Archive for the ‘Cass Sunstein’ Category

Via Jawa Report, from FOX:

The federal government is hiring what it calls a “Behavioral Insights Team” that will look for ways to subtly influence people’s behavior, according to a document describing the program obtained by Critics warn there could be unintended consequences to such policies, while supporters say the team could make government and society more efficient.

To make society more efficient – because you don’t know how to make your own decisions, they will manipulate you into their chosen path.  They will adjust your choices, and create you into their image of the perfect efficient serf.

Milton Friedman famously said that we should be thankful for government inefficiency, because without it, we’d all be slaves.

Such policies — which encourage behavior subtly rather than outright require it — have come to be known as “nudges,” after an influential 2008 book titled “Nudge” by former Obama regulatory czar Cass Sunstein and Chicago Booth School of Business professor Richard Thaler popularized the term.

The term “nudge” has already been associated with the new program, as one professor who received Shankar’s email forwarded it to others with the note: “Anyone interested in working for the White House in a ‘nudge’ squad? The UK has one and it’s been extraordinarily successful.”

Cass Sunstein is one of the most vile men on the planet, who desires to corrupt institutions made to serve the people into institutions that control the people.  It’s for your own good, you stupid peasant.

Richard Thaler told that the new program sounds good.

“I don’t know who those people are who would not want such a program, but they must either be misinformed or misguided,” he said.

“The goal is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government by using scientifically collected evidence to inform policy designs. What is the alternative? The only alternatives I know are hunches, tradition, and ideology (either left or right.)”

“Misguided” to this master of puppets is anyone who opposes him.  “MIsinformed” means you haven’t been properly indoctrinated to accept him as your master, as someone who knows better than him.

The goal is to control people, to force them to make decisions they otherwise wouldn’t, to use a government instituted by the people as a tool to preserve freedom as a tool to coerce behavior.  It is the antithesis of freedom, and it is the most insidious form of tyranny.

Thaler is a would-be master of men, and a liar of the first order.

The alternative is that individuals make decisions for themselves, because no luciferian social scientist knows better than any individual in their own life.  He doesn’t know what’s best for you.  You have your own individual life full of information that you’ve collected that makes a difference in your own life that should inform your own decisions.  The “ideology” tack at the end is just to make him seem so “moderate” and “reasonable” by saying he dismisses both sides with his third way… of government leading you, you stupid, contemptible peon.  He mocks any other ideas as hunches, too, as though people don’t make their own decisions.

His ridicule of tradition is easily shot down by a man much wiser – Thomas Sowell:

“For the anointed, traditions are likely to be seen as the dead hand of the past, relics of a less enlightened age, and not as the distilled experience of millions who faced similar human vicissitudes before.”

But they are your masters, and they will lead, and they will educate you into believing that following is your natural condition, your correct place in life, and ultimately that it’s for your own good that you’re a serf.

Via HotAir, David Brooks at NYT wants so much more government involved in your life, but it’s so sad that sometimes so much more good government that will tell you how to live doesn’t turn out perfect like it should.  Aww.. poor statist tyrant:

Most government workers are amazingly dedicated and talented, and they put in a level of commitment that is far out of proportion to their salaries.

But we’re also seeing government workers, who, far from checking their own desire for control, have taken it out for a romp.

Brooks is an idiot.  At the bottom of the page, it notes that he’s filling in for Paul Krugman, who’s also an idiot, so he must be competing with Paul Krugman for some inter-office idiocy award.

Auditing low-level agents at the IRS do not “take their desire for control out for a romp”.  Doesn’t work that way.  They may agree with the IRS conservative crackdown plans and go along with them, but the guy doing the paperwork does not come up with schemes and machinations.  The mid-level manager gal doing the office paperwork to make sure the guy doing the lower paperwork doesn’t come up with these schemes.  She may go along with them, but they have to be passed down to her from someone with the authority to be able to waive all the concerns about repercussions for IRS personnel doing something wrong and getting fired.  Normal people do not get together to “take their desire for control out for a romp” at the low level, as though there’s some spontaneously generated lust for power in people who double-check math all day.

It’s hard to tell now if the I.R.S. scandal is political thuggery or obliviousness. It would be one thing if the scandal is just a group of tax people targeting the most antitax groups in the country. That’s just normal, run-of-the-mill partisan antipathy.

Sure, it’s okay if they target people who try to restore the nation to founding priciples.  That’s okay.  It’s fine if you’re tax collectors who target people who want the tax burden reduced through legal means and legislation.  Of course that’s fine.  No problem with that kind of targeted oppression by government whatsoever.

It’s just as okay as if the government targeted any other group that the government didn’t like.  Because after all, the citizen exists solely for the government to deem either worthy or unworthy.

It would be far worse if the senior workers of the I.R.S. have become so isolated by their technocratic task that they didn’t even recognize that using the search term “Tea Party” was going to be a moral and political problem.

Gee, it’s too bad they didn’t come up with a more clever way to target those sniveling teabaggers.  If only they had been smart enough not to outright say they were targeting the Tea Party.  Then they could’ve gotten away with it.

Everyone is treating the I.R.S. issue as a bigger deal, but the Justice Department scandal is worse. This was a sweeping intrusion that makes it hard for the press to do its job. Who is going to call a journalist to report wrongdoing knowing that at some future date, the government might feel perfectly free to track the phone records and hunt you down?

I would have thought a dozen Justice Department officials would have risen up and splashily resigned when they learned of the scope of this invasion. Aren’t there some lawyers in the Justice Department, and, if so, did they go to law schools where the Constitution is left unassigned?

The DOJ smuggled guns to narcoterrorist cartels and hushed it up and you and your reporter friends helped hush it up.  Brooks, when the DOJ decides to make you sign your own confession Soviet-style, you will have earned your statist utopia and all the hard labor it will sentence you to until the end of your days.  Maybe after a few decades in the ground, they’ll even take the time to posthumously rehabilitate you.

We clearly have a values problem in the federal government. We clearly have a few or many agencies where the leaders don’t emphasize that workers need to check themselves, or risk losing what remains of the people’s trust.

There is no “values problem” in the fedgov.  There is a fedgov that is unconstrained by the document that created it.  Men are the same, that’s why we have a Constitution.

We have a Constitution, and that creates our government.  The Constitution is what creates the government and limits it – it is the laws by which the government is created and those it must abide by.  When government ignores the Constitution, as it has been doing, it should have no trust – because it is an entity of domination composed of men with power – whether malignant or benign.   When it ceases to be an entity that exists at the behest of the citizen, it becomes oppressive.  A massive, distant power composed of men with power and no constraints are never deserving of any trust.

I generally support the little behavioral nudges that Cass Sunstein describes in his outstanding book “Simpler” — the subtle policy shifts that induce people to save more, or eat healthier.

Ah, David Brooks, lickspittle for tyrants.

I’d trust somebody with a minimalist disposition like Sunstein to implement these policies.

That’s so precious that you want to be dominated, David.  You’re so vanilla.

But I wouldn’t necessarily trust the people at the I.R.S. or Justice Department to implement them.

