At what price are we saving ourselves?

I had left this as a comment under a prior post, the one on the stupid car seat bill coming back, but I think it's worthy of throwing out there for discussion as a top level post.

Someone had said in response to my question why we have these stupid laws out there trying to modify our behavior to someone's ideal:
The point at which we are allowed to be responsible for ourselves is that at which the taxpayer isn’t stuck for the social costs when people make stupid decisions.

And perhaps, that point moves even further once we’re convinced that a certain percentage of the population won’t do what’s best for their own welfare without a law that tells them to, and that in spite of that unsavory personality quirk, WE care about what happens to them... Or maybe we don’t care, but since they’re costing us money, we’ll reluctantly make another stupid law.
So, laws like this are introduced because "we care about what happens to them." Holy crap. There's nothing worse in this world than someone who thinks they're doing us all a favor by modifying our behavior.

Smoking? Yes, studies have shown its bad for you. Seat belts? Sure they're a good idea.... But where does it end?

Motorcycle helmets? They've tried that before. Car seats until you're 8 or 10? They're trying that right now. Tanning? Well, your mom might say "stay out of the sun dear. It ages your skin.' But does that mean there need to be a law?

At what point are we banning soft drinks, trans fats, alcohol, gambling, ammunition, or even beef? There are plenty of people out there who think any and all of those can be bad for you, and will show up in a legislative committee to testify to that fact. At this point, I'm surprised we don't have mandatory jazzercize for all citizens.

In it's early days, as one of the colonies, New Hampshire lived under a monarchy which had utter control over their daily lives. Their motto is "Live Free or Die."

In a way, it's too bad South Dakotans don't have that kind of history as a reference point. Because we're continuing to slide down a path where do-gooders demand that government controls every aspect of our lives with admonishments that they're doing it because "it's good for us."

Damn us for not valuing our personal freedoms more.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Like my daddy used to say

"as long as you put your feet under my table you will,,,,"

I also believe that authority should accompany responsibility.

If I, as a taxpayer, am "responsible" to pay for the effects of smoking, drinking, gambling, overeating, no seat belt, no helmet, no carseat freedom folks,,,

Then I as a Taxpayer expect to have some "authority" over the same folks,,,,,dont want to be under my authority ? then dont make me responsible !!!!

The first thing those no-helmet folks do when they crash and are dis-abled is come crying to the tax-payer for medicare/medicaid, unemployment, dis-abilty, food stamps, rent and heat assistance, etc, etc etc, etc,

young gals wanna smoke, then they want the taxpayer to pay for their pre-mature babies,,,

I could go on n on, but im sure you get it

I am for less government, and more personal responsibilty
jones girl said…
No, but if you have money, I’m not so apt to get stuck with the bill when your stupid decisions lead to tragedy.

The “If you don’t care” part that you skipped over is the crux of the matter. I should have known the other part would get the standard response. It’s the fact that the taxpayer is the bank, the insurance company of last resort for people with nothing to lose, that’s key. Until you’re willing to stand in the hospital ward or emergency room and make sure every ex-smoker/lung cancer patient or bare melon motorcyclist or loose child in the car crash victim, all with no insurance (or even with insurance), doesn’t run up a bill of more than x before you send them home to die, or until you figure out a way to deny medical care to prisoners with horrendous health issues, this is strictly a dollars and sense matter. If you really want to control the cost of government, you’ve got to spend money on prevention of those costs in the first place. How can we afford the trumpet of “personal freedoms” when the costs of stupid decisions are bleeding the public treasury dry?
nonnie said…
Ive got an idea. Why don't we do like California is doing. Add a fee to the hospital bill or doctor bill. They are doing it to cover the cost of the illegal aliens they have to treat, at the expene of taxpaying legal citizens of couse. Instead of a law, maybe a fee (they won't call it a tax in CA) to cover the cost of everyone who makes stupid decisions in their lives and ends up in the hospital with bills they can't pay. Actually that will probably be the next step.
Anonymous said…
As a resident of North Dakota and former resident of South Dakota, I find it extremely interesting how many of the same bills are being introduced in both legislatures. Tanning, abortion, etc..the list goes on.
One of the inherent problems with these legislators is this: These goofy dorks go to these conventions of state legislators. They get all sorts of ideas from legislators in other states, and from lobbyists trying to promote their agenda. Then they come back home and try to "solve a problem".
A great example: In North Dakota the legislature spent valuble time banning alcohol devices that allow you to inhale the vapor rather than ingest alcohol by drinking. This is in light of the fact that not a single device of that nature was in use in ND. The sponsor of the bill stated that he learned of the devices during a seminar at the National Association of State Legislators.
Keep these goofy guys home, and maybe we won't have so many bills introduced.
lexrex said…
jones girl is on to something. the nanny state isn't possible without funds. the more it grows with our tax dollars, the more it will make laws like these.

as taxpayers are asked to fund, more and more, socialized medicine programs, don't be surprised when those same taxpayers start demanding even stupid, condescending, nanny-state, social-engineering laws like these, especially when the tendency is to always turn to the government to fix things.

