There's things that are true but entirely unimportant


It's a standard part of the analysis of government that there's some things that must be done and there's also a group of things that only government can do. Government activity, in our view at least, should be limited to those things which are in both groups. Only government can declare war on EastAsia, but that doesn't mean that it must be done. A criminal justice system for 65 million people must be done and only government can do it. We can use much the same logic to divide things into those that are true and those that are important. The false, those that are untrue, we can reject of course, but we should also not worry about that fourth quadrant, those things that are true but which are unimportant:

France’s ecology minister, Ségolène Royal, has rankled the company that makes Nutella by urging the public to stop eating its chocolate hazelnut spread, saying it contributes to deforestation.

“We have to replant a lot of trees because there is massive deforestation that also leads to global warming. We should stop eating Nutella, for example, because it’s made with palm oil,” Royal said in an interview late Monday on the French television network Canal+.

“Oil palms have replaced trees, and therefore caused considerable damage to the environment,” she explained.

We're perhaps not quite as worried as many others about the replacement of one kind of tree by another. But let the argument made stand. Palm oil's not a good thing. So, how important is Nutella in this?

A quick google around tells us that there's 365,000 tonnes a year of the gooey goodness consumed. It's 20% palm oil, meaning some 74,000 tonnes of palm oil contained. Global production of palm oil is 50 million tonnes a year or so. Thus chocolate hazelnut spread is some 0.14% (yes, that's 0.14%) of whatever the problem is. Or, unimportant.

This simply isn't something that government should be spending its time considering. Nor politicians that we (or our French cousins in this instance) have to pay for. Just as government should be limited to those things that both have to be done and can only be done by government, it should be limited to those things that are both true and important.

Excellent, so that's some 90% of what government currently does ruled out as being something that government shouldn't be doing, minarchy here we come!