19.6.11

Protecting people from themselves. The role of government vs. personal accountability.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-tyne-13830017





A lifeboat volunteer says it is "quite bizarre" that tourists continue to try to drive on a tidal causeway outside safe crossing times.
That rescue was the eighth Seahouses RNLI crew has carried out this year.
Ian Clayton, from the Seahouses station said: "It's incredible that people seem to think they can drive their cars into the North Sea."

In the latest rescue on Thursday the couple had to abandon their hire car to the incoming tide and make their way to the causeway's refuge shelter. 
"They all seem to think it's not their fault, but they've totally ignored warning signs on both sides of the road. None of those who are caught out are locals, it's always people who are visiting the area."
Cigarettes cause a huge amount of lost economic revenue to many countries every year - and costs billions and billions of dollars in treatment for various ailments associated with smoking.

Same with alcohol - but we already know how prohibition worked out - it didn't.

I stated in favour of mandatory swim lessons for children in the US in Elementary and Middle School. This is what I got back:

Trust me Pars. Speaking as someone who works for the government the last thing you want is more involvement by us. In anything.
and
I don't know how you just took something that is a parent's responsibility and made it something that should be required by the government, but you did. I don't think it's the School Department's responsibilty to teach swimming, I think it's the parent's to ensure it happens. 
To put it simply - a great deal of people would rather have kids dying because their parents didn't teach them how to swim, than have "Big Government" gain another little piece of individual's freedom. Personally I'd rather have a little less drowning kids and less money spent on responding to frantic people calling the police saying "Help, the kids are drowning and I don't know how to swim!" But I see where people might be very resistant to any change in this. After all - it's still your right to mutilate your child's genitals - excuse me, I meant to write circumcise your child's genitals. Where to draw the line between the "Big Government" nanny-state and individual freedoms so frequently used for nefarious or stupid purposes - is a debate that will go on until the end of time.

Fast food is bad for you and causes no end of financial strain on our society and health care system.

The solution is to inform and educate, and also to install things like railroad crossing barriers to stop people from trying to get their cars across right before an oncoming train - letting the people in the car take inordinate risks will eventually not just kill them and the kids in the backseat, but also cost a whole lot of money in cleanup and lost revenue for the railway system.

Taxing the hell out of cigarettes isn't a bad idea - more money to pay for schools and wars and mass transit and infrastructure - and less people smoking less which leads to savings down the line for health care of said smokers.

The solution to the tidal-covered causeway above might be barriers - or adding signs specifying how many people have died or had to have been rescued for ignoring the danger.


You have to make it real to people - you have to give them something they can relate to. You have to make it in their financial interest to do the right thing. Force a person to drive slowly past a concrete barrier that lists how many rescues have been made at the tidal causeway, and how much a rescue will cost the rescuee. Force them to stop for a barrier or stop and click a button to lift it, with a sign above it saying:

"By clicking this button you accept full financial liability should you need to be rescued."

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