Highlights

While I've been studying for and taking finals, the rest of the world has been moving along as it always does. Here is a round-up of articles I noticed but did not have time to analyse until now.

The first isn't really an article, it's a poll. It caught my eye while I was reading an article about Kerry's having to defend his military record against Bush and Cheney, of all people. The question: Which are more important, the rights of the individual or the rights of society? The results? A heartbreaking ten percent loss--45% to 55%--of the rights of the individual to the rights of society. I am a little perplexed about what rights society can have that aren't ultimately just the individual rights of a large population. Statist readers of Catallarchy, educate me, if you're there. Somewhat surprisingly, the current poll has decriminalization of prostitution in a commanding 80-20 lead.

Apparently last night on Nightline, Ted Koppel spent the whole time reading the names of American soldiers killed in combat in Iraq. Did anyone catch this? The article I read also said that a picture would be displayed as the soldier's name was read. An entire show full of nothing but dead people. I hope the Project for a New American Century was watching.

Not all the news is bad. Here the San Diego Union-Tribune reports on the test of a new procedure to slow down Alzheimer's disease. No surprise, it's with gene therapy. The potential for this and other similar procedures to reduce or eliminate suffering is unbelievable. Granted, the government could step in as soon as some of these tests begin to involve stem cells harvested from fetus tissue, and probably will, but eventually I am confident that not even it can keep such a good thing down. We, the writers and readers of Catallarchy, are at the beginning of a very exciting development in man's history. The younger of us will surely benefit from this kind of research, and many of our children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren (depending on our current ages) will have their lives immeasurably improved by this further conquest of nature. Man can be remarkable sometimes.

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that's a strange poll, i

that's a strange poll, i think in almost all areas individual rights are more important, and for the few areas i support the state (protection of negative rights, military, some small level of welfare, etc.) i think those are ultimately better for individuals than the market alternative. so yes, rights of society should boil down to rights of individuals.

"A heartbreaking ten percent

"A heartbreaking ten percent loss?45% to 55%?of the rights of the individual to the rights of society. I am a little perplexed about what rights society can have that aren?t ultimately just the individual rights of a large population."

It's far worse than that because hardly any of the 45% really mean it.

Frankly, I think a willingness to trade the rights of one group of individuals for those of another groups is hardly distinguishable from holding that the rights of society have primacy.

Frankly, I think a

Frankly, I think a willingness to trade the rights of one group of individuals for those of another groups is hardly distinguishable from holding that the rights of society have primacy.

I suppose it is hardly distinguishable, although I can't admit to being guilty of it.

All the more reason to argue

All the more reason to argue for the free market on consequentialist, social-welfare grounds than on deontological natural rights grounds. :)

Frankly, I think a willingness to trade the rights of one group of individuals for those of another groups is hardly distinguishable from holding that the rights of society have primacy.

I'm reminded of something Jeremy Bentham once said about nonsense on stilts...

Hmmm.. presumably the poll

Hmmm.. presumably the poll was of Canadians only. I wonder how it would go south of the border in the US? I would hope that the individual would win, though with the WAR ON TERROR going on I would not be too sure....

It was also a self-selecting

It was also a self-selecting poll as well, correct? So the margin of error might be off.

While I don't see the reason for such a distinction either, Randall, my guess it's indicative of people's preference for certain "social welfare" ideals like health care over "privatized" every person pays for their own types. Characterizing such a position as "preferring society over the individual" is a biased way of doing it, indeed, if that's what's being done.