A Bread-and-Circus Rundown

Friday, December 3, 2010

Since very few libertarians take it upon themselves to post on this topic, here are some miscellaneous postings. Skip Oliva has some comments on the libertarian reaction to calling out Boobus.

My fellow traveler Karen DeCoster is never shy about criticizing the wasteful consumption habits of others. In response to a post from Lew Rockwell on Black Friday-fueled madness, Karen took issue with those who take issue with her calls to stop the insanity…

…I’ve always referred to this belief as the “Libertarian Prime Directive,” a reference to the plot device used in many Star Trek episodes to create dramatic conflict. In Trek, the idea is that Starfleet’s “Prime Directive” forbids its members to interfere with the natural development of alien societies. Sometimes this is a good rule, as it forbids outright aggression. Other times, it’s a dumb rule, because the literal application leads to manifestly unjust outcomes. For example, if you come across a planet that’s about to explode, and there’s a pre-industrial civilization living there, it’s probably better to ignore the Prime Directive and move the people to another planet, even at the risk of exposing them to another culture that could “contaminate” their own.

With the Libertarian Prime Directive we have, as Karen explained, an inability to distinguish criticism of destructive personal habits with calls for aggression. And I think the reason that libertarians “pretend to not understand” this is because, like the fictional Starfleet officers, there’s a misguided belief in the individual’s “natural development” that somehow must be protected from all outside influences, even if that natural development will lead to suffering or death. Respect for this “development” should not, however, outweigh all other ethical concerns, including the core libertarian principle of non-aggression.

Skip also writes, in an email:

It occurred to me the other day as I was reading yet another FTC ”consumer protection” order — I don’t even remember the subject — that the whole notion of “consumer protection” creates the insane consumerist mentality you discussed. When people are told over and over that their status as “consumers” is the most important thing, they behave accordingly.

Indeed, the government tells people they should define themselves as “consumers.” And the government will “protect” your consumer status by limiting your ability to barter or purchase as you desire. But it’s all for your “best interests,” when in reality “consumer protection” is a political scheme designed to enrich the favored parties and politicians making the rules while denying your ability to freely engage in trade.

Here are a couple of previews of what Americans will be like when the dollar tanks, inflation takes hold, and their “prosperous” free-spending ways come to an end.

This is a woman in  a rage over McDonald’s refusing to serve her McNuggets during breakfast hours.

Here is a major news item: Church’s ran out of fried chicken during a special and the media thought customer complaints were newsworthy. Note the woman (driving a huge SUV) who says, “Now I can’t feed my kids…..” She can’t feed her kids (it’s always the children) because Church’s ran out of its toxic deal-of-the-day.

Here is my post on Pop Tarts world.

A post on Sweet frog, a yogurt place for infantilized adults.

My post on a peanut-butter-and-jelly restaurant for adults.

My post on the cupcake craze.

My post on the cereal and pajama parlor for adults.

My post, “Bubble Mentality: Rinse and Repeat.”

My article on Cold Stone Creamery.

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10 Responses to A Bread-and-Circus Rundown

  1. liberranter says:

    December 3rd, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Here is a major news item: Church’s ran out of fried chicken during a special and the media thought customer complaints were newsworthy. Note the woman (driving a huge SUV) who says, “Now I can’t feed my kids…..”

    Oh, Lord, when, OH WHEN, will we ever see a news broadcast that will feature a reporter courageous enough to show someone in close proximity responding to such an idiotic statement with something like this:

    “Then take your business elsewhere, you stupid bitchtard! Good grief, how were you even able to breed in the first place, and how is it that you were issued a license to operate a motor vehicle? Let’s hope your condition isn’t genetic and that we won’t be forced to support your mentally-handicapped offspring through the public dole once they reach majority age!”

    Thanks, Karen, for re-posting your list of “credit bubble” businesses. Here’s another one. Just look at the bottom of the web page at the last item in the far right-hand column, and tell me that it isn’t the ULTIMATE in credit bubble-driven, adultolescent stupidity.

  2. Matthew T. says:

    December 3rd, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    Karen:

    Great posting.  I like your comments on the “Libertarian Prime Directive.”  liberranter’s comments are right-on!  That dog web site on parties is unbelievable.  I personally find it offensive as there are many needy children that would love a birthday party; instead $$$ and time is spent on a four-legged creature that does not know nor appreciate what is being done.  How selfish!  This is a good example of NOT following the “Libertarian Prime Directive!”

  3. Jeannie Queenie says:

    December 4th, 2010 at 1:09 am

    Good one Libberanter. Yes, this is another area of American airheadedness if you ask me…another indication of loveless lives of americans in as much as that they spend outrageous amounts on animals in an attempt to fill their alienation from others. “For 2009, it is estimated that $45.4 billion will be spent on all pets in the U.S. in these categories:….
    We will see ever increasing costs in veterinary care due to the influx of human medicines, surgical procedures, and advanced technologies applied to pets. Food costs will increase in the search for human grade/best practices brands customized to nutritional needs of pets as they age.”

    So let’s check out the figures here…$45 million spent on pets in the US in 2009, while just double that on K-12 education..around $101 billion. It just proves how, why and where the average american has their values and it reveals
    how little human love resides in so many lives as pets often fill that emptiness experienced by those who fill alienated or not regarded by others. It is sad to hear those who refer to their pets as ‘their babies’. I recall a nitwit secretary at an investment firm I worked at in Boston 10 yr ago. She got a call about her dog being hit by a car, and a scream went throughout the office as she wildly wailed like a banshee. When finally she collected herself, I spoke to her saying at least it wasn’t a child that she had lost. To which she said, “I can never replace this dog, but I would be able to with a child”. I shuddered to think that anyone could be that sick in the head as to view an animal as more important than a human, and said a prayer to god that she never have any kids.
    Notwithstanding the psychological profile of some pet owners, one looks at info like this below, and wonders if we are a country of total crackpots…this is nothing to be proud of.

