one line that obama was pushing again today was 'if we can save one life...' now, that registers something people believe: our lives and the lives of people we love are of more or less infinite value to us: transcendent value. it gets a little less compelling when it's somebody's life somewhere sometime in the future, but even there we want to express that lives are more important than, say, tax expenditures, or a hassle. but however you just cannot use this as a reasonable principle. there are a million ways you could save a life, especially if you were permitted to achieve them through repression or to undertake any degree of expense. (repression is, in fact, always precisely the proposal.) at any rate, ban the automobile. require each person to wear kevlar. completely isolate people when they have communicable diseases. intern males universally between the ages of 15 and 35. make living wills illegal. ban farming, one of the more dangerous professions. lace the drinking water with ssri's. etc etc.