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Has America Become A Babysitting State?

In Children and Family, Economy, Education, Entertainment, Health, Local News, Opinion, Politics, psychology, Religion, sociology, State News, television, Uncategorized on June 12, 2012 at 8:17 am

By Gery L. Deer

Deer In Headlines

 

Did you ever wonder (thanks Andy Rooney) why we have so many laws designed to, “protect us from ourselves?” You know what I am referring to. Think about the laws requiring us to wear seat belts, no public drinking or smoking, fines for public profanity, mandatory motorcycle helmets, and so on.

With obvious exceptions, like distracted or drunken driving, very little of what we do affects anyone else. If I choose to risk my own death by not wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle on the highway, who does that affect other than me? It may be incredibly inconsiderate to my family or the poor guy who has to clean my brains off the pavement after an accident, but other than that, who does it really injure?

Of course, I’m exaggerating here. You’d have to be a complete idiot to ride without a helmet – sorry bikers, it’s just plain stupid – but it’s still your own choice and it shouldn’t be up to the government to decide. It can be argued that it costs the taxpayers more money to cover the medical charges of a rider who’s had a head injury without a helmet, but that point of view can be hard to quantify. Applying the same logic, however, tobacco should be made illegal for the same reasons.

Some laws don’t protect us from ourselves but are actually in place to pacify the moral majority. For example, no alcohol sales on Sunday, no cursing in public, television censors and so on. Decency laws require that every television network maintain a department of standards and practices whose sole duty is to ensure that no one says or does anything over broadcast TV or radio prior to 10 PM that might offend the religious right.

Many anti-drug laws, like those against the use of marijuana, are in place, not because of health risks but to satisfy the moral right. Tobacco use has immediate and long-term detrimental effects but is a regulated, taxable commodity. Marijuana, on the other hand, is said by experts to be no more dangerous than tobacco but is still classified as an illegal, Schedule I hallucinogen. Why? There are at least two possible explanations.

First, the obvious reason – hallucinogenic drugs are just bad. There’s no other way to say it. Long-term use of any substance like this is going to eventually be a health hazard. But the other reason is more sinister. The tobacco industry is huge, powerful, and wants complete control over your toxic addiction without competition from Mary Jane.

A great deal of money goes into congress from the tobacco big-wigs. They will always argue against legalized marijuana because it would eat into their profits, and therefore less cash would be available with which to line the pockets of public officials fighting their battle on Capitol Hill.

Understand clearly that I am in no way endorsing or advocating drug use. I think it’s idiotic and makes one stupid and unemployable. I’m simply pointing out that we are living amidst a realm of hopeless double-standards, of which alcohol and drug use is only a small example.

I don’t know whether these pointless and expensive regulations come from genuinely well-meaning people trying to help keep others from making dangerous mistakes or if they are the result of controlling, politically-motivated individuals. Either way, it really seems like we’re moving further into a babysitting state where the government controls everything down to what size soft drink I can buy at 7 Eleven.

There’s nothing wrong with regulating public issues – second-hand smoke is a health hazard to those around the smoker and the dangers of drunken driving are a no-brainer, but what these individuals do in their own home should be their own business – as with the pot smoker, the junk food junkie, or the watcher of reality television.

Personally, I think Americans spend far too much time worrying about what our neighbors doing and not enough time minding our own business. If they really want to regulate something to benefit the public, they should start by outlawing and reality television. Clearly the Kardashians are detrimental to society as a whole.

 

 

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