Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Big Mother Watch

Check out the top and bottom photos in this article. Get a better look here and here. This is not a spoof.

As the baby boomers move into retirement, they'll force government to reflect their ever-increasing risk aversion -- particularly at the local level. So expect much more of this nuttiness.

By the way, a sweeping generalization of a question: Do you think they're monitoring Flexi-Flyer speeds in China, or are they too busy getting ahead?


Anonymous George said...

Hmm. When I was a kid, no one wore helmets while riding bicycles. My friend was going too fast down a hill, lost control of his bike, and hit a streetlight. He's been blind ever since that day, 33 years ago. But gosh, it was sure great not having Big Mother around, makin' us wear helmets!

12/26/2007 1:55 AM  
Blogger wendyo said...

I also know at least 2 people who were killed while riding bikes, however, I still think this helmet-mania is lame, lame, lame. It's just another signpost for an idiot-proof existence and a substitution for common sense in a society that is increasingly dumb.

It's also yet another screaming dictate to "save the tiny tots."

CR, I don't know if you have had the opportunity to see the movie "Idiocracy" by Mike Judge of "Beavis and Butthead" as well as "Office Space" fame, but the premise of the film is that the main character is put to sleep in an army experiment, only to wake up 500 years later and find that he is, by far, the smartest guy on the planet——so far had the human race devolved. In my opinion, they got most of the details in the movie spot on (advertising and porn and wrestling everywhere, inability to string together a sentence, ubiquitous fast food kiosks and gatorade in the drinking fountains, etc.)...all that was missing was helmets for every activity.

12/26/2007 12:39 PM  
Anonymous Cheryl said...

I don't know why you blame Boomers for this. I'm a late Boomer, and I'm 50. People my age are grandparents, we've done all the 'what about my children' shrieking we're going to do.

12/26/2007 1:34 PM  
Anonymous judyo said...

I understand Montana and Wyoming are "helmet free". Of course, the injuries still want to be treated at emergency rooms throughout the states ... Oh, and many of 'em don't believe in health insurance either. They're mavericks and proud of it.

12/26/2007 2:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I say wearing a bike/motorcycle helmet or a seat belt is a *personal* decision.... But if you aren't wearing a helmet or a seat belt and you're severely injured, it needs to be a *personal* problem.
To me, that should mean that you waived heroic and expensive medical care. Society and the insurance ratepayers can keep you comfortable, but not be financially responsible for your choice.
(And, yes, I'd make the same argument for long-term smokers, long-term obesity, and a few other personal choice risks. At most, we owe them a comfortable ending, but let's not ignore how people contribute to and accelerate their own ending.)

12/26/2007 3:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Do you think they're monitoring Flexi-Flyer speeds in China, or are they too busy getting ahead?"

I think China is too busy completely reaming themselves with the Three Gorges dam project.

12/26/2007 8:08 PM  
Anonymous Anne Laurie said...

It's an INVESTMENT issue, CR! When raising a family meant a series of weanlings popped out at 18-month intervals, at least 20% of whom would die before their fifth birthdays, where the survivors would be effectively self-sufficient by the time they'd finished puberty, losing one or two of the family's "old age protection" units to entertainment-related fatalities or the government's latest war boondoggle was just another expected cost of doing business. In today's middle-class America, having a child means "indulging" in a precious luxury commodity, one that requires even more initial outlay and ongoing expense than a sports car or a vacation home. As an businessman, you can't really expect people who've devoted 18 or 20 years of their high-value time, thought, and capital to nuturing a Very Special Individual to shrug off the loss or depreciation of their investment so casually!

Besides, it's not the boomers who are fueling the worst of the "nannyism" you complain about; those of us over 50 are too busy joking about how lucky we were to have survived parents who drank, smoked, crammed 5 kids in the back of a compact sedan, taught us to swim by throwing us off the deep end, etc. It's the Gen-Xers, the post-boomers, America's own "Little Emperor" generation, who are now nagging their less-than-thrilled parents about the importance of low-calorie diets and endurance fitness training for geriatrics... even as they nag their kids about wearing helmets for any activity more strenuous than couch-surfing.

