sid / Robert & his ilk dance around is the fact that they believe in “acceptable losses & collateral damage” in their “libertarian paradise” as long as they get what they want – to hell with everyone else.

    Of course, that is the extreme, but societies have a tendency to gravitate towards the extremes without checks and balances (see Russia 1917 – current, France 1792 – 1814, Germany 1932 – 1945, etc, etc).

    I also believe that government can overreach & we are in a constant state of correction – finding that balance of regulation vs. free enterprise, to keep things from running off the rails (which was very evidence in 2008 – how things can get quickly out of control).

  147. #147 Krebiozen
    March 3, 2012

    Lawrence,
    I agree. It’s a tightrope walk, and intuitively it seems like there must be a better way, but in practice? No easy answers I can see.

  148. #148 Denice Walter
    March 3, 2012

    I agree with Skepticop about reading historical material.
    Here’s where the ‘libertarians’ collide with the natural health movement ( perhaps, I’ll call them *natur-tarians*):

    - they oppose governmental interference in the production of food products ( right now, Natural News is going wild about raw milk sellers being pursued legally)
    - they oppose any controls over production, advertisement and sale of herbals and vitamin/mineral supplements *including* what they can claim about the products. ANH has this market cornered but others have followed suit (e.g., Gary Null, NSF).
    - currently, any restrictions of *who* can advise clients about nutrition are being strongly opposed. Governmental effort to limit such activity to registered dieticians is their worst nightmare. Nutritionists strike back! Several of the loudest voices are nutritionists themselves.
    - Any laws that mandate vaccination for school children or health care workers or that limit exemption are strongly opposed. Lots on mileage- and websites- generated by this.
    - Governmental restrictions and control over who gets to play doctor or any rebuke to the ones they approve. They oppose restrictions to chiropractors, “Oriental” medicine providers, NDs, Ayurvedic practitioners, energy medicine, herbalists, *nutritionists* et al.

    If anyone looks back – even 100 years- they can easily fathom *why* many of these restrictions and laws were put into place.

  149. #149 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    March 3, 2012

    Anton,

    A sanitation company could not buy a piece of land and haul it’s trash there. The government must be involved in that?

    Which only shows how little Sid knows about waste disposal; it’s more than just piling garbage on a chunk of land, if you care at all about drinking water, crop irrigation, and air quality.

    To amplify on this a little – in my neighborhood the trash is hauled by one of two competing private companies to privately managed landfills and recycling centers. That is not to say that government is not involved – they must follow regulations from multiple levels of government. The people who live downwind of these landfills would be the first to argue that regulation is essential.

  150. #150 Militant Agnostic
    March 3, 2012

    Sketicop

    The regulatory state, for all its many problems, has insulated people from the free market for so long that they’ve been able to forget what it actually DID.

    Just like with vaccination and infectious diseases.

  151. #151 flip
    March 3, 2012

    @139 Denice

    Yep, socialised medicine, socialised fire departments, socialised roads… Even though I wouldn’t be able to afford to build my own road at least I can still use one to get to my next job. Wonder where Sid stashes all his portable roads?

    The thing I don’t get about extreme libertarianism is the ‘me’ vs ‘everyone else’ logic, whereby everyone else can fend for themselves: it completely ignores the fact that if you raise standards (or whatever) for everyone the ‘me’ in the equation is more likely to have lots of good stuff happen to them too. It’s entirely selfish to have social states for the very simple reason that the benefit that goes to ‘everyone else’ goes to ‘me’ too. You’d think that would fit in with capitalist ideals…

    Although I totally agree with the above sentiments that a balance needs to be struck.

  152. #152 Propolis
    March 3, 2012

    The regulatory state, for all its many problems, has insulated people from the free market for so long that they’ve been able to forget what it actually DID.

    Just like with vaccination and infectious diseases.

  153. #153 City Tours
    March 3, 2012

    Which only shows how little Sid knows about waste disposal; it’s more than just piling garbage on a chunk of land, if you care at all about drinking water, crop irrigation, and air quality.

  154. #154 Narad
    March 3, 2012

    Wonder where Sid stashes all his portable roads?

    If the free market were unchained, you could have a flying car that folds out of a suitcase, man, so quit complaining.

  155. #155 Anton P. Nym
    March 4, 2012

    @”City Tours” (currently #153): I wonder if I should be flattered or disturbed at the number of spamdroids who crib from my comments in order to generate clone-spam links. In this case, from the last paragraph of #112.

    Will the coming robot uprising worship me, or merely cast me as their figurehead?

    — Steve

  156. #156 flip
    March 4, 2012

    @154 Narad

    Yes – how stupid was I! Once unfettered from government interference, we’ll get all those space age wonders people were talking about in the 1950s! Heck, technology has moved along so far since then that without government involvement, we’d be getting our own jet packs that take us to Saturn. ;)

  157. #157 Sid Offit
    March 4, 2012

    First of all it is you socialists who dream of a perfect/utopian world provided you have enough government

    —————–

    @demandabanana
    In poorer neighborhoods much of the property is owned by people who are not poor. They would be able to afford fire insurance.”

    In other words, screw the poor people who actually live there, though! All their clothes and kitchen stuff and furniture and pictures can BURN.

    Brilliant reasoning. The fire department would arrive and put out the fire in only some parts of the building. And with the inside being destroyed the property owner could no longer rent the apartments.
    ————-
    @Vicki

    “Ladies and gentlemen, the Bronx is burning”—that’s the sort of thing that can happen when buildings are insured for significantly more than they’re worth (in terms of either rental income or what they could be sold for).

    Another example of government “help” leading to disastrous result:

    The Cross Bronx Expressway, completed in 1963, was a part of Robert Moses’s urban renewal project for New York City. The expressway is now known to have been a factor in the extreme urban decay seen by the borough in the 1970s and 1980s. Cutting straight through the heart of the South Bronx, the highway displaced thousands of residents from their homes, as well as several local businesses. The already poor and working-class neighborhoods were at another disadvantage: the decreased property value brought on by their proximity to the Cross Bronx Expressway. The neighborhood of East Tremont, in particular, was completely destroyed by the incursion of the expressway. The combination of increasing vacancy rates and decreased property values caused some neighborhoods to become considered undesirable by homeowners.[11]

  158. #158 Chris
    March 4, 2012

    And there you have it, Mr. Schecter using the all purpose technique of cherry picking!

    He seems to think that cutting and pasting from a wiki about one particular freeway caused issues proves that every single publicly constructed road is just the same. And that a privately funded highway system would be free of all those problems.

  159. #159 Sid Offit
    March 4, 2012

    @citytours

    Which only shows how little Sid knows about waste disposal; it’s more than just piling garbage on a chunk of land, if you care at all about drinking water, crop irrigation, and air quality.

    You should have a rudimentary understanding of libertarianism before you comment on it. One cannot act to violate the rights of others in such a society. As such your silly waste disposal analogy is meaningless.

    —————
    @skepticop

    Remember: highways, electrification (particularily rural), automobiles, air travel, food distribution, the internet, the quality of the workforce, the quality of food, banking, insurance, medicine, virtually anything that differs between your life and that of a 10th century peasant, arose either with the active support of a government, or was directly implemented by one.

