Free Markets, Free People
Sometimes it’s something which seems minor or trivial that sets this ‘wondering’ of mine in motion. I’ll read an article or short blurb which just makes me shake my head. For instance, from North Carolina:
Students in Johnston County schools looking to relieve chapped lips better have all their paperwork in order.
The News & Observer of Raleigh reports that the district has begun requiring a note from parents before it will allow students to bring Chapstick and other lip balms to school.
Schools spokeswoman Terri Sessoms says the policy was set by the county health department. Sessoms says parents were worried that children would share lip balm and spread germs.
It sometimes is a wonder to me that we’ve managed to make it this far in our civilization without the “benevolent hand of government” to guide even the tiniest things in our lives. Here we have a “county health department” deciding unilaterally to set policy without discussion or input from anyone. I assume, given the way this is written, that the schools are required by law to do what the county health department says to do.
But certainly they understand, given the policy covers the entire school district, that lipstick is just as likely to be shared (perhaps more likely) among girls? Any conspicuous outbreaks of illness or disease experienced to base this policy upon? Or is this just an normal, everyday, precautionary intrusion upon individual liberty?
And if the kids get a note from their parents, doesn’t that mean that the fears the policy is meant to address are now obviously circumvented by allowing the balm into the school and allowing it to be potentially shared? So why have the policy?
Yeah, I know, it seem not to be a big thing in the overall scheme of problems we face. And yes, you have to pick your battles and the hills you’re willing to die upon. But that doesn’t make the minor governmental bureaucratic intrusions any more palatable than the more major ones.
It is the little intrusions, piled one upon the other, that make government more and more a part of our lives. We spend more and more time complying with government demands and mandates every day – in areas where frankly, government has no business. And we, for the most part, meekly accept them.
In reality, this seemingly minor intrusion isn’t terribly different than the recent unilateral decisions made by the TSA to begin full body scanning and enhanced pat-downs. No discussion, a unilateral decision, and your job is to comply. The assumption made is the government has the right to make such decisions because their intensions are good and the public’s concerns are of, well, little concern.
And apparently, so is their liberty.