Jane Haddam’s WordPress weblog

What Jane Is Claiming

with 3 comments

But before I get specific about that–you guys do realize that Mique is talking about Australia, which may have different water issues than the US?

The short answer to Mike F is that I did not say I did not want any advice at all, I said I didn’t want any advice from Michelle Obama.

I’ll expand that to say that I don’t want any of this kind of advice from the government.

In fact, I’ll go farther than that.  I think the government should be legally prohibited from even collecting information on citizens’ weights, their eating habits, or any other private choices.

These things should not be the business of government.  Ever.  For any reason.

And I object to Michelle Obama’s advice because, unlike the “advice” given by commercials, she’s de facto in a position to coerce me into doing it her way.

Corporations can run commercials on television and ads in magazines and I can be “gullible” enough to take the bait–but only the government can forcibly require me to buy their product.

The SCOTUS tells me that may demand that I buy the products of a private corporation and penalize me if I don’t. It says that when the government gives money to schools to provide school lunches it can tell the schools what kind of lunches to provide.

Thousands of school children who get no other hot meal for the day except for their subsidized school lunches didn’t get much of even that one all last year as they were fed food they didn’t want and threw out, leaving them to be hungry and distracted during their afternoon classes while their richer classmates (whose parents could afford to pack lunches for them) got yet another advantage in school.

Corporations can’t force me.  They can’t even restrict my choices unless they can get the government to do things like, oh, erect a regulatory regime that’s a rule of men and not law, with lots of vague regulations arbitrarily enacted and applied and therefore making it nearly impossible for upstarts to challenge established large firms.

And no, “manipulation’ by advertising is not just as bad, or even nearly as bad.

I’m sorry. I just don’t see my fellow Americans as mindless automatons helplessly unable to resist advertising.  We resist it all the time.  We’re citizens, not victims.  And we’re the reason why 90% of all product launches fail.

But this particular case, the case of bottled water, is even less of a good example than most examples of this kind.

Because this thing with bottled water didn’t start because corporations manipulated Americans into thinking their water wasn’t safe.

It started as snobbery.

It started, in the 70s, among the kind of people who went to the kinds of schools I went to as a badge of sophistication.  You drank Perrier instead of regular water because regular water was, well, you know, American.   

All those poor rubes out there, drinking tap water–well, they just didn’t know any better.  Every time you saw them scarfing up their awful tasting stuff, well, you could just smile to yourself a little, because you were just so much more in the know.

I remember this.  It drove me absolutely crazy.

Did corporations take advantage of this and market the stuff to people who thought like this?

You betcha.

I see absolutely nothing wrong with that.  I see nothing unethical in that. 

I DO see something wrong and unethical in the symbiotic relationship between business and government that has created a vast regulatory state who primary function is not to protect consumers from corporations but corporations from competition.

So–cut back the regulatory state.  Take away the ability of agencies and departments to issue “regulations” which are really laws that have skirted the democratic process.  Let any ambiguities in the laws be decided by the courts, where decisions set precedents that apply to everybody. End the need for businesses to hire dozens of functionaries just to deal with the government paperwork. Forbid business bailouts. Ever. 

Do all that, and you may reduce the power of corporations. 

You may even make them smaller.

In the meantime, I want to forbid my government from meddling in the state of my health, or my nutritiion, or any of those other things that are supposed to be part of PRIVATE life.

Written by janeh

September 14th, 2013 at 10:00 am

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses to 'What Jane Is Claiming'

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  1. Jane, Mique didn’t post any comments about water!

    Michael, what do you think of the last Presidential campaign with 100s of millions of dollars spent on advertising?


    14 Sep 13 at 6:16 pm

  2. Brava, Jane.

    I get very sick of being preached at by people who think they know what’s good for me. I become almost homicidal when I see those same people colonise government instrumentalities and quangoes and then use the taxpayers’ money to bombard the media with their self-righteous opinions and advice, often based on nothing better than junk science.

    Urban Australia generally speaking has very clean and palatable water. The rural areas, including small towns, not so much. Even certain large cities, eg Adelaide, the state capital of South Australia, have water that, while perfectly safe, simply tastes awful. Outside the major capitals, Australia’s water supply problems are legendary. Bottled water is a cheap and efficient means of providing essential drinking water in areas where low demand and problematic supplies make the provision of water storage, purification and reticulation impracticable.

    It would take an essay of Fisherian proportions to enumerate all the benefits of bottled water, be it as supplied by the ship load for the troops in Afghanistan and other such places, or simply for the waiting rooms in doctors’ surgeries and the like. Providing reticulated potable water in all the places where people are likely to need it, as opposed to merely want it, is economically prohibitive, so a bottled water industry makes good sense.

    And even if it didn’t if people want it, then someone will find a way to provide it. Conversely, if someone simply has it and is willing to provide it, the demand will arise. It beggars belief that anyone could see anything wrong with that?


    14 Sep 13 at 9:28 pm

  3. But Jane, if our rulers can’t hector us about our personal lives, it would suggest that they aren’t wiser or morally superior to the rest of the population! They’d be reduced to national defense, maintaining courts, issuing currency and suchlike, no better than regular people. Hollywood celebrities would be reduced to entertainers, syndicated journalists to reporting news and First Ladies to being the wives of Presidents.

    We’ve spent the last fifty years–maybe the last eighty–growing a ruling class far above us, and that particular genie is not going back in the bottle. We’re going to have to kill it.


    15 Sep 13 at 2:58 pm

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