One of the many marvelous scenes in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is the discussion of the “Shoe Event Horizon.” Emotional depression turns into economic madness. Read about it here.
I wonder if we here in 21st Century America, at least the Fifty States, are approaching that level of depression (emotional and economic) courtesy of the nanny state. This news recently passed across my desktop: The FDA has ordered a recall of “cheese, salad, brownie and plant-based products.” (The plant-based product is “fake meat,” another form of madness to discuss another time.)
What is bizarre about these recalls is the orders which the FDA delivers to those who purchased (and presumably not eaten) the products, given the nature of the “defects” which necessitate the recall by the producers.
Their violation of food safety dictats? Label errors – they either had an incorrect “sell by” date, or left out food label information that indicated that certain allergens (like peanuts) or other ingredients were not properly identified. The food itself is perfectly safe, for most consumers. Like any other food, there are always some people allergic to certain things.
Now, I don’t argue that these errors can be serious. But the instructions from the FDA are to “NOT EAT” these things. Instead, consumers are to either return them to the store or throw them away.
By just throwing them away, you of course are throwing the money away that you spent for them, unless your store tracks not only what you bought, but the exact lot number. At least by returning it to the store, you probably will get your money back – or a replacement (correctly labeled) product. But either way, the food ends up in a landfill.
Of course, consumers can disobey the FDA – and that is not (to my knowledge, yet) a federal crime for a consumer. (It is for a food producer, store or eating establishment.)
But why? Why a blanket order? If you bought something that had a label saying the food “sell-by” date is December 2020 when it should have been January 2020, why can’t you just be sure and eat the food in January instead of leaving it on your shelf or in your reefer for eleven months? Given the product, it is unlikely that it was NOT for fairly quick consumption, anyway.
And if the food contains some potentially-deadly “contaminant” like pine nuts? (Yes, pine nuts – which are tree nuts, and therefore something some people react very badly to.) And just labeled as “pine nuts” and NOT “tree nuts?” If you are one of the 99% of the population who are NOT allergic to tree nuts, why can’t you just enjoy your brownie? Even if you are one of the (apparently increasing number of) people who cannot figure out for themselves that a “pine nut” is a kind of “tree nut.
But no, the nanny state says it is “tainted” by failure to obey their rules, and you must be punished – even if just for the time it takes to go to the customer service desk and the delay of eating what you may have planned for supper.
Nanny state schemes are noted for their constant expansion, and constant whipping up of more fear. When coupled with threats of legal action, including lawsuits, this expansion grows exponentially. And too many people trust in government too much – they believe every word published or spoken, even when it makes no sense to them. I know people who throw food away when it is a day past its “sell-by” (NOT “consume by”) date. And few who would do that but see nothing wrong or worry about opening a can which is NOT expired but bulging on top and bottom!
That, of course, is a complete lack of common sense, and perhaps of the education that they should have gotten from their parents. But the galloping nanny-state antics drive common sense away.
With each week, each month, the panic and the rules gets worse. Much of it is fear of legal action. More is fear of being different, of peer pressure as though we were all still in grade school. Because of poor education, the situation is made worse.
Because we let government do everything we can possibly think of.
Isn’t it time we stopped behaving like children? Trusting children taught that “mr. policeman is my friend” and “obey all grown-ups?” Government can’t be trusted. In part because the bureaucrats themselves aren’t concerned about “doing the right thing.” Rather, they are concerned about keeping their bosses buttered up so they can continue to have a job. And they do that by following the rules, no matter how stupid those rules may be. Their concern is not the people that they are supposed to serve, but their bosses and the politicians who are the primary parasites on the community.
So we must stop depending on government. Otherwise, we will find that our economy, our society, our civilization, will have collapsed around us under the burden of the bureaucrats. Our “event horizon” won’t have a layer of shoes, as in the Hitchhiker’s Guide. It will have a layer of paperwork, redtape, and burned-out computers and surveillance cameras.