Guess who you’re going to get?  Guess who’s going to be running your health care?  Guess who’s been hushing up the murders of your Mexican neighbors to the south?

Cass Sunstein is a tyrant wannabe, along with all of his authoritarian ilk.  Revisit his rave review of “Against Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism”.  They want to coerce you – to force you – into something they think is good for you.  Brooks wants to be coerced – to be forced – into something someone else thinks is good for him – and he wants you forced as well.  Everybody knows what’s best for you, and they’re going to force it on you, because they’ve decided you need to be forced into what they think you should be.  Brooks wants to be dominated and be controlled by government.

Brooks wants a bad government to dominate him, he just wants one that doesn’t spank too hard.

But I’ll end this with a quote from a tax collector and freedom fighter:

samuel adamsIf ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.

Part 1 here, mostly about food and people who want the government to dictate to them how they should eat.

And today, part 2, as we look at a Time Magazine piece titled “Tread on Me“.

America was born from resistance to tyranny, and our skepticism of authority is a healthy tradition. But we’re pretty free.

That’s good enough, right?  We’re “pretty free”.  It’s about time we move on in the Tytler Cycle and get back to bondage!  Woo-hoo!  Bondage!  The state will make us free from responsibility and dangers of the world!  They know what’s best for me!

the Don’t Tread on Me slippery-slopers on both ends of the political spectrum tend to forget that Big Government helps protect other important rights

Doesn’t work that way.  This is a question of whether people believe in more or less government control.  Americans believe in less government control, have traditionally always believed in less government control, and only ever believe in having government control them when they’ve been brainwashed and programmed.

But standby for incoming collectivist BS…

Like the right of a child to watch a marathon or attend first grade without getting massacred—or, for that matter, the right to live near a fertilizer factory without it blowing up your house.

There are no such rights.  To be free from danger is not only impossible, but even reduction of danger is not a right – it something paid for by someone’s work – whether it be the soldier, policeman, or factory manager and safety staff.

I guess you could call me a statist.

How about one who will lick the hand that feeds with his chains resting upon him, and someone who I would wish posterity would forget was my countryman?

Go ahead, quote the Ben Franklin line about those who would sacrifice some liberty for security deserving neither.

You forgot the last part – they deserve neither – and will lose both.

But what about the rights of 8-year-old Martin Richard, blown away after watching his dad finish the marathon? Who safeguarded the liberty of 6-year-old Charlotte Bacon, gunned down in her classroom in her new pink dress? What about Perry Calvin and Morris Bridges and the other victims of the West Texas explosion? Nobody read them their rights.

There are no such rights as to be free from danger – and there can be none.

This kind of high-minded utopian fantasy was cranked out back in the 1930s and 1940s by the FDR administration.  There were even oaths made to defend the freedom from want and freedom from fear.

fdr freedom from want fear

Photo by ShortTimer

It is, by itself, nonsense.

Life? What ‘right’ to life has a man who is drowning in the Pacific? The ocean will not hearken to his cries. What ‘right’ to life has a man who must die to save his children? If he chooses to save his own life, does he do so as a matter of ‘right’? If two men are starving and cannibalism is the only alternative to death, which man’s right is ‘unalienable’? And is it ‘right’? As to liberty, the heroes who signed the great document pledged themselves to buy liberty with their lives. Liberty is never unalienable; it must be redeemed regularly with the blood of patriots or it always vanishes. Of all the so-called natural human rights that have ever been invented, liberty is least likely to be cheap and is never free of cost.

– Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers

You cannot legislate industrial accidents out of existence (unless you obliterate industry entirely – which is a goal of the left as a tool to fight Manbearpig).

You cannot legislate madmen out of existence.  You can forcibly disarm the populace, and leave them at the mercy of governmental ruler madmen like maniac cop Chris Dorner.  You can leave them at the mercy of government to make them “safe”.

You do all of those by destroying liberty, something that high-minded collectivist utopians have done in the past to construct human nature into what they want it to be – to “mold the world closer to their hearts’ desire”.

And it almost always looks the same in the end.


In contrast to those statist desires, you can safeguard the liberty of 6 year-old Charlotte Bacon.  You need a rough man ready to do violence on her behalf to safeguard that liberty – that liberty needs to be bought, but the left is terrified of the tools of violence to the point where they irrationally declare that to make the gazelle safe from the lion, you must strip the gazelle’s horns.

By the left’s logic, to make the child safe, you must leave her unguarded; and target those who would do her no harm but instead do seek to protect her.  There are people who are actively willing to put their own lives in harm’s way, but they are called monsters for demanding real security.  They are demonized for understanding the tools and nature of violence as defense and deterrent.

You can begin to defend the life of 8 year-old Martin Richard more by identifying the threat and dealing with the threat when it rears its head.  What killed him was islamic terrorism.  We know this.  We all know this, but our government denies it on the basis that their ideology rejects making that judgement.  By the response of the authorities in the Boston bombing case, there will be no more fatalities from those particular two terrorists.  The hundreds of lives saved, like the baker’s new suit in the Broken Window Fallacy, are easily forgotten because they never materialized.  There were no more terrorist attacks from those two because the terrorists were pursued (at a cost of life and harm) and stopped.

Yet there are still high-minded utopians who believe that if they just apologize enough, that if they are sensitive enough, they can stop people who chant for their deaths in the street through just well wishes.

And here’s where the Time writer gets worse:

Our rights are not inviolate. Just as the First Amendment doesn’t let us shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater, the Second Amendment shouldn’t let us have assault weapons designed for mass slaughter.

This is, as Jonah Goldberg would say, bonesnappingly stupid.

The First Amendment totally and completely does let us shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater.

If the government could mandate a white-noise generator that would specifically tune into the sound of a human voice shouting the word “Fire!” so that it could never again be said in a theater and the First Amendment were restricted, what would happen when there is a fire and no one can shout the word?  What happens when no one can give the alarm?  What happens when that lifesaving tool is denied?  It would result in people burned to death.

The Second Amendment totally and completely does let us have modern firearms.  I have yet to take or instruct a firearms class wherein I have taught or been taught to use an “assault weapon” for “mass slaughter”.  Sorry, just doesn’t work that way.

The Second Amendment protects the natural right of self defense.  It codifies it in the Constitution and ensures that the tools of self defense will not be denied.  It does the same in that sense as the First Amendment protecting the word “Fire!”.  It exists as the last full response against oppression, large and small, whether it be a lone criminal or the force of a dictatorial government.

If used improperly or abused, it’s a crime, just like yelling fire when there’s no fire.  If used properly, it’s a wholly necessary lifesaving right; and it protects tools that allow for lives to be saved.  And just like the loss of yelling “Fire!”, if it is taken away, it ends up the same – the result is people burned to death.

To revisit this quote from the “Tread on Me” masochist:

Those of us who support aggressive government action to protect the public ought to acknowledge that it does, at the margins, limit individual rights—the rights of gun owners, the rights of business owners, the rights of the accused. Go ahead, quote the Ben Franklin line about those who would sacrifice some liberty for security deserving neither. But what about the rights of 8-year-old Martin Richard, blown away after watching his dad finish the marathon? Who safeguarded the liberty of 6-year-old Charlotte Bacon, gunned down in her classroom in her new pink dress? What about Perry Calvin and Morris Bridges and the other victims of the West Texas explosion? Nobody read them their rights.

