License to What?
Sam Aurelius Milam III
Several years ago, I observed the situation of a young lady who went into the Kaiser hospital in Santa Clara, California, to have a baby. During her few days there, every possible attempt was made to prevent her from smoking. Although she had smoked like a chimney during her entire pregnancy and fully intended to keep doing so after the delivery, the nurses couldn't stop whining about the horrible consequences that smoking would cause for her baby. They seemed to be too stupid to realize that, compared to the long-term situation, a few days of enforced abstinence wouldn't matter. However, I don't believe that they were stupid. I believe that they were arrogant. They had this lady under their control and they took full advantage of the opportunity to impose their beliefs upon her. The fact is that they weren't behaving as nurses, but as evangelists on a Holy Crusade.
I know of another, more recent example of the same kind of thing. An acquaintance of mine, a man who drinks a lot of beer, was recently in the hospital for pneumonia. Predictably, he was prohibited from drinking beer while in the hospital. Predictably, he was drinking again shortly after his release. So far as I can tell the only consequence of the prohibition was to add to his already difficult hospitalization the additional strain of temporary withdrawal from alcohol. It was another example of medical evangelism instead of medical treatment. I understand that some medicine reacts adversely with alcohol. In that case, the doctor should be sufficiently astute to avoid prescribing such medicine to an alcoholic. If he isn't, then he shouldn't be prescribing medicine.
Regardless of his alleged superior knowledge, a doctor should never give a patient orders. He should give advice. A nurse should never enforce discipline. She should offer treatment and comfort. A medical license is a license to offer aid and assistance, not a license to impose belief systems or dictate behavior.
|Sad But True
compiled by Jeffrey Trunzer from actual news reports
Bridgeport, Connecticut, and the unified Miami-Dade County government in Florida recently joined the growing ranks of local governments announcing they will sue gun makers in an attempt to recover the costs of gun violence.
Auto makers beware! You'll soon be reimbursing cities for the costs of high speed chases by cops, drive-by shootings, bent road signs, or any other "misuse" of a car, because you didn't control the resale of used cars.
Elliot; N. Merrick, New York
Democracy exists when the masses make the political decisions. Oligarchy exists when the privileged few do so. The oligarchs may be elected in the USA, but they're oligarchs just the same.
I must disagree with your Fantasy Machine article regarding your First and Second laws of Economics.
The First law example of the grocery store purchase explains that the inherent (?) value of groceries in equivalent units (?) is less than the inherent value of the money used to purchase the groceries.
In fact, the purchaser of the groceries must value the groceries more than the purchase money. Why else would purchaser buy the groceries? And the seller of the groceries must value the purchase money more than the groceries. Why else would the seller offer the groceries for sale?
The voluntary purchase of groceries (or any voluntary transaction) is a win-win situation for both parties and each party exchanges something for more value than he is giving up. Both parties have exchanged something for higher value.
An observer to the transaction may feel that the groceries are worth less or more than the purchase money, but -- so what. A women paid thousands of dollars for Elvis Presley's fingernail clippings. I may not agree with her, but again, so what! There is no such thing as "value in equivalent units."
All voluntary transactions take place because each party exchanges something for more value.
Bob; Lee's Summit, Missouri
I believe that it's possible to directly and accurately compare the value of different commodities. The trick is to understand value objectively instead of subjectively. That means we must distinguish between the actual value of something and how desirable or useful it is to us. In the car example, where I've used energy as analogous to value, there is less energy in the speed of the car than there was in the gasoline. The reason the driver accepts the loss of energy in the process is that the smaller amount of energy in the speed is more useful to him than the larger amount of energy in the gasoline. In your example, the value of the fingernail
|clippings was probably less than the value
of the money the lady paid for them. She was willing to accept the
loss in value because the fingernail clippings were more desirable to her
than the money. Generally, what you buy isn't greater in objective
value than what you pay for it. It is only more useful or desirable
to you. If you measure value objectively, then even a win-win transaction
doesn't result in each party receiving more value than he gives.
That would create value out of nothing. What actually happens is
that each party receives something that is more useful or desirable to
him, but probably of less objective value than what he traded for it.
In the grocery store example, the value of the customer's money must pay for much more than the food he buys. It must also pay for the total cost of transferring the food from the producer to the shopping cart. This is necessary because the customer's money is the only place that the people accomplishing the transfer can get the value that is represented by their pay checks. Except when food is improved by some form of processing, it's value is never more than it was when the producer sold it, yet its cost goes up at each step of the transfer process. If the customer wants the value of the food he buys to be approximately equal to the value of the money that he pays for the it, then he must buy the food directly from the producer.
I believe that there is such a thing as objective value, or value in equivalent units, as you called it. We just haven't figured out how to measure it. If we use an objective unit of measure, instead of dollars, that measurement might not be as difficult as it seems. If we do learn how to precisely compare the values of different things using a unit of measure that is constant from time to time and place to place, then we will have transformed economics from legerdemain into science.
.... Are you enjoying the "comic tragedy" as much as I am? I guess that the 130 or so who were convicted of "perjury" will be filing their H/C [habeas corpus] writs as soon as the "trial" is over?!
Eric; Tehachapi, California
I presume that you refer to the impeachment situation. I haven't printed much about it in this newsletter, but here's my opinion. I believe Clinton didn't owe the citizens an apology at all. There's nothing in his oath of office about marital fidelity. The marital contract is a separate agreement and it's between him and Hillary, not between him and the citizens. Hillary is the only person to whom an apology might have been due, and we don't even know that for sure. Maybe she knew about Monica, and didn't object. Maybe they have an open marriage. It wasn't anybody's business except theirs, which Clinton correctly stated in his first coerced "apology". The level of puritan venom directed at him by self-righteous critics is far more a condemnation of the critics than it is of Clinton. I doubt if there's a man among us (or them) who hasn't had an occasional affair, or who hasn't wanted to have one, and who wouldn't have done the same thing Clinton did if he thought he could get away with it. I've had a number of affairs and I don't intend to apologize for any of them. Therefore, I won't criticize Clinton for having an affair. That's Hillary's job, if anybody's.
The argument that an "elected official" should havea higher ethical standard than the citizens is just another way of saying that the citizens should have a lower ethical standard than the elected officials. That's a cop-out for self-righteous citizens, and it's absurd. Since the officials are drawn from among the pool of citizens, you have to expect the officials to have the same standards as the citizens.
Our "culture" has assumed such a malicious condemnation of sexual pleasure that no politician in his right mind would admit to having an affair. I'm amazed that Bob Livingston did. If you make it plain that all witches will be slowly burned at the stake, then ask a man if he's a witch, you have to expect him to deny being a witch. It was naive of anyone to expect Clinton to admit to an affair.
As the sorry situation developed, I didn't see anybody lambasting the feminists for being too stupid to foresee the predictable consequences of forcing men and women together in the same workplace. I've been proclaiming those consequences for years. All I got for my trouble was to be accused of hating women. I didn't see anybody lambasting the Holier-Than-Thou Fundamentalist Christians for proclaiming sexual pleasure to be a filthy perversion. Has this mess taught members of either group anything about normal sexual behavior or about the consequences of sexually integrated workplaces? Don't bet on it. They're to blinded by their agendas to actually learn anything. The years-long barrage of escalating feminist and Fundamentalist Christian brainwashing that created the current repressive mindset never gets considered among the causes of things. The lunatic reformers just select another set of victims and launch another witch hunt. It's a fitting pastime only for hypocrites, evangelists, and fools.
Buck Hunter Shoots Off His Mouth
I just don't understand it. What causes popcorn to pop?
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Sam Aurelius Milam III, editor
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