Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Caplan & Boudreaux on Nationalism

Bryan Caplan has written an open letter to nationalism, which is posted here.

Don Boudreaux reflects on this at Cafe Hayek.  A slice from Don's post (do read the whole thing, it is full of Don's characteristic wisdom and insight):

"I reject also the superstition that that particular political institution... is a faithful representative of that multitudinous and extraordinarily complex and diverse group of individuals commonly called “the American people.”  Indeed, I go further and reject even the possibility that such a group of people can possibly ever have anything reasonably called “a representative” or an agent or agency that carries out its ‘will.’  (Groups of people have no ‘will.’  It is mistaken anthropomorphism to imagine otherwise.)"

"I feel no, I owe no, and I will never give any allegiance to any nation or any government as such.  My allegiance is to whatever peoples and institutions promote human freedom, flourishing, and peace."

Well said.  It is heartening to know that we share this world with such clear thinkers as Boudreaux and Caplan.

Monday, 2 June 2014

One Man and His Bike

Who is the victim of this alleged "crime"?
"A man caught trying to have sex with his bicycle has been sentenced to three years on probation."
"Mr Stewart was caught in the act with his bicycle by cleaners in his bedroom at the Aberley House Hostel in Ayr."
"They used a master key to unlock the door..."
"The accused was holding the bike and moving his hips back and forth as if to simulate sex.  Both cleaners, who were "extremely shocked", told the hostel manager who called police."
"Stewart had denied the offence, claiming it was caused by a misunderstanding after he had too much to drink."
So, this guy has a bit too much to drink, goes home and decides to get it on with his bicycle* in the privacy of his own room.  A couple of cleaners use their master key to unwittingly enter his room whilst this is going on and rather than everyone simply being extremely embarrassed, the police are called and the guy ends up in court, sentenced to 3 years probation and with even more embarrassment as this story is publicised in the national media.

I utterly fail to see what crime has been committed or who exactly is the victim here?  All sex acts are morally okay so long as they are taking place between consenting adults.  Since no other people were involved, just one man and his bike, there's no crime being committed here, however weird an act it may be.

I cannot understand the mental processes of the cleaners here.  Who, if they were to walk into someone's bedroom and accidentally catch them in the middle of any sort of individual sexual act, would think that calling the police is the best, or even an appropriate, response?  The appropriate response is to quickly apologise to the person whose privacy you have intruded on and promptly leave.

The bizarreness of the act in this case does not change the situation in any substantive way.  However unorthodox, weird, terrifying or disgusting you may find someone else's sexual preferences and habits as long as they are not agressing against another person (or animal) there is nothing morally wrong and we should simply live and let live.

* Quite how the mechanics of this would work I'm not entirely sure.  I refuse to Google it, there are some things which I am happy to remain ignorant of.