Posts Tagged ‘responsibility’

Quote of the Day

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Very nice:

There is only one natural right: to do as you will. There is only one natural duty: to accept the consequences. The rest of society is a negotiation

“Labrat” at Atomic Nerds

Hillary’s Baby Buyout

Friday, October 5th, 2007

This just in: Hillary has yet another remarkable new plan to redistribute wealth:

WASHINGTON (AP) – Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday that every child born in the United States should get a $5,000 “baby bond” from the government to help pay for future costs of college or buying a home.

…or a car, or a kewl new stereo, or to party like a rockstar for about five minutes. Handing something to somebody does not teach them responsibility. In fact, getting something for nothing generally promotes irresponsibility.

Oh, and is it safe for me to assume that “every child born in the United States” includes those born to people who are here illegally? Hey, we’ve got a problem — let’s encourage more of it!

The New York senator did not offer any estimate of the total cost of such a program or how she would pay for it. Approximately 4 million babies are born each year in the United States.

Well, lessee… four million births times five thousand dollars is twenty billion dollars. Every year. Forever. Oh wait, my bad. The birth rate does tend to rise over time….

Clinton said such an account program would help Americans get back to the tradition of savings that she remembers as a child,

You know, the way Social Security taught everybody to save for their own retirement? The way Welfare taught the poor how to get themselves out of poverty? Just like that.

and has become harder to accomplish in the face of rising college and housing costs.

And five seconds after the law is passed, the Democrats will suddenly realize that it won’t provide enough money to entirely pay for college, or a house, and immediately decry how it therefore exploits the poor and subsidizes the rich (See also: school vouchers). Naturally the amount will have to a) be raised enough to pay entirely for college, and b) taken away from the eeeevil rich folks who don’t need it anyway, and c) clearly this awful disparity is all the Republicans’ doing, as it’s all about them buying votes from Big Corporations (‘cuz, y’know, corporations can vote), and the principled pure-as-the-morning-dew Democrats must stop these destructive politics.

She argued that wealthy people “get to have all kinds of tax incentives to save, but most people can’t afford to do that.”

Actually, I’m impressed. I didn’t realize Hillary supported the Fair Tax!

“I think it’s a wonderful idea,” said Rep. Stephanie Stubbs Jones, an Ohio Democrat who attended the event and has already endorsed Clinton. “Every child born in the United States today owes $27,000 on the national debt, why not let them come get $5,000 to grow until their [sic] 18?”

Yeah, you moron. Now every kid will owe $32,000 on the national debt. Or did you imagine that the money would magically appear out of thin air? If somebody owes me five dollars, it makes no sense to loan them five more dollars so they can pay back the first loan.

This proposal is two things to me:

  1. One of the dumbest political proposals of my lifetime, and
  2. The most blatant attempt to purchase votes I have ever encountered

…unless of course you’re a politician who is far more interested in your own personal power than in actually doing some good for the country; in which case it all makes perfect sense.

Hati Tip: Space4Commerce

[Update: From YoungGoGetter: “She says it will help Americans get back into the swing of ?savings?. I think it will get Americans back into the swing of abusing government funds.” A-Yup.]

For the Life of Suzy?

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

Jeff writes an impassioned plea for support of a new proposed law: The Suzanne Gonzales Suicide Prevention Act of 2007. Suzanne (“Suzy”) was a 19-year-old girl who committed suicide in 2003, having been essentially manipulated into doing so by members of an Internet message board. Jeff wrote about it at the time: The Shape of Days.

The bill, in Jeff’s words, is:

H.R. 940, the Suzanne Gonzales Suicide Prevention Act of 2007. It?s not a long piece of legislation. The bill, if passed, would make it a crime to knowingly use the Internet to teach someone or help someone to commit suicide.

I know where Jeff is coming from in supporting this. I very much believe in promoting a “culture of life” — I’m strongly pro-life/anti-abortion, for example. I’ve been reading Jeff’s stuff and commenting for a long time now, and I respect the man, but I’m a little wary of this. I’m not even playing “devil’s advocate” here — I don’t know on which side I stand.

A few things to think about:

  1. What happened to Suzy was horrible, but it’s a particular instance. Passing laws from that one story reminds me of Democrats pushing their latest socialist schemes by trotting out some poor hapless granny who’s eating dogfood. Laws based on tugged heartstrings are generally not the best, in the long run.
  2. Part of the nature of the Internet is that it can easily serve as an echo chamber. This can be good or bad, but generally I think limiting ideas is more bad than good.
  3. Suzy hit the wrong site at the wrong time, and the “echo” she got was horrible. What the people there did was wrong, but I think the law takes the wrong approach by silencing discussion of suicide (yes, even “how to” discussion).
  4. What, specifically, is the point of this law being limited to the Internet? Speech is speech, and incitement is incitement. Arguments related to what’s done on the Internet would also apply to what’s done in person, or on the phone, or…. I’m also wary of any law that specifies a particular technology, because they tend to do weird things years down the road when technology changes in ways the lawmakers didn’t (and couldn’t) foresee. [Update: Upon reading the text of the bill, I note that it does not specify the technology, but instead refers to “any facility of interstate or foreign commerce”. This makes sense for jurisdictional purposes, but, it should be pointed out, includes “facilities” such as roads.]
  5. It is currently illegal to directly incite somebody to violence with words. If I get somebody riled up and convince them to go kick someone’s ass, and the attackee gets killed, _I_ can be held responsible. Perhaps a better solution would be a slightly modified version of this. Directly inciting suicide (self-violence) to somebody who otherwise likely would not have done so should be illegal. For that matter, do the existing laws against inciting violence apply to violence against the “attacker’s” own person?

Suzy was a 19 year old girl. Teenagers are emotionally vulnerable as it is, and these vultures swooped in. But what about the 50-year-old who decides to take his own life? Not an impulse decision, but a considered decision? Our society basically assumes that any person who desires death is… what… insane? At the least, “wrong”. I’m… uncomfortable with this assumption being automatic for all cases.

Preying on the emotionally vulnerable is wrong, and it’s legitimate for the law to step in. But as one of Jeff’s commenters points out, this law allows for no gray area.

[Update: I originally stated that her age was 13. Jeff informs that she was 19. Corrected text above.]