(when it comes to non-taxpayer funded medicine, the more productive thing for these do-gooders to do would be to turn their attention to private insurance companies and get them to change their policies: "hey, if you don't wear a helmet and get in motorcycle accident, we won't cover your medical bills." leave the gov't out of it.)

it's the old adage, those who fail to govern themselves will be governed by others.
Anonymous said…
Those who presume to tell everyone else what they should and should not do because "I'm a taxpayer" and therefore expect to have "authority" over others, are the last people that should be in charge of anything, if for no other reason because who could stand to listen to their sanctimonious sermonizing. As many daddys no doubt have said, better to remain silent and thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. Crawl back into your bomb shelter.
Bob Newland said…
How glibly PP recites Republican mantra in which it is obvious he does not invest himself.

He says: "we're continuing to slide down a path where do-gooders demand that government controls every aspect of our lives with admonishments that they're doing it because 'it's good for us.'"

All the while he just as glibly accepts the most egregious of governmental usurpations of individual sovereignty; the so-called 'war on drugs', which has succeeded only at making some of the most vicious people on earth filthy rich (while more than quintupling the rate of illicit drug use in America).

Lexrex spouts a good line, too, "the nanny state isn't possible without funds. the more it grows with our tax dollars, the more it will make laws like these."

Yet, somehow I think lexrex also endorses putting people in prison for trying to feel better, if they don't use a gummint-approved feel-better potion. (I don't know this for sure, since we've never discussed the issue, but I think it fits with his general profile.)
Anonymous said…
Newland has a point here. No serious thinker can honestly believe that marijuana is more harmful than alcohol or tobacco, either for the person who uses it or for society at large. In fact, it's dramatically less harmful. There's really no dispute about that.

Don't believe me? Here's a link:

http://tinyurl.com/fsexk

So, to be consistent, PP will either have to advocate for the legalization of marijuana, both medical and recreational, or advocate for the prohibition of alcohol and tobacco.

But something tells me that being consistent isn't one of his priorities...
Anonymous said…
Here's a clickable link to the BBC News article about the most harmful drugs:

BBC News Article

Scroll down for a handy chart. You'll see that both alcohol and tobacco are ranked as more dangerous than marijuana.
lexrex said…
pp, the record is skipping on those drug guys.
Anonymous said…
"Saving ourselves" is neither a republican nor democratic idea. It's what societies do. It is disingenuous to point fingers at nanny-staters as if they are some sort of 'opposite' of 'conservative Republicans'.

We regulate porn. We regulate strip clubs. We regulate gambling. We regulate driving. We regulate abortion. We regulate drugs. We regulate how houses are built. We regulate when lawns are watered. We regulate the type of pets people keep. We force children to attend school through age 16.

We do these things so society works better.

Lexrex and others on here don't seem to be advocating that we legalize or eliminate regulation of all of these things.

Thud, this "nanny state" epiphet some are offering has got to stop. Use it only if you are a genuine, 100% liberterian. Otherwise, it's just a straw man.
lexrex said…
6:08, yes, we regulate for the "health, safety, welfare, and morals" (from various court decisions) of the state's citizens. that police power has long been recognized as the proper authority of a state. no argument, here.

but it has also long been held that before a state may exercise that authority, it must have very clear reason to do so.

most but not all of those things you listed clearly fall under that standard. some are very debatable. much of what pp is talking about is just that: debatable.
Bob Newland said…
Well, I guess any lingering doubts I had about exrex's ability to be inconsistent were answered.

And in response to this...
"Thud, this "nanny state" epiphet some are offering has got to stop. Use it only if you are a genuine, 100% libertarian. Otherwise, it's just a straw man."

Couldn'ta said it better myself. Anyone of any political persuasion has at least one gripe about gummint. Even the most socialist or totalitarian among us can then decry the "nanny state" for that one thing gummint does that annoys him, regardless of all the other crap gummint is doing that is destroying the lives of peaceful honest people.

"First they came for the [your neighbor's ethnic/religious/political classification]s, but I was not a [your neighbor's ethnic/religious/political classification], so I didn't speak out...."
Douglas said…
lexrex presents assertion as if it is fact. Here is some assertion that was factual at one time. About 30 years ago, I worked in highway safety. The federal government tried to persuade states to require seatbelt use. The SD legislature could spew hours worth of righteous irrelevancies as if they actually applied to highways.