The Bill of Rights is there to limit government.  Governments create oppression.  In a state of nature, there may be terror, but there is no all-encompassing institution that can deny you your natural rights.  The Constitution is there as a contract of free men that created a limited government with the intention of protecting all of our natural rights possible while providing us tools to ensure greater protection for all as well.

I’ve been told that invoking the death of innocents is an emotional appeal rather than a logical argument. And I do admit these tragedies make me angry. But I think it would be logical for our government to try to limit these tragedies in the future.

The author thinks wrong.  There have been a million individual tragedies that are easily forgotten by their magnitude that were undertaken by free men (and sometimes conscripts) to preserve liberty, not to have it thrown away because some statist submissive grovels to beg for tyrants to enslave us all because he is a sniveling coward.

You want to protect people, do it yourself.  You want to prevent tragedies, do it yourself.  You want to tread on me because you’re a coward?  Then you become an oppressor, Mr. Grunwald, and you are trading bought-and-paid-for liberty for security that is not only fleeting, but wholly nonexistent.

We already sacrifice liberty all the time—our right to automatic weapons, our right to walk through airport security with our shoes on, our right to run our businesses however we please.

The writer is an amoebic poltroon who kneels before the might of the state.  We shouldn’t sacrafice our right to automatic weapons, our right to walk through airport security with shoes on, or our right to run our businesses however we please.  Excluding abuse of our rights, which infringes on someone else’s natural rights, it’s not the place of the government to do anything.  Just because the government has abused rights in the past, doesn’t mean we should tolerate it any further.

The rights of the next Martin Richard and the next Charlotte Bacon matter, too.

Yes, and the next Martin and the next Charlotte may be killed by leftists with utopian wishes who demand schools be gun-free zones, ensuring that only criminals and madmen intent on mayhem will be armed.  The next Martin and Charlotte, if they survived being left in a defenseless free-fire zone for 12 years of mandated government schooling, may not like being x-rayed by government lackeys who see them nude any time they get on a plane.  They may not like that when they go to start a business, that their government demands so much from them that it’s easier just to not start the business, that their freedom has been curtailed so much that they don’t have options for a business.

But they may grow up thinking they’re “pretty free”, because there’s always something worse.

The next Martin and the next Charlotte are not one or two children, they are millions of children who will grow into adults in a nation where they are less free.  The next boy may be bashed for being gay because he’s left disarmed against a mob, the next girl may be another Amanda Collins, who was raped because she was disarmed by government.  The next boy may have developed the motor that runs on static electricity, but will never make it because the government has regulated him into oblivion.  The next girl may not want to have her privacy violated by government every time she enters a private contract with an aircraft company to fly her somewhere.

There are no shortages of people demanding destruction of liberty.  From Cass “We Must Dominate You For Your Own Good” Sunstein, to any of the intellectuals Thomas Sowell criticizes as dominating sheperds who demand you be their sheep, there is never a shortage of men who wish to dominate and control their fellow man.

There is always a question of how many people believe that becoming sheep is noble, and how many reject that destructive notion of bondage.

From RealClearPolitics:

John Stuart Mill’s classic essay “On Liberty” gives reasons why some people should not be taking over other people’s decisions about their own lives. But Professor Cass Sunstein of Harvard has given reasons to the contrary. He cites research showing “that people make a lot of mistakes, and that those mistakes can prove extremely damaging.”

Professor Sunstein is undoubtedly correct that “people make a lot of mistakes.” Most of us can look back over our own lives and see many mistakes, including some that were very damaging.

What Cass Sunstein does not tell us is what sort of creatures, other than people, are going to override our mistaken decisions for us. That is the key flaw in the theory and agenda of the left.

Implicit in the wide range of efforts on the left to get government to take over more of our decisions for us is the assumption that there is some superior class of people who are either wiser or nobler than the rest of us.

Yes, we all make mistakes. But do governments not make bigger and more catastrophic mistakes?

Think about the First World War, from which nations on both sides ended up worse off than before, after an unprecedented carnage that killed substantial fractions of whole younger generations and left millions starving amid the rubble of war.

Sowell is doubtless referencing Cass Sunstein’s recent treatise on how you’re stupid and need to be dominated and all of western thought on individual liberty needs to be destroyed because you’re too dumb to live, discussed here.

Sowell sums up:

Too many among today’s intellectual elite see themselves as our shepherds and us as their sheep. Tragically, too many of us are apparently willing to be sheep, in exchange for being taken care of, being relieved of the burdens of adult responsibility and being supplied with “free” stuff paid for by others.

Worth reading the whole thing.

Milton Friedman’s distilled short version of why vouchers work:

HotAir has the news roundup on Alabama’s introduction of a voucher system, where the left reacted with rage.

Milton Friedman’s elaborate, thorough version of why vouchers work, why centralization is a problem, and why decentralization and freedom to choose solves many educational problems:

Around 18:40, he begins to discuss “the modern view”, which is much of what Cass Sunstein and the masters-of-men anointed elite regulators believe.  Friedman then goes on to explain how that relates to schooling, and the collectivist vs. individualist view of the purpose of education.

Edgar Friendly on Freedom

Posted: February 26, 2013 by ShortTimer in Cass Sunstein, Humor, Liberty

Commenter Tolarias Rinelle on yesterday’s Cass Sunstein post makes the point that according to Obama’s plan, he (and most of the rest of us) are the enemy.

From the New York Review of Books, Obama’s Regulatory Czar Cass “Our-Wish-Is-Your-Command” Sunstein writes a wonderful piece on a book title “Against Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism”:

Many Americans abhor paternalism. They think that people should be able to go their own way, even if they end up in a ditch. When they run risks, even foolish ones, it isn’t anybody’s business that they do.

The whole piece is a justification for coercion, as the title says, and a justification for destroying individual citizens’ rights to live their own lives.  This is an anointed elite deciding that he will change the world so that his will can be forced onto you, the disgusting inferior thing that can’t make good decisions.

This is Orwellian newspeak tyranny used to create a Huxleyan Brave New World where the only life available is the one that the master decides.

For example, many of us show “present bias”: we tend to focus on today and neglect tomorrow.  For some people, the future is a foreign country, populated by strangers.  Many of us procrastinate and fail to take steps that would impose small short-term costs but produce large long-term gains. People may, for example, delay enrolling in a retirement plan, starting to diet or exercise, ceasing to smoke, going to the doctor, or using some valuable, cost-saving technology. Present bias can ensure serious long-term harm, including not merely economic losses but illness and premature death as well.

People also have a lot of trouble dealing with probability.

Translation: You’re stupid and short sighted and need to be dominated.

Emphasizing these and related behavioral findings, many people have been arguing for a new form of paternalism, one that preserves freedom of choice, but that also steers citizens in directions that will make their lives go better by their own lights.  (Full disclosure: the behavioral economist Richard Thaler and I have argued on behalf of what we call libertarian paternalism, known less formally as “nudges.”)

