Long thoughts on risk and regulation
I've been spending a fair amount of time across the border in Canada lately. One friend was commenting (she had moved from the US) how much a difference it made in her life to be able to pick out any sunscreen from the shelf and not have to look through the ingredients to figure out which ones had or didn't have chemicals associated with an increased risk of cancer. How that (and similar regulation) contributes to this overall sense of comfort and safety in her day to day. And to a sense that everyone is looking out for everyone else! Successfully!
Something some of your commenters seem to miss is that *many* countries (most at our socioeconomic level) have common sense regulatory frameworks to prevent grievous and unnecessary harm. We're the odd ones out.
Speaking as an actual conservative...I think it’s just that different people have different assessments of risk throughout life, based on their own previous life experiences, their current state in life, future plans, superstitions, whatever. Here’s my favorite example: during Covid, my husband, 2 year old son, and my son’s godfather, all went out to dinner one night at an outdoor restaurant. As we settled into our seats, the waitress came rushing out - apparently the host/seater person had seated us too early, and she had not had time to properly disinfect the table and chairs. Fine. She proceeded to drench the furniture in God-knows-what disinfectant. It was literally pooling up and then dripping off the arms of the chairs. My 2 year old climbed up into his chair, plopped his little hand right in a giant puddle of it, and as small children are wont to do, raised his hand toward his mouth. I leapt in with napkins, bibs, diaper wipes, anything to get that crap off his hands and and chair, and most importantly, keep it out of his mouth. Why? Because my assessment of the situation was that the chemicals he was about to eat were far more likely to do him harm than the chance of an errant COVID particle. As his mother, it’s my job to to make those assessments. Not yours. So reserve your judgement.
We don’t use a wire grill brush - we use a giant wooden scraper thingamajiggie, because nylon being what it is, I’d also prefer not to have melted plastic in my brisket.
I also don’t get on Ferris wheels, roller coasters, or GOD FORBID ski lifts. Who in their right mind would get on one of those idiotic contraptions designed for death? I don’t want to be within a mile of any of them, nor do I want any members of my family risking life and limb in this way.
I don’t eat ceviche, but I do drink raw milk. Why? Because my mother was raised on raw milk and she’s pretty darn healthy. My grandmother drank raw milk her entire life, including through three pregnancies, and I’m quite certain never spent so much as 2 seconds thinking about bacteria. But uncooked shrimp skeeves me out.
The bottom line is that people assess risk differently, because people are different. Condemning everyone who has a different risk tolerance than you, and suggesting that they be legally prevented from doing so, is...well first of all, not very nice. And second, what’s going to happen when it’s not you in power one day? Why does it bother you so much? I don’t want ceviche and ski lifts to be illegal, I just don’t want to be involved with them, same as I don’t want my child to be involved with buckets of disinfectant.
The commenters are missing the best solution, stop cleaning with wire brush, and instead clean the grill when hot with half an onion, as is meant to be
"Why is it simply taken as legitimate that the wrong or dangerous choice is on offer in the first place?"
Because in the real world there are very few, obvious "wrong"/"dangerous" choices. Everything is a trade-off and acting like there are always obvious "wrong"/"dangerous" choices creates a lot of false binaries.
How few people have to injure themselves with a product before you would entertain banning it, regardless of its efficacy in doing something useful? How many people are injured or die getting out of bed every morning every year? If you get a hot coffee at a local, walkable, urban coffeehouse to-go you could spill it on yourself, and is that singular cup of coffee REALLY worth the hospital bills for those burns? Should coffeehouses be allowed the "wrong" choice, (obviously, given the *possibility* of scalding) of selling hot beverages to a public woefully ignorant as to the danger in which they are putting themselves? "If it saves one life..." only works in a vacuum. And yes, obviously I know that we already draw these lines as a society, the discussion is over exactly where and it always will be, the idea that everyone will at some point agree on what the obvious "safe" and "dangerous" things are is antithetical to a society made up of humans.
"I find it sort of strange that a product which can injure you simply in the course of normal use is sold everywhere"
But this is true of millions of products. Knives, bleach, stoves, law mowers, extension cords, rat poison, etc, etc. Not to mention cars. So it can't be the only justification for highly regulating a product. There are other means of causing change such as law suits against the manufacturers.
I agreed with your general points in this article and the previous one in the Bulwark, but I think the idea in quote above needs to be baked a bit longer.
This world has gone MAD! What used to be logical, ethical, godly, etc. is rated bad. And bad is rated as good. The problem is spiritual, not physical. The more a human degrades from our Creator, the more debase they can get. Simply put. I really liked your article which denotes a society that has become 'reprobate' to anything that relates to 'sanity'.
Simple over-regulation. Ban grill wire brushes but what about other wire brushes? Ban those use cases as well?
I, like many, have wire brushes in my garage for other purposes. The grill wire brush likely came into existence because someone thought, 'well lets put a longer handle on this brush and dedicate it for grill use.' A simple invention, so, in fact banning has not prevented the use of wire brushes on a grill.
You mention refrigerators. This is clearly a different category item, as it is single use case. Also the latch is just a small part of the full product and the incremental cost is low.