I compared the fatality rates per million vehicle miles on interstate highways with same rate for 2-lane highways. Mandatory seat belt laws at that time were projected to save something in the area between 100 and 150 lives per year. This would be done at essentially zero cost.

To save that many lives would require converting 3000 miles of 2-lane highway to interstate standards...and that may have been a conservative estimate, but with very significant multi-million dollar costs attached.

Ronald Reagan thought slashing childhood immunization (damned nanny state stuff again) would save the government a potful of money. Well, it was signficant dollars, but turned out it was a pitiful small fraction of the costs that would be dumped on state, local, and federal systems for treatment of diseases and problems that would fester without the childhood immunization.

And while lexrex is rumbling along without virtual seatbelts at about 100mph worth of political ideology speaking out in some loud way for mostly nearly irrelevant freedoms to be incredibly stupid and ignorant of statistics, he is slogging along a virtual cowpath supporting restricting female's freedoms to control their own bodies. These huge incongruities don't seem to bother conservatives.

Whatever argument appears to work for the next 5 minutes is sufficient. Never mind the lifetime of regret and ridiculous mental summersaults that follows.
Anonymous said…
"pp, the record is skipping on those drug guys."

You're usually better than that, Rob. Confront the issue: if marijuana is less harmful than booze or smokes, what valid reason does the state have to regulate it?

Or don't confront it, I guess. You would know something about a skipping record, wouldn't you...
milt said…
This is easy to understand. We live in a progressive world. All issues are discussed on progressive terms. Not to forget about self interest, but the progressive view, with minor skill, can be applied to this too.

This is true for our governor, administration, state, county and local bureaucrats and MOST legislators as well as much of the electorate.

That's the reality of South Dakota politics. South Dakota may be a Republican state, red as the rest, but it is not conservative. So to see this and other legislation like it appear is of no surprise. Someone in the SD chamber of commerce probably owns a franchise in Carseats-R-us.

It is preposterous how we see the terms "conservative" and "libertarian" abused and thrown about. They just don't apply in the Big Government state of South Dakota.
Anonymous said…
Did you all see Maggie Gillespie preaching to the House to pass the booster seat bill? Her hands were on her hips, voice blaring, fire coming out of her nostrils, and I believe I could see horns growing out of her head! She was MAD! And despite her demeanor, her side won, 37-33.
nonnie said…
I watched State House last night. I thought the best arguments against this bill were put for by Deb Peters. Most cars don't fit three carseats in the back seat. So I guess the options are:

If you have three kids under age 8, buy a larger vehicle. Oops, more global warming there. Where is Al Gore when we need him?

Deb Peters also brought up moms ferrying kids to games and school etc. If they can't carpool,again more cars on the road and more global warming. Al, again where are you?

What about those who can't afford three car seats or a larger car Guess they will have to get used to being stopped and warned umpteen times by the police.

Are my tax dollars going to buy car seats for those who can't afford them?

And yes, I saw Maggie Gillespie's rant. I was waiting for her to give an altar call!

And then it passed??? Unbelievable.
Anonymous said…
You know, I could get very snide here. Maybe this is a form of birth control. Don't have three kids under age 8. Less kids for the state to spend eduational dollars on!
nonnie said…
Since the legislators fled the storm early and are home today, CALL your senator and voice your opinion on this issue. Hopefully they will listen.
Anonymous said…
The answer, really, is to go to a biennial legislature, meeting once every two years. That decreases by half the opportunity for these brilliant social engineers to tell us how to live.
Anonymous said…
7:28

Who's Rob?
Anonymous said…
Lexrex at 7:12.

"but it has also long been held that before a state may exercise that authority, it must have very clear reason to do so."

That's actually not true. The police power is exercised at the whim of the people. No reason necessary. At least no "clear" reason necessary. You imply that government should wait to see if people can handle it on their own first, before the government steps in. Yes, that's a philosophy, but it's not one you practice, and it's not one South Dakota practices.

Nevertheless, you sit there and type your posts as if you actually do believe that you practice that philosophy. You don't.

Other than driving, the regulation or banning of any of those activities could be handled by the free market just as well, or perhaps better. Houston, for example, has no zoning ordinances. The Netherlands has legalized drugs. Higher water rates would be more fair than rationing (about as statist of a solution as you can imagine). The multiplicity of responses by towns to nudity & stripping don't create an equal multiplicity of levels of moral health in those towns; one might also ask, 'whose moral health are nudity bans trying to protect...the dancer or the watcher?'. Compulsory education is also a rather statist response to the problem of training the next generation. How about making schools more interesting and rewarding places to be? Make schools actually compete for customers.

