Monday, September 2, 2013

It's About Control Not Safety

Ari Armstrong published an article at The Objective Standard about a ban on Buckyballs. A federal executive branch bureaucracy decided to put the producing company, Maxfield & Oberton, out of business.

What's wrong with Buckyballs? Well, the small spherical magnets were being left around by adults. Young kids, mostly toddlers and infants, would play with them. They are a chocking hazard. The packaging even stated the appropriate ages and the hazard. But it wasn't enough for the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The irony is you can still buy spherical magnets, or "ball magnets" at many stores geared for learning toys. They are in magnetic experimentation kits and engineering "building" kits. However, these aren't M&O's "Buckyballs". These other brands were not targeted.

This falls in line with several municipalities and even some states who seek to ban retailers from using plastic bags for your purchases. They claim the measures are about the environment. Yet they prefer you to use paper bags, made from cutting down trees. The paper bags are not as re-usable. Both are recyclable.

This practice dates back further to the ban on lead miniature figurines. Hobbyists used to purchase lead miniature figurines. Many of them were scale models of historic military units. Hobbyists would paint them as accurately as possible. Many times, they would use them to re-enact historic battles, sometimes changing variables, such as weather, and play them out as a form of game. These were never meant for children. This is an adult hobby.

There is an urban legend among historical war-gamers and miniature hobbyists on how this may have come about. It is unverified, so take it with a grain of salt, sort of like watching an exploding water hose in the Gasland pseudo-documentaries.

According to the legend, the children of one hobbyist ended up getting lead poisoning. The hobbyist was forced to destroy or sell his expansive (and expensive) collection as part of the divorce that resulted. Further, most of the producers of the lead miniatures were forced to either go out of business or switch their molds and production to some other substance, like epoxy resin, plastic, or pewter.

The bans started in 1993 with the state of New York banning lead in all toy-like objects, including the miniatures that are meant for adults. The regulations and restrictions in the US and abroad caused many lucrative companies, like Grenadier Models, to go out of business. Other companies, like Games Workshop, shifted gears. However, many modelers and hobbyists still seek the old lead-based models, paying a pretty penny for them.

Pewter is more expensive to mold. It doesn't hold the paint as well. The figurines are more brittle and fragile. Plastic and resin models are not as durable, either. None of them are capable of being molded into 16mm scale models in the detail the lead figures held.

The irony is that the kids didn't get their lead poisoning from the miniatures. The hobbyist kept his models locked in cases. They were not kids toys. Where did the kids get their poisoning from? Lead based paint the mother (who sued the father over the lead miniatures) used.

But the bans on these products that, if used by responsible adults, pose no real risk. So why do the CPSC and other executive branch bureaucracies enact strict regulations that put companies out of business?

Control.

They want to control everything. They want to control how a private company conducts business. They don't want to leave that to consumers (the demand side). They cannot control demand. The war on drugs is an example of that. So is the use of tobacco. So was Prohibition. Attempt to restrict demand, the demand actually increases. Instead, they write regulations that make law-abiding, ethical businesses no longer capable of following the laws.

They attempted to do so with livestock. The EPA attempted to regulate "farm dust" and the methane emissions of bovine cattle. Cows eat. They fart. So do humans. If they could regulate human farting, they would. It is all about control.

Even now, there are select US Senators and Representatives who have openly and blatantly stated that the interstate commerce clause gives them permission to define who is and who is not protected by the "free press" clause of the First Amendment.

It isn't about liberty or the pursuit of happiness. It is all about control. They want to control you, what you do, what you think, what you say.

Regulate the coal industry out of business so electric power companies are forced to invest in solar panels. It's fine, we'll fill up national parks and BLM holdings with photoelectric panels. What's the sacrifice of a few million trees so that we can insure we get ample sunlight striking them? They'll be  forced to invest in wind turbines. What's a few trees cleared away to make room for them? What are the lives of a few endangered raptors? Global warming is happening because you reuse you plastic grocery bags. So what is the added damage of wind turbines changing the air currents? Who cares is the wind farm next door lowers your property values? It's not like the property is really yours anyway.

Control.