Who doesn't love ipods?

The answer is: at least one politician, Carl Kruger.

We all know that Apple's ipod has created a major revolution, and I'm not even talking about their iphone. I must admit I didn't know much about ipods until my girlfriend got me one for Christmas... thanks babe!, but now there is nowhere I go without it... it's my new baby and we are inseparable.

There are many reasons it's worth loving, and I won't get into them because there are so many. Actually, I'll show you a couple at the end of this entry, which you'll love, so stay tuned...

But there's bad news lurking in the meantime.

According to this article from the BBC, NY State senator Carl Kruger wants to fine pedestrians 100 bucks for crossing the streets in NYC while listening to their ipods, using their cell phones or their blackberries. That is to say, no apples in the big apple; how ironic...

The reason for this insanity, you ask? There have been a number of reports of people getting run over and killed by moving vehicles because they were tuned out with their ipods and could not hear the warnings of other people calling out to them.

So, Kruger wants to protect you from your own stupidity by making it illegal!

If that itself is stupid, as I think it might be, then Kruger himself would become a criminal by virtue of the fact that he proposed the legislation. Yeah, try messing with me, Kruger... I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, however, and judge his proposal ill-informed, dictatorial, or even totalitarian, and not stupid... just 'cause I'm a nice guy.

It's an interesting angle, I must admit. If I wanted to seem like a self-righteous protector prig, who was concerned with the safety of his constituents, I think I would have done the opposite: Why not make it illegal to drive cars? After all, it's cars that kill people, not ipods.

But there is a deeper issue here: paternalism. Kruger's justification seems reasonable enough: he wants to protect people. I'm all for protecting people too, but there is an important distinction to draw: government should protect you from other people, from other nations, and from itself, but NOT from yourself.

Your life is yours, and you ought to be free to pursue your conception of the good insofar as you don't interfere with others' ability to pursue their own conception of the good. This is not something I'm trying to derive from the supposed self-evidence mentioned in the Declaration of Independence, or on any idea that appeals to natural rights. It's not even that you have a right that's being violated -I'm not sure I actually buy into the idea of inalienable rights. It's rather the opposite, and I believe it's a rather profound point: it's that no one else has a right to interfere with your life and force you to live it according to some standard that's not your own.

Interfering would require some sort of justification that overrides yours. If you want to go around on a killing spree, then you are directly interfering with other people's ability to pursue their own conception of the good, in which case you really ought to be stopped. But if you want to do something, and this does not interfere with others' ability to pursue their own ends, then no one has any right to force you not to do what you want.

And yes, one implication is that it would follow from this that you ought to be free to be immoral. I agree, and I think that's fine. Murderers and rapists, for instance, should not be punished because they are immoral: they should be punished because they have actually encroached on the freedom of others. This is what justifies punitive action, not the fact that one is immoral.

If you want to educate yourself and do something positive with your life, that ought to be your choice, not because it's a good choice but because it's your own. If you want to become a loser, then that also ought to be your choice, not because it's a good choice but because it's your own. We may condemn it on moral grounds, or not, but we should not have the power to make it illegal, even if we are undeniably against it because it may actually endanger your own life.

Same thing would apply to other more controversial issues: not wearing helmets when riding a bike, using recreational or performance-enhancing drugs, committing suicide, amputating yourself or listening to your ipod whenever you want. You ought to be able to voice your opinion about these issues, either way, but that doesn't mean you ought to have the right to make them illegal.

My freedom ends only where yours begins, and vice versa. No one is justified in forcing you to do something against your will if you are not incapacitating others from pursuing their own ambitions.

Let me make another point absolutely clear before I start getting nailed by possible negative comments. I've been talking about interfering with others' ability to pursue their own ends.

This is different from doing things that bother others, or that others may find offensive. If you want to call mentally challenged people retards, or hispanics spics, or gay men fags, or conservative christians assholes, or Ann Coulter a reused disposable douche bag, or philosophy professors like me... -whatever negative thing you want to come up with - you should be legally allowed to do so. Yes, it might be offensive, and it might be immoral, and it might be true, or false, and it might make some people feel hurt or whatever, but if you are not actually interfering with their ability to pursue their own ends, then there is no philosophical argument that could be presented that could truly justify your interference.

When we sacrifice freedom for the sake of protection, or for the sake of others' sensibilities, we become more abominable and immoral than those we attempt to stop.

- - - - - - - -

Anyway, that's enough for my rant. On to the good things about ipods.

As I said before, the product is awesome, and even though it's a bit too proprietary for my taste, it provides a great way to organize not only music but podcasts, and there are podcasts for just about every possible taste, which you can download for free from the itunes store.

The marketing itself is great. What guy would not want to get an ipod after watching the following video?

[Warning: this video may be offensive to some viewers,
if you're easily offended, just don't watch it]



But ladies should not feel left out just because there isn't a cool porn-video to entice them. Men may get to enjoy the video, but we don't get to physically experience our ipods the way women can. See the picture on the right? If you're thinking that reminds you of a vibrator, you're probably a pervert, ha ha ha, but you're thinking correctly!

That's the ohmibod, an accessory that attempts to combine the love of music with the love of sex. The ohmibod vibrates according to the music you're listening to, so you get to create precisely the mood that would work for you. Yeah... it's for real.

Does this mean we men may become obsolete in the future? The final answer is up to the ladies...

Update: It looks like the video above was commissioned by softparis.com, and not by ohmibod, even though it features their product. Give them a visit if you're interested in learning more about adult toys. Thanks for the clarification, AnneLolotte!
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