January 11, 2010

Does anyone really care, or are we just following the rules?

It's terrible that China, forbidden to use lead in children's jewelry, may have switched to cadmium, which is more toxic than lead.

But do we notice when our own morality works the same way? For example, here's a section from a NYT article called "The 31 Places to Go in 2010":
9. Antarctica
This may be the last year that Antarctica is open to mass tourism — not because the ice is melting too fast (though it is), but because of restrictions that would severely curtail travel around the fragile continent.

Until recently, most vessels passing through Antarctica were limited to scientific expeditions, but an exploding number of tourists now flock to what is arguably the world’s last great wilderness. The tourism boom, scientists argue, poses a major environmental threat. Indeed, several passenger ships have run aground in recent years.

Countries that manage Antarctica are calling for limits on the number of tourist ships, for fortified hulls that can withstand sea ice and for a ban on the use of so-called heavy oils. A ban on heavy oil, which is expected to be adopted by the International Maritime Organization later this year, would effectively block big cruise ships.

With the new rules taking effect within two years, tour operators are promoting 2010 as the last year to visit Antarctica, while, at the same time, procuring lighter vessels that would be permitted. Abercrombie & Kent, for example, is introducing a new ship, Le Boreal (www.abercrombiekent.com), which its public relations firm argues “meets all the environmental regulations, so access to Antarctica via A&K will not be affected.”

Launching this year, the compact luxury ship holds 199 passengers and features an outdoor heated pool, steam rooms and private balconies that offer intimate views of some of the world’s remaining glaciers.
So, go now, because it's not banned yet? If you actually cared, you wouldn't go at all! But the NYT passes along — in quotes — the PR from one ship company, whose ship purportedly meets the new standards. Just meet the standards, and you — as opposed to that "flock" of tourists — can cruise right into that fragile environment. You can snuggle up with your "intimate views" of the frigid continent that you imagine you love so much.

But that's not all. The NYT is tipping us off right now: There are only 2 years left to scoot down there in one of the big non-luxury ships. Why put Antarctica on the list of places to go in 2010 unless you mean to get out the message to the people who aren't going to be able to afford the "compact luxury ship"? Connect the dots! You're supposed to scoot down there while it's still affordable, before the rules kick in.

***

Now, I know there is this kind of morality that says that voluntary individual action has too little effect. We need rules to control what the hordes of people do. We were just discussing that here a month ago in connection with an environmentalist's op-ed that said "Stop 'going green.'" What we want are rules, and then we will follow them?

So China makes kids' jewelry with cadmium, and tourists flock to Antarctica, and we do all manner of selfish, harmful things, because it's not against the rules yet.

47 comments:

tim maguire said...

They're into enviro-attitudes, not enviro-acts. You don't think they actually CARE about the environment do you?

Scott M said...

Elitism is best viewed in it's natural habitat. The NYT is an excellent example of this.

traditionalguy said...

The educated consensus is that a small number of educated and richer people are harmless since they are restricted in numbers, but the great unwashed masses of yokels are the disease that needs to be fenced off from Our Playground. No wonder they fear Sarah Palin. She exposes their bigotry by ignoring it instead of by reading the consnsus builders medias that create and defend it.

Henry said...

Good God. Antartica is whole continent. As Tim Maguire says, above, this is about enviro-attitudes. But some of the rules are driven by enviro-attitudinizing too. Dumb rules make for easy equivocations.

But some rules are perfectly reasonable and correct. If you're dealing with China, a country that is systematically poisoning portions of its own populace, it's good to have rules about what toxic materials they use in their exports. Hell, we would poison ourselves if there weren't rules against it. Glow-in-the-dark radium watches? Sure, why not?

No lead in children's toys is not a stupid rule. Neither is no cadmium.

The Drill SGT said...

Executive Jets don't pollute either. They use high quality avgas :)

it cools and sooths the atmosphere.

DADvocate said...

Yes, the elitism. Now the the snooty environmentalist can speak in haughty tones, "Yes, I visited Antarctica before they closed it."

Freeman Hunt said...

Like supporting the lottery...?

Skyler said...

Significantly, they also repeat the myth that anarctic ice is diminishing.

