I have become a cynical skeptic lately. I used to want to believe that if I read it in the newspaper, or it was broadcast on the news that it was truth. I was being a naive idealist, hoping that what I read and heard was truth instead of fiction. I could easily dismiss a hidden truth as conspiracy or ignorance of the facts, while being ignorant of the facts myself, but the internet cured me of that immediately. That is not to say that the internet spews truth from its invisible fountain, but it makes finding the facts much easier, it also makes choosing to listen to all sides of an argument easier. For the same reason that I listen to conservative talk radio, I browse Fox News, “Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer.”
What do you believe you know?
I accidentally challenge myself almost every single day. I say accidentally because I’m not some hard-core philosopher whose task it is to decode the DNA of the world’s mechanisms I will ask a question and if I don’t find an answer I punt. I start guessing and measuring and pressing in on the who, where, what, when and why? I want to get to the very root of a choice and right now my choice is to make you aware of who is making decisions for you whether you like it or not.
First off, for those of you who are of a Conservative bent, those who claim to believe that there is too much government and that we need to have more personal responsibility and freedom; my line on that is this: You cannot have it both ways, either I make my own decisions on everything or someone else makes the decisions for me. You cannot claim to make a law based upon that which is “for the public good” without also saying that then you believe I cannot make that decision myself. For example: Marriage equality. Since when is telling a person who can or cannot marry whom any business of a government? If you choose to preach personal responsibility and smaller government you must not make any exception because of a religious consideration. Period.
Whether or not you are liberal or conservative, a hippie on a bike or a soccer mom in an SUV, a conservative Christian or a libertarian atheist, decisions have been being made for you since you were born and from the moment you woke up this morning. These decisions were made for you by law makers from 100 years ago, and the ones of today. Your liberty was compromised from the moment of conception, and you cannot refute the fact that this is true.
When you turn off your alarm clock in the morning between March 11, 2012 and November 4, 2012 you are the subject of Daylight Savings Time which is regulated by the USDOT (United States Department of Transportation).
As you fill your coffee maker with water you are subject to the safety regulations of your government especially if you do not have a well. Your water has been treated with fluoride and chlorine, filtered and sent to your tap, a service which you pay for. (These laws are for public safety are regulated by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). But there is no need for fluoride for public safety that is usually decided by a municipality.
As you add cream to your coffee you are subject to laws made by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) which require the pasteurization and homogenization of your milk, half & half, cream or any dairy product. Even if you wanted to purchase raw milk products you may not be able to find it in your state, as selling unpasteurized milk might be a crime worthy of the confiscation of your farm.
Once again your water is controlled by the EPA as you shower or use the toilet, the flow of water through your taps has been regulated to make sure that no more than 2.5 gallons per minute pass through your shower head, and no more than 1.6 gallons per flush through your commode.
We’ll skip your personal care routine since there are an unlimited number of routines that you might go through and a number of warnings that you will come across as you dry your hair, or accidentally trip the GFCI outlet that is next to your sink. All in the name of public safety, or your personal safety.
For your safety, you have given up many freedoms as you will see as you get into your car to drive to work
- You must pass a state required exam to be licensed to drive in the first place. The DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) deals with this.
- You have to put on your seat belt or you will be ticketed. The NHTSA (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration) makes the rules but your state Highway Patrol and local police department handle the ticketing.
- Your state requires you to purchase insurance if you intend on using their roads to get to work in my state this is the NC DOI (North Carolina Department of Insurance).
- You must follow posted speed limits or you will be ticketed NC DOT made the rules.
- You will stop at a red light and slow down in preparation to stop at a yellow light, you will go at a green light or be ticketed (DOT).
- Your car now has a computer that is checked by the state that tells them whether your car is safe to drive, if it is not your inspection will not pass and you will lose your right to register your tag with the state which will, when expired, will result in a ticket NC DOT in collaboration with the EPA I’m sure.
- You must buckle your child into an approved safety seat or booster seat until they are 8 years old or 80 pounds this comes to us from the NHTSA. In researching this I found that in some states it’s 66 pounds but for some reason the 8/80 thing sticks with me. I feel for the skinny little second graders who are stuck in a car seat because they are too small to use the provided seat belt in the car. Also they are stuck in the back seat whether they yelled shotgun or not.
