Quote of the day–Wendy McElroy

I think it is altogether possibility that all freedom in America will be killed in the name of public safety.

Wendy McElroy
February 24, 2009
Modern day Committee for Public Safety
[It’s obvious on the gun laws but it extends way, way beyond that. Just think about the regulation of all industry. A business can be fined and or prosecuted if they

  • Don’t clean their tools according to code (everything from hair cutters to restaurants)
  • Don’t get the government approval of the label on their product (alcoholic beverages)
  • Don’t install safety equipment on their products (think about all the mandated materials and equipment on a car and imagine what horse riding would be like after the government safety committee got through with it)
  • Don’t have a separate bathroom for the exclusive use of the government inspector (meat inspectors)

Enumerated powers were supposed to protect us from this sort of thing. What happened and how do we regain our freedom? Sebastian doesn’t have the answers but formulating the problem sometimes helps.

H/T to Say Uncle and Two–Four.–Joe]


3 thoughts on “Quote of the day–Wendy McElroy

  1. Don’t have a separate bathroom for the exclusive use of the government inspector (meat inspectors)

    Ok, that one just boggles my mind. At least with the first three, I can see how they relate to public safety. But the last one has more of a “I can’t use the facilities of the commoners” feel to it.

  2. I haven’t verified that for myself but it was mentioned in the book The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

    My hypothesis is the inspectors were being intimidated while “doing their business” or something and that was the solution someone came up with.

    I include it because it is an additional “tax” on the cost of doing business in the name of “public safety”.

  3. I do find it interesting (the “oh God, that train is about to hit a car” interesting, not the “I agree with this” interesting) the various ways that the government overshoots in its attempts to provide for public safety.

    I do believe that our state and federal governments exist, in part, to protect us from each other. As someone who has worked in the restaurant business, I like health inspectors. Granted, I might feel differently if I’d been dealing with Chicago or NYC health inspectors. But where I lived in Virginia and Maryland, any requirements we had to meet were reasonable. Some were surprising the first time you learned about them. But it really is amazing how something that isn’t really a big issue when cooking for 4-10 people in an evening turns into a huge health risk when you’re cooking for 400-1000 in the same time frame.

    I agree with requiring people that do things like cutting hair or manicures to know how to prevent health risks, and be licensed to show that they know these things. I even agree with requiring places that manufacture beer, wine, or liquor to show that their product isn’t a health risk (whether by toxins or bacteria).

    The problem is that the various licensing schemes have taken a life of their own, and these only serve to keep the smaller people out of the business. They’re effectively a government mandated guild system at this point. It does not take thousands of dollars of classes to learn how to was someone without risk to their health. But, because businesses that do that encourage more and more strict requirements to be licensed, it prevents people that don’t have much money from getting into the system.

    Personally, I don’t think any licensing should be mandatory. I think, in many cases, getting the license should be an option. If your customers don’t care if you don’t have a license, then that’s their choice to make.

    The point where I really feel like the government is stepping way over the line is with laws regarding things like seat belts and air bags. This could turn into a short novel if I really got into all of the annoying things I have to deal with, simply to protect me from myself. Things like state vehicle inspections are fantastic, until they stop limiting the inspection to things that make me a threat to others (worn brakes/tires, headlights aimed too high or too bright, etc.). A good example of this would be air bags. It is perfectly fine for me to drive a car that doesn’t have air bags installed. But if the car came with air bags, and they aren’t working, now I’m unsafe?

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