Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Amusing Enough to Mention

Man saves dog in Minneapolis lake. The dog was disoriented, couldn’t find the shore, while owner watched, a man walks up and jumps in, saves dog, puts his clothes on, and leaves. A professor in San Jose who has spent twenty years trying to figure out an important problem in mathematics (and has been given credit for doing so) now says he made a mistake. A soccer shirt and shoes are declared national monuments in Uruguay. A 102 year old woman claims she is an "e-mailaholic."
Villagers in southern Taiwan are strapping bras to their faces to guard against SARS due to shortage of facial masks. Woman creates computer virus as a statement against sexism; not enough worms have been created by women, we can do it too! Naked man stuck in an airvent for two days, by firefighters. Says he can explain. A woman in Glasgow, Scotland, insists on parking illegally nearly every day. She has accumulated fines worth $45,000, and has paid $19,300 of it. She keeps doing it, and is fined $80 each time. New cookbook shows how to cook and serve endangered species. Environmentalists are outraged, want book banned. They are not interested in snail darter kebabs, or raspberry glazed spotted owl. Man kills venomous snake in Michigan to protect children is convicted of "killing a protected reptile without a state permit." The maximum sentence is 90 days and a $500 fine. The criminal said, "I am stunned that the snake had more rights than a human being."

Discussions - 1 Comment

In my opinion all of the posts of the last few weeks have looked at (from different angles) problems that were anticipated and struggled with primarily by J.S. Mill. I just want to touch on the environmental issue for a second.

One thing that is especially irritating and interesting is the use and abuse of Mill by environmentalists. Obviously these have never read his essay on Nature, where he slams the Rousseauian diefication of Nature, which he calls a sort of "sentimental diesm". Mill makes nature out to be even more vicious than Locke, and praises with great enthusiasm the attempts of man to follow Bacon’s Maxim of obeying and knowing nature in order to command it. He says that the diefication of nature results in the following problem:

"If the natural course of things were absolutely right and satisfactory, to act at all would be a gratuitous meddling, which as it could not make things better, must make them worse. Or if action at all could be justified, it would only be when in direct obedience to instincts, since these might be accounted part of the spontaneous order of Nature; but to do anything with forethought and purpose, would be a violation of that perfect order. If the artificial is not better than the natural, to what ends are all the arts of life? To dig, to plough, to build, to wear clothes, are indirect infrigements on the injunction to follow nature." (J.S. Mill On Nature)

J.S. Mill would favor some gov. regulation, especially in cases where businesses were purposely dumping harmfull chemicals into water tables, ext... but to fine someone for killing a venemous snake? Is he purposefully depriving his fellow man from the right to be bitten? Is this somehow a violation of the "greater good"? That snake could have produced 20 others and by killing it, he deprived an untold number of posterity the ability to enjoy venemous snakes of that kind?(Undoubtably!)

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