Invasion of the Body Snatchers

This NYT piece about America’s emptiest county starts off with the usual stuff about closed-down schools and vanished churches. Then, without any warning, it segues into a story about Libertarians plotting to take over the county and legalise cannibalism (no, really!).

As they say, read the whole thing.

44 thoughts on “Invasion of the Body Snatchers

  1. “I find it difficult – as a holder of pretty deep-seated libertarian views – to join any political party. By their nature, all parties will have some policies I disagree with. ”

    I agree. I keep for looking for a political party that stands for everything I agree with and cannot find a single one, in any country. I think there are more of us than we know Dogz, people whose voting records might look schizophrenic if viewed through party lenses. There are MAJOR issues in both the democratic and republican platforms that are real stoppers for me.

  2. Wilful: Im a member of the LDP and I can tell you that gun policy isn’t a huge issue there. I think the main reason we have a gun policy and not a health policy is mainly that health spending is primarily a state rather than a federal issue, and all our current policies are federally-minded.

    Avaroo: At least being an American, you have the right not to vote if you don’t like either party. We don’t have that right in Australia, which is why there are so many micro parties dedicated to only 1 or a small number of issues.

    The LDP aims to be a party that isn’t devoted to a single issue, but we have only just started up and policy is still being formulated.

  3. Yobbo, there is nothing to stop you from registering an informal vote or making up some dodgy story about why you didn’t front up to vote on election day.

    Compulsory voting reduces corrupt practices like busing people to polling stations or bribing people to vote. I support it.

    A democracy like America’s where a President can be elected with only slightly more than 20% of the vote is a sclerotic and dying democracy in my view.

  4. I think the main reason we have a gun policy and not a health policy is mainly that health spending is primarily a state rather than a federal issue, and all our current policies are federally-minded.

    Technically gun policy is also primarily a state rather than a federal issue. So that does not really explain it fully.

    The slipper slope argument that concealed hand guns will lead to personal ownership of nuclear weapons is an absurdity. Of course it does erect a strawman that is a much easier to argue against.

    The LDP has never suggested that people should have a right to own nuclear weapons. The LDP guns policy states:-

    * Sport, hunting and self-defence are all legitimate reasons for firearm ownership.
    * Firearm ownership should be subject to possession of a licence. However, all adults over 18 years of age have a right to a licence unless it has been removed because of a history or genuine prospect of coercion.
    * Those who wish to carry a concealed firearm for self-defence are entitled to be issued with a permit to do so unless they have a history or genuine prospect of coercion.
    * All genuine sporting uses of firearms are legitimate.
    * There should be no registration of long-arms.
    * There should be no special prohibitions on semi-automatic firearms.
    * Individuals and organisations have a right to establish facilities that involve the use of firearms. This includes shooting ranges and hunting reserves.

    So far I have not been able to locate the LDP policy on eating people. However I will take a punt and fill the vaccum by suggesting that eating fat people is probably not good for your colesterole levels.

  5. Terje: I didn’t read the NYTimes article because it was behind a paywall, but I think the eating people thing probably comes from this story, in which a man apparently volunteered to be killed and eaten by the cannibal in question. In basic terms it was a particularly disgusting case of suicide.

    It would not surprise me at all if there were Libertarians who think this sort of thing should be legal, since most libertarians believe that a person has sole ownership over his own life and body, and that suicide or euthanasia should be legal.

    In effect the cannibal case breaks down into 2 parts:

    1. The man who died wanted to commit suicide and enlisted the help of the cannibal in doing so.

    2. After death he bequeathed his earthly remains to the cannibal to do with as he wished (in this case, eat them).

    In fact it’s not even really clear what German law was broken in this case, and Germany is hardly a libertarian utopia as it is.

    It is interesting to see how cases like this would affect laws relating to selling of organs and the such. I can certainly envisage a situation where a suicidal person would kill himself in order to have his organs harvested in order to provide money for his family or something like that (people already off themselves to try and claim life insurance for their kids).

