If “if” were a skiff, we could go fishing. - Louisiana saying
The world is an immense machine made up of an inconceivably-large number of independently-moving parts, any number of which could potentially act upon others in such a way as to precipitate disaster; once entropy is added to the mixture, it becomes literally impossible to predict the total number of things that might go wrong in one’s immediate environment on any given day. Fortunately, it isn’t necessary to do so; the overwhelming majority of such possible events are so exceedingly unlikely that they can essentially be ignored. A much smaller subset of possible events is likely enough that the prudent person takes precautions against them; deciding whether an eventuality is worth protecting oneself against is part of the give and take necessary for material existence. A blasé attitude toward likely dangers may soon lead to disaster, while excessive concern over highly unlikely ones will inevitably lead to crippling anxiety; functional people fall somewhere in the middle. For example, any sensible whore insists on measures to protect herself from sexually transmitted infections, but she wouldn’t complete very many calls if she insisted that prospective clients provide recent bloodwork proving that they were free from the Black Death. The former is likely enough to be cause for concern, but the latter is not; a sane and sensible person can tell the difference.
Unfortunately, Western society is no longer sane or sensible; things were bad enough when authoritarian governments enacted criminal laws to intrude into every area of public and private life, but the modern American obsession with “safety”, coupled with the dangerous belief that every mishap can be blamed on some specific person or persons, has created a nightmare scenario: Not only can individuals be ruinously sued for situations they could not realistically have prevented, they can also be prosecuted for refusing to be paralyzed into complete inactivity by anticipation of every remote possibility of danger. Furthermore, modern governments think nothing of inflicting onerous or even ruinous restrictions on the entire population in a futile attempt to prevent rare occurrences; consider the immense economic and societal costs of the numerous measures to “raise awareness” and protect children from abduction, despite the fact that only 0.014% of all “missing” legal minors are abducted by strangers, and the vast majority of those are older teenagers. Or how about attempting to trample the Constitution and make life far more dangerous for escorts by banning Backpage in a futile effort to stop a few dozen underage girls in the entire country from advertising there? Or imposing shockingly paternalistic restrictions on the buying or selling of foodstuffs for millions of people on the off-chance that a tiny number of them with insufficient willpower to either control themselves or violate the ban will be made marginally healthier by such a law?
Besides the intrinsic evil of restricting personal liberty, the tremendous waste of resources that could be better used elsewhere, the suppression of opportunities for moral growth and the generation of innumerable new excuses for arrest and prosecution of individuals, “What if?” laws produce one more important effect: a degeneration in the quality of life for everyone affected by them. After my hysterectomy, the hospital endocrinologist insisted that I should consider other “options” rather than hormone replacement because oral estrogens increase the risk of cancer. In other words, he actually tried to convince me that going through menopause (with its attendant aging effects) at 28 years old was somehow a valid choice, and that a reasonable woman might indeed choose a half-century of old age in order to lower her risk of a terminal disease near the end of that period. Luckily, I was given that choice, but some people are not so fortunate; nanny-state laws often remove options entirely, condemning them to lives of sickness, pain or other conditions which drain life of everything that makes it worth living in the name of “preventing” something that in all likelihood would never have come to pass.
One Year Ago Today
“July Updates (Part One)” reports on the effective repeal of Louisiana’s “Crime Against Nature By Solicitation” statute, the lawhead war against lemonade stands, and the persecution of yet another escort review and advertising site.