The amount of contempt I have for Cass Sunstein at this point is difficult to convey without using colorful metaphors.

Liberal used to mean that one favored liberty, it favored the greatest amount of freedom.  Somehow liberal has come to mean an expansion of the state.  Here, word-twisting corruptor of truth Cass Sunstein says there is “libertarian paternalism”, which goes into his idea of “choice architecture”.  He, the almighty anointed dominator of men, simply changes the rules so the only choices are state-approved choices.  There is the illusion of choice, but there is none.

It has nothing to do with liberal, liberty, or libertarian.  It has everything to do with twisting words and changing the language so that evil deeds can be couched in what used to be good words.

This is even more sinister because it deletes alternatives – it reduces choices and then convinces people they have the freedom to choose.  It creates willing slavery.  Do you want to work in the field or the house?  They’re both “good for you”.

field slaves

And those are your two choices.

Default rules are merely one kind of “choice architecture,” a phrase that may refer to the design of grocery stores, for example, so that the fresh vegetables are prominent; the order in which items are listed on a restaurant menu; visible official warnings; public education campaigns; the layout of websites; and a range of other influences on people’s choices. Such examples suggest that mildly paternalistic approaches can use choice architecture in order to improve outcomes for large numbers of people without forcing anyone to do anything.

Just slowly dissolve the “bad” choices until the master conveys his will to the serf.

You want to smoke?  Tax it, reduce the places you can smoke, ban it outright, then the “good” choice is made.  Individual choice is meaningless – the master has made his decision.

You want to own a gun?  Tax it, reduce the places you can shoot, increase the regulations and restrictions on where you can and when you can use it and own it, make it a difficult right to exercise, and then ban it, and the “good” choice is made.  Individual choice is meaningless – the master has made his decision and enforces his will.

You want to have sex?  Make it shameful, make one type acceptable, another type not.  Increase the social stigma, create blue laws and the like, and then only the “good” choice is left, so only the “good” choice can be made.  Individual choice is meaningless – the master has made his decision and the only choices left to the serf are to do as the master wishes.

For another example of “choice architecture” and the destruction of choice a bit more specifically, Thomas Sowell often notes that he and his wife didn’t have the money to pay for the birth of their first child, so the hospital put them on a payment plan for services.  He joked with his wife when the bill was paid that they finally owned their child.  Destruction of private health care options and mandating insurance drove prices up and took away the option to simply pay the hospitals directly.  Replacing direct payment with health insurance and created higher costs, but it mandated “good”.  Replacing optional health insurance with mandatory employer health care created higher costs, but mandated “good”.  The “good” of single payer has been created as other choices that worked better for individuals were slowly deleted.

Conly is quite aware that her view runs up against widespread intuitions and commitments. For many people, a benefit may consist precisely in their ability to choose freely even if the outcome is disappointing. She responds that autonomy is “not valuable enough to offset what we lose by leaving people to their own autonomous choices.”

Your right to live your own life isn’t valuable.  Your freedom isn’t valuable.  Your freedom to live your own life means you might not make all the best decisions, so you must be dominated into the correct decisions.  Subtly, but you will bow to the master.

To Mill’s claim that individuals are uniquely well situated to know what is best for them, Conly objects that Mill failed to make a critical distinction between means and ends. True, people may know what their ends are, but sometimes they go wrong when they choose how to get them. Most people want to be healthy and to live long lives. If people are gaining a lot of weight, and hence jeopardizing their health, Conly supports paternalism—for example, she favors reducing portion size for many popular foods, on the theory that large, fattening servings can undermine people’s own goals. In her words, paternalism is justified when

the person left to choose freely may choose poorly, in the sense that his choice will not get him what he wants in the long run, and is chosen solely because of errors in instrumental reasoning.Because of her focus on the means to the ends people want, Conly’s preferred form of paternalism is far more modest than imaginable alternatives.

At the same time, Conly insists that mandates and bans can be much more effective than mere nudges. If the benefits justify the costs, she is willing to eliminate freedom of choice, not to prevent people from obtaining their own goals but to ensure that they do so.


freedom is slavery cropped

Conly is right to insist that no democratic government can or should live entirely within Mill’s strictures. But in my view, she underestimates the possibility that once all benefits and all costs are considered, we will generally be drawn to approaches that preserve freedom of choice. One reason involves the bluntness of coercive paternalism and the sheer diversity of people’s tastes and situations. Some of us care a great deal about the future, while others focus intensely on today and tomorrow. This difference may make perfect sense in light not of some bias toward the present, but of people’s different economic situations, ages, and valuations. Some people eat a lot more than others, and the reason may not be an absence of willpower or a neglect of long-term goals, but sheer enjoyment of food. Our ends are hardly limited to longevity and health; our short-term goals are a large part of what makes life worth living.

According to him.  He will decide what your life is worth.

All of this is contrary to natural law, all of this is contrary to the dignity and rights of mankind.  Of course the tyrants love it, though.

From a practical standpoint, there’s also this:

True, people may know what their ends are, but sometimes they go wrong when they choose how to get them. Most people want to be healthy and to live long lives. If people are gaining a lot of weight, and hence jeopardizing their health, Conly supports paternalism—for example, she favors reducing portion size for many popular foods, on the theory that large, fattening servings can undermine people’s own goals.

Sunstein’s shared view with Conly that food must be controlled because people are too stupid to eat what’s good for them fails not only because it insults the individual (and no amount of his weaseling changes what his intent is); but also because from a purely practical standpoint, deprivation leads to binges, denial leads to excess.  There are some nutritionists who’ve outlined this quite clearly – one of the reasons that diets fail is because people deprive themselves and don’t eat what their body wants them to – eating either too little or too much.

Case and point, somebody who eats 1556-calorie meals:

michelle obama eating

When there’s an authority figure engineering your choices – even when it’s your own mind through a diet, you tend not to respond so well.  The human body doesn’t want to starve itself, and doesn’t like it when it’s forced to starve itself.  The body responds no matter what the mind wants.

first ladies

At the point that she decides not to try to control everything, she can just eat a burger without caring, without budgeting calories, and just eating when it’s right.

The soft tyranny of paternalism, manipulation of language, and destruction of free will ultimately lead to destruction of the individual – like all leftist plots, it requires more and more power and domination and subjugation to succeed.  That’s the only way it can succeed in its own goals – and at that point, the master has decided that slavery is for your own good.

From Katie Pavlich at, an excellent piece and roundup of the David Gregory Magazinegate story, with this wonderfully smug snippet of spurned media with rationalization for crime:

POLITICO’s Glenn Thrush took to Twitter to express his disdain for efforts to hold Gregory accountable.

glenn thrush greater goodOh, yes, the public interest.  Only to a certain type of individual would it seem that David Gregory was “acting in the public interest” by violating the law in order to try to crush the rights of citizens, working to gut the Bill of Rights.

Over at Sipsey Street Irregulars, Mike found a column by Cass “the peons are stupid Homer Simpsons I can manipulate” Sunstein:

Gun Debate Must Avoid Crazy 2nd Amendment Claims

The rise of the Second Amendment as a serious obstacle to U.S. gun control legislation is astonishingly recent.