    You make the mistake of believing a free society must mirror government controlled one. Perhaps there would not be the interstate freeways system but other forms of roads/transportation would have emerged. Maybe we would not have the suburban sprawl and carbon emissions that trouble your side so much without government support of the automobile. And the government does such a good job with the freeways in LA and other big cities. And banking is a fraudulent system supported by the government and one that has led to numerous financial panics and bank runs. And I’d love to hear how we’d have no air travel without the government. I could go on. As to other points remember correlation does not equal causation. Economic growth from the industrial revolution on has created the wealth allowing us to live better. Were that not the case your precious government could just pass a law making everyone wealthy. Perhaps we could start with a $200 hour minimum wage.

  160. #160 Lawrence
    March 4, 2012

    @Sid – well, you can certainly continue to go on and on, but I see very little actual evidence that people in general would either welcome or participate in your Libertarian Love-in.

    So, unless you have some master plan to suddenly change the entire way we do things in this country, your philosophy makes about as much real-world sense as the old communist ideology & has just as much chance of either coming to pass or working in reality.

    I love how Robert / Sid can clinge to these fantasy beliefs of his….

  161. #161 Chris
    March 4, 2012

    Mr. Schecter, “city tours” was a spammer that was copying bits of a March 1st comment by Anton P. Nym. I thought only Internet newbies were confused by comment spam.

  162. #162 Sid Offit
    March 4, 2012

    I love how Lawrence thinks omnipresent government will bring us a classless workers paradise

  163. #163 Lawrence
    March 4, 2012

    @Sid / Robert – actually, I am very much in favor of a comprehensive government audit – since many programs and initiatives go on for years, yet they don’t necessarily make good use of technology and other advances (and even changes in the economy and demographics), which means that a significant amount of taxpayer money is wasted each year.

    I would be very happy to see a leaner, meaner and more responsive governmental structure – put everything on the table, see what works, what doesn’t & make adjustments accordingly.

    Unfortunately, entrenched interests (on both sides of the equation) will most certainly be against that – since you’d see changes in everybody’s pet programs, and change seems to be bad – especially if it happens to fall in your home district.

    Between the two extremes is the happy or not so happy middle ground. Government does sometimes overreach & under-perform, and it does take a lot of hits despite performing very valuable services (and it screws up quite a bit as well – since it doesn’t turn on a dime & is subjec to political whims).

    What we have isn’t perfect & it never will be – and I’ll keep reinterating that your philosophy stands as much chance to be succesfully implemented as Lenin had bringing communism to Russia – it looks great on paper, but as soon as actual people get involved, it’ll go to hell in a handbasket.

  164. #164 dedicated lurker
    March 4, 2012

    How on earth do you only put out a fire in some parts of the building? And even if only some apartments burn, that might mess with the structure of the building.

    You should have a rudimentary understanding of libertarianism before you comment on it. One cannot act to violate the rights of others in such a society. As such your silly waste disposal analogy is meaningless.

    So libertarians think you have a right to dump stuff in water and pollute the air, but you don’t have a right to clean air or water?

  165. #165 dean
    March 4, 2012

    Sid’s attraction to libertarianism is no surprise: its “philosophy” requires neither deep thought nor honesty. He can’t do the first and doesn’t have any of the second.

  166. #166 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    March 4, 2012

    Sid – You said “One cannot act to violate the rights of others in such a society.” What happens when rights come into conflict? Suppose your next door neighbor were to decide to open a gas station – does her desire to use her property as she sees fit outweigh your desire to maintain your property values and live in a safe neighborhood? Does a person’s desire to have as many pets as they wish outweigh your desire to not be routinely awakened at 3AM by incessant barking? If your neighbor puts up a waste disposal area, is it his right to do so in a manner that he sees fit, or does your desire not to smell the stench and be infested with vermin take precedence? If someone’s right to use their property as they see fit does not take precedence, why not?

  167. #167 lilady
    March 4, 2012

    “You make the mistake of believing a free society must mirror government controlled one. Perhaps there would not be the interstate freeways system but other forms of roads/transportation would have emerged.”

    “Maybe we would not have the suburban sprawl and carbon emissions that trouble your side so much without government support of the automobile. And the government does such a good job with the freeways in LA and other big cities.”

    Really Offal…Which entity, aside from a centralized government, could have developed an interstate highway system that links the lower 48 States? Did you not study the history of the United States after the Second World War and the time of prosperity during Eisenhower’s administration, when pent-up demand for new cars and a more educated society, caused great migrations from rural America for the major cities and their adjacent suburbs?

    “And banking is a fraudulent system supported by the government and one that has led to numerous financial panics and bank runs.”

    Perhaps Sid, if you went to another CUNY school and studied some real subjects including economics and science…instead of a fourth tier college within the CUNY system and “opted” for a real degree, not “fire science”…you wouldn’t be so utterly clueless about American history, macro economics, epidemiology and immunology:

    http://www.cuny.edu/about/people/alumni/nobel-laureates.html

    “And I’d love to hear how we’d have no air travel without the government. I could go on.”

    Please spare us, Offal. You do know don’t you that public and private transportation..including air transport…is strictly regulated, so that everyone has a measure of safety when traveling in the United States?:

    http://www.ntsb.gov/aviationquery/index.aspx

    Also, international air transport is regulated through international treaty and by international law:

    http://www.iata.org/Pages/default.aspx

    “As to other points remember correlation does not equal causation.”

    Your posts here disprove that, Sid. Your posts do correlate with your total ignorance on a variety of topics.

  168. #168 Denice Walter
    March 4, 2012

    Well, those who long for free enterprise and un-restrained capitalism need only consult historical accounts of the Victorian** era( or, the Gilded** Age): it must have been absolutely paradisical- no unions, workers rights, minimum wages, minimum age limits, hour limits, safety restrictions, environmental laws, health regulations, rules about monopolies or governmental interference with commerce!

    Do you ever imagine that the people who tried to reform working and living conditions – not to mention the dreaded- *distribution* of capital issue- were not pie-in-the-sky idealists contemplating a workers’ nirvana- but profoundly realistic people who saw misery on a daily basis?

    It’s interesting that many social reform movements found support precisely at the peak of prosperity engendered by the industrial revolution- btw- it was prosperity that was limited to a small sector of the population. The *safety net* came later.

    ** all this money had important effects on architecture.

  169. #169 Denice Walter
    March 4, 2012

    While I’m at it, I should perhaps ask Sid/ Robert about whether he had a good time at the health freedom expo @ Long Beach- did he meet AJW and other luminaries in the health freedom/ anti-vax movement? (I’m not being facetious.. I’m truly interested)

  170. #170 Sid Offit
    March 4, 2012

    Yes, Denise we had a smashing time. AJW seemed in excellent spirits and was warmly received by the crowd. Thank you for asking.
    ——————-

    You said “One cannot act to violate the rights of others in such a society.” What happens when rights come into conflict? Suppose your next door neighbor were to decide to open a gas station – does her desire to use her property as she sees fit outweigh your desire to maintain your property values and live in a safe neighborhood?

