I confess that my first reaction to outrageous behavior is, "there oughta' be