The point is, you live in a world filled with statist intervention, but you've grown so accustomed to it, that you are blind to it, other than for your selective vision intermittently attacked with 'nanny-state' comments.
lexrex said…
7:28, yes, i know how to skip a record. but somehow the drug advocates always seem to bring every issue back to drugs, just as some pro-lifers and anti-lifers always bring everything back to abortion.

we were having a nice discussion about seat belt laws and such and then someone's had to bring up the drug issue, as if it's never been discussed before.
Anonymous said…
"Who's Rob?"

Lexrex is Robert Regier, the current or former Executive Director of the South Dakota Family Policy Council.
Anonymous said…
10:53 Ohhhhhhhhh. Well that explains a lot.
I've had at least 100 debates with him and never knew who he was. Very interesting. Thanks.
Anonymous said…
11:30, unlike some folks on this blog, including me, lexrex has never tried to hide his identity. It is well known.
Anonymous said…
11:30 Well, I only post on PPs blog as Anonymous because that seems to be the desired protocol here.

I respect people's privacy and it doesn't bother me when someone uses an alias.

In that light, I just never asked lr who he was, figuring he didn't want me to know.

But if you say he's never tried to hide behind the lexrex moniker, there's no reason for me not to believe you.

Even so, his identity is a surprise to me. I suppose I'll have to start being nicer to him now.

(smile)
Anonymous said…
"lexrex has never tried to hide his identity."

Anyone who uses a pseudonym is, by definition, trying to hide their identity.
Boiled Owl said…
11:53 Not really. Sometimes it's just fun to do.
Remember when everybody used CB's in their car and had "handles"?
Bob Newland said…
Lexrex sez, "we were having a nice discussion about seat belt laws and such and then someone's had to bring up the drug issue, as if it's never been discussed before."

Except that folks like you and PP won't discuss it. It's like the issue of government protection of drug dealers' profits exists in a different universe from discussion about the "nanny state".

Of course, when 100% of the data about a subject support your opponents' arguments, the best tack is to ignore the existence of that data.
scimitar said…
It's good to see that PP is now pro-choice.

Congratulations on your newfound concern about do-gooders controling every aspect of our lives and your exhortations to all of us to defend our freedoms.
lexrex said…
10:43, that may not be the way our state practices it, but that's the the way it ought, and was meant, to be. that's all i was saying. i agree with most of everything else you said.

but the police power of a state must be recognized as a legitimate power, am i wrong?
Anonymous said…
1:45

Anyone who truly understands and embraces liberty is pro-choice.

It means you are 100% free to do anything you please so long as you are willing to accept the consequences.

It means never having to think of yourself as a victim or blame your circumstances on someone else.

It means no one can control your mind but you.

It means government at the consent of the governed.

It means "I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death."
— Patrick Henry.

Now there's someone who understood what pro-choice meant.
lexrex said…
11:43, you don't need to be nice to me. i can handle it.

i don't hide my identity. it's just more fun. because, to be honest, rob regier's a pretty boring guy.

lexrex, on the other hand, well ... he's ... a little less boring.
Anonymous said…
11:43 Yeah, that's the way I used to feel about one of my old "avatars", 25 Cent. In those days I used to post as 4 or 5 different people, and at one time even argued with "myselves" for awhile.

I looked at as an exercise in creative writing.

Those were the days before I knew what a "sock puppet troll" was.

I was just fooling around having fun, but some people on Blogmore got really mad at me for it, so I "fired" all those other guys.

That's the only problem I see on this blog, where everyone is posting as anonymous.

It's hard to tell who's talking to whom sometimes.

And it would be really easy to post from mulitple points of view for manipulative purposes if one were of a mind.

Anyway, lr, I'm sure you know who I am by now, and hope you also know that I always enjoy my consations with you, even when we disagree...
perhaps especially then.

Like a good cigar, lr. A good cigar.

BF
Anonymous said…
"I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death."
— Patrick Henry.

"Now there's someone who understood what pro-choice meant."

Yup. And then he went home to tend to his slaves. He was pro-choice, alright ... as long as you were a white, landowning male, you could choose whatever you want. For the rest of them? Bah.
lexrex said…
yeah, i liked 25 cent. he was my favorite.

smoke 'em if you got 'em ... or while you can.
Anonymous said…
3:15. Well yeah, there's that.
Anonymous said…
Maybe we should burn it all down, go back to living on the land. Fend for yourself and be of no cost to others. Wouldn't that be nice?
Anonymous said…
"smoke 'em if you got 'em ... or while you can."

I thought you didn't want to talk about drugs, Rob? Or isn't tobacco a drug?
Elais said…
What is the difference between the seat belt law and the abortion ban?

None, both deny freedom of choice.

If Republicans don't like the tanning ban, why do they support the abortion ban?
jack said…
"Abortion hurts women. Therefore we must ban abortion." -- more crazy liberal ideology...

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