    Is depends on how the neighborhood is being used when one attempts to open a station. If it’s an area already featuring many commercial operations the opening of the gas station and let’s say 24 hour traffic/noise would not create anymore annoyance, etc., than already existed. If other hand it were a residential neighborhood I’d say the associated noise could be considered a rights violation. It depends on the areas early days. I couldn’t build a house next to an existing airport then ask them to stop flying planes.

    Does a person’s desire to have as many pets as they wish outweigh your desire to not be routinely awakened at 3AM by incessant barking?

    No, unless it were already an area dominated by kennels or the like,

    If your neighbor puts up a waste disposal area, is it his right to do so in a manner that he sees fit, or does your desire not to smell the stench and be infested with vermin take precedence?

    Refer to previous answers.

  171. #171 Gray Falcon
    March 4, 2012

    I love how Lawrence thinks omnipresent government will bring us a classless workers paradise

    Sid, is it honest to ascribe to people beliefs they don’t have? Now, please read up on why the Pure Food and Drug Act exists. The free market is not as great a protector as you might believe.

  172. #172 Sid Offit
    March 4, 2012

    One comment is in moderation. Anyway Denise, the governments interference in the economy was quite prevalent:

    Mercantilism is the economic doctrine in which government control of foreign trade is of paramount importance for ensuring the prosperity and military security of the state. In particular, it demands a positive balance of trade. Mercantilism dominated Western European economic policy and discourse from the 16th to late-18th centuries.[1] Mercantilism was a cause of frequent European wars in that time and motivated colonial expansion. Mercantilist theory varied in sophistication from one writer to another and evolved over time. Favors for powerful interests were often defended with mercantilist reasoning.

  173. #173 Gray Falcon
    March 4, 2012

    Sid, the Victorian era was the late 19th century, a hundred years after the age of mercantilism.

  174. #174 Militant Agnostic
    March 4, 2012

    Narad @173

    What do you expect, libertarians are ignorant of history, that’s why they are libertarians.

  175. #175 lilady
    March 4, 2012

    Offal…if you are going to rip off the definition of “mercantilism” and not attribute it to your source, “Wikipedia”, you should remove the footnote.

  176. #176 Gray Falcon
    March 4, 2012

    Said article on Wikipedia shows that mercantilism fell out of favor for free trade around the time of the American Revolution, well before the Victorian Era. If he bothered to link to it, it would have exposed his brazen lie.

  177. #177 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    March 4, 2012

    So, Sid, property rights are not supreme for a libetarian. Thus you agree with the concept of zoning (and other restrictions on property use), and the taxation needed to enforce it.
    So let’s talk about fire control. Suppose your neighbor chooses not to buy fire protection services (not an altogether unreasonable choice, as the vast majority of people never have a house fire in a lifetime). His house catches fire and, naturally, the fire brigade does not respond. Is it in your interest to help make sure his house does not go completely up – and catch yours on fire in the bargain?

  178. #178 Denice Walter
    March 4, 2012

    @ Sid / Robert:

    Thanks for answering my query.

    -btw- I wasn’t asking about *foreign* trade and war but how workers’ rights and safety were neglected at home during the industrial revolution- I do believe that there were these places called *mills* and these people called *mill workers* who worked long hours in atrocious conditions for low wages- some of them were children( they’re small and useful for cleaning out chimneys also)- poor girls selling flowers weren’t an invention of Shaw- they may have also found more physical employment. Sweat shops anyway?- (no, they weren’t workout studios). Then there is the issue of public health.

    Governmental intervention improved people’s lives without entirely stifling entrepreneurship or technical innovation.

  179. #179 Chris
    March 4, 2012

    For some reason I was just reminded of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.

  180. #180 Sid Offit
    March 4, 2012

    @Confused Falcon:

    Sid, the Victorian era was the late 19th century, a hundred years after the age of mercantilism.

    Wiki, wiki, wiki:
    The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria’s reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901

    1837 is not in the late 19th century
    —————

    The American System, originally called “The American Way”, was a mercantilist economic plan that played a prominent role in American policy during the first half of the 19th century.

    1837 is in the first half of the 19th century

    I win again!

  181. #181 Sid Offit
    March 4, 2012

    Triangle shirtwaist fire? You mean the one where the government fire department only had ladders that went halfway up a 12 story building?

  182. #182 lilady
    March 4, 2012

    @ Chris: I remember reading about the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire and it WAS NOT my “field of study” in college:

    http://www.businessinsurance.com/article/20110313/ISSUE01/303139973

    Wiki Wiki Wiki…try looking up “Neo-Luddism” on Wikipedia, Offal.

    You lose again!

  183. #183 Sid Offit
    March 4, 2012

    The facts say otherwise, baglady.

  184. #184 Gray Falcon
    March 4, 2012

    Sid, do you know what “facts” are?

  185. #185 lilady
    March 4, 2012

    @ Offal: There were existing unsafe conditions (locked fire doors and unsafe fire escapes), that were responsible for the deaths of 146 young women who worked at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, according to the NY Times and the NYC Fire Department:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/23/opinion/23wed4.html

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/fdny/html/events/2009/032709a.shtml

  186. #186 lilady
    March 5, 2012

    What “facts” Offal? Why don’t you provide links to your sources?

  187. #187 Lawrence
    March 5, 2012

    We must remember – Sid / Robert wants to live in a society that only reacts after people have been injured or killed (his statement about persecuting the guilty, while regulations target the innocent).

    I guess that works for him, as long as his family wasn’t one of the victims.

  188. #188 Anton P. Nym
    March 5, 2012

    Triangle shirtwaist fire? You mean the one where the government fire department only had ladders that went halfway up a 12 story building?

    Yeah, the one where the building owners padlocked the fire exits to prevent workers from taking breaks, and then skimmed their fire extinguisher budget to bulk up their profit margin.

    What was that about glibertarian states making it impossible to violate others’ rights again?

    — Steve

  189. #189 lilady
    March 5, 2012

    I was hoping that Sid Offal would provide the links to the “research” he has done about the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire.

    It seems that some libertarian websites have re-written history about the fire, to advance their agenda of fighting off and removing existing regulations that protect workers in our society…and to protect children from being exploited:

    http://rexcurry.net/shirtwaist.html

  190. #190 Anton P. Nym
    March 5, 2012

    I like how it’s the firefighters’ fault for not having ladders taller than 6 stories… it’s like folks don’t know what a ladder that tall is like, and how to handle one that tall without power assist. (1911, remember? Not all fire equipment was automotive at the time, and the modern power-assisted ladder truck hadn’t yet been invented. I’ll also note that the problem is considerably worse today; there are no 110-story ladders in the FDNY inventory, for instance.)

    And the paen to capitalist fire sprinklers on the Curry site ignores that such sprinklers had existed for over twenty years by 1911… the owners, however, decided it wasn’t worth the investment in their building packed to the rafters with stray cotton fibres (aka “tinder”) and with limited entries/exits.

    Again, what was that about glibertarian states making it impossible to violate others’ rights?

    — Steve

  191. #191 lilady
    March 5, 2012

    @ Steve: I knew you would *enjoy* that website.

