A Bread-and-Circus RundownFriday, 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.