The ‘Nanny State’

I really think that Australia is becoming a ‘Nanny State’. (A place where government regulation is so intrusive that you are guided in almost every conceivable way in which you behave in the community. In Australia, or example, it is compulsory to wear bicycle helmets, have permits for nearly everything we do in the community and defined ways of being politically correct when dealing with others. I wonder  just how long it will be until the government regulates when we will be able to fart.

Americans, likewise,  seem to have to have an absurd requirement to provide detailed warnings and notices about almost anything that can impact your life or well-being. It’s almost as though you can’t think for yourself.

For instance (unlike Australia) pharmaceutical companies are allowed to advertise their products on television. A typical TV commercial for some type of drug starts with a visual of a happy couple enjoying life and then  describes the reason for this being because they don’t have haemorrhoids as they use a certain form of medication. This promotional part of the TV commercial takes about twenty seconds out of a one minute commercial. The other forty seconds then describe in nauseating deal most anything that may impact your life. ail all the complications and side effects of the particular medication. It doesn’t matter whether the medication is for asthma or for high blood pressure, they always follow the same pattern. I don’t know whether people here are uninformed or whether perhaps their GPs get overwhelmed with a request for a specific type of medication overtime that they see a patient.

Business seem to be required to state the clear risks of everything in their promises. Our hotel in San Francisco had a sign near the lift saying something like: ‘Airborne particles such as second hand tobacco smoke, chemical residues etc may be present in this environment of this hotel and can be a cause of cancer. Well, if  you didn’t know that before, you do now! That seems so obvious to me that it doesn’t need to be stated but I suppose that if ever I  contracted some form of cancer in the future, I can go back and say that I got it from my stay at  the Holiday Inn in San Francisco.

At the lodge here at Yosemite, there is a notice at the bottom of the menu saying ‘Thoroughly cooking foods of animal origin such as beef, egg, fish, lamb, pork, poultry or shellfish reduces the risk of food borne illness. This is just common sense. Is it really necessary to print a disclaimer on a menu to state what is obvious. Perhaps in such a litigious society as the USA it really is. Heaven help us if we adopt a similar approach h in Australia!

I noticed that Nestle (who made the ice cream that I ate at lunch time) felt it necessary to state on the label that they could not guarantee whether their suppliers did, or did not, use some type of milk substance with initials that i had never heard of before.

The piece de resistance was this sign posted on the door of the restaurant where we ate tonight.

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Or this warning under the brand name on the box of firewood.

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So, My question is: Are American’s so dumb that they don’t know anything about health issues and food (I genuinely doubt it) or have the lawyers and legislators here just created a bureaucratic overload of signs and information to protect their arses against everything known to man or woman?

3 comments

  1. Trina Bruce · ·

    I think now we’ve see it all??

  2. Pamela Saunders · ·

    I totally agree with your sentiments Bruce. In my opinion it is not really the lack of intelligence or knowledge ( allthough the latter may be a possibility at times) but rather it is the the pervasive social belief that risk and responsibility can be legislated away. Signs of course do not render behavioural change and for the most part are just plain annoying and visually polluting. I suspect that they may not even carry any significant legal protection.
    The real truth of the matter is that the greatest risk of all is life itself and how we manage that for the most part sits squarely with each of us.

  3. Mike Hopp · ·

    Hi Bruce. I have been enjoying your blog observations and photos for the past few years.

    As a lifelong resident of the USA, I can say that these warnings and disclaimers have become very pervasive. All it takes is another successful class-action lawsuit and the ensuing popular clamor for there to be new legislation and warnings. As an example, I am continually annoyed by the legalese that the GPS in my Honda Accord delivers every time I start the car and leave my neighborhood…warning me about uncharted lands I am about to enter (stop the car, look both ways, etc.). I have yet to figure out how to stop these warnings or selectively mute them without killing the entire system.