Your workday is regulated by those your work for, if you work in a restaurant you are subject to the laws laid out for sanitation and care in cleaning a restaurant in preparation for serving food. These laws are here for a reason, because at some point in history someone didn’t wash their hands before preparing or serving your food, so the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) made it a law. There are minimum temperatures at which all meats should be served and all other foods should be held. The temperature of the water flowing from the tap is also regulated so is the way dishes are washed and plates at a buffet are used. Yet I don’t see a state regulator standing there slapping away the hands of children who seek to dip from the chocolate fountain at Golden Corral.
If you are in construction there are federal, state, and county codes that you must adhere to in order for the building to pass inspection. In my state this is handled by the North Carolina Building Code Council.
If you are an inspector it is your job to make sure that these codes are adhered to.
If you are a doctor or nurse you must pass licensure in your state in order to work these tests are overseen by the AMA and state medical associations. Same goes for teachers and administrators, licensing handled by state Boards of Education. There are also codes of conduct that must be followed because your work is of a very personal and sometimes confidential nature. As a doctor you must also carry malpractice insurance so that you are protected from litigious patients. (I have absolutely no objections to these regulations as a doctor must be at least minimally trained in order to operate and we need to insure that these persons are qualified before we allow them to practice upon us. Teachers also should be required to prove that they are trained well enough to handle our entitled and unruly youth, as well as the parents of said youth).
If you are a Midwife, in some states you must also be a nurse to practice your craft. (Once again I have no problems with this but some states are so restrictive as to not allow midwives at all, thereby offering little choice for mothers to be and the families who would rather not give birth in a hospital).
Okay, there are millions of regulations at work. . . I can’t list them all here, but almost every job you do is regulated in some way by a government; whether city, county, state or federal. So let’s go home now, it’s 5:30 pm and you’re tired because your job dealing with the public/private sector is exhausting. You backed up your e-mail onto the server just like you are supposed to because the US Courts require it in case of litigation.
At the grocery store you buy a pot roast and vegetables both USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) certified organic because it’s better for your family. That “organic” label is there because the government said it could be. The producers had to pass rigorous inspections in order for that label to be applied to the acorn squash you just bought. The dietary information label on that package of Chips Ahoy is also regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). And corn is in almost everything you buy, why? Because the government pays farmers to grow it, not a regulation, I know but a subsidy and those are just as bad as regulations.
You get home and turn the A/C down to 74, summer in the south is draining. Your air-conditioning unit is energy star compliant and no longer uses freon. For that matter almost everything electric that you turn on in your house can have this certification your TV, water heater, dish washer, stove and oven have been approved by the government for your use. More government regulation there, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and the Department of Energy have come together to help you save money and be more “green”.
How about UL listing? Nope, they are an independent not for profit safety and testing company, there is no government here.
TV time, the food has been safely stored away in glass containers (No biphenyl-A in your house) you turn on and watch a re-run of the Soprano’s on A&E, scrubbed by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) for your protections because the “F word” can cause permanent brain damage and bad morals (That’s not it? Then why should they care what words we can hear or not hear coming from our TV?). Apparently so can seeing someone smoke on TV, and yet it seems like every show has some variety of alcohol consumption and/or drunken behavior written into it.
Finally you get to tuck your infant into their CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission, a federal agency) regulated flame resistant onesie on their back as recommended by the NICHD (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) in a crib that is approved of by the CPSC. Let’s not forget to read them a book. If your book was printed before 1985 the government thinks that they might be unsafe for your child because of lead based inks so make sure not to recycle those books from your childhood or your parents childhood, and whatever you do don’t let the kids eat the books!
Off to bed for you too, you have to wake up early the next morning, your mattress, pillows, blankets and sheets have all been approved by the US Government, read the tag sometime. The materials have been certified as new materials (unless the pillow is made from feathers or down, I’ll bet the goose is upset that you are using his second-hand feathers). The contents of your mattress are clearly described on the label as regulated by a law written in the early 1900’s.
So sleep well knowing that (even if you still don’t believe or understand it), the government of the United States of America has you well under control. For those of you upset about the Affordable Healthcare Act, don’t worry too much, the US Government has your best interests at heart, and is well on its way to determining whether everything else in your life is regulated to their satisfaction as well.
As always I welcome your comments and corrections.