A New Nanny State Low
As our regular readers (hi, Frank and Mary!) know, I detest the way in which our lives and laws are constantly being regulated, in matters both large and small, for our own safety. We have been discussing how this situation came into being, where we are just so happy to let the government take care of us and our children. I run the risk of sending this post into book-length territory, so let me make this quick. Who do I blame for this?
I blame the following people and groups (this is fun): Hollywood, trial lawyers, consumer reporters, and parents too willing to let other entities take responsibility for their own children (and, yes, I have a child, and, no, it’s not your job to take care of him, unless his nanny is reading this, in which case it is indeed your job to watch him between 8:30 and 6:00). I honestly bet that you could trace a line from the consumer movement to our overwrought safety obsession with the disaster movies of the 1970s. This point hit home for me a few years ago, when I was watching The Towering Inferno. Check out these lines:
Chief O’Hallorhan: You know we were pretty lucky tonight, body count’s less then 200. You know, one of these days, you’re gonna kill ten-thousand in one of these firetraps, and I’m gonna keep eating smoke and carrying out bodies until someone asks us… how to build them.
Doug Roberts: Ok, I’m asking.
Chief O’Hallorhan: You know where to reach me.
Doug Roberts: I thought we were building something where people could work and live and be SAFE! If you had to cut costs, why didn’t you cut floors instead of corners?
James Duncan: Now listen. Any decisions that were made for the use of alternate building materials were made because I as a builder have a right to make those decisions. If I remained within the building code and god-dammit I did!
Doug Roberts: [Chuckling] Building code? Jesus. Building code. Come on, Dunc, I mean now that’s a standard cop-out for when you’re in trouble. See, I was crawling around up there. I mean duct holes weren’t fire-stopped! Corridors without fire doors in them, sprinklers that won’t work, and electrical system that’s good for what? I mean it’s good for starting fires! Phew, where was I when all this was going on? Because I’m just as guilty as you and that god-damned son-in-law of yours! What do they call it when you kill people?