Paul Zrimsek said...

The part of Antarctica where nearly all the cruise ships go is the Peninsula. The ice actually is melting there.

Lem said...

.. because it's not against the rules yet.

Overheard around tax time

bagoh20 said...

Vote Democrat: We fix everything for ya, sooner or later.

Pogo said...

Hypocrisy is a feature, not a bug, of leftism.

It permits Sen. Reid and Pres. Clinton to make racist remarks with impunity.

It permits Al Gore to have one of the planet's biggest carbon footprints while arguing that mine must be reduced by force.

It permits John Edwards to cheat on his wife during a presidential bid, and no major press said anything about it until it was clear he has lost.

Rules are for the little people.

Robin said...

How are these equivalent?

1. Not arranging one's travel destinations around the debunked theories of the global warming loons.

2. Poisoning children.

Darrell said...

Nearly a 100% of any melt there can be attributed to the soot deposited by those visitors and the active volcano that no one ever seems to mention.

Synova said...

The rules take the place of personal virtue.

That's what rules are for.

Coerced charity takes the place of charity. The threat of police takes the place of personal restraint. No one has to guard their own safety or evaluate the toys they buy for their children because the mere fact they are *sold* is a government promise that they are safe.

Synova said...

Robin: I think that the issue is that it's the global warming loons most likely to chose that destination.

In which case killing the earth is certainly as serious as using a product that might harm children if they suck all the color off a toy, chew the plastic into tiny bits, and ingest it.

Scott M said...

Maybe most people don't really want freedom. Freedom intrinsically means responsibility for one's actions. This never seems to occur to those that scream the loudest on the left about personal liberties.

SteveR said...

The same people not inclined to see anything wrong with their own huge carbon footprint, in pursuit of regulating everyone elses, would be those most likely to yell "hypocrite" when the family values pol is caught fooling around on his wife.

former law student said...

Let's see: Selling toys that poison children is to visiting Antarctica as publicly regretting that a segregationist did not become President is to noting that Obama doesn't sound like a black man.

The professor has sadly mastered right-wing argumentation.

former law student said...

using a product that might harm children if they suck all the color off a toy, chew the plastic into tiny bits, and ingest it.

Except these are molded lumps of shiny metal that children can suck on.

Or did your kids never put their toys in their mouths?

Quayle said...

FLS says "The professor has sadly mastered right-wing argumentation."

Which is what I would expect from every intellectually honest person - to be able to give both side's best arguments.

Have you, FLS, only mastered the left-wing argumentation?

If so, how did you ever pass law school?

Larry J said...

Executive Jets don't pollute either. They use high quality avgas :)

it cools and sooths the atmosphere.


No, you've got it wrong. "Executive Jets" are bad because they're used by evil capitalist business people. Now, "celebrity jets" are good because they care more than the rest of us. That allows celebrities like Al Gore to say we have to conserve and cut back while using hundreds of times the amount of energy us ordinary slubs use.

Also, jets don't use avgas. Avgas is gasoline. Jets use jet fuel which is kerosene.

Freder Frederson said...

Maybe most people don't really want freedom. Freedom intrinsically means responsibility for one's actions.

So do you routinely test your toys and tools for heavy metals, including Cadmium and lead.

God knows I don't want the stinking government telling me what is in my kids toys.

Freder Frederson said...

In which case killing the earth is certainly as serious as using a product that might harm children if they suck all the color off a toy, chew the plastic into tiny bits, and ingest it.

You know nothing about the toxicity of Cadmium do you. Cadmium used to be used routinely to plate metals for corrosion resistance until it was discovered that occupational exposure to cadmium plated machine parts (e.g., bolts, screws) could cause exposure at higher than acceptable levels (and that is for adults).

edutcher said...

There used to be something called social approbation. You transgressed and society shunned you. You became an example nobody else wanted to emulate.

Forty or fifty years ago, the Lefties went to work on social approbation, infiltrating education, religion, the media, etc., and doing everything they could get away with to bring it down on the grounds that it was "harsh", "mean-spirited", and "judgmental". Now, the rules are made up by the Lefties and codified as law, mostly to suit their agenda, which includes out-of-wedlock pregnancy and AIDS because you are more likely to depend on government services in such cases.

