While I may or may not be a proponent of government intervention with regards to free market capitalism and whatnot, depending on the circumstances, I am a bit disconcerted with the amount of idiosyncratic regulation that the government infringes on our (my?) daily life. Don’t get me wrong, I am quite thankful that I live in a democratic society where my freedoms are unparalleled and quite laudable, yet, one does have to wonder about some of the arcane laws that have been instated. Granted, this topic would not have warranted a post. However, after reading the article States’ Lawmakers Turn Attention to the Dangers of Distracted Pedestrians, which posits that some wise politicians wish to prohibit citizens from crossing the street while listing to music, I decided it was time write a post.
Stupidity aside, the first question I have is, what exactly are these people wasting their time on, and do their constituents have any idea what they are advocating for? I doubt one can base their political ambitions on being the notorious nincompoop who can’t even walk down the street and think at the same time. Then again that might be a valid description of many politicians in office… ;-) Regardless of political inequities and abuse of power there is an underlying message that is being stated: consumers are too stupid to protect themselves.
Protectionism is nothing new. Furthermore, protectionism is even quite warranted in many circumstances! However, deciding how people walk down the street should not be one of them. Another protectionist measure that is quite bemusing is government regulated shower heads. Have you not heard about shower heads? Who would have ever thought that the government would control how you shower? We’ll you see, the government must protect us from ourselves by limiting how much water can come out of our showerheads. While the reason given is because it wastes valuable resources, I think it a ploy to keep people less hygienic thereby limiting their chance of becoming politically active, since politicians appear clean. Thus, the government is limiting the potential pool of new candidates. Clearly a well thought-out conspiracy theory I think! :-p Then again it could be the EPA knows what’s really in our water and thinks they should limit our exposure to said substance… :-/
Regardless, the main issue with protectionism is that it breeds stupidity on two levels. One, it contributes to human conformity and enables people to “not think for themselves” (aka, sheep syndrome or sheeple) and secondly, it creates reliance. Take for example the antiquated New York State law that levies a $25 fine on flirting! See how well that turned out… :-) The alternative issue with protectionism is that it enables stupid people, who otherwise would have been removed from the gene pool through evolutionary paradigms, such as riding a bike without a helmet, to live longer and thrive… and even become politicians who create laws…. :-p