Gut Rumbles

May 16, 2003

nanny laws

I received a lot of comments on this post. I agree with some and disagree with others.

Every one I disagree with says something about "It costs us all when people don't..."

That is the bullshit line that led to the rise of the smoke Nazis, it is the bullshit line being used now by the Oreo-Nazis and it's been lurking in the wings of the anti-gun Nazis for years. Convention wisdom seems to be, "It's costs society money for people to behave in a way that I would not behave myself; therefore, I am fully justified in passing a law forbidding that kind of behavior, because I am helping society, NOT being a petty little sanctimonious Nazi."

(And Godwin's Law be dammned on this topic. Those fuckwits ARE Nazis. They just picked somebody other than Jews to go after this time. I think they call them "stupid people" now.)

If that were TRULY the case, the same people would be wailing at the top of their lungs about third-generation welfare mothers with ten illegitimate children each teaching THEM to be ticks on the belly of society, too. THAT sort of "stupid" behavior damn sure costs society MILLIONS OF DOLLARS every year, but the nannies who wail about smoking and seat belts are the same ones who oppose welfare reform.

That "cost to society" is the cloaking device they use to justify wanting to run every aspect of other people's lives simply because THEY KNOW BEST. If you examine the issue closely, you'll see that there really isn't a dime's worth of difference between them and an Islamic fundamentalist. They are doing the will of Allah society, for the good of a society that isn't smart enough to have a will of its own.

I wear a seat belt every time I get behind the wheel. If you ride in my truck, YOUR ASS will wear a seat belt, too, or else you don't ride. I survived a T-Bone crash in the passenger seat of a Chrystler LeBaron in 1983, and that physics lesson stuck with me all the way to now. Put your head through a windshield at 60 MPH and seat belts start to make a lot of sense.

But I still oppose Georgia's mandatory seat belt law. I KNOW that seatbelts save lives. I believe that anyone who DOES NOT wear a seat belt is an idiot.

But I also believe in the right to take a risk. If you want to be an idiot, go ahead and take your chances. You live (allegedly) in a free country. Besides, when you pass a law banning idiotic behavior, idiots still violate it. What the hell have you really accomplished.

We have the mandatory helmet law for motorcycle riders in Georgia, too. I'm with Mr. Lion. If I rode a motorcycle, I would wear a full-face helmet. My head may be hard, but it damn sure isn't as hard as a paved road or a car bumper. I like my head, as full of spiders and snakes as it may be, and I want to protect it.

But the Harley riders around here wear those little beanies that are a legitimate helmet the way a fig leaf is a legitimate tuxedo. That pissant "helmet" ABIDES by the law while making a joke of it. Yeah, we need more of that shit to keep society safe from itself.

I have airbags in my truck. I keep the passenger side turned off (yes, I have a special key for that purpose) because Quinton rides there and that air-bag is much more of a deadly menace to HIM than a nanny-protecter device. But my "smart" government mandated that it be there to protect "stupid" people like me.

Bejus! You know what's really wrong with this country? People like dawn olsen can swallow these kinds of laws by the bucketfull and never realize that they taste like pure shit.


AMEN...AMEN...AMEN! With this I wholeheartedly agree. We are faced with the thought police, the health police, the sex police, the children's time for them to all either resign or just plain ol' take their noses out of our private lives and business.

Posted by: quark2 on May 16, 2003 06:35 PM

I have some problems with this line of reasoning: by this kind of absolutist rationale, NO regulatory law is tenable because all infringe upon personal risk-taking.

Society has a right to establish certain minimum safety standards against such things as forcing innocents to absorb toxins and carcinogens from the air in closed surrroundings. No one is stopping people from smoking, just from smoking around others in enclosed settings - nothing Nazi-like there, just protecting personal liberties.

Re seat belts: as you said, seat belts save lives and society has a right to encourage people to do the right thing when there is no observable downside.

What "freedom" is being violated by including a regulation to wear a live-saving seat belt while operating a vehicle on public roads? Driving itself is not a right, but a privilege. We have many traffic safety laws, this is just another. When the upside is, say, 98% safety, vs. 2% downside of inconvenience and/or restriction on "risk-taking," the choice is fairly clear.

Freedom is not absolute, people are not perfect, and it is in society's best interest to steer people away from splattering themselves unnecessarily on the highway. And the penalties in Ohio, anyway, are hardly severe: just a traffic ticket, and you cannot be pulled over for a seat belt violation, it can only be added to another violation like speeding, etc.

Incidentally, while personal appearance is clearly a subjective matter, Dawn is much closer to 10 than to 5 in my eyes.

Posted by: Eric Olsen on May 16, 2003 08:00 PM

I am happy that you feel that way about Dawn, Eric. May you both live long and prosper.

But I disagree strongly with your idea that "society " (Who would that be, by the way? Lawyers, advocacy groups, politicians, Greenpeace, Earth First, PETA or the KKK?) does anything to "protect" people out of the good of its heart. Show me somebody trying to "protect" me and I'll show you a hidden agenda. Every time.

Those people are not saints and half the stuff they "protect" you from was never a goddam danger anyway. They just declared the danger, manipulated it for their own designs and then rode to the rescue.

That's the oldest trick in the book for a snake-oil salesman--- Scare 'em, then save 'em!

And yes, society has a right to ENCOURAGE the use of seat belts. But government has NO RIGHT to REQUIRE them.

That's where you and I are miles apart.

