Tuesday, April 10, 2007

No WMD's on my hip...

Problem: There's a nuisance. It would make everyone's lives more pleasant if you could get rid of this nuisance, but the fact that it's a nuisance isn't a good enough reason to do it.

Solution: Link the nuisance to some problem there is consensus for eliminating, and borrow moral authority from that to get rid of the nuisance. Lie or pretend to know things you don't know (or don't know things you do or can easily know) if neccesary.

Such is the logic of the FAA's continuing to tell us that cell phone use can interfere with navigation equipment to continue the ban on in-flight cell phone use, as approved by Andrew Sullivan and Ezra Klein

Such was also the logic of the Iraq War.

Look, I'm not sanguine on the thought of being trapped in a cabin for four hours with a bunch of folks chattering (loudly) into their cell phones. But that doesn't mean we should all go along with a lie to spare us the nuisance.

It seems are government and society and economy have a number of mechanisms for getting rid of or discouraging things we don't want. We shouldn't have to hide behind a lie or willful ignorance to do it.

6 comments:

TenaciousK said...

Yep - sometimes the shell-game's more convenient than actually making a case.

Q: How many aeronautic "incidents" have cell phones been responsible for?

A: Zero.

Thomas Paine said...

When I lived in Switzerland, I had a colleague (ex jet fighter pilot in the French Air Force) who regularly commuted between Beirut and Zurich, and used his cell phone virtually the entire way. The first time he flew with me to New York, he damned near got thrown off the plane because he refused to accept the idea that there was any safety problem.

And this was years before 9/11. Now he would probably be in Guantanamo!

Anonymous said...

can't use cell phones in hospitals either....... hmmmm.... damn docs...

cat said...

I've rarely been able to get a signal inside the hospital.

Thomas Paine said...

And in the two hospitals in which I worked, every doctor had and regularly used his/her cell phone.

catnapping said...

oh yeah, everyone had cells here, too, but they had to go outside to get any reception...but then, we're up in the mountains, and Saint Pat's is less than a mile from Jumbo, Sentinel, and even Waterworks hill is elevated...

Mind you, I haven't worked in 7 years...reception may have improved since 2000.