Its rise is a tribute less to the vision of the Founding Fathers than to the skill, money and power of the contemporary gun-rights movement, which has not only exerted disproportionate influence on Congress, but also helped transform the landscape of constitutional argument. We should be able to have a serious national discussion uninhibited by wild and unsupportable claims about the meaning of the Constitution.

Let’s try that again, Cass.Baghdad Bob

Its rise is a tribute less to the vision of the Founding Fathers than to the skill, money and power of the contemporary gun-rights movement, which has not only exerted disproportionate influence on Congress, but also helped transform the landscape of constitutional argument. We should be able to have a serious national discussion uninhibited by wild and unsupportable claims about the meaning of the Constitution.

Now, the problem with this radical leftist-statist tyranny-enabling regulatory-nudging deceit is easily illustrated by the following statements:

thomas jefferson

The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.

And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to the facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two?The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.

The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes….Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.

No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.

The constitutions of most of our States assert that all power is inherent in the people; that… it is their right and duty to be at all times armed;…

-Thomas Jefferson


samuel adams

“And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the Press, or the rights of Conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms; …”

Among the natural rights of the Colonists are these: First, a right to life; Secondly, to liberty; Thirdly, to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can. These are evident branches of, rather than deductions from, the duty of self-preservation, commonly called the first law of nature.

– Samuel Adams

Milton Friedman often pointed out that throughout human history, mankind has almost always lived under the heel of some tyrant, trading one king, emperor, or warlord for another.  The American experiment has been one of the rare times where freedom has existed and been preserved.  We have seen examples such as The Battle of Athens where Americans had to use force to repel tyrants inside our own nation, as the Founders intended.  Samuel Adams’ last quote there about defense of property as a duty of self-preservation and an extension of the First Law of Nature goes back a ways.  It’s not just to repel an immediate physical threat to one’s life, but to the greater threat of the state.  That the state can be held in check by the citizen is what keeps the state honest and sustains liberty.  We need not look further than our southern border to see evidence of what happens when the state (and criminals) have a monopoly on force.

That some manipulative communist wannabe-dictator slimeball like Cass Sunstein would outright lie isn’t really a surprise.  He’s one of those masters of men that knows what’s best for you, and will force you to submit (though he tries to subtly force you to submit for your own good – what was once defined as Liberal Fascism – a term coined by HG Wells).  That anyone could take it seriously, however, means sad times for the republic.

Kurt Hofmann at has some good observations on Sunstein’s call for tyranny.

Sipsey Street has another observation on the graphic:

minutemen modern rounds sunstein crazy second amendment story

I look at it as the visual expression of every modern tyrant’s fear. Ten minutemen are replaced in the cartoon by ten rounds, a third of the standard capacity of an AR or AK. In other words, a ten-man modern minuteman squad carrying ARs and just one magazine per has an immediate firepower available of 300 rounds versus 10. Can there be any better illustration of the fear behind the tyrannical eyes of the advocates of citizen disarmament? THIS is why they have been striving mightily to ban semi-auto rifles.

It’s no wonder the Founders wanted her armed, and the tyrants want her disarmed:

oleg volk rifle girl force multiplier for liberty

We have evolved to need coercion.


From Daniel Lieberman, Harvard biology professor, via the NYT:

…humans evolved to crave sugar, store it and then use it. For millions of years, our cravings and digestive systems were exquisitely balanced because sugar was rare. Apart from honey, most of the foods our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate were no sweeter than a carrot. The invention of farming made starchy foods more abundant, but it wasn’t until very recently that technology made pure sugar bountiful.

Unsurprisingly, a Harvard professor is ignorant of the outside world, and ignores that there are fruits and melons and berries and even vegetables of the squash family that are quite sweet.  There are many that have been more refined and developed through agriculture, but there were plenty of them around in nature beforehand.

The food industry has made a fortune because we retain Stone Age bodies that crave sugar but live in a Space Age world in which sugar is cheap and plentiful. Sip by sip and nibble by nibble, more of us gain weight because we can’t control normal, deeply rooted urges for a valuable, tasty and once limited resource.

The constant cry that there is an evil villain out to ruin The People, the constant drum beat that The People are weak, unable to control their urges, and must be controlled are all present.  This is going to be very predictable.

What should we do? One option is to do nothing, while hoping that scientists find better cures for obesity-related diseases like heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. I’m not holding my breath for such cures, and the costs of inaction, already staggering, would continue to mushroom.

Mr. Lieberman opens his piece by saying that criticisms “most worthy of attention” are the libertarian arguments that this is bad.  That’s Lieberman’s way of ignoring them.  His questions are based on false premises.  His question of “what should we do?” is really – “what should the government do to The People?”  He, being an elite Harvard professor, is clearly a ruler of men, an intellectual powerhouse whose huge brain means that he is of course exempt from being lumped in with The People – but the “we” he speaks of is that of the Ruling Class.

The “do nothing” argument is flawed.  If the government does nothing, individual citizens will make their own decisions.  Off the top of my head, I can think of two writers here who’ve lost double-digit weight in the last year because they got sick of being heavy.  Nature solves its own problems.  Nobody wants to be at an unhealthy weight.  Modern individuals, with modern, sedentary jobs balance the costs of health issues against those of other pressing matters in their daily life.  If they have families they need to spend time with, that time at the gym may become less important.  If to maintain their standard of living, they need to work more in a sedentary job and there’s a health cost, that’s a decision they make.  If they recognize that their weight (whether that be too big or too small) is effecting their quality of life, then they work to change it.

The relative availability of modern foodstuffs is not an issue in their weight.  Their decision to eat and drink the amounts that they do is.  This goes to Lieberman’s second flawed point.  Everyone knows what makes you fat.  Everyone.

A more popular option is to enhance public education to help us make better decisions about what to eat and how to be active. This is crucial but has so far yielded only modest improvements.

A recent study even showed that when you feel fat, you’re getting fat.  Your body will tell you.  Within 3 hours after eating, you’ll feel it.  From Metro:

A team led by obesity expert Prof Fredrik Karpe made the discovery by asking volunteers to eat fatty foods containing traceable carbon isotopes.

They tracked the fat’s path from the gut, which they assumed would be taken around the body by the blood to be ‘burned off’ by the muscles, with the excess slowly adding to our girth over time.

Instead, they found the first fat from a meal entered the bloodstream about an hour after it was eaten by the volunteers.

‘By the time three to four hours have passed, most of it has been incorporated into our adipose tissue, mostly in the shorter term fat stores around our waists,’ Prof Karpe said. Fat around the waist is used only for short-term storage, and can be burned off when people need energy.

Your body tells you you’re fat.  You feel it.  Education isn’t that difficult.  Calories in > calories out, you get fat.  Calories out > calories in, you lose weight.  Calories in = calories out, you stay at your present weight.  You intake calories with food, burn them with activity.  Millions of pages have been written about this, but ultimately, it’s not that complicated.  Most of those millions of pages are spent trying to balance lifestyle and eating habits and the best ways for each individual, which government cannot do anyway.