    “The money spent on our pets is more than the total of the gross domestic product of “all but 64 countries in the world,” the article says. Seems like we’re now spending more than double what we spent ten years ago.” Judging from that article I would add that more people than ever are so dissatisfied with their lives and lack of real relationships that they hope that some animal can fulfill those empty feelings..
    .and so they build an entire fantasy world around these animals…going so far as to color their hair, get psychotherapy for the animal when clearly the one needing a head cleanse is the owner. It always amazes me to no end that the PET STORE is so hugh and they can stay in business..these figures above reveal just how they can stay in business. Looking at it this way, one can conclude that whackjobbery is alive and well on all fronts, be it with gaming or Starbucks or having pets.

    http://www.scratchingsandsniffings.com/2007/08/41-billion-spen.html

  4. Jeannie Queenie says:

    December 4th, 2010 at 1:15 am

    Screwed up in the second paragraph above…figure is NOT 45 mllion, but $45 BILLION BUCKS! http://www.dancingdogblog.com/2009/06/454-billion-spent-on-pets-top-5-categories-8-basic-annual-costs/

  5. Karen De Coster says:

    December 4th, 2010 at 5:49 am

    Yes, love the $3+ dog biscuits. My dogs are so spoiled – by love and happiness. They get their cookies from Wal-Mart, occasional ground chuck (on sale), and they don’t get doggie deli treats.

  6. Iluvatar says:

    December 4th, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    Yea, that doggie birthday party was pretty dumb. Had to wonder tho’?

    “Play some party games with the dogs and send your guests home with a gift bag.”

    What EXACTLY was in the “gift” bag?? (lol)

    More on a technical note though? I got confused by Skip’s comment? I think it was about here: “With the Libertarian Prime Directive we have, as Karen explained, an inability to distinguish criticism of destructive personal habits with calls for aggression.”

    Is it that Libertarians feel they shouldn’t say something when they see bad behavior? Why is that?

    Good information is good information.

    You can certainly issue out good information and put it on their plate. What they CHOOSE to do with it is their responsibility, rigth? Right?

    Did I miss something here? Oh well,…

  7. Iluvatar says:

    December 4th, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    Hey!?!?!

    On that Church’s special (or was it Popeye’s?), why was it that (almost) all those people driving all those REALLY big cars (a mortgage downpayment I am thinking) were so bodaciously HEAVY?

    Do ya’ think it might be their diet???

    hahahahahahaha.

    On a more serious note: from Dr. Mercola, yet ANOTHER reason to steer clear of fast-foods – the PAPER they wrap that sh*t in is also toxic. Something like PCH-ASd34x or something. Oh yea, it is cancerous as well.

    Dig in!!!!

  8. Iluvatar says:

    December 4th, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    From my 1st post above, the reason I was asking the question was b/c of your post before from the Lew e-mail, which I repeat here:

    “The other (really sloppy) argument made by libertarians who have much to learn is that it is somehow “unlibertarian” to criticize the actions of others. They say that any action that is voluntary must be free of all criticism from libertarians. Really? And that is because…? Criticism does not equal calling for the force of laws — at all. So why do libertarians pretend to not understand that? For instance, you and I may, as libertarians, support the voluntary actions of selling one’s body (prostitution) or shooting up with heroin, but we are also free to criticize the actions as unhealthy, immoral, disgusting, or just plain stupid as long as we don’t stand uninvited on their private property to do so.”

    I was JUST asking, oh! (roll of the eyes) (but a sneaky grin besides)

  9. Jeannie Queenie says:

    December 4th, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    For all you dog lovers out there, this is a real treat. Hard to believe that a dog and a dolphin could form a friendship. You have to see this to believe it…….guarantee you’ll enjoy this.

    http://www.dogwork.com/ddcv4/

  10. Iluvatar says:

    December 5th, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    —— Mental musings on a Sunday morn ———-

    Clark raised an interesting question in my mind re: politics & government 1 blog back.

    It set me to thinking.

    Is my hatred (or disdain) of politics/gov right-minded?

    And not just b/c our economy is in the toilet either. Even if things were “fine”, I would still have an overwhelming feeling of detachment towards politics/gov.

    I have to wonder if this view isn’t sophomoric if not downright immature.

    It’s almost like having your cake and eating it too, n’est-ce pas?

    Existentialism (& transcendentalism – I can barely tell them apart) has, as its focus, the idea or lemma that you existence is your responsibility (somewhat like the prime directive above). It is a focus that barely extends beyond your skin wrapper. (Perhaps the super-boundary which includes people with whom you share relations.)

    Perhaps more is required of me in order to enjoy the benefits of living in a country such as this? Perhpas more is required of me to be a “citizen”?

    I wonder if there isn’t some form of civic responsibility that must be undertaken in order to be a “citizen”?

    You see, I see very little difference between a bloke who just wants to get his interval work-out done, then plop into a chair and try to peel apart Alan Watts’ “Buddhism The Religion of No-Religion” (1995), but otherwise be left alone, and the bloke watching HBO on his mongo flatscreen HDTV or playing PS2. Both threads involve no responsibility for the government at hand.

    I have really enjoyed this blog and I feel I have learned quite a lot from the author as well as the other posters here.

    But I wonder? Perhaps I am not so “mature” after all?

    Perhaps this detachment & disdain is a personal growth issue???

    Nah (sly grin)

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