G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.
The Last Psychiatrist has an interesting piece on the nanny state and attempts to limit soda consumption and Buckyballs (metallic balls used by people with Asperger’s which apparently small children sometimes swallow and choke on). He writes:
Have you ever seen a bus and had the fantasy that if you got hit, you could sue the city for $5M? While it’s probably means you’re a follower not a leader (e.g. “I hate frivolous lawsuits, but if everyone else gets to do it…”) I want you to focus carefully on the implication of this fantasy: in the secret studio of your mind, even a bus accident is safe.
On the one hand, we live in a society that values free choice and personal responsibility, but we are told that it is safe to value those things only because people expect a certain amount of absence of choice and freedom from responsibility. You assume you would not be allowed to make a truly dangerous choice.
The reason you think “personal responsibility” is the answer to the Buckyballs problem is that Buckyballs already exist, and if they already exist they must be safe– or “some other omnipotent entity” would not have permitted them to come to existence. That is the problem of the West, and you cannot change it. All of the metaphors of the West imply this omnipotent entity, from “free market” to “inalienable rights” to “peace in our time.”
Throughout the piece, which is worth a full read, I was thinking about something tangential to this post. The example of the bus made me think of it . Remember the video of the black guy doing the Dougie into oncoming traffic and getting hit by an ice cream truck? It’s a pretty good example of a person believing that nothing bad can happen to them because everyone else will be doing the right thing. That people driving on the road will always watch for people Dougieing backwards into their street lane. The guy even seems to look right at the ice cream truck before it hits him. Even up to the last second before impact he expected the truck to swerve. I suppose this guy thought that no government entity would pave a road and allow him to dance onto it and be hit by a moving vehicle.