The final option that Lieberman comes up with is, as usual, that of all other final answers to problems that the state has deemed worth destroying.  Of course the “final option” is the one he states that he laments by listing last.  He then notes that the paternalistic state is really a good thing, and by introducing coercion to mimic the “nasty, brutish, and short” existence of primitive man, we will finally have the best solution to fighting obesity.

The final option is to collectively restore our diets to a more natural state through regulations. Until recently, all humans had no choice but to eat a healthy diet with modest portions of food that were low in sugar, saturated fat and salt, but high in fiber. They also had no choice but to walk and sometimes run an average of 5 to 10 miles a day. Mr. Bloomberg’s paternalistic plan is not an aberrant form of coercion but a very small step toward restoring a natural part of our environment.

For all the academic twisting here, no, the government’s function is not to reduce us to animals.  Lieberman’s graphic represents what they think of the public – mindless apes:

And the solution is sitting in the ad bar, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

Lieberman continues, justifying his desire for control of The People’s bodies:

Though his big-soda ban would apply to all New Yorkers, I think we should focus paternalistic laws on children. Youngsters can’t make rational, informed decisions about their bodies, and our society agrees that parents don’t have the right to make disastrous decisions on their behalf. Accordingly, we require parents to enroll their children in school, have them immunized and make them wear seat belts. We require physical education in school, and we don’t let children buy alcohol or cigarettes. If these are acceptable forms of coercion, how is restricting unhealthy doses of sugary drinks that slowly contribute to disease any different?

Paternalistic laws have only propagated in the last few decades because the state has sought to replace the parent.  Youngsters don’t have to make rational, informed decisions because that’s their parent’s jobs.  Society doesn’t agree at all with Lieberman.  Government bureaucrats and the Ruling Class have decided to instituted controls regardless of what society thinks.  Paternalistic laws now try to change adults into children, all of whom “need” controlling by the state.

Lieberman’s arguments are founded on a basis of overreach that has never been part of the American tradition – those aren’t acceptable, either.  Taking parental authority from the parent and placing it in the hands of the state is part of Lieberman’s academic ruling class society – it is not part of greater American society.  Mandatory education laws often force children into crappy schools run by governmental bureaucrats – in comparison, home-schooled children often do better because their parents have a personal vested interest in the well-being of their own child.  The parent of a child will almost invariably be more interested in the well-being of their child moreso than the most enlightened, wonderful schoolteacher attempting to teach a hundred in a day.

Requiring immunizations has taken place as part of disease-reduction initiatives, but you can catch mumps or rubella.  You don’t walk by a fat person and suddenly gain 40 pounds.  There are also plenty of arguments against mandatory vaccinations, some of which come from Hollywood kooks, and some of which come from folks who really don’t like that medical industries can simply force people to buy their products through government mandates.  If there were benefits to it, people would choose to do it.  Flu vaccinations are pushed, but not mandatory, and people volunteer for them.

Children drinking and smoking were stopped by their parents, not by the state.  The push for control over drinking is what begat Prohibition, wherein the moral busybodies in the Temperance Movement declared that people were too drunk and stupid to be trusted with their freedoms.  That resulted in the entire nation rebelling against it.  It also resulted in the state murdering its citizens for their own good.

As for seat belts:

Seat belt laws are part of the same problem.  They assume that individuals can’t make good decisions, and that people must be forced into those decisions.  For years, there were no seat belts in automobiles.  Individual manufacturers came up with ways to make cars safer, some of them being far ahead of the curve, and as individuals saw safety features, they chose to buy them.  Notably, Volvo owes much of its reputation in the US to numerous safety features.  With the exception of seat belts where a person could become a projectile and impact another person, seat belt laws do infringe on personal freedom.

The children in the truck bed above are not going to be violently flung out of the truck.  The driver, knowing he has a load of precious cargo, is going to drive safely and slowly.  If he does, the children won’t ride with him again – their parents won’t let them.  Or, even without seatbelt laws, a law enforcement officer could stop the truck and deal with the driver as necessary for endangering his passengers.

Back to Lieberman:

Along these lines, we should ban all unhealthy food in school — soda, pizza, French fries — and insist that schools provide adequate daily physical education, which many fail to do.

The state is not the parent.  If parents tell the schools to stop serving foods they deem unhealthy, then the school – which is employed by the parent-taxpayers, must respond.  To do otherwise is a failure of the school to live up to the contract is has with the parents.  Of course, in Lieberman’s world, the school, as a function of the state, is superior to the parent.  As such, the school can dictate how they will raise children.

The assumption that rich foods are a cause of childhood obesity is also contingent on portions served.  100 calories of pizza, with bread crust, a layer of cheese, a pretend piece of meat, is the same as 100 calories of sandwich, with a slice of cheese, a bread crust, and a pretend piece of meat.  The decisions to eliminate soda, pizza, and french fries are based on Lieberman’s Ruling Class notion of “what is good for you”, not on what actually is.  As noted in his own article, these rich foods are incredibly good for you if you’re in a state of constant activity.  So their elimination not only restricts the freedom of individuals to choose their own foods, but also assumes that children aren’t engaged in any activities, and penalizes the active for the sake of the inactive.

I note that it restricts individuals freedoms, and not just those of children, because parents who send their children to school have already had lunches confiscated.  The parents’ authority to feed their own children is stomped on by the state.  This isn’t some case of child abuse or neglect (aside from in the minds of fascistic nanny-staters), this is a case of the state dictating how you shall live.

Adults need help, too, and we should do more to regulate companies that exploit our deeply rooted appetites for sugar and other unhealthy foods. The mayor was right to ban trans fats, but we should also make the food industry honest about portion sizes. Like cigarettes, mass-marketed junk food should come with prominent health warning labels. It should be illegal to advertise highly fattening food as “fat free.” People have the right to be unhealthy, but we should make that choice more onerous and expensive by imposing taxes on soda and junk food.

And here we get to the “nudging”.  Make choices so onerous and difficult that people will be forced into what the dictator desires.  The iron fist of an authoritarian state is wearing a velvet glove.

Adults who face the consequences of their own decisions will make choices.  No one wants to be a bloated fatass.  The mayor was wrong to tell people what they can and can’t put in their bodies, but he’s a tyrant across the board, and his only redeeming quality is that he’s a wonderful example of one.

The food industry doesn’t need to be more honest about portion sizes.  Individuals need to be responsible for their own actions.  Saying “people have the right to be unhealthy, but…” is another excuse justifying dictatorial control.  These taxes and impositions aren’t about health, they’re about control.  Individuals who eat foods in moderation can eat what they like and have no issues.  Those individuals are being denied choice foods by their own government because other individuals make poor decisions.  None of this is the province of government.

Individuals then don’t have the right, with onerous taxes and impositions, they might have the priviledge of being unhealthy.  It will be restricted to those who can afford it.  The wealthy and powerful will be able to afford one lifestyle, while those who are relatively poorer will no longer be able to enjoy the fruits of their own labor.  The reason the term “fat cat” came about is because previous to the last few decades, the only people whose labor had ceased to be vigorous manual labor and who could afford enough food to be fat were the very wealthy.  Today, thanks to advances in technology and agriculture, everyone can afford the bounties of those foods.  Lieberman is desirous of price controls and taxes to socially return us to a time where only the wealthy and privileged could enjoy dining as they see fit.