    Here’s a little trivia for you. Frances Perkins, the first woman in American history to be appointed to a cabinet post, witnessed the young women jumping out of the building. She was heavily into the womens’ suffragette movement, before the fire and that “experience” inspired her career in public service:

    http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1603.html

    Perkins was a Democrat (*socialist*) and during the twelve years that she was Secretary of Labor in FDR’s cabinet, many “worker friendly” laws, including the Social Security law, were enacted.

    (I guess I really am a *socialist*)

  192. #192 JGC
    March 5, 2012

    Sid:

    You should have a rudimentary understanding of libertarianism before you comment on it. One cannot act to violate the rights of others in such a society.

    Why not? What exactly is going to stop someone from violating the rights of others in your proposed Libertarian society, should they decide it’s in their best interest to do so?

  193. #193 Johnny
    March 5, 2012

    Denice Walter @ 178 mentions mill workers and child labor, and how government regulation has mostly put an end to it. A contributing factor in spurring the creation of these regulations was the work of Lewis Hine, who captured many photographs of the children working in the mills and mines. You can see samples of his work at h ttp://www.shorpy.com/lewis-hine-photos

    The site itself is named after the subject of one of Mr. Hine’s photographs. At h ttp://www.shorpy.com/shorpy we read

    “Shorpy Higginbotham, a ‘greaser’ on the tipple at Bessie Mine, of the Sloss-Sheffield Steel and Iron Co. in Alabama. Said he was 14 years old, but it is doubtful. Carries two heavy pails of grease, and is often in danger of being run over by the coal cars.”

    I think one of the most haunting photos Mr. Hine captured was h ttp://www.shorpy.com/node/2596?size=_original

    Only someone as stupid as Sid would want to return to a time when governments didn’t interfere with a mill owner making as much profit as possible.

  194. #194 Denice Walter
    March 5, 2012

    You see,our friend Sid/ Robert doesn’t deal with the issue I presented: whereas I was talking about free enterprise’s effect on workers and living conditions he jumped to governmental *interference* in the economy.

    Here’s the simple equation: people are not naturally entirely altruistic; often they will behave in a manner that benefits themselves while harming others. Regulation by govermnents can short-circuit this tendency: if people work for you, you have to treat them in a certain way, you have to pay them at least a certain amount, you have to consider their welfare in many ways *because* you profit from them. Let’s be honest: there was slavery and near-slavery in the western world post-1800. Simultaneously, vast wealth was created that benefitted a small number of citizens. I wrote earlier about taking walking tours and seeing the effects of fire in 4 old cities: you can do the same and see what un-restricted capitalism bought: grand houses and elaborately designed banks. Check the dates on buildings, you’ll see a trend.

  195. #195 Science Mom
    March 5, 2012

    Yes, Denise we had a smashing time. AJW seemed in excellent spirits and was warmly received by the crowd. Thank you for asking.

    Of course he was in good spirits; his merry band cult of disciples were emptying their wallets for his latest folly. You don’t bite the only hand that feeds you.

  196. #196 Todd W.
    March 5, 2012

    @JGC

    What exactly is going to stop someone from violating the rights of others in your proposed Libertarian society, should they decide it’s in their best interest to do so?

    In Sid’s libertarian utopia, the threat of legal action after the fact would, obviously, prevent people from violating anyone else’s rights. Of course, this ignores the potential for wealthy and well-connected individuals/corporations to brush off legal threats, secure in the knowledge that their opponents will not have the resources to wage a lengthy court battle.

    Sid is woefully ignorant of history. For just one area of education, Sid, you might consider reading The Jungle and/or Protecting America’s Health: The FDA, Business, and One Hundred Years of Regulation for some insight into what happens when there is no government regulation.

  197. #197 Chris
    March 5, 2012

    Todd, that is one reason I mentioned Elixir Sulfanilamide a few days ago.

  198. #198 JGC
    March 5, 2012

    In Sid’s libertarian utopia, the threat of legal action after the fact would, obviously, prevent people from violating anyone else’s rights.

    Of that were true, we’d be living some version of that utopia right now. After all, the fact that we regulate before the fact doesn’t preclude legal action after the fact when a violation of rights occurs. Yet such violations occur all too frequently.

    And as we observe the combination of both regulation and threats of future legal action we have in place today hasn’t proven enough to prevent rights violations, what reasonable person could conclude that the threat of legal action alone magically would be?

  199. #199 Denice Walter
    March 5, 2012

    I think that what libertarians don’t truly *understand* is that while *you* are aggressively pursuing your own own self-interests and desires so is *everyone* else! And these pursuits tend to
    _collide_
    frequently thus requiring the continued services of a referee so that daily life and commerce don’t turn into either drawn-out brawls or open warfare..

  200. #200 JGC
    March 5, 2012

    Of course, when the dispute comes to open warfare there’ll be an approved free market solution.

    May the man with the better hired mercenary force win.

  201. #201 Sid Offit
    March 5, 2012

    Denise

    you have to treat them in a certain way, you have to pay them at least a certain amount, you have to consider their welfare in many ways *because* you profit from them. Let’s be honest: there was slavery and near-slavery in the western world post-1800. Simultaneously, vast wealth was created that benefitted a small number of citizens.

    You simply don’t understand economics. You don’t create societal wealth by passing laws. All you can do is interfere with the wealth creation that, in time, benefits everyone (and makes it impossible to offer “slave wages”. As to the idea that just a few people grabbed up a big, existing pile of money to the detriment of others, remember, the owners of the Triangle were themselves immigrants who had to work to create a business that employed hundreds.

    Treat them in a certain way? Why, because you say so. They are not the children of the business owner. He owes them nothing except what is agreed upon by worker and employer. You don’t think the worker “profits” from his relationship with the employer? If he didn’t he would not be there.

    So answer my previous question. Why not a three day work week and $200 minimum wage. And here’s a new one. Why isn’t Europe an economic miracle. They have more rules and regulations than you can shake a stick at.

    Baglady

    There were existing unsafe conditions (locked fire doors and unsafe fire escapes), that were responsible for the deaths of 146 young women who worked at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, according to the NY Times and the NYC Fire Department:

    As Lawrence knows, these issues need to be addressed in the courts. Sadly, it failed the victims of the Shirtwaist fire. If people find working conditions so egregious, they can choose not work there. In this case, the jobs provided prevented those workers from starving. And the conditions in the countries from which they came were much worse. Besides, there were already regulations against locked doors in the first place. That didn’t stop the tragedy. Your side thinks simply the positive intent that comes with passing a bunch of laws translates into tangible results. We have no idea as to the real effectiveness of these new rules. It also highlights how a tragedy or crisis is used to advance an agenda having nothing to do with the original situation, e.g., minimum wage and working age laws. Did those women did because their wages were too low?

  202. #202 Sid Offit
    March 5, 2012

    Yet such violations occur all too frequently.

    Yes, it’s called government. Other comment in spam filter. I think what socialists don’t understand is that there is no Santa Clause, Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy.

  203. #203 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    March 5, 2012

    Sid – that’s a silly one-liner. You don’t honestly believe that the only causes of violations of rights are government.
    I look forward to your serious comment.

  204. #204 Sid Offit
    March 5, 2012

    Not the only one; just the primary one.

  205. #205 Gray Falcon
    March 5, 2012

    Sid, are you aware that people other than you have rights as well?