  6. I should note however that this a theoretical libertarian position and in no way represents the views of the LDP 😉

    As Terje already said, our position on cannibalism is the same as all the major parties in Australia (we don’t have one).

  7. No policy on cannibalism from any party!! How outrageous. It must be a conspiracy of silence. Clearly they are fattening us all up for eating.

  8. “Avaroo: At least being an American, you have the right not to vote if you don’t like either party.”

    While I believe it is the duty of every citizen to cast a vote, I don’t think it should be required. Guess that makes me a libertarian.

    “We don’t have that right in Australia, which is why there are so many micro parties dedicated to only 1 or a small number of issues.”

    We couldn’t manage that here in the US. Waaaaay too much detail for us.

    🙂

  9. Moral issues aside, at a practical level the problem with having a comprehensive gun policy yet no health policy is that it makes you look like the party for gun nuts (in contrast to the Democrats, who as far as I can tell are the gum nut party 🙂 ).

  10. A lot of faux individualist posturing here.

    A true individualist wouldn’t rely on anyone else to consume his/her body.

    In a gesture of final proof of autonomy, a true individualist would consume him/herself.

    (Interestingly while the unfortunate President Garfield lay dying by agonising inches from the slow effects of an assassin’s bullet, a lively debate erupted in the press over the appropriate means of dispatch of the assassin. One of the more memorable suggestions, suppled by a woman, was that Charles J. Guiteau should be forced to consume himself until dead.)

  11. Dogz, if you’re talking to me, I’m registered as a democrat. I’m anti-gun but I’m also interested in keeping US health care as the best in the world. I don’t care for what I see in nations with socialized medicine. (and I’ve had to bring relatives here from nationalized healthcare systems for care). Careful not to make the mistake that many make about the US, all dems think a certian way or all repubs think a certain way. We’re much more complicated than that.

    🙂

  12. I’m also interested in keeping US health care as the best in the world

    Measured how? Life expectancy? Child mortality? Nutrition? Mental Health? Number of Doctors? Name your metric, I think you’ll find that the US isn’t best in any relevant measurement of population health. According to a 1997 UN ranking, the USA came in 37th in the world. 22nd in the OECD. But hey, you’re beating Cuba, that’s important.

    Of course, there is one health stat where you’re miles ahead, and that’s expenditure.

  13. For many years there was a ticket in the Monash University Student Association elections called “Cannibalism – legalise now”. There slogan was “we promise to serve you” and their policy speeches basically an extended series of puns on the theme. You’ld be amazed just how many jokes about cannibalism it is possible to make.

    Two years ago they didn’t run because their main organiser had cancer, believe it or not, of the bowel. I saw him some time later and was pleased to discover that he was in remission and doing well. It seems the only lasting effect of his disease is an inability to eat rich foods. Possibly as a result, they didn’t run last year either.

    The share of the vote they generally achieved was about 2% – not huge, but larger than some libertarian parties, so maybe the solution is to put the proposal front and centre.

  14. “It seems the only lasting effect of his disease is an inability to eat rich foods.”

    New Guinean cannibals ate Michael Rockefeller, son of tycoon Nelson Rockefeller, without any recorded ill-effects.

  15. avaroo,

    I was talking about the “Australian Democrats”, usually abbreviated to “Democrats”. They’ve long been the significant third party in Australian politics although they’re now in terminal decline. One of their more spectacularly foolish campaign launches involved people dressed up as Koalas running around the stage. Hence “Gum Nuts”.

  16. “suppled by a woman”? Katz, did someone give you a copy of the pop-up Kama Sutra for Christmas?

    Cannibalism can be a very effective tactic in one culture assimilating another, e.g. the Caribs and the Arawaks (though the Maori deny using this approach with regard to the Moriori, whatever may have occurred in recorded history on the Chatham Islands).

    As always, it’s a mixed approach (kill and eat the males, keep the woman as a subclass, geld the boys and keep them as slaves until they are ripe for eating). Anyhow, the point is that you shouldn’t look at even Libertarian cannibalism in isolation but as part of a larger package.

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