Monday, November 15, 2010

Nanny & the WARNINGS!

The newly proposed health-warnings for placement on cigarette-pack wrappers were as predictable as night-following-day and vice versa. The purpose is to stop young people from even being tempted to smoke. Teenagers being what they are, the warnings will most likely encourage them to light up for the first time, just for the heck of it. One can tell the average teenager not to do something but had better not hold his breath.

Perhaps pictures of blackened, cancerous lungs or even of corpses with cigarettes dangling from their mouths will be used since written warnings have been on cigarette packs since 1965, when they were mandated by Congress. The solons didn’t get around to making the whiskey crowd do the same thing until 1988 but that’s another story. Maybe pictures of people vomiting on themselves and others or pictures of crashed automobiles with blood rolling off the dashboards could be placed on the bubbly-labels, but don’t count on it.

This is not a brief for either smoking or drinking, both of which are bad, the latter worse than the former, just a remarking of the nanny-state, epitomized perhaps in Obama’s “Regulator Czar,” Cass Sunstein, the former Harvard Law professor known for his argument that animals should be entitled to lawyers. After all, shouldn’t a dog be able to sue his “partner” (“master” is so politically incorrect) for some sort of abuse or other – maybe the cheap dog-food instead of the best.

The folks who run San Francisco (where else?) have just clamped down on McDonald’s and legislated when and how (enacted salt measurement, for instance) McDonald’s may furnish a toy in the kids’ meals. The solons in New York have decided that salt intake for its citizens must be legislated, else the citizen-morons will either shorten their lives (preferable according to Obamacare death panels) or become a nuisance health expense for the city as they dry up their blood.

Perhaps a Big Mac wrapper should have a picture of an obese person having a heart attack or even (gasp) giving up the ghost right there in the middle of the restaurant, with the caption One Too Many, Bozo!. Maybe a car dealership should have a picture on its compact-car advertisement showing an eighteen-wheeler on top of a pancake-thin piece of twisted metal, with a ghost arising from the wreckage.

Perhaps a bottle of Jack Daniels should have a skull-and-crossbones on its label pictured atop a creature in a straitjacket slobbering “Just one more for the road, Jack!” Or, maybe an egg-carton in the grocery should sport a picture of a tombstone with the inscription R.I.P. – E Coli!. Doesn’t just about everything eaten or done carry a certain amount of risk…and isn’t ol’ Uncle Sam supposed to protect all citizens…from even themselves?

Airplane ventilation systems that mix inside and outside air constantly are said to sometimes be full of every germ imaginable…especially those big-time bacteria/viruses from countries where sanitation is not a big deal. Should an airport sign at the departure point suggest using careful breathing patterns and an on-board presentation include directions on how to breathe safely as well as how to operate the oxygen masks and emergency procedures? Maybe operating-room masks should be made available for the faint of heart.

Tobacco smoke is a part of the atmosphere (although an infinitesimally small part) in most towns and cities. Perhaps a sign should be placed at the City Limits warning everyone who enters that “This is not a smoke-free zone…be warned.” The exhaust from one 18-wheeler passing through the town would leave more carcinogens in the air than about a hundred trillion cigarettes/cigars but that’s beside the point. Nanny must do her job.

This is not to say that the powers-that-be should not be concerned with the welfare of the citizens. It IS to say that government’s job is to EDUCATE the public, and it does rather well discharging this responsibility already. Add in the media and one might conclude that only those with brains made of marbles are not already aware of good health habits.

It’s when government, after doing all it can to be educationally responsible, steps into a citizen’s life to actually run it with regard even to what the citizen may eat or what kind of car he must drive or how warm/cold he may keep his house that the last straw has been expended. Perhaps Nobel Prize-winner Paul Krugman of New York Times notoriety put his finger on the culmination of the nanny-state on a talking-head program the other day when he mentioned the final analysis – death panels and taxes.

Well…there’s nothing more certain than death and taxes, so maybe he had a point…just let the government decide who does what, how much, when, and where…and the devil take the hindmost! In the meantime, kids…oh, never mind!

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

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