The Corner

Better Dead Than Ted

Jonah, amen on that revolting TR quote. The statism is explicit, and the threat of government coercion hardly less so. Once the state thinks of itself as the sole legitimate arbiter of what “represents benefit to the community”, there’s almost no restraint upon its power, and you’re a fool if you think it can be confined only to the top-hatted plutocrats. In Britain, restrictions on heart-disease treatment for smokers, hip replacements for the obese are justified on the grounds that, while there may be benefits to you, there are insufficient benefits for the broader “community” that has to pick up the tab. It was also a recurring sub-text to my battles with Canada’s “human rights” regime. Its most zealous enforcer, and the Dominion’s self-appointed Hatefinder-General, justified his pursuit of errant citizens in very TR terms:

What benefit can there be in allowing him to speak?

So even free speech has to demonstrate a “benefit” to “the community”?

Nuts to that. In the end, God and posterity will judge whether our lives have been of “benefit to the community.” When the state does so, “benefit to the community” is code for statist compliance. It’s bad enough that the modish obsessions of the day result in craven corporations getting shanghaied into signing on to every pathetic “green initiative” — such as BP’s funding of the launch of IPCC honcho Rajendra Pachauri’s warmographic novel. If a rich man wants to blow it on coke and hookers, I’m not sure — compared to George Soros or even Bill Gates — that that isn’t on balance less harmful to “the community.”

Mark Steyn — Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.

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