This would hardly be progress, and does not improve the life of the individual.

Additionally, labeling doesn’t work.  A study I’ll link to as soon as I can find it again brought up that people who guess calorie amounts of foods usually get them fairly close, or overestimate.  If you’re looking at this breakfast:

You know there are a LOT of calories in it.  You don’t need a chart to see that it will make you full, it will keep you powered for most of your day, and you can eat a light lunch, because you  had a massive breakfast.

With regards to Lieberman’s absurd statement that food makers shouldn’t be allowed to say “fat free” if a food can make you fat, that’s just stupid.  Fat is a substance.  If the substance is in the food, it’s has fat, it has lipids.  If it doesn’t have fat, it’s fat free.  Anything eaten in excess can make a person fat.

Finally, Lieberman sums up with this cry for tyranny:

We humans did not evolve to eat healthily and go to the gym; until recently, we didn’t have to make such choices. But we did evolve to cooperate to help one another survive and thrive. Circumstances have changed, but we still need one another’s help as much as we ever did. For this reason, we need government on our side, not on the side of those who wish to make money by stoking our cravings and profiting from them. We have evolved to need coercion.

We did evolve to eat healthily.  We evolved to eat what our bodies need.  We didn’t evolve to go to the gym, we evolved to live at the gym.  Modern workplaces and modern conveniences mean we’re enjoying a sedentary life.  The key word there is that we are ENJOYING.  Millenia of our ancestors as poor dirt farmers working their way up from misery have allowed us modern luxuries.  It’s up to us as individuals to do something with them.

We didn’t evolve to cooperate, we cooperated to survive.  The individual’s survival first, and the enhancement to individual survival that a group provides is why we got together in groups.  Here Lieberman’s thinking is exposed in such a short sentence.  He shows a collectivist mindset, that there is “the people” and not the individual.  We banded together to aid each other, not to coerce each other.  We as individuals found that survival strategies worked better when we formed voluntary bonds.  The government, as it was intended, is a voluntary cooperative that exists as a construct of the Constitution.  It follows the orders of We The People – each individual – it is there to provide for our security and defense that we as individuals might live freer lives.  We established our government to provide for our rights to live free of the rule of a king or dictator, that we might exercise our inalienable rights as bestowed by our Creator.

Lieberman’s cry for the government to crush the free market is that of a Marxist useful idiot.  “Those who wish to make money by stoking our cravings and profiting from them” are the usual class-enemy capitalists, and his desired government is one that will crush capitalism.  His desire is for tyranny.  He makes a plea for coercion, and through his warped world-view, demands that the state protect us from ourselves.  The people are stupid, unreasoning, mindless apes who are still trapped by their weak bodies and weak minds, fooled by the decadent capitalist exploiter!  Thus we need the government to beat us, to crush our freedoms, he reasons.  He demands a government that will coerce us in order to free us from our exploiters, trading in someone who offers you what you want for someone who tells you what you are allowed.

This is the very heart of tyranny.

And it’s complete bullshit.

Circumstances have changed, and we have one another’s help.  Lieberman views us as unreasoning apes, and it’s not much surprise that his apes are black, seeing as how demeaning races tends to be a theme for Harvard academics.  The very page that Lieberman posted his desperate cry for government to oppress and crush the freedoms of individuals refutes his own idiotic claims.

Look to the right of his misanthropic screed and you’ll see the solution.

We have one another’s help in voluntary cooperation.  It’s called freedom.

In the form of the free market, CocoaVia there is introducing a product that fulfills that desire for sweet foods.  Interestingly CocoaVia links to Mars Botanical, which links to Mars, as in M&M Mars, who make all kinds of candies and food products, for humans and our animal friends.

The very same “those who wish to make money by stoking our cravings and profiting from them”, as though profit, money, and desires of free individuals are all dirty things, are here to provide us with options we want.  If our sedentary lifestyles result in us getting fat, we’ll change to diet soda.  If we still want candy, but we as individuals know that a king size Snickers is going to be a lot of calories, then we swich and try something like “CocoaVia” and enjoy the taste without the calories.

Stoking our cravings and profiting from them is why we aren’t Lieberman’s ideal of a caveman.  Our cravings for food, water, shelter, sex, and the rest of Maslow’s Hierarchy has driven us to the point where we can communicate these ideas through the digital realm instantly across the entire planet, and for some ideas, even beam them around the planet and off into space.  Our desires are what drives us.  To squelch these desires, to have them crushed beneath the boot of a tyrannical government that knows what’s best, is the dream of a power-hungry fool.  Lieberman is an idiot of the most educated, highest caliber.   Lieberman views us as the sum only of our nature, and not of our minds.  He sees the people as a mass of idiot cavemen who must be controlled and coerced – forced by government into doing what he has decided they should.  If he includes himself among the cavemen, it is only in a self-flagellating gesture of his own misery; but he still views himself as more intelligent than the foolish fat cavemen around him, viewing them as Cass Sunstein’s ideal of the average American as Homer Simpson, an idiot roaming through life who needs government to control him.

Freedom itself refutes the needs that ostensibly cause demand for tyranny.  Freedom itself, as shown above, has generated a response to the demand for healthier alternatives.  People don’t want to be bloated fatasses.  People want to be thin – and there are plenty of people who want, through voluntary cooperation, to help their fellow man.  There are a myriad of programs available, and there have been for years.  There have been people selling or giving away fitness advice for years from Jack LaLanne to Richard Simmons to Billy Blanks to Jillian Michaels to Suzanne Somers to Zuzana:

There have been groups of free individuals who voluntarily cooperate in order to help themselves, and others, be healthy.  The luxuries afforded by millenia of slow standard of living improvements have made it so.

To demand that a ruthless government oppressor force people into being healthy is at best a pathetic indictment of the character of the person demanding it, and at worst a sniveling plea to allow the egghead arguing for it to become a greater power in the dictatorial Ruling Class.

While doing research for this piece, I stumbled over some supporters of these measures.  Most fall in line with Cass Sunstein’s idea that people, as opposed to individuals, are dumb Homer Simpsons, too stupid to live, and need to be controlled.  A few even indict themselves for the same traits, as here:

What is going on here?

I know you think I’m going to come down on the “food police” banning cupcakes in schools. But as an adult constantly struggling with my weight who was a fat kid, I have to say that schools being forced to serve healthier food could literally be a lifesaver.

There are a few who want to be treated like Private Pyle because they can’t take care of themselves.  You want to eat how you like, you pay the price in your own life.  You want to budget some fat into your life because you enjoy chow?  That’s the prerogative of the invidividual.

Lieberman and the “Serious Eats” fatbody, however, want everyone to be treated like the platoon because a few people are fat.  They want everyone to pay for one individual’s decisions.  Notably, the world of the military exists through voluntary cooperation, through voluntarily subordinating the will of a free man to that of a state forged on a Constitution made by free men to protect the rights of men to be free.  The US military swears an oath to a piece of paper that protects the right of the individual to eat those jelly donuts, while they themselves go without.  There is actually a purpose for it there.  In free society, there is not.

