Wednesday, October 14, 2009

KP Syndrome

One of my favorite pet peeves are people that have the opinion "it doesn't affect me, so it's okay". I had a roommate a few years ago, their initials are KP, with whom I associate this opinion. Thus, I call it the KP Syndrome. So don't worry, there is no kitchen patrol involved in this piece.

At the time, California was considering banning SUVs. She didn't drive an SUV, so it didn't bother her that CA would do that. She didn't consider the effects on the environment, freedom, or any other aspect of the issue. She simply didn't drive an SUV, I suppose she wasn't considering owning a SUV, so it was okay with her. It simply didn't directly effect her.

Unfortunately, governments, large and small, take advantage of this aspect of people to reduce the amount of freedom that we have in this country. Then, once they start down this path, it's a slippery slope to greater and greater constraints. Further, they can then use this previous issue as a precedent for doing other things.

I suppose one could look at the imposition of smoking bans to see the full measure of how this happens. First, it was moved to the back of airplanes, then on flights less than 2 hours, then on all planes, now, there are smoking areas in airports and some localities are proposing banning smoking in your own residence.

Of course, this progression took a couple decades to implement. But say we go back to when it all started and say, "Hey, we're going to ban smoking in all public places and possibly your home." People would have revolted. But do it gradually, and it's amazing what you can do. A popular comparison is in boiling a frog. You can't drop it into a pot of hot water, but put it into cold water and gradually increase the temperature, then viola, dinner!

Of course, today, most people think that smoking bans are good ideas. But then, are they really? I don't smoke, I don't like being in places that have people smoking, but I vote (or specifically, I used to vote) by going to places where they constrained the smoking to areas that didn't bother me.

How do we get here, by most people not caring, not having an opinion about a limitation of freedom.

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