Thursday, December 13, 2007

Public Interest Trumps Private Interest

Billy Beck has a good post at Two-four about how the New York Times is looking more like the old Soviet Union's Pravda every day. He points out how the Times regards Bush's tax cuts as depriving the government of its money. He even has a relevant quote from Ayn Rand on the subject. But I'm mainly concerned with an excellent point Billy made when he wrote:
Sometimes, dear reader, the FNORDs blow away and you can see right through the clear sky to the naked, evil premise. The Comfy Commissariat is not concerned with you. Take them at their words.
This is so very true. The altruists, collectivists don't see you as an individual. To them you only have value as a member of some collective which can do anything it wants to you for the 'greater good'. That's when you learn that the 'greater or common good' does not include your good. When they say you must sacrifice for the 'public interest', that's when you discover that the 'public interest' does not include your interest, that 'general welfare' does not mean your welfare. You are an individual. You are not a 'greater' or a 'public' or a 'social' or a 'general' thus your interests, good and welfare don't count.

An example of FNORDs being blow away was revealed in a short editorial in the Detroit Free Press of 12/12/07. It complained that the Michigan State Senate's refusal to ban smoking in public places was some kind of travesty. The editorial's argument:
The French made it a priority. The English and Irish, too. And New York City, and some 30 states. Even the casino in Windsor. The U.S. Surgeon General says secondhand smoke is flat-out dangerous. But Michigan bar and restaurant owners say it should be their choice. What other aspect of public health is left to private interests?
There is proof. "Public health" does not include your health. You are an individual and as such a very private interest. Public health cannot be left to private interests means that public health refers to everyone's health except those of private interests like you and me. Public interest or health or welfare or good always means that the health and welfare of some will be sacrificed for the benefit of others. Those others could be anybody or nobody but most likely will be those in power.

(I am ignoring the fact that the Free Press has no doubt, never checked into the so-called evidence behind the Surgeon General's claim that second hand smoke is dangerous and thus abandoning any pretence of speaking truth to power. Nor will I harp on the fact that the editorial uses the logical fallacy of the arguement from consensus and since the editors are educated people who cannot fail to know they are using it, they have given up any pretence of speaking truth period.

It should be noted that the republican Senate did not shelve this bill to protect the individual rights of bar and restaurant owners. They said since Michigan's economy is so bad they didn't want to place any more burdens on the businesses that haven't left the state yet. IOW, lets wait till the golden goose regains his health and starts laying more golden eggs, then we'll bash him over his greedy, selfish head and congratulate each other on how noble and virtuous we are.)

But I digress.

So, whenever you hear intellectuals using collective phrases like common good or public interest, be very afraid because they do not mean you, your interests or welfare.

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