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To: who_would_fardels_bear
People smoke cigarettes even though they know they are increasing their chances of getting cancer. People don't take the time to put on their seatbelts even though they know they are slightly increasing their chances of worse bodily injury in a crash.

Of course, they do. People have wants and they act in accordance with their wants. If someone smokes despite the danger, this obviously is because he has decided that whatever benefits he gets from smoking exceed the risk he takes. This decision may not fit what you call "rational", but the smoker has made this choice based on his own priorities. Similarly, the driver who refuses to belt up has made the decision to do so for his own reasons. This is why it's called the "Subjective Theory of Value".

We are creatures of free will. When a tiger kills its prey, it does so out of instinct. It has no more choice in this matter than does the victim. But when you decide to kill that calf because you like veal, that is a decision made by a being with free will - the capability to decide not to kill the calf.

This is Mises' point. Everything people do is freely chosen by the individual actor. If you decide to give into your instincts, that is a choice like any other. Personally I like veal. Which is why I eat it. I also happen to think that my likes supercede the rights of a dumb animal. Selfish, maybe. But that's my viewpoint.

37 posted on 02/10/2002 1:14:01 PM PST by Architect
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To: Architect
I tried really hard not to use the word "rational" in my reply to you. I believe strongly in free will, but I also believe that us being imperfect human beings means that we are likely to make unreasonable decisions.

Lately I've been trying to help my father who is on dialysis. Despite explicit instructions from the doctors, he refuses to follow their advice and causes himself harm on a daily basis. At first we tried everything we could to get him to do the "right" thing. But he would rather do his thing than the "right" thing. So be it.

We are currently living in a welfare state mostly as a result of the accumulation of bad choices by large numbers of American citizens. Large numbers of American citizens vote for Democrats, put themselves into situations where they depend on government programs such as Social Security, ignore the daily assaults on the Constitution, worship the memory of politicians such as FDR & LBJ, etc.

I would like to be able to just be a rugged individual and deal with this wave of stupidity and dependency, but I cannot do it myself. I must depend on others, and it helps if we have a common set of principles. And it helps if there are positive elements such as support for traditional morality and ethics, rather than just the "negative" injunction of "Don't tread on me and I won't tread on you."

The mob is already treading all over me, while simultaneously proclaiming that they are in the process of saving me from myself!

My belief is that we don't see anarchies around because those who chose to break up into smaller groups in the past got beaten into submission by the larger groups. We need to fight fire with fire. We need to create a large group linked by a common set of principles and values willing to go toe-to-toe with the socialists and statists.

A bunch of rugged individuals a la Jeremiah Johnson building their own cabins and catching their own fish in the forest, is just not going to cut it.

We have to take the risk of becoming the new mob in order to fight against the current mob running this country into the ground. This doesn't mean that we have to use the federal government to ratify and execute our program. But we do need to use some institution such as an invigorated fraternal order or such to combine our efforts in an effective way.

If the fascists at MADD can create a tidal wave of anti-constitutional legislation from the ripple of anger at the death of a loved one from a drunk driver, then we can certainly try to do likewise.

Whatever form that institution takes, it would be well for those who form it to look at the Libertarian Party as a good counter example! ;-)

38 posted on 02/10/2002 8:41:37 PM PST by who_would_fardels_bear
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