This forum is about wrong numbers in science, politics and the media. It respects good science and good English.
Another thought that has occurred to me with respect to your reply is...
How many of those 'very few' were actually among dog owners?
You aren't allowed to leave dog faeces lying around in the street for the same reason you aren't allowed to leave human faeces lying around in the street - it disgusts enough people to warrant a ban. The same reason you aren't allowed to copulate in the street or even go around naked in the street. However, if your community democratically wishes to legalise the deposition of faeces whether canine or human, or public copulation or nakedness, fair dos, but I for one might decide move out (on the faeces issue, probably not the nakedness or even copulation one).
Being a pesky liberal I actually think that democratic governments have far more legitimate claim to the regulation of behaviour in public spaces than private. Even Saudi Arabia while demanding women wear tents in public doesn't stop them wearing naughty undies around the house, while one suspects further regulation of our sex lives is next on the agenda for the NuLabour project.
I really wouldn't have a problem with a ban on smoking on the street (on the grounds that it disgusts a lot of people) provided this was accompanied by a lifting of the ban on smoking in private places. In my view, they've got it the wrong way around. I have no more problem with smoking being allowed in a club than I would with the deposition of human faeces on tables in a club (with the foreknowledge and consent of those present) or "public" copulation in a club (with ...), even though these activities might be banned in public. Regulating what consenting adults do in private is simply wrong in almost all cases. Regulating what they do in full view of people who happen to be passing by - requiring them to be consistent with the values and attitudes (whether rational or not) of the wider community, is in many cases not wrong.
But are you liberal in the classical definition or the new mangled one?
I was terribly distressed to discover that I was a liberal. After years of ranting about them, someone pointed me to the definition of a classic liberal and I was dumbfounded.
But are you liberal in the classical definition or the new mangled one?
There are at least two new mangled definitions, one "right wing" - neoliberal, and one "socialist" - what are now known as the liberal democrats in the UK. In the US, both neoliberal and liberal are terms of abuse, for what are there seen as ultra right-wingers and sappy left-wingers respectively. I simply don't recognise the US definition of "liberal" (without prefix) - how can you be socially liberal but economically neo-marxist? This corresponds more or less to the position of the SPD here - do what you please in your spare time but the state will spend all your money fory you. What kind of personal freedom is it when you don't have the freedom to determine what you do with your working life or rather who spends the proceeds thereof? Big-government liberalism is an oxymoron. I also don't recognise the use of the word "liberal" to slander anyone who makes excuses for criminal behaviour, inadequate effort in education or work, etc. It's true that most liberals (including myself) support the existence of a welfare state, indeed it was a liberal government in the UK that built its foundations, but it has since grown from the contributions-based insurance scheme it was supposed to be into a bureaucratic monster which serves to keep millions of select clients (don't ever try actually losing your job having paid in for years and expect to get anything out) from bettering themselves and society at the expense of the taxpayer.
So I am an old-fashioned classical liberal - I am socially liberal (as much personal freedom as possible, as much individual choice in every respect as possible), politically liberal (democrat, but support a robust constitution that ensures important decisions cannot be taken by simple majority, and which prevents democracy being held by the balls by today's largest minority special interest group, small government, minimal legislation, coerced (tax-funded) collective endeavours limited to those required to maintain a functional society and economy including modest redistribution of capital (which I personally would enforce by introducing a >50% inheritance tax and put the proceeds into a national redistribution fund so they don't just disappear into the government black hole), flat-rate taxation of income as low as possible for the purpose of funding necessary government work, abolition of politically-motivated "social engineering" and stealth taxation such as booze and tobacco taxes (except what proportion covers the actual costs to society of the use of such products), no government deficit, private ownership preferred over state ownership), and economically liberal (absolute free trade, no borders, no customs, no subsidies, no tarrifs, minimal restrictions on contracts, unfettered worldwide exchange of goods, labour, services and capital, easy enforcement of contracts through a functional legal system).
Free trade works, free societies and individuals doing things collectively voluntarily rather than throuhg state coercion works, and big governments don't work.
Liberal is believing in the right of the individual to try whatever he wishes, fall flat on his face in the process, and then figure out how to pick himself up again. It is simplistic, but before you get into discussions of how welfare can help, every individual needs to understand the first part before they start in on welfare.
You added a few wrinkles to social liberal that made me realize that I need to get my reference frame kit out. I use to hear social liberal and think "welfare" and now I hear "individual freedom".
This will not however make conversations with anyone here in the states easier.
A modern liberal is somebody who lives for others. You can recognise the others by their hunted look (© C S Lewis). The modern liberal genuinely wants to help people, by force if necessary. I feel that most desire for political domination comes not so much from the desire for power in itself but from the urge to simplify and tidy things up and have everybody thinking and acting in the same ways.
So far, there have been only two answers relating to the science of the question.
I don't doubt the validity of the social side of the argument but surely abuse of statistics is 'social engineering' ie getting conformity through misuse of statistics..
Incidentally, nudity is not illegal as was proved a while ago by some people parading nude in London. They were arrested on public order offences & then released without charge.
Whether they admitted those charges & were released on caution, I am not at the moment aware.
Abuse of statistics, I suggest, is just lying. Social engineering is not always bad. The campiagn to abolish slavery was social engineering. I think the important distinction is between social engineering practised top-down by a self-appointed, self-regarding elite (Communism, the hunting ban), which always seems to involve industrial-scale lying, and the democratic process of truthful persuasion. To answer another point in this thread, most modern 'liberals' are illiberal. Unlike, say, John Stuart Mill, they think they have the right to ban something just because they dislike it or believe it to be wrong.
Democracy does, whether we like it or not, confer the right, even on liberals, to ban something just because they don't like it if enough of them don't like it. But I would expect liberals to tolerate a lot of stuff they don't like so that stuff they do which others don't like is likewise tolerated. The question is usually more one of where you do something than what exactly you do. If your dog craps on the street, it's rather difficult for me to avoid it. If your dog craps on your dinner table, that's none of my business. If you go hunting on private lands, I have to go out of my way to be affected by it - if I complain about it its because I'm casting around for something to be offended by. Even a liberal can legitimately call for the banning of dog **** deposition on the street - but not legitimately call for the banning of hunting on private land.
I don't need to affect statistics to dislike dog doo enough to want it banned. That the stuff is absolutely disgusting, even to dog owners, is enough evidence of harm. Statistics needn't come into it.
No - a true liberal would never ban enything just because he or she didn't like it, or even if only one person in the world liked it and everybody else disliked it. This was Mill's point. He feared the tyranny of the majority. We only (he said) have the right to ban something if it does other people substantial harm (e.g. burglary, drunk driving), hence the need for establishment lying over the dangers of secondhand smoke; or if it involves people giving up too much of their freedom (e.g. slavery, addictive drugs).
Establishment lying would be needed if it were required to persuade gullible liberals to vote in order to pass bans on stuff. As it's an authoritarian socialist cabal "voting" to ban stuff, the lying is merely window dressing. I think they do the lying for the same reason as they do the banning - because they can.