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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/4472/a-nation-of-ratfinks/

A Nation of Ratfinks

December 22, 2005 by

Totalitarianism used to be the product of the Hitlers and Stalins of the world, writes Jim Fedako, but your neighbors are beginning to grasp the power of a centralized government that exists exclusively to metastasize its evils throughout every human endeavor — a government that never sleeps and is always ready to put its nose into anyone’s business. Just give the feds a call, they’re ready and willing to assist with any effort that increases their power and influence. 24/7. FULL ARTICLE

{ 8 comments }

Frank Z December 22, 2005 at 9:55 am

An enjoyable article.

A good sense of humor helps in a serious situation.

John December 22, 2005 at 1:40 pm

Is this the classic case of the squeaky wheel gets the grease? Somerset Maughn writes in one of his stories that the wisecrack solves a lot of problems. We should use it oftener.

MLS December 22, 2005 at 2:15 pm

I guarantee that should any of these policies be carried out in practice, there will be more child deaths and probably more junk food consumption. Of course, the statistics will hide this obvious fact should the War on Junk Food be carried out. It is analogous to the War on Poverty, the War on Drugs, and the War on Terror. The former will take a generation to show – when the sons of the “collateral damage” victims grow up. The concept remains the same.

It might come as surprise to some people – but praxeology explains actions of children as well. There is enough intelligent children that can make a quick buck by selling candy. Something that they already do. What will the state do then? Put them in large playpens?

Benjamin Marks December 22, 2005 at 3:56 pm

This article reminds me of the central message – for me – in Stefan Zweig’s, The Right to Heresy: Castellio Against Calvin, trans. Edan and Cedar Paul (Boston: The Beacon Press, 1951), pp. 60-1:

“But how, we ask, could a republican city, accustomed for decades to Swiss freedom, tolerate a dictatorship as rigid as had been Savonarola’s in Florence; how could a southern people, fundamentally cheerful, endure such a throttling of the joy of life? Why was an ascetic like Calvin empowered to sweep away joy from thousands upon thousands? Calvin’s secret was not a new one; his art was that which all dictators before and since have used. Terror. Calvin’s was a Holy Terror. Do not let us mince matters: force that sticks at nothing, making mockery of humaness as the outcome of weakness, soon becomes overwhelming. A despotically imposed series of terror paralyses the will of the individual, making community life impossible. Like a consuming disease, it eats into the soul; and soon, this being the heart of the mystery, universal cowardice gives the dictator helpers everywhere; for, since each man knows himself to be under suspicion, he suspects his neighbours; and, in a panic, the zealots outrun the commands and prohibitions of the tyrant.”

Incidentally, it also identifies my only disagreement with the article; that Stalin, Hitler, and other tyrants did not rely on the civilian, to some extent. Government, after all, rests on the consent of the masses. I believe that this error is also evident in Ortega’s Revolt of the Masses. Though what he and you get at is the proactive involvement of the citizen or mass-man in government, and its subsequent enlargement, I see no real difference between this relatively recent increase, that Ortega claimed to identify, and that which was evident in earlier ages. In fact, the thing that was new was the word democracy (I think) and perhaps Ortega was taken in by the rhetoric. Not in believing it, but in believing that it was a unique thing in history when only the word was.

iceberg December 22, 2005 at 11:11 pm

Has anybody read Christopher Largen’s Junk? He posits a future where the state wages a war on junkfood. The best part about it is that the storyline is based on true events from the infamous other “war on…” something.

J. C. December 22, 2005 at 11:30 pm

The only problem I have with the article is the tired phrase “little Johnny,” which comes across like something that’s been moldering in a lunchbox for decades.

Bernard Palmer December 23, 2005 at 5:21 pm

Ho Ho Saturnalia to all.

Excerpt from ‘What is the Primary Fundamental Right?’

“In December 2005 a team of lawyers from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, is preparing to try and stop the sale of sweetened drinks in American schools. On board will be some of the trial lawyers involved in the Tobacco Wars. The action will commence in Boston Massachusetts, the home of American Socialism. They plan to take on Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and probably Cadbury Schweppes Americas in a Soda Wars that will probably make many lawyers very rich. It is reported that they intend to traipse from state to state with their traveling circus. Their cover story is that they want to help stop childhood obesity.

The possible main reason students drink so much Cola soft drink is due to the large amounts of caffeine in each can. Most children are introduced to caffeine at a very early age, usually from chocolate and soft drinks. Most ice creams now have a chocolate covering. Many chocolate and soft drink manufacturers have probably increased the amount of caffeine in their product over the years because combined with fructose sugar it probably creates a mild dependency, otherwise known as a craving. Possibly this increases sales.

Just like the adults most children are probably addicted to caffeine. The usual cycle is caffeine, tobacco, alcohol. Under the Primary Fundamental Right no hypermaternal group disguised as caring lawyers would be able to stop children deciding what they wanted to drink and when. Under the Primary Fundamental Right there would be no separation of laws by age group. As with cigarettes, alcohol would not be a prohibited substance for children to buy and consume. Where they get the money to pay for their purchases should be something only their parents might ponder.

If the soft drink manufacturers wanted to stop the upcoming Soda Wars then all they have to do is acknowledge fructose probably is the main cause of obesity as suggested by Johnson et al at the University of Florida. Then they could offer their customers ‘fructose free’ drinks as well as the regular ‘high fructose corn syrup’ ones.

It is the parent’s privilege to control their own children but it is not their right to restrict the choices of other parent’s. Individualism and subsequently everyone’s freedom is always badly damaged by any legislated age restrictions.”

David Jones January 4, 2006 at 12:33 pm

I agree with the article in principle, however, since almost all Americans will be accepting taxpayer assistance for their medical bills at some point in their lives (at age 65) this gives me (the taxpayer) the right and responsibility to “encourage” you to eat and live properly, and by doing so lowering the amount I and the other taxpayers will pay for your bills. If you sign a document forsaking all public taxpayer assistance for your medical bills (medicare, medicaid) then I think you have the freedom to “pig out”. Because then I am not paying for it. I am very open to be convinced otherwise, but I cannot escape this clear logic.

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