Friday, November 19, 2004

Too Rational for My Taste

Sometimes the "rationality" of the "marginal" mindset drives me a bit nuts. Glen Whitman, an assistant professor of economics and a co-blogger at Agoraphila, wrote this:
When I return to my car in a parking lot, I’ll often find advertisements, flyers, brochures, etc., stuck underneath the windshield wipers. The latest was an ad for Billy Graham’s upcoming performances in the L.A. area. As an individual car owner, what policy should I follow for these unsolicited pieces of trash? In general, I’m not a litterbug; I think people should clean up after themselves and keep public areas clean. But in this case, I make an exception. I refuse to bring the unwanted material into my vehicle, so I immediately throw it on the ground of the parking lot.

I believe my policy is the correct one. If parking lot owners don’t like the litter, they can (a) police their lots to stop the offenders, or (b) collect the litter and track down the perpetrators – after all, their locations and phone numbers are usually written right there.
Litter is litter. So I posted this comment:
Do you leave your shopping cart in a parking space or -- even worse -- in a traffic lane? Do you fail to stop at the stop sign or traffic light on the way out of the parking lot? I just want to know where you draw the line between littering as a form of "speech", discourtesy, and risking the lives of others. Observation leads me to believe that there's a high correlation between self-indulgence, discourtesy, and recklessness. It may be libertine, but it's not libertarian.
Chalk it up to Irritable Male Syndrome, exacerbated by a raging sinus infection.