  206. #206 JGC
    March 5, 2012

    C’mon, Sid! I was serious.

    You seem to have the strange idea that in a Libertarian society human nature itself would be radically changed, and the mere threat of possible future legal action alone will be sufficient to accomplish what the threat of leagal action plus regulatory laws and agencies together has failed to achieve: curb the natural human tendency to (un-enlightened) self-interest.

    That’s such an extraordinary claim you can’t really be surprised you’ve been asked to defend it.

    So again: by what rational argument would reduced surveillance resulting in reduced risk of punishment yield better outcomes than the system in place?

  207. #207 Sid Offit
    March 5, 2012

    JGC, you seem to hold the strange idea that when these malevolent people get into government they are magically transformed into saints and angels.

    It’s not about utilitarian talk of outcomes or non-outcomes. It is about the fundamental premise that you don’t get to initiate violence against innocent people. If I have a restaurant, it’s my property and it’s my right to reject the intrusions of an inspector. In your world the state could then use violence or its threat to shut me down. In a moral world it could not. Whether that increase the risk of food borne illness is immaterial. You don’t get to violate rights to protect rights.

    The socialists advocate their system because it would produce more/better utility when in fact it produces disutility. Sure, you see the Tragedy of the Triangle, but the 14 trillion dollar deficit is not so visible.

    Falcon:
    Sid, are you aware that people other than you have rights as well?

    Are you aware there are courts designed to address alleged rights violations?

  208. #208 Denice Walter
    March 5, 2012

    I suspect that we’ll next be hearing about the evils of regulation and how we can eliminate economic instability *if only* we placed our faith entirely in market forces to, um, even things out. Set things straight.Get things right.
    Which they will, eventually. And in the longrun, we’re all dead, too.

  209. #209 Gray Falcon
    March 5, 2012

    Sid, which would you rather have:
    1) A restaurant closed down because it failed a health inspection.
    2) A restaurant closed down because it killed your wife and children.

  210. #210 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    March 5, 2012

    Are you aware there are courts designed to address alleged rights violations?

    And how are said courts to enforce their judgments without violence or the threat of violence? How will they compel you to appear?
    Note that health inspectors do not use violence or the threat of violence to perform their duties. They use the same courts you spoke of.

  211. #211 Sid Offit
    March 5, 2012

    Here’s another unintended (and largely invisible) consequence of dogooders living off the Triangle fire. My mom lived at a retirement community where fire officials decided self closing mechanisms had to be installed on each of the residents’ doors. This of course made it impossible for many of the elderly residents to open those doors due to the high tension settings of the mechanisms. As a result they could either not get into their rooms or had to wait until a caregiver could open them for them. Of course being a self-righteous bureaucracy, the officials were impervious to reason. But in the fairy-tale world of the socialist there are only good intentions and good results.

    Sid, which would you rather have:
    1) A restaurant closed down because it failed a health inspection.
    2) A restaurant closed down because it killed your wife and children.

    A false dilemma

    Which would you rather have
    1) Free country
    2) Unfree country

  212. #212 Agashem
    March 5, 2012

    OOOHHH can I guess??? Unfree? Is that the right answer? We Canadians are all communists so we like our unfree country!!!

  213. #213 lilady
    March 5, 2012

    @ Gray Falcon:

    1) A restaurant closed down because it failed a health inspection.
    2) A restaurant closed down because it killed your wife and children.

    Or…

    #3. A restaurant closed down because it killed someone else’s mate and child:

    http://www.foodsafetynews.com/sections/foodborne-illness-outbreaks/index.html?page=3

    Offal wouldn’t even get the chance to open a restaurant, because he would need a health department “permit” and he would need to attend classes at the local health department to train him and his food handlers in safe food handling practices. He would also need a fire department inspection, before he opened his restaurant (Isn’t “fire science” Offal’s area of *expertise*?)

    Silly Offal, were you absent from class when the module about fire safety in a health care facility (hospitals, nursing homes, senior housing) was taught? All such facilities have automatic locking doors, to close off wings and rooms…to contain a fire.

  214. #214 Lawrence
    March 5, 2012

    If Sid thinks we live in an “un-free” country, he hasn’t travelled much. I’ve seen what an authoritarian government looks like (many in fact) and they bear no resemblance whatsoever to this one.

    Sid also seems to have a very funny definition of “violence” or the threat of violence, since I don’t seem to recall food inspectors being accompanied by armed guards or ordering mass arrests of restaurant or factory owners that were found in violation.

    In fact, the number of inspectors, industry-wide (and across industries) is so small & the appeal process so lengthy as to make many regulations or attempted enforcement to be almost a joke (see the West Virginia mine disaster – a perfect example of a company that operated pretty much the way they wanted & ignored any attempt to rectify the many safety violations that were found over the years).

    Sid is asking for the freedom to die or be harmed by food poisoning, unsafe vehicles or building practices, etc – while the rest of us recognize that their are legitimate preventative measures that need to be enforced. When looking at who is the extremist here, I believe the answer is crystal clear.

  215. #215 Narad
    March 5, 2012

    Sid, which would you rather have:

    1) A restaurant closed down because it failed a health inspection.
    2) A restaurant closed down because it killed your wife and children.

    A false dilemma

    With advertising like this, it’s little surprise that you continue to fail spectacularly among taste-testers in the free market of ideas.

  216. #216 Sid Offit
    March 5, 2012

    We Canadians are all communists so we like our unfree country!!!

    My guinea pig likes his cage too.

  217. #217 Gray Falcon
    March 5, 2012

    Sid, you are aware that the life of a wild guinea is usually quite short? Also, we now have definitive proof you consider your personal convenience more important than human life:

    It’s not about utilitarian talk of outcomes or non-outcomes. It is about the fundamental premise that you don’t get to initiate violence against innocent people. If I have a restaurant, it’s my property and it’s my right to reject the intrusions of an inspector. In your world the state could then use violence or its threat to shut me down. In a moral world it could not. Whether that increase the risk of food borne illness is immaterial. You don’t get to violate rights to protect rights.

    I’m sorry Sid, but you are now officially classified as evil.

  218. #218 Narad
    March 5, 2012

    My guinea pig likes his cage too.

    Thus cementing in my mind the notion that you’re basically the Th1Th2 of political philosophy.

  219. #219 Gray Falcon
    March 5, 2012

    Aren’t wild guinea pigs generally food for larger animals?

  220. #220 Stu
    March 5, 2012

    Let me just jump in to point out the delicious, sumptuous irony in:

    A false dilemma

    and

    Which would you rather have
    1) Free country
    2) Unfree country

    Furthermore: Sid, you are a complete moron and the reason we can’t have nice things.

  221. #221 flip
    March 5, 2012

    I wonder what Sid thinks of the old system of ‘patronage’, whereby scientists, artists and other great thinkers had to find wealthy people in order to get any of their work done. Is this the free market acting, or some sort of pseudo-subsidisation/support by the elite of their time?

    @168 Denice

    Ah you see, here’s the problem. As Sid is in the ‘small sector of the population’, it doesn’t matter about safety nets. He doesn’t need one, therefore no one does.

