Wednesday, 30 August 2006

It's all about choice!

You've probably seen me mention a few times Tibor Machan's view on the basic errors made in the 'ongoing' nature/nurture debate (here for instance). As he's just blogged on how this error affects the 'obesity debate,' allow me to quote:
So once again we see the age old battle between two kinds of determinism, inherited versus environmental factors. But there is another option that needs to be added. This is personal responsibility.

We are all saddled with aspects of ourselves that we had nothing to do with, and we all face elements in our environment we cannot control. But there are also choices we can make, given who and what we are and the world in which we live. The very idea that we should look more to environmental factors than to our hard wiring suggest that we have a choice. This also suggests that no one has to eat fast foods, or clear his or her plate, or go on various binges. Some of us may find it more difficult to resist temptations than others, but so what? Tall people have different challenges from short ones but both need to meet those challenges they face.

As a teacher of ethics, I find it disturbing that so many educated people opt for removing individual responsibility from the picture as they try to understand human affairs.
Me too. I just don't know how they do that. Are they wilfully blind?

On this'debate' for example, don't you find it disturbing that fatties and pollies alike find common cause in removing personal responsibility from their respective equations.

If you're a fat bastard and you don't want to be, how about you stop blaming vending machines, your school, your parents, your genes and just try the 'don't-eat-so-frigging-much' diet. (Do you see many fat starving Africans in famine photos hiding at the back going, "Oh, I've just got big bones"? No? Is that a clue? Sheesh!)

And if you're a politician, how's about you trying an 'I-won't-poke-my-nose-into-your-business' week, and just leave us and our eating habits alone.

You see, it's not about victims, it's all about choice -- something you educated people want to remove from our understanding of human affairs. Why would you choose to do that?

LINK: Obesity -- Nature vs. Nurture (again) - Machan's Inputs
Nature v nurture: character is all - Not PC (Peter Cresswell)

Ethics, Health, Politics

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

If people acted rationally then your position would make sense. People don't act rationally, however, and that's why we tolerate interference; sometimes people do actually know what is more appropriate for us than we do. In a perfect world of rational agents libertarianism would make a kind of sense, but until we get to that mature state we are going to have to live with state interference in our lives.

30 Aug 2006, 14:53:00  
Blogger PC said...

Who's this 'we,' white man?

30 Aug 2006, 15:59:00  
Blogger Paula said...

I agree with all that, PC, except for crap food in public schools. Kids don't have the same ability as adults to make reasoned choices in a closed environment. Peeps should be allowed to bring whatever they want from home, but there's no reason the school has to make available chips, candy and soda. It's just an arbitrary choice and could easily go the other way to whole wheat crackers, raisins and water. Or nothing! Let parents be responsible for giving their own kids enough food to get through the day and leave the schools out of food choice altogether.

31 Aug 2006, 00:32:00  
Blogger Lindsay said...

Anon, what a cop-out. Many people have reached the "mature state" you talk about and have to put up with state interference people like you, think is warranted. It is that interference which is stopping the rest from growing up. You are putting the horse before the cart.
I suspect you are one of nanny's little helpers.

31 Aug 2006, 07:20:00  
Blogger Lindsay said...

Oooops. Cart before horse.
The Blonde.

(Which reminds me, a horse was running the other day called Blonde Degree. The race caller said, that's an oxymoron. The owner got the last laugh. The bloody thing won.)

1 Sep 2006, 08:47:00  
Blogger PC said...

And here was me trying to figure out your clever trope.

1 Sep 2006, 08:57:00  
Blogger Lindsay said...

Err on the side of caution. If you ever think I've done something clever it's probably a mistake:-)

1 Sep 2006, 12:14:00  
Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

Anonymous said...
[If people acted rationally then your position would make sense.]

Who's responsibility is that ? It is you, you , you, you , you and more you about a million times.

Anonymous said...
[People don't act rationally]

Who's fault is that? It is AGAIN you, you , you, you , you and more you about a million times.

Anonymous said...
[however, and that's why we tolerate interference;]

YOU, can tolerate state interference? Not me.

Anonymous said...
[sometimes people do actually know what is more appropriate for us than we do]

Who's fault is that you don't know what is more appropriate for YOU? It is AGAIN and AGAIN you, you , you, you , you and more you about a million times.

Anonymous said...
[In a perfect world of rational agents libertarianism would make a kind of sense,]

You know that there will never ever be a perfect world even in the next 1000 years.

Anonymous said...
[but until we get to that mature state]

See previous comment. Human society will never get there.

Anonymous said...
[we are going to have to live with state interference in our lives.]

State interference? No, Cmon, you've got to be kidding.

1 Sep 2006, 23:22:00  
Blogger Genius said...

You can have
1. a 'fair' world (wherein everyone recieves as per their worth) or
2. a 'fair' world in which everyone recieves equally or
3. a 'fair' world in which there is the best outcome (ie intuitively paletable outcome - even if some win and some loose).
liberterians want (1) comunists want (2) and society in general wants some sort of (3)

in these debates supporters of 1 and two just rant on for hours about how it isnt "fair" by their standards.. frankly none of the members of the other two groups will ever care.

2 Sep 2006, 15:08:00  

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