This weeks episode of Stossel was on Ayn Rand and also on the nanny state.
The nanny state part was fun and they interviewed Nick Gillespie from http://reason.tv for that segment. It was definitely the best part of the show. They brought on some politician from New York who believes it is his job to make laws that say you cannot soak your feet in a fish pond if the pond was designed to provide “fish pedicures” which is a popular practice in parts of Asia. The fish eat the dead skin off of your feet and leave the living tissue. It is natural and safe, but the politician thought that since you cannot sterilize a fish between feet that the practice should be banned and he was willing to ban it through the violence inherent in government to get his way. I say if he doesn't want a fish pedicure then he doesn't have to get one, but for others they are willing to take whatever risk there is because they enjoy the process and the results. Fish pedicures are just one example of the stupid nannyism that surrounds the government. Don't they have something better to do? Even the liberal audience seemed to enjoy this segment.
The Ayn Rand segment did not generate the same warm feelings from the mostly liberal audience. I agree with a lot of objectivist principles, and liked the overall message the segment the objectivists on the panel presented. However, there was one point when a member of the audience asked “don't we need some government?”. John Allison answered that we need government to provide defense, and courts, cops, and to protect private property. This is where I break away from the panel. I don't believe it is the governments job to do any of those things, and even if I did think that, the problem is that it puts the government in a role where in order to protect your property they must steal it from you, in order to protect you from crime they must engage in criminal aggression against you. It doesn't make any sense at all to me to think that you are somehow being consistent by saying “we need the government to protect your property and in order to fund the government we will need to take your property away from you”. It is as Marc Stevens says, “if the government really cared about protecting your freedoms and your possessions, they would not be the first ones trying to take them from you”. However, my main beef with objectivists is not that they are minarchists, but rather that they were pro-war during the Bush years. This was a serious infraction to me, and one that showed me their true pro-state colors. You can claim to be small government all you want, but if you also claim that that the military should go oversees and bomb people who have done us no harm and that taxes should be extracted by force from unwilling tax payers to pay for it all just makes me sick. This aspect of objectivism was not discussed on the show.
Overall another good episode, and I look forward to the next.
Thanks to my friend the Whited Sepulchre for finding this weeks episode on Youtube since not all of my readers have Fox Business Channel.