    One wonders: in the examples given about neighbours building gas stations, etc… who would Sid rely on for arbitration if an argument occurred between him and a neighbour? He notes that people have the right to sue: but court cases requires judges, someone impartial who can come to a decision. Would private companies who hire out judges be suitable in his world? And if corporations could do arbitration better, then who pays to hire them?

  222. #222 flip
    March 5, 2012

    Damn…. should have refreshed the page before commenting, I’ve missed more new comments.

  223. #223 JGC
    March 5, 2012

    JGC, you seem to hold the strange idea that when these malevolent people get into government they are magically transformed into saints and angels.

    I have no such idea, and I’m quite at a loss to understand where you’ve come up with the strange idea I do.

    It’s not about utilitarian talk of outcomes or non-outcomes. It is about the fundamental premise that you don’t get to initiate violence against innocent people.

    How exactly do you propose we ensure that everyone adhere to this fundamental principle? As far as I can see, however, the only mechanism you propose is the possibility they will be the target of legal action after the fact.

    If I have a restaurant, it’s my property and it’s my right to reject the intrusions of an inspector.

    No, it isn’t. Both state and federal constitutions grant public health agencies the legal right to require regular inspections.

    In your world the state could then use violence or its threat to shut me down.

    In exactly the same way they can intervene to remove a drunk driver from the road, and/or suspend his license. Where is the problem in that? Do you really believe you have some legal right to place third parties at risk?

    In a moral world it could not.

    What exactly is immoral about regulating the food industry, in the interests of public health and in complete accord with the rule of law? Explain that too me.

    Whether that increase the risk of food borne illness is immaterial.

    You’ve stated that it’s a fundamental principle one cannot harm innocent people: how does willfully increasing their risk of food borne illness not violate that fundamental principle?

    You don’t get to violate rights to protect rights.

    And no rights are being violated with respect to the mandatory licensing and inspection of restaurants. Your problem is that you’re demanding a right–the right to place others at risk–you aren’t vested with.

  224. #224 JGC
    March 5, 2012

    JGC, you seem to hold the strange idea that when these malevolent people get into government they are magically transformed into saints and angels.

    I have no such idea, and I’m quite at a loss to understand where you’ve come up with the strange idea I do.

    It’s not about utilitarian talk of outcomes or non-outcomes. It is about the fundamental premise that you don’t get to initiate violence against innocent people.

    How exactly do you propose we ensure that everyone adhere to this fundamental principle? As far as I can see, however, the only mechanism you propose is the possibility they will be the target of legal action after the fact.

    If I have a restaurant, it’s my property and it’s my right to reject the intrusions of an inspector.

    No, it isn’t. Both state and federal constitutions grant public health agencies the legal right to require regular inspections.

    In your world the state could then use violence or its threat to shut me down.

    In exactly the same way they can intervene to remove a drunk driver from the road, and/or suspend his license. Where is the problem in that? Do you really believe you have some legal right to place third parties at risk?

    In a moral world it could not.

    What exactly is immoral about regulating the food industry, in the interests of public health and in complete accord with the rule of law? Explain that too me.

    Whether that increase the risk of food borne illness is immaterial.

    You’ve stated that it’s a fundamental principle one cannot harm innocent people: how does willfully increasing their risk of food borne illness not violate that fundamental principle?

    You don’t get to violate rights to protect rights.

    And no rights are being violated with respect to the mandatory licensing and inspection of restaurants. Your problem is that you’re demanding a right–the right to place others at risk–you aren’t vested with.

  225. #225 JGC
    March 5, 2012

    Which would you rather have
    1) Free country
    2) Unfree country

    If by ‘free country’ you mean your Libertarian utopian fantasy and by ‘unfree country’ the current reality where regulatory agencies and laws exist to provide for public safety and health, that’s easy: I’ll take the ‘unfree’ country hands down. I and my family will live longer, healthier, happier lives.

    (sorry for the duplicate posts above)

  226. #226 Denice Walter
    March 5, 2012

    @ JGC:

    According to the woo-meisters, governmental interference ( food safety, regulation of supplements and pharmaceuticals, regulation of medical personnel, oversight of treatments, governmental agencies concerned with health, safety et al) has no place in a free society. If I call myself a “healer” and create an arcane mix of substances, I should be able to take the initiative and reap the financial rewards *un-restricted*. Depressed? Take my new blend of herbals! They’re natural alkaloids from South America: I can promise you that you won’t be feeling low for long! ( -btw- this occured in Vienna in the late 19th Century- a doctor named Sigmund Freud)

  227. #227 herr doktor bimler
    March 5, 2012

    Aren’t wild guinea pigs generally food for larger animals?

    In point of random pedantry, there are *no* wild guinea-pigs — only the domesticated version of the species.
    But those are still generally food for larger animals (us).

    I was concerned, when Sid referred to “My guinea pig [who] likes his cage too,” that he was referring to the medical experiments he is performing on college students in his basement.

  228. #228 Liz Ditz
    March 5, 2012

    Since we’re mud-wrestling with Sid (who fancies himself a deep libertarian thinker) there’s odd news out of Washington:

    Charles Koch founded and funded the Cato Institute in the mid-1970s. David Koch came on board with Cato in the 1980s. At the time of founding, Charles was a pretty principaled libertarian, a student of Mies and Hayek and patron of Murray Rothbard. David came on board as a Cato patron later (in the 1980s, I think). Cato’s been run by Ed Crane since its founding; Bill Niskanen was the CEO, I believe up until

    Cato has grown into a non-partisan (in the sense of not dabbling in electoral politics) think tank with an annual budget of about $39 million.

    Meanwhile, Charles Koch has become less interested in principled libertarianism and more about political control and activism, becoming one of the major Tea Party funders.

    Last week, Charles and David Koch sued Crane, Cato, and Niskanen’s widow for control of the Institute. Cato wasn’t doing enough to defeat the incumbent president. This is going to be weird.

  229. #229 Sid offit
    March 6, 2012

    Falcon:

    Falcoln says

    you are aware that the life of a wild guinea is usually quite short

    Bad analogy:

    The guinea pig (Cavia porcellus), also commonly called the Cavy, is a species of rodent belonging to the family Caviidae and the genus Cavia. Despite their common name, these animals are not pigs, nor do they come from Guinea. They originated in the Andes, and studies based on biochemistry and hybridization suggest they are domesticated descendants of a closely related
    species of cavy such as Cavia aperea, C. fulgida, or C. tschudii, and therefore do not exist naturally
    in the wild.

    Note the part about not even existing in the wild

    Just saw, Bimmer beat me to the punch. Bravo, mein Herr!
    —–

    JGC, you obviously don’t understand the concept of private property. We can work on it tomorrow. I’m on the iPad now and its not the best for typing

    ——

  230. #230 Sid Offit
    March 6, 2012

    Who? President Barry Soetoro?

  231. #231 Gray Falcon
    March 6, 2012

    Sid, sorry, I don’t have anything to say to monsters.

  232. #232 Skepticop
    March 6, 2012

    A sanitation company could not buy a piece of land and haul it’s trash there. The government must be involved in that?

    I’ll propose a little thought experiment: You own a nice, productive little farm in the libertopia. You raise several dozen head of cattle, wheat and other cereal crops. You maintain cordial, if distant relations with your neighbours, all of whom are as right-thinking and moral as you are, and none of whom would dream of interfering with your privacy and freedoms.

