meep (meep) wrote,

Saving people from themselves --

"There oughtta be a law" is one of the oldest comments in this country, I think.

In this discussion about women's glam mags, the people involved mention that one would have to legislate these suckers away to get rid of them -- they are some of the most successful mags out there. Let me be clear -- education will not destroy these things. The magazines are mainly about acquiring stuff and what the stuff will do for you - there are new mags called Lucky and Stuff that are more blatantly about that. I've not bought these particular mags, but I =have= bought things like Family Circle, Modern Bride, and ePregnancy, all within the sphere of women's magdom. I am very well-educated, and am not lacking in the self-esteen department. Every so often, I get a hankering to look at =stuff=, especially if it's related to something I want to do. I like looking at the pictures of Christmas cookies and handmade decorations in Family Circle and Matha Stewart Living, I liked seeing what maternity clothes were out there, even if I wouldn't pay that much for them, and I liked looking at the different place settings and wedding dresses in the bride magazines.

I find it interesting that one must crap on other people's enjoyment -- "Oh, if these women didn't hate themselves so much, they wouldn't buy these things!" "We must force enlightenment on the masses!"

Whatever. The Simpsons and South Park are also enjoyed by the masses, but you don't hear the all-knowing hipsters bitch about that. Or maybe that was the point of the TV turn-off week. You know, you can watch stupid crap to bitch about if you want to. I watch the stuff I like - cartoons, cooking shows, science programs, Dogs with Jobs, the history of beermaking in America... I don't get all the complaining about reality TV, since it's usually people with cable TV who are making the complaints. I mean - you've got a hundred channels at least. Find something!

But back to laws. When laws aren't detailed enough to mess with people's lives, there's always regulations. You see, the reason you can't find grape tomatoes in the EU is that it's illegal to sell them there. Why is it illegal? When the tomato-selling regulations were thought up, they didn't know about grape tomatoes.

You know, I'm a libertarian to a large extent, but I don't have a problem with some =basic= regulatory law. Like truth in advertising, and basic safety requirements. But these things have a habit of spiraling out of control, as bureaucrats love making new jobs for themselves and there's little congressional will to squash this dynamic (how do you think Medicare expanded from a catastrophic health care insurance for seniors to full health coverage for seniors?) FDA regulations regarding drugs originally were to test safety of drugs (and the testing of this is relatively fast and easy) -- now they're supposed to be a gatekeeper for effectiveness as well. Drug researchers are trying to come up with ways to make drugs that are individualized, based on various genetic characteristics of the patient or their cancer -- the FDA process as it stands now can't handle this.

Regulation is a block to free enterprise, and to a large extent performs the function of taking responsibility away from both the producer and consumer. People think that if they hurt themselves with a product, through their own stupidity or a regular risk involved in using the product, they can sue somebody for damages.

One example I saw in the WSJ last week - some 16-yr-olds were "shooting" each other with an air rifle that they thought was empty - they thought the little puffs of air that came out was funny. Of course, there were some BBs left in the rifle that were stuck, and one of the times one of the kids shot, the BBs came out at high speed as per usual and got one kid in the head - he went into a coma for some years and died. Yes, it's a tragedy, but a highly preventable one - and not by the gun manufacturer, either - anybody who thinks it's ok to point a rifle at somebody else's head and pull the trigger is going to come to grief at some point, like those who think it's fun to play on train tracks. Sure, most of the time no one gets hurt, but all it takes is one time of being wrong to end up dead. Treating every gun as loaded is basic gun safety. This is similar to suing car manufacturers for a car flipping and killing the driver, when the driver was going 90 mph. I know some states have a distributed liability law, in which blame can be spread amongst the injured party and others, but really - this is ridiculous. You eat lots of junk food, you get fat; you have sex, STDs can happen; you behave recklessly, you can end up dead. Don't sue McDonald's, a condom company, or the Daisy rifle company because of an act of stupidity.

One gets the feeling that some would sue Prometheus, if they could. "Sure, fire brought us warmth and cooked food, but I burned myself when I stuck my hand in. I demand recompense!"

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