Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Wanker of the Year, Early Frontrunner

It's early yet, but as of yesterday morning we already had a candidate for Wanker of the Year, and, not surprising, it was the Washington Post editorial section who gave him the soap-box. Martin Bunzl, "a philosophy professor, directs the Initiative on Climate Change, Social Policy and Politics at Rutgers University's Eagleton Institute of Politics." This gig notwithstanding he proudly confesses to having purchased an extra-dirty, two-stroke hedge-trimmer, because it was cheaper than the four-stroke, and also to covetting a Hummer. Neither of these is exactly a crime against humanity, but they do show the professor to be the kind of cheap, lazy, unprincipled adolescent who thinks manliness is a matter of a having a big toy, and who likes to talk the talk and that's about it. Somewhat conterfactually (as he himself might put it) he claims that taxing items and practices the government wishes to suppress is a poor way of discouraging them. There are studies which strongly suggest otherwise.
But worst, he says:

"I say: Better not to tempt me in the first place. Take the Hummers away. Don't clutter my world with things I should not have. Don't dangle them in front of me, creating desire, only to then try to have me renounce them. Just ban the damn two-cycle hedge trimmer and let me be done with the matter."

A fine notion the professor shows here of human liberty. When people are allowed to want things, we ought not encourage, demand or even or allow that they resist that siren call of temptation. No, the government ought to prohibit the noxious nexes of desire. Because that works so well. Much better than leading by example, for instance.


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