    You’ve heard through the grapevine that old farmer Smith just upriver has retired, and sold his land to a fellow from the city. You don’t get a very good view of smith’s property from yours, but the man from the city sure does have a lot of semi-trucks coming and going. Ah well, laissez faire and all that, the invisible hand will make sure everything’s alright. And if it doesn’t, you own a fine selection of American made firearms that are just guaran-dang-teed to ensure your rights are protected.

    Ol’ Smith’s property is busy for a year or so, but then the activity up and stops, and the place just goes to seed. You don’t know if the man still owns it or not, as there’s no longer any requirement to register the transfer of property, and you really have no idea who he was. He never stopped in or called, not very neighbourly at all. The property gently rots for a year or three, and you start to realize that your cattle are getting sickly. Your vet bills keep getting higher, and he can’t even figure out what’s wrong with the damn things. “Maybe something in the water?” Gets so bad, the slaughterhouse won’t take your animals anymore, the manager’s real sorry, but his customers won’t buy meat that bad: you end up selling them all to a rendering plant for little more than the cost of transporting them.

    So you test the water, which costs money and takes time, and the company finally sends back a report that reads like a college chemistry textbook: lead, cadmium, electroplating and plastics residues, mercury, a whole host of chemicals that you don’t know and can’t even pronounce. You had the water checked a decade back when you bought the place, and ain’t none of that stuff in there back then. Worse yet, seems like your wife and kids aren’t as healthy as they used to be, neither.

    Out of desperation, you go onto the city-man’s land, something you wouldn’t have dreamt of doing before things got so bad, what with his god-given-rights and all. There’s no sign that anyone’s so much as driven into the yard in three years. The old chicken barns are padlocked, but they’re cheap and rusty and you break in. Staggered by the smell, you reel backwards. The barn is packed to the rafters with old drums, they’ve been pushed in with some kinds of equipment to make more room, and some seemed to have cracked open and leaked all over the place. The fumes are ungodly strong, and some kind of oily black stuff has seeped all over the floor.

    So, what do you do now? Even if your libertopia has mechanisms to (a) register the sale/transfer of land, and (b) retain and make available those records, this fellow’s long gone.

    This man incorporated a company, possibly with a false board of directors, and hired himself at a very high salary as, let’s say, a manager. He procured some trucks and drivers, and for a year or two operated a toxic wastes disposal business. He accepted high fees from manufacturers in heavily settled areas to dispose of their most dangerous contaminants, and since his fees were lower than the more established competitors, they paid quickly and with no questions. The company bought some dirt cheap rural property with large outbuildings, filled them with waste, padlocked the doors and shut down operations. He kept the company running long enough to pay himself the rest of the money earned as a ‘salary’, and then the company went bankrupt. The individual moved on to other scams in other areas, perhaps changing his name in the bargain. How would you even begin to locate him?

    What rules of conduct has this company broken, in the libertopia? They were conducting their business as they saw fit, on land they owned. With no rules surrounding the disposal of toxic wastes, how would you prevent something like this from happening?

    Hell, how would you even go about suing the guy? You have no right to even go onto his land to prove that the contamination comes from there. Surely whatever rump court system you imagine operating in libertopia would never accept evidence that was gathered in violation of someone’s sacred rights of individual liberty?

    How could the situation be fixed? You sure as hell aren’t going to tax me to repair the environmental harms to your land, I’m upstream of the toxic barns, and I have better uses for my money. You talk to one of the few environmental remediation companies still around, and their best bet is that fixing this mess will take 20 years, and will cost more than your farm would earn in your entire lifetime, even in it’s best years.

    (sorry for the long post, whisky makes me loquacious: and i’ve been living in farm country too long)

  233. #233 BobSidBot Test Bed Facility
    March 6, 2012

    Entirely less government is used when have fire. Simple enough for you not be prosecuted as real milk.

  234. #234 Denice Walter
    March 6, 2012

    @ Sid/ Robert:

    But I do understand economics: slavery and near-slavery made people rich in the 19th Century- that’s why many folks would like to bring it back in any way they can.

    ” You don’t create societal wealth by passing laws.”
    Odd, but I don’t think that law exists to create wealth. There are other reasons when you consider masses of people who live in proximity- whose needs and desires are in opposition to each other. I believe that there’s a little more to it than purely how much money can be earned.

    ” He owes them nothing except what is agreed upon by worker and employer”
    As if they enter negotiations with roughly equal bargaining chips: ” If you need to eat, do as I say”. “OK”.

    About that “$200 minimum wage” and 3-day work week: who in their right mind would ask for that? And did regulation – or lack or it- cause what happened in 2008 and is still going on? To argue that what occured in Greece derived from establishing basic regulations about fair wages and safety is madness.

  235. #235 JGC
    March 6, 2012

    JGC, you obviously don’t understand the concept of private property.

    Sid, I do JGC, understand the concept of private property. The problem is that you fail to understand you do not possess a legal or ethical right to do whatever you want with your property without any restriction, when doing otherwise places others at risk.

  236. #236 Denice Walter
    March 6, 2012

    @ Skepticop:
    *Au contraire*. Whisky is very useful. And you have my sympathies about the country: my relative is in the same boat after he sold his business and moved away from society to live on top of a forested mountain without much to do. I warned him but he didn’t listen. I hope you do better.

    The invisible hand is sometimes known as something else around here- thanks to the wildly creative and observant Narad. Use your imagination.

  237. #237 Johnny
    March 6, 2012

    I had a post in moderation, and it’s now out, at 193. I tried to skip moderation by slightly munging the URLs, but they should be easily readable.

    The short version is that, while you can say ‘child labor’, the impact of the words don’t compare to seeing it in HD.

    The series of pictures I linked to date from the early 20th century, and are in fact very close to 100 years old (mostly 1911 and 1912). I don’t care what age or era you want to call it, it’s within the living memory of people alive today (but, I will admit, not many).

    As for fire fighting technology at the time (1914, Washington, DC), see
    http://www.shorpy.com/node/4899?size=_original

    And Sid is still an idiot.

  238. #238 Gray Falcon
    March 6, 2012

    Denice Walter@234: There’s a simple reason why Sid keeps bringing up “three-day work weeks”. It’s because he can tell what we’re asking for is perfectly reasonable, and that only a heartless monster would deny them of anyone. By pretending we’re asking for something unreasonable, he hopes to try to make himself look like the moral one. Never mind that anyone can simple scroll up and see what we’re really arguing, making him heartless, spineless, and brainless.

  239. #239 Todd W.
    March 6, 2012

    @Sid

    It is about the fundamental premise that you don’t get to initiate violence against innocent people. If I have a restaurant, it’s my property and it’s my right to reject the intrusions of an inspector. [snip] Whether that increase the risk of food borne illness is immaterial. You don’t get to violate rights to protect rights.

    You argue that you should be able to open a restaurant without any sort of inspections or licensing, whether or not that leads to an increased risk of food-borne illness, because such inspections or licensing would be initiating violence against you. So, what gives you the right to initiate violence (serving contaminated food that may cause serious harm or death) against innocent people (your patronts)?

