Free Markets, Free People


I sometimes wonder about our future

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.

 

~McQ

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24 Responses to I sometimes wonder about our future

  • Unbelievable, nanny statism at it’s worse.  Kids need to encounter germs, how the hell else are they going to build up any immunity?  These people should be fired for being so damn stupid.

    • In a theory dubbed the Hygiene Hypothesis, researchers are studying the effects of the over sanitation of developed societies and its effects on the long-term health of the population.   Notably, they’re discovering that the more hygienic and sanitized our environment becomes, the more likely we are to develop certain diseases of the immune system – particularly inflammatory bowel disease, type I diabetes, asthma and even multiple sclerosis.

  • The person at the health department who had enough time on his or her hands to think up this policy needs to be fired.  Obviously they don’t have enough actual, you know, community health work to do there to justify having so many employees.

  • It is a big thing.  It is more “slippery slope” crap.  I would like the names of the parents who complained.  My bet is there were no complaints.  Some idiot just decided.  If we had some kind of penalty for this kind of idiocy, we would have a lot less of it.

  • Sounds like idiot parents are to blame.

    Sessoms says parents were worried that children would share lip balm and spread germs.

    • Isn’t the obvious solution to supply lots of sticks of lip balm.  Instead, some “nameless/dickless” bureaucrat decides to ban the stuff

    • Sessoms says parents were worried that children would share lip balm and spread germs.

      >>>

      You know what?  I really can’t blame the parents, not anymore.  It’s a different time now, there’s so many more “unclean” (to be kind) people around nowadays.  The bedbug explosion in metropolitan areas being but one manifestation.  People who are lax about vaccinations abound as well (we have freaking dengue fever in FL for god’s sake) .   I don’t know if they’re really wrong to be worried.

      • Oh, I have no trouble blaming them.  This is their job as parents.  If helicopter mom’s afraid her precious little snowflake is going to get sick from a paraffin plague stick, then she should give him one of his very own and make sure he knows not to share it.  Presto.  It’s not the school district’s (or the county health department’s) job to ban them en masse because she’s a paranoid twit.

        • I’m not defending the school district but the parents.  I ride the subway everyday with all manner of horrifyingly unclean people and truth be told, if I was a parent I wouldn’t even want some of these kids in the same building as mine

  • I’ve long felt that having a kid in public schools is a form of child abuse.  Even here in Texas, you have kids getting their lives ruined for bringing a table knife to school to cut a cake.  I used to shoot on the school rifle team, firing rifles kept at the school in the school shooting range.  We didn’t kill each other.
    Funny, that…

    • I remember bringing a shotgun to show and tell. My first 4-10 I got when I was 10 years old.

      Of course it was a rural community, but still, can you beleive how much things have changed?

  • Yeah, ’cause high schoolers never swap germs by, say, making out with each other…

  • McQIt 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.

    It’s not that we meekly accept these mandates: we DEMAND them.  Let’s assume that Sessoms is being perfectly honest and that “some parents” DID complain to the board.  As Achillea points out, the parents OUGHT to have done their individual duty and simply told little Johnny and little Susie, “I do not want you to share your Chapstick, and you’ll be in trouble if I find out that you have.” Instead, they turned to the government to take the burden of their duty for them.  Bah.

    Rick Caird also raises a good point: the names of the complaining parents ought to be known in the same way that the names of plaintiffs in a lawsuit are a matter of public record.  Or has “consent of the governed” come to mean government by anonymous complaint to nameless bureacrats who bolster their collective and unaccountable decisions with unspecified “studies” and “data”?

    • Of course if “some parents” did complain, that doesn’t mean a ban has to be instituted – it would have been perfectly acceptable for the health department to point out that there is no significant proof that such things cause any significant spread of disease. That would have then required parents who disagreed to take the measures noted. And, of course, we don’t know if other parents had indeed warned their kids not to swap chap sticks. They may have.

      I think it is more significant to note Achillea’s use of “helicopter mom”. They would have a tendency to do both – tell their kids not to do it and try to get some higher power to enforce their edict.

      To other parents, it most likely wasn’t important (their kids don’t use lip balms) or they ignored it.

      That doesn’t excuse the ban or make it acceptable though. It is a violation of personal liberty and none of the state’s business. Complaints aren’t something that necessarily have to be acted upon just because some parent is concerned. That’s probably the larger point.

      • If some parents  are all weirded out by the prospect of their kiddies getting germs from Chapstik, they can train their kiddies to be careful not to share Chapstik.
        Of course, we live in a world of germs, radiation, etc.  Our wonderful bodies are designed to deal with all that, if we let them and don’t kill ourselves with craziness…like stressing over Chapstik.
        Or maybe that is natural selection at work all around us…

      • McQThat doesn’t excuse the ban or make it acceptable though. It is a violation of personal liberty and none of the state’s business. Complaints aren’t something that necessarily have to be acted upon just because some parent is concerned.

        I ask the rhetorical questions in response:

        1.  Where is the line between personal liberty and “state’s business”?

        2.  Isn’t it the business of government officials to deal with complaints by their citizens?  Yes, there are certainly cases where the complaint should be deemed as frivolous / stupid and ignored, but where is the line drawn?

        • 1. Prevention of force, fraud and violence (defense, law enforcement) – i.e. the protection of individual rights to be secure in their person and property and to be at liberty to act without coercion or be the victim of fraudulent or violent behavior.

          2. If those complaints fall under the auspices of that outlined above, certainly. Carte blanc to react to everything? Look around you.

  • Gotta wonder about the current crop of ‘adults’…

  • 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?

    I read the quote from the article to my wife moments after I read it because it was just so ridiculous.  It wasn’t a split second later when she remarked as McQ did.
    “Doesn’t that mean the kids with notes allowing them to have lip balm will now share it even more?”  She said instantly.

    It is most frustrating when these things are so painfully obvious as to be hit in the head with a ten pound wooden mallet.

    Keep up the great work, county health department.  <<Christ on a Stick!!>>

    Cheers.

    • LOL, I didn’t make connection that if you have fewer sticks of chap stick because parental notes are required, those sticks will be passed around even more, acerbating the whole problem they are trying to solve.  Just brilliant.

  • Good idea! They should also ban combs and brushes to stop the spread of head lice.—–CONEY

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