Ann said...

Now, I know there is this kind of morality that says that voluntary individual action has too little effect. We need rules to control what the hordes of people do.

The only reason this attitude exists is because social morality has severely damaged by the Left, and many people have been conned into the Leftist trope.

former law student said...

to be able to give both side's best arguments... how did you ever pass law school?

FRCP Rule 11 provides sanctions for making frivolous arguments.

Scott M said...

Naw. I play the long odds and are free to do so.

I feel pretty confident that we're not unloading heavy metals and poisons imported from China on them because the only mass-produced toys my
my 2-month, 2-year, and 5-year-old have are from Germany. They have a great deal of wooden and brass toys that my father and father-in-law made for them, so I suppose there's some poisons lurking in the domestically cut and milled rock maple, but other than that...hmm...not sure.

It's pretty easy not to shop at Wal-mart. You just don't.

PatCA said...

When they treat us like stupid children, we act like stupid children.

That's the real danger of the nanny state.

Henry said...

I stick to high quality plastic.

As an aside, I've been noticing for a while now that today's plastics are really superb. The plastic toys I grew up with were either brittle or bendy and couldn't handle cold or heat. The plastic toys my kids get -- even the worst kind of crap -- is mostly strong, flexible, and doesn't go pink in the sunlight.

FLS, if you reread your 11:15 you might notice that what you wrote is not nonsensical:

Definite bad thing is to ambiguous bad thing as definite bad thing is to ambiguous bad thing.

Synova said...

"You know nothing about the toxicity of Cadmium do you."

I don't have to.

It was a comparison assuming that global warming and climate change were as serious as we're told they are.

IF that is true, then encouraging people to *quick* go to Antarctica before the rules change, or going to Antarctica before the rules change, is equivalent to producing toxic toys.

Unless, of course, global warming and climate change really are just a bunch of hysterical fear-mongering in order to push economic and political agendas...

In which case the objective and measurable effects of cadmium in jewelry isn't equivalent at all, because real danger is not equivalent to an environmental fantasy.

Robin said...

I love Walmart and shop there often. I just don't buy stuff from China. Especially dog food.

Synova said...

"So do you routinely test your toys and tools for heavy metals, including Cadmium and lead.

God knows I don't want the stinking government telling me what is in my kids toys.
"

And the government has to do that, right? Because no *individual* can afford to test products, the testing and consumer rating of products is impossible?

Because the government *does* make this its business people are far more likely to see an endorsement and promise of safety in the lack of prohibitions. If it's *legal* it must be safe.

This is very like the notion that if something is *legal* it must also be *moral* because we also insist that our government prohibit anything that is immoral. (Those upset because the other side wants to "legislate morality" only have a different standard. They just have different ideas about what is moral or not and different ideas about what behavior needs to be compelled or else punished.)

Our ability to take responsibility for our decisions and their consequences and our ability to make choices about morality are atrophied.

It is really not an improvement.

Freder Frederson said...

And the government has to do that, right? Because no *individual* can afford to test products, the testing and consumer rating of products is impossible?

Do you have a graphite furnace aas in your basement (and that is only good for the heavy metals)? You would have to have the GC-MS next to it for the organics. Those two pieces of equipment should only set you back a quarter of a million or so.

Freeman Hunt said...

Freder, she wasn't calling for individuals to test. Ever heard of UL? That kind of thing. Such testing can be a booming business.

Cedarford said...

Darrell said...
Nearly a 100% of any melt there (Antarctica) can be attributed to the soot deposited by those visitors and the active volcano that no one ever seems to mention.


Both claims are ignorant drivel. Global Warming alarmists make preposterous claims, so too do the "Deniers" - especially the faction of ill-educated Fundies in the USA.

===================
Robin said...
I love Walmart and shop there often. I just don't buy stuff from China. Especially dog food.


Honestly, that is an even more amazing claim than Darrell's!
Do you mean that when you go to ChinaMart you look for stuff made in Pakistan, Indonesia, or India instead??

Cedarford said...