    And others have already pointed out the idiocy of your worker-employer contract scenario that ignores things that occurred when there were no regulations (e.g., child labor) to the detriment of the employees that had no other options available to them.

  240. #240 Denice Walter
    March 6, 2012

    @ Johnny: I’m familiar with similar images and the work of Riis.

    @ Gray Falcon:
    Interestingly, I find that often the most stalwart defenders of *employers’* ( vs employees’) rights and libertarianism are fighting others’ causes – not their own: perhaps they aspire to that position.
    Believe it or not, I am descended from a long line of business owners who also had social reform ideas in more than one country since the 1890s. I have investments in big business. Not exactly the voice of the proletariat.

  241. #241 Composer99
    March 6, 2012

    Sid/Schechter claims:

    You don’t create societal wealth by passing laws

    That’s right! Societal & individual wealth does not come about when governments create and enforce legal codes of conduct constraining individuals’ behaviour by prohibiting, say, theft or fraud, or when they create and enforce property rights schemes such as the legally-binding title that my wife and I possess indicating we own our house, or when they create and maintain constabularies and regulatory agencies to actually go about enforcing all these laws so everyone else can go about their daily affairs without having to spend too much time and effort defending their rights to person & property instead.

    Wait, what?

  242. #242 Ed Papier
    March 23, 2012

    The author has obviously never spoken with the mother of a child who came down with autism a couple hours after being vaccinated, of which there are hundreds. Guess he’ll only recant his “quackery” comments when it happens to his kids.

  243. #243 Chris
    March 23, 2012

    Mr. Papier, how does anyone come down with autism a couple of hours after a vaccine? Do you have evidence of this? Can you link to the case report, or even the legal case here?

    You are making an extraordinary claim, so you must provide actual evidence.

    Also, this blog is frequented by many parents with disabled kids, plus adults on the autism spectrum. So the evidence we require is a bit more stringent than random accusations.

  244. #244 Antaeus Feldspar
    March 23, 2012

    The author has obviously never spoken with the mother of a child who came down with autism a couple hours after being vaccinated, of which there are hundreds.

    If that were so, then Wakefield would not have had to rig his sample group and then misrepresent the medical histories, just to make it look like a dozen kids all fit within a two week timeframe.

  245. #245 Prometheus
    March 23, 2012

    Ed Papier (#242):

    “The author has obviously never spoken with the mother of a child who came down with autism a couple hours after being vaccinated…”

    Of course he hasn’t – nobody has; that’s because no child has ever come down with autism a couple hours after being vaccinated.

    Really, folks – how can you expect anyone to take you seriously when you exaggerate like this? Weeks after a vaccination, I could see – maybe even days – but hours (I’ve even seen one parent claim it was minutes after the vaccination). Even straight methylmercury takes more than “a couple hours” to work.

    There is a strange sort of competitiveness in some people that makes them strive to be “number one” even in disaster, like the colleague who once claimed that he was working “200 hours a week” to finish a project (hint: there are only 168 hours in a week).

    When I come accross obvious exaggerations like this, I assume that everything else the speaker/writer claims is highly suspect. If you can’t lie effectively, it’s better to just stick to the truth.

    Prometheus

  246. #246 Beamup
    March 23, 2012

    Of course, Jenny claims that it was instantaneous. But she can’t even keep straight which vaccine it was!

  247. #247 Chris
    March 23, 2012

    Except Jenny changed her story, her son’s seizures were about a year after his MMR vaccine.

  248. #248 Beamup
    March 23, 2012

    I was referring to the “light went out of his eyes” line, rather than seizures. But she kept changing that one too.

  249. #249 Militant Agnostic
    March 23, 2012

    How the hell does someone “come down” with autism? What does this even mean? Will we all come down with autism now that NASA has injected aluminum DIRECTLY INTO THE JETSTREAM?

  250. #250 herr doktor bimler
    March 23, 2012

    “came down with autism”
    –that turn of phrase itself deserves a Double Facepalm.

  251. #251 Stephenwv
    April 29, 2012

    It never ceases to amaze me how unreasonable fear drives people to willingly give up a little bit of freedom for a little bit of security, as Benjamin Franklin noted: soon you will find you have neither. I’m sure you believe he is just another Tea Party, birther, nut job too.

    Some idiot above, equated all citizens born in the US like anchor babies, or Obama, to the special category defined in Minor v Happersett and understood by our Founders when they specifically defined the eligibility of the office of President to be a Natural Born Citizen. The reason for both parents being citizens is to prevent a parent with allegiance to another country (like Kenya or Britain) from influencing their child in a negative way to the United States. They wanted to assure as best they could, commitment of both parents’ allegiance to the U.S.

    STILL the majority of the posters here continue to do NO MORE than sling mud and call names without EVER addressing the truth of the issues. When you do not have the truth on your side that is all you can do because you lose on the truth. Deception to avoid the truth is your only ally. There are 2 quotes that illustrate:

    ““If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” Joseph Goebbels

    ” In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

    The truth is that there are 10,000 times more people unaffected by the vaccine, in the same at risk condition as those not wanting vaccinations. There is no outcry about them even though they cary the same risk of infection as those that do not want a vaccination.
    If that is not hypocritical – nothing is.

    If it were all about safety then those millions would be addressed. Because that greater risk is ignored, PROVES it is all about control and removal of a little bit of freedom to get a little bit of safety. You may not believe Ben Franklin, but I heed his advice. I believe our Founders held more honesty, wisdom and concern for the people and the country in their little finger than all our leaders combined.

  252. #252 Marc Stephens Is Insane
    April 29, 2012

    Does the Goebbels quote qualify this posting for a Godwin?

    (I ran the post through Google Translate and still couldn’t understand it in any known language.)

  253. #253 Chris
    April 29, 2012

    Stephenwv, what kind of dressing do you want for your nonsensical word salad?

    Oh, and one thing I think I understood: “There is no outcry about them even though they cary the same risk of infection as those that do not want a vaccination.”

    Um, no. Kids who are not vaccinated have a risk of getting pertussis that is 23 times higher than the vaccinated. Also, the majority who came down with measles in the USA and Europe last were not vaccinated.

    The risk of infection is not the same between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated.

  254. #254 Krebiozen
    April 29, 2012

    Unsurprisingly both of Stephenwv’s quotes (Goebbels and Orwell) appear to be wrongly attributed. Also, I note he still hasn’t addressed the problem of how to identify which vaccinated people did not respond adequately to each vaccine and who would pay for this.

  255. #255 Kelly M Bray
    April 29, 2012

    Are we really discussing Minor v Happersett and the definition of an NBC? Is this HuffPO and where is Orly Taitz?

  256. #256 lilady
    April 29, 2012

    The quote that Stephenwv wrongly attributed to Goebbels, has been investigated by two professors. It seems that it appears in print, and on the internet, frequently.

    http://truthisthegreatestenemyofthestate.blogspot.com/

    Here’s a blog by a guy who managed to wrongly attribute the quotation to Goebbels…note this right-winger associates Goebbels with President Obama:

    http://www.articlesnatch.com/Article/Orwell–Goebbels–And-Obama—The-Triumvirate-Of-Language-Control/2980592

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