Posted by: Acidman on May 16, 2003 08:40 PM

Gawd, I'm agreeing with Acidman again. I need therapy.

Seriously, I am 5 foot barely 3, and in order to reach the pedals, I am WAAAY to close to that beloved airbag. Made my husband swear he would sue whatever regulatory body mandated airbags if I should die in such a scenario.

My insurance, health care, etc., rates are going up, doesn't matter what the f*ck anyone else does or does not do, so don't lay that crap trap on me, either.

And the REALLY down side is, we are raising a generation that expects EVERY and ALL risk to be removed -- by the nanny state, I guess -- and who in the hell thinks THAT is a good idea?

Posted by: cj on May 16, 2003 09:20 PM

You GO, CJ!

Posted by: Acidman on May 16, 2003 09:42 PM

Where I live, if you're in a vehicle, it's either buckle up or get a ticket, but you can ride a motorcycle without a helmet. (It's said that doctors call helmetless riders "organ donors.")

I'm with you, Acidman. It should be the individual's choice if they want to sniff glue until their frontal lobes crystallize. None of the govt.'s goddamn business.

Posted by: me again on May 16, 2003 11:17 PM

As you point out in your comment about motorcycle helmets, even laws don't stop people from being stupid.

The seatbelt laws and hemet laws, however, have forced some of the terminally stupid into doing the sensible thing and protecting themselves. I get to see the rest at the roadside as a volunteer EMT.

Maybe I've got PTSD, but I am so tired of picking up after the terminally stupid and of paying for the terminally stupid. The laws have resulted in me having to this this less often and, for me, that's a good thing.

Those stupid decisions don't just affect the stupid. As was pointed out in the other post, unbelted, you are a peanut inside a large can. You can injure everyone else in your car as well as yourself. Then I get to have to try to save your sorry ass. And explain to your family what happened at the hospital. And they have to deal with the results, for decades, for lifetimes. Lots of people are affected when you choose not to wear a belt or a helmet and have an accident.

Of course the government rarely gets it exactly right. We wouldn't need the "nanny laws" if everyone were sensible, thoughtful, and careful. The libertarian principle that I know what's best for me is true, but so is the one that says that my freedom stops at someone else's nose. And too damn often that's my nose.

Posted by: Chuck on May 17, 2003 07:17 AM

Hit on one of my pet subjects here.
I drive a car, a truck, and a motorcycle. I use a seat belt everytime in the car and truck, and wear a helmet (open face, sorry A-man, I like the wind in the face). We have laws that say that you MUST do all of the above. WHY?
So some shitwit who believes he knows best can sit back and pontificate that he is "protecting society"?
I got this far in life by limiting risks, but I've also had a heap of fun by disregarding the same risks.
Life is too short to legislate the fun out of it.
Stick these nanny laws right up your date (aussie word for fundamental orifice), and let the individual decide.

Posted by: Aussie Pete on May 17, 2003 07:17 AM

I was just thinking yesterday that I might post on this myself.

Seemed to me as I was thinking, that the first sign of a winning political trend's imminent demise is when its adherents decide that everyone else is stupid so they have to use their newly won power to save the stupid from themselves. It bothered me to think the present trend might have achieved that point so soon.

Thanks, Rob, for reassuring me otherwise.

Posted by: McGehee on May 17, 2003 09:12 AM

    Of course the government rarely gets it exactly right. We wouldn't need the "nanny laws" if everyone were sensible, thoughtful, and careful.

Chuck is right, if everyone were sensible, thoughtful and careful. But that is not the case because there are no restrictions on breeding and that allows for LOTS of stupid people.

Tell me Acidman, what if seat belts and child safety laws weren't in affect and your ex-wife was one of theose "stupid" people and decided that she didn't want to strap in your son, because she didn't think the government had the right to tell her what to do - or she was just a moron?

I guess in that case you better hope for a miracle. Because stupid people have accidents too.

I can understand NOT wanting the government to tell us what do in the most minutia of details, but certain laws you just have to live with. That is if you want to live.

What you have failed to mention is that thousands of otherwise "stupid" people have become smarter because of the proliferation of these laws.

I think educating the public through example is the best thing the government could do as an entity.

Oh, ps, thanks Eric, I think considering the fact that Acidman mentions my appearance on a number of occasions, he is trying to deflect from his true feelings.

Aww, how flattering.

Acidman, you are just acting like a dimwit in this argument. And quite honestly, you know it.

What Chuck says here makes a lot of since

Posted by: Dawn on May 17, 2003 09:16 AM

I am 5'2", if that airbag goes off it /will/ rip
my bearded head off. Thats assuming it doesn't shove shards of what was my glasses into my eyes.

Who was the dumbass who decided that straping a fucking _bomb_ to the steering column was a good idea? If I could turn it off
I would.

Minors should be required to wear seatbelts/helmets; adults shouldn't. Minors by definition are not legaly resonsible for their own actions; adults _are_.

Now if your insurance company says that it won't pay out if you aren't wearing that belt, thats fine and their right; but it isn't the place of the state to be my fucking mother, I got one of them already, thank you very much.

Ah hell this is just a fart in the breeze. Too much money being made on this PC bullshitery to stop it.

Posted by: Brad on May 17, 2003 09:33 AM

retraction please - I was posting like a dimwit in my last comment. Yes, you may assail me for my lack of editing skills.

Thank you, may I have another.

Acidman, do you have any idea how much I love reading your site?

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