Freder - Prior to Reagan & Clinton selling us down the "Free Trade" route - the system worked pretty good. After the "tainting" scandals of the early 1900s, testing of American-made products was de rigeour so firms could avoid torts.
It didn't need gummint. Testing was done by US firms. And because little came to the US from cheap labor 3rd world factories aside from basic foodstuffs that was tested for disease or contamination, and the Euro and Japanese exporters were conscientious and committed to brand quality - not much of a problem.

China and the new Pakistani, Egyptian, etc. crap is a different situation. The stuff is flexible manufacture, could be made anywhere by some non-descript factory that makes it for a US firm that outsources it's jobs.
CHina can't really be sued. As owners of thousands of dead dogs found out.
The best you get from the Chinese is "Oh, so solly round eyed-devils!" followed if we are lucky by announcement the Chinese have selected one scapegoat to be executed for making something like industrial waste-laced baby's milk formulae - and harvested for body parts.

Since 1980, the harvest of Reagan and Clinton's globalization work has meant filthy rich outsouring biz owners and ChinaMart like importers with huge profits - but no increase in workers wages outside government employees. And a net loss in private sector jobs all through the last Clinton and Bush II years - offset only by new jobs in bloated government. (Funded by China and Saudi Arabian IOUs)

former law student said...

I love Walmart and shop there often. I just don't buy stuff from China.

OK, I tried to process those two statements but my head exploded. Or do you just buy groceries from Walmart?

Scott M said...

OK, I tried to process those two statements but my head exploded. Or do you just buy groceries from Walmart?

Actually, that's a good point. We never buy "stuff" from them anymore other than the odd DVD, but we have done groceries here and there. On a lot of grocery items, the Great Value brand was cheaper at similar quality. Lately, however, the prices have been creeping up.

I try to hit the local farmer's market and privately owned grocery (we have two nearby) as much as possible, but for really big runs, we still do the bigger chain stores.

I can make a train set for my kids. I don't have the economy of scale to raise a vegetable farm and milk my own cows.

Michael said...

I went to YellowStone before they banned independant snowmobiling. Three of us got up at first light and took off into the park. It was 6 hours before we saw anyone else. Yellowstone all to ourselves, glorious. Now if you go, you have to go in giant convoys of 4 stroke engine snowmobiles going about 20 miles an hour, with activities sceduled down to the minute. Or if you are rich, you can ride in indoor comfort in a showcat. I'm never going back.

Michael said...

Showcat, snowcat, what's the difference?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Showcat, snowcat, what's the difference?

I think the Showcat probably has a snappier wardrobe to wear. Spangles and beads and all that stuff. While the Snowcat would be less flashy and more functional.

:-D

vw: bippi. You bet your bippi.

Robin said...

"...but my head exploded."

Yes, I buy most basic groceries there. But have any of you been in a Walmart in this century? Lots of non-Chinese made stuff.

WV: gristm.

Inadequate product from China.

Big Mike said...

... and we do all manner of selfish, harmful things, because it's not against the rules yet.

And if good Democrats like Rangel and Geithner and Daschle are an example, once one's political connections within the Democrat party exceed a certain threshold, one doesn't have to actually obey the rules.

Synova said...

"Freder, she wasn't calling for individuals to test. Ever heard of UL? That kind of thing. Such testing can be a booming business."

I mistakenly assumed that although some people really do believe that nothing can happen that the government does not do, most were at least aware of opinions to the contrary.

Freeman Hunt said...

"Snowcat"

Now all I can think of is "The Shining."

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kentuckyliz said...

China isn't poisoning its own kids, it's poisoning foreigners' kids.

Suckahs.

I saw a good PBS Frontline show called Illicit, and one thing featured was Chinese selling barrels of an apparent medical chemical used in making cough syrup by the Panamanian (?IIRC) government socialist medical system. The chemical was actually a toxic chemical with a similar name. The Chinese relabelled the barrels and sold it. The government bought it because it was the cheapest source.

That cough syrup killed hundreds of people before they figured out the cough syrup was toxic.

When the Chinese company officials and employees were asked what they thought about their complicity in murdering hundreds of innocent people, they answered, "They weren't Chinese. They were foreigners."

So I guess it's OK then.

Cheap Chinese products are going to kill us.