A blog by Patrick Crozier

March 19, 2004

New shock: eating too much makes you fat
Patrick Crozier

Here’s a report (from the Telegraph of all places) that deserves a damn good fisking:

Morgan Spurlock sent his body on a scientific voyage of discovery when he ate nothing but McDonald's for 30 days solid.

“…scientific” huh? Call me old-fashioned but I do seem to remember that science involves things like hypotheses and controls. Exactly what is the null hypothesis here? That eating nothing but McDonald’s for 30 days is just fine? Frankly, I doubt if eating nothing but anything for 30 days does you much good. Where’s the control restricted to eating nothing but tofu and mung beans?

The results were captured for a film, Supersize Me

Oh really. And I am sure that not for a minute did they ever think of the royalties. I can just hear the pitch:

“What we’re trying to do here is make a movie that just shows how healthy fast food is. The world is growing tired of all that depressing modernity-is-killing-us nonsense. What they want is a movie showing them just how much better things are getting. McDonald’s is great will be simply packing them in.”

The filmmaker admits his stunt is an "extreme experiment" but even the doctors he hires to record the deterioration in his wellbeing are shocked at how much damage a few burgers can do.

“…experiment”, huh? See above. “…the doctors he hires…” and, of course, the money wouldn’t be subconsciously influencing what they might say, would it? And then the killer “…a few burgers…” Sorry, chaps but at the top of the page didn’t you say he was eating nothing but McDonald’s for 30 days? Call me old-fashioned (again) but I would say that was quite a lot of burgers. Plus, of course, the chips and coke.

"Your liver is sick. It is now like pate," says a doctor

Yes, but what sort, Ardennes or Brussels?

The human guinea pig starts as a very fit man in his early thirties with low cholesterol, a healthy heart and a perfectly functioning liver.

Did I say “and a diseased mind and an empty wallet”? Surely not.

As the food binge starts, he develops minor ailments such as McGirgles and McStomachache, which turn into McSweats and McTwitching.

He is soon completely McCrazy as his mood swings from morbidly depressed to chatterbox happy.

His girlfriend complains about their flagging sex life as he balloons from 185lb to 210lb

And who says there's no justice in this world?

March 15, 2004

The Treaty of Westphalia
Patrick Crozier

This document (vintage 1648?) has attracted rather a lot of attention recently. Tone reckons it's dead meat. As far as I remember what it says is that states must not interfere in the internal affairs of other states. The corollary is that if one state does interfere in the internal affairs of another then the second state has every right to interfere in the internal affairs of the first state. Clear?

If that is what the ToW says then I am in favour of it. For starters it did stop the Thirty Years War which was a pretty appalling conflict. For the most part it kept the Cold War cold - another Good Thing. And when did the Cold War get hottest? Cuban Missile Crisis. And, is a missile interfering with someone's internal affairs? Moot point. And, it's precisely because it was a moot point ie the ToW was not clear on this, that the Cuban Missile Crisis threatened to get nasty.

I don't think the ToW's dead yet either. In fact I would go as far as to say that the War on Terror vindicates it. Afghanistan (by allowing al-Qaeda to organise on its territory) breaks the ToW. The US invades. Bye, bye terrorists. By the same token the invasion of Iraq is a far less certain thing.

The only real debate seems to be where did the terrorists come from in the first place? Often a tricky question.

There is another debate. Who is allowed to threaten the United States? See aforementioned Cuba Missile Crisis. Almost no one.

And one question? Is swamping a country with thousands of unwanted immigrants tantamount to breaking the Treaty of Westphalia? Would be an interesting world if it were now wouldn't it?

March 14, 2004

Democracy renewed?
Patrick Crozier

Libertarians like me tend to be rather sniffy about democracy, though usually rather reticent on what might replace it. We tend to reckon that the reasons it fails so badly is that whilst in the free market people are making lots of decisions all the time, in a democracy people have to make one decision affecting all sorts of things once every four or five years.

So, one is inclined to wonder about Your Party which is about to be launched:

It will ballot members online in order to come up with a popular manifesto. Candidates will be strictly bound by that manifesto.

And there will be a separate ballot for each issue and the policy will last no more than a year.

In other words (potentially) lots of decisions and not all at once.

March 05, 2004

Worst government of the century
Patrick Crozier

Daniel Finkelstein chooses the 1974-76 Wilson regime:

Even more absorbing was the increasingly eccentric behaviour of his aide Marcia Williams, whom he [Wilson] made a peer as Lady Falkender. During most of Wilson’s last two years he was fending off her temper tantrums and becoming involved in her serial personal crises. Other aides have filled whole volumes with comic descriptions of these incidents. Her relations with the rest of his office were so strained that Wilson’s doctor hatched a plot to have her killed and had to be talked out of it.

Doctors' Plots, eh? What was it that Marx said about history repeating itself as farce?

A few years from now...
Patrick Crozier

...things will be different:

10:30 pm - Her Majesty walks across from Holyrood House and graciously presses the button that explodes the ghastly monument to socialism and bureaucracy.

David Farrer outlines his first day as First Minister

March 01, 2004

The Un-wild West
Patrick Crozier

From Mises.org