Comment: Stossel is a utilitarian ...

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Stossel is a utilitarian ...

... and everyone should learn a lesson from this.

There are two ways of arriving at a libertarian viewpoint: the moral and the utilitarian.

The utilitarian is a position that government is inefficient and that the private sector does things better. The society functions better when the private sector does something instead of the government. If you look at everything Stossel talks about, this is always his focus.

It is true that the private sector is more efficient. This is due to the price-feedback mechanism that exists in the private sector and can never exist with the government.

However, this is also an argument that can lead to apathy in areas where it is perceived that "only the government can do it," such as military and related tasks like spying on the "enemy." This is why Stossel is apathetic in this area.

The main problem with the utilitarian argument is that it is not convincing ENOUGH to get statists to change their mind. Statists are believers in big government DESPITE the fact that they know it is not efficient. They don't care about that. They continue to propose ideas that do NOT work, do NOT have the intended results, and yet they don't care. That's because they think government is MORALLY GOOD. They DON'T CARE if their ideas don't actually work.

And that is why the other way at arriving at libertarianism -- the MORAL argument -- is necessary to change minds.

Limited government is the MORAL GOOD, not statism. And the moral good also happens to be the practically good (which passes the utilitarian test).

Judge Napolitano is coming at it from the moral (and legal) perspective, while Stossel is only interested in the utilitarian.

Stossel is a good advocate of the utilitarian argument and he can make people think. But it is only when the moral argument sees the light of day that people might actually change their thinking.

On a side note, it is important to realize that Varney's argument of a million people dying from a terrorist nuke is IMPOSSIBLE.

A huge number of deaths can ONLY come from megaton bombs, which are only possessed by nations, not small groups. They need a rocket delivery vehicle, and the odds of that happening are not worth talking about, much less worth destroying liberty.

If a terrorist gets ahold of a "suitcase nuke" and sets it off, radiation travels in a straight line, so by hiding behind a building (or better yet, inside), assuming the person is not in the immediate blast area, will pretty much eliminate the risk or greatly reduce the effect. The radiation area will be off limits for years to come, but will eventually come back.

The Chernobyl Nuclear Plant disaster happened 25 years ago. Plant life returned in a few years and now in the 18-mile "off limits zone" there are 66 different species of mammals, including deer, elk, wolves, and more. A suitcase nuke would have FAR less damage.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ukraine/836...

This is not to say that suitcase nukes are not a threat, but that they are not the same threat as a government-owned megaton bomb dropped from the sky. And even that is not as bad as portrayed *IF* a person is not in the immediate blast site. Today, Hiroshima and Nagasaki are thriving cities. And even in those two cities, it has been found that life expectancy of the survivors has only been affected by about 2 years.

http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/rethinking-healthcare/63-yea...

The nuclear threat is a serious threat, but it in NO WAY justifies the destruction of liberty.