Lieberman and the “Serious Eats” no-self-control fatbody begin to fall into a subset of that leftist mindset of the “Moral Equivalent of War”, wherein they believe the state should use force against its citizens – for their own good.  These fools believe it is moral to hurt one’s own people; it is moral for the state, which exists at the behest of the individuals, to oppress the people, because it’s what they’d really want.  They want free men outside the realm of that squad bay to be treated like recruits becuase it’s “for the people’s own good”.

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

– CS Lewis

Lieberman, you are demanding force be used against free individuals, free men.  You view us as rapacious, mindless black apes; you dismiss the individual’s will and wish to control men as a collective.  Yesterday was the anniversary of D-Day, where we fought against your kind of ideas.  You want us all to suffer and couch it in your pseudo-science belief that people are in biological need of control.

We have evolved to need coercion.

Via HotAir:

Hot Air readers will recall the first time enviros decided to try this back door on gun control in August 2010, as Democrats approached a disastrous midterm.  After getting petitioned to overrule law and declare itself a regulating agency on hunting, the EPA opened a comment period on the petition that would have ended two days before voters went to the polls.  Within 72 hours, the EPA withdrew the petition, stating that it agreed with the NRA and the firearms industry that it “does not have the legal authority to regulate this type of product under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA),” and that they weren’t interested in seeking that authority, either.

Well, the enviros are back with another attempt to get the EPA to regulate ammunition (via Instapundit).  Think they’re still disinterested in seeking that authority?

Over at NYT “Green” blog:

Zeroing In on Lead in Hunters’ Bullets

Citing risks to birds and to human health, roughly 100 environmental groups formally asked the federal Environmental Protection Agency this week to ban or at least impose limits on lead in the manufacturing of bullets and shotgun pellets for hunting or recreation.

The use of such ammo by hunters puts about 3,000 pounds of lead into the environment annually and causes the death of 20 million birds each year from lead poisoning, said Jeff Miller, a conservation advocate at one of the groups, the Center for Biological Diversity. Consumption of meat from animals that are shot with lead bullets also contributes unacceptable levels of the metal into people’s diets, Mr. Miller said in a phone interview.

He goes on to whine about species that nature has decided are unfit to live and that are only kept alive by government welfare.  Same argument, different day.

One of the species most at risk from lead is the endangered California condor, a scavenger that may ingest lead while eating the remains of animals shot with lead bullets, federal and state wildlife and park officials say. The lead pellets within shotgun shells also closely resemble “grit,” pebbles consumed by many species of birds that are necessary for digestion.

Animals that are shot are typically retrieved by the hunter.  That’s the point.  The “unacceptable levels” in people’s diets are limited because people don’t eat the bullet.  Apparently environmentalists don’t know how to clean their kills, nor do they know that if you bite down on something that might chip a tooth, you spit it out.

Lead shot in waterfowl areas has been banned for decades (as the story notes), due to there being concentrated amounts around waterways.  In general, duck and goose hunting is done in the same places, the same waterways, in a concentrated habitat.  Pheasants, doves, grouse, prairie chickens, etc., are found all over.  Banning the use of lead everywhere, where it isn’t concentrated enough to matter, is simply a backdoor way to bump prices up and increase the cost to the citizen.  The higher the cost, the less accessible the shooting sports are, the less exercised the 2nd Amendment is, and gradually it goes away.

Used-to-be-funny Chris Rock had a bit years ago where he said banning guns wouldn’t solve anything.  He said the government should just tax ammuntion to the point it’s inaccessable.  The joke was if you have to spend $1000 on a bullet, you won’t do a drive by – you’ll only shoot the guy you’re going after.  Cue laughter from the 90s.

“The use of lead bullets and shot causes the unintended poisoning of all kinds of birds,” Mr. Miller said. “Since there are good alternatives that are coming down in price, there’s no reason not to switch to nontoxic gear.”

Dead wrong.  The NSSF spokesman contacted afterwards notes that statement is BS, but I’ll make this one simple.

Here’s some typical cheap plinking, target-shooting or varmint blasting ammo:  A box of 20 rounds of Herter’s 55-grain hollow-point is about $6.

If your rifle just doesn’t like steel cased, or you just like brass-cased ammo to reload, whatever the case may be, a box of 20 rounds of 50-grain jacketed hollow-point Remington-made ammo is about $12.

Now, if you want the “good alternative coming down in price” according to anti-gun watermelon-environmentalist Miller, is Federal TNT Green nontoxic 43 grain ammo… that’s $28 per box.

Let’s put that another way.  With the AR-15, America’s homeland security rifle, a single magazine (in free states) will typically be 30 rounds.  So to go through a carbine stage of fire at a competition where you might go through a full magazine, or to practice failure-to-stop drills, or to just plink at a steel gong or cans, or ridding you ranch of varmints now means you’d be loading up the following:

For those who shoot on a semi-regular basis, you know this is absurd.  If you go through 100 rounds at the range and make one trip per month, that’s a pretty modest (in shooter circles) 1200 rounds per year.  If all you shoot is cheap steel-cased ammo, you’ll burn through about $360 annually.  If you like brass cases, maybe you want to get into reloading, or you just have a rifle that doesn’t like steel (often due to chamber tolerances, etc.), you’re looking at about $720 per year.  That’s a fair chunk of change, but if it’s your hobby and you enjoy it, it’s probably already budgeted.

Now if the EPA were to go and impose on you that you have to buy EPA green clean approved eco-friendly ammo, that same 1200 rounds per year will run you $1680.  That’s crazy.  For the same price you could be shooting 2800 rounds of quality brass ammo, or 5600 rounds of cheap ammo.

Or let’s go back to one range trip, or one competition shoot, or one day of plinking at the ranch/farm where you go through let’s say 200 rounds of ammo.  With the cheap steel cased ammo, that’s $60 worth for one day of fun shooting.  With quality brass ammo, you’re looking at $120 for a day worth of shooting.  Given that your precision is probably better, and the ammo more consistent, it’s probably worth it to you.  Now if we go to the green Condor-loving ammo, you’re looking at $280 for one day’s worth of shooting.

Let’s say you only go through four magazines:

It’s very easy to see how quickly prices climb, and how this is used as a barrier to entry in shooting sports, hunting, or even exercising one’s 2A rights.  It’s all part of the left’s “choice architecture” to “nudge” you out of the shooting sports and away from firearms.

For those Zumbos who don’t use 30-round magazines, or who only shoot 20 rounds a year and who don’t think the left will come after your bird gun or your deer gun – you’re next.  Your bird gun spreads toxins everywhere (steel will be toxic soon enough – keep in mind CO2 already is) and your deer gun is a high-powered sniper rifle that shouldn’t be in the hands of the peasantry to begin with, but also promotes destruction of the land by putting you out in the woods with your ATV.  And killing animals to begin with is barbaric and you’re a racist redneck hick inbred toothless racist.  And animals have rights and should be able to sue you, after all.

Remember how the left thinks.