12/27/2007 5:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In China the gov't is too busy being mommy by protecting people from the evil on the internet, books and movies to worry about actual safety and health issues.

12/27/2007 8:45 AM  
Anonymous judyo said...

anne laurie - I so enjoyed your retort. It's so, "right on".
Thank you for the belly laugh.

12/27/2007 11:33 AM  
Blogger Clark said...

Oh, that is so-o-o-o-o Waukesha (It's pronounced WALK-ah-shaw. I was born there). And how about that Journal-Sentinel...what a piece!

Question: If a sled were to exceed 25 MPH, would the child receive a ticket since that is the posted speed limit on the nearest road (Madison and Grandview)? BUSTED! Wait! Does that child have a license to operate that vehicle? I demand all sleds be equipped with seatbelts! And NO, your child may not sit on your lap, he must be securely fastened in a child safety seat that is equally securely fastened to the sled. HEY! get off your cell phone and watch where you're sledding.

Pretty soon we won't even be held accountable for our own actions. If we make a mistake, we can just blame the government for not paying close enough attention.

P.S. There is a deadly toboggan run adjacent to the sledding hill.

12/27/2007 3:31 PM  
Blogger LFC said...

Some changes are good, like not installing monkey bars on an asphalt playground (common when I was a kid), but attempting to create a risk free world isn't the answer. It's just not a good idea to replace parenting with a long list of laws.

12/27/2007 5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

China is the new model we should be measuring ourself against? That seems like a bad move.

12/27/2007 7:32 PM  
Blogger KWohlmut said...

LFC hits the nail on the head here... creating a risk-free world, particularly if we try to bring it about through the method of lawsuits, is a fool's errand and likely to result in oppression and stifling of creativity (moral hazard issue, etc.) Although certain safeguards really are good, like he points out -- the dividing line between "safety" and "micro-management" is so fine that it might even be impossible to define consistently. This is another one of those areas where 'free-market Capitalism' is not going to give us the answer, because economies and corporations do not have human feelings, so they tend to ignore injustices in this respect -- as well as overreact and try trample on way past the point of diminishing returns, trying to pre-empt that last penny of loss liability [another inhuman failing]. I wish people would devote more thought to that dividing line, but it might just be so personal and situational as to defy definition.

The earlier comment about the movie "Idiocracy" is very relevant to this question... you can read my own review of the movie here. For example:
The super-advanced technology of the future keeps people alive, comfortable, and employed -- without anyone ever having to solve tough problems -- right up until the looming collapse that everyone except the audience is too stupid to see.

12/28/2007 12:24 PM  
Blogger Franken Blunt said...

Though beyond foolish, the only bright spot here is the fact that police have time for this helps prove that crime is down across the country.

On the other hand, China manufactures the helmets and the radar detectors so they win all the way around.

12/29/2007 1:56 PM  
Blogger James Finkelstein (Ga.) said...

When it comes to personal freedom, I think I'm somewhere between Libertarian (government- leave me alone) and Liberal (if we mandate seat belts for adults and car seats for children, we'll save lives and save money on medical expenses).

Having had a high school acquaintance killed one winter's eve in a toboggan accident the same night my friends and I rented one on the same slope, I can understand why this isn't a joking matter.

Personally, I'm way more concerned about NSA spying, officially sanctioned kidnapping and torture, the abolition of habeas corpus and Due Process, and the cowardice of Congress and the judiciary to stand up for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Once we get back our Civil Rights, I'll waste a moment worrying about helmets and winter sports.

12/30/2007 2:16 AM  
Anonymous Vietnam Travel said...

I think China is too busy completely reaming themselves with the Three Gorges dam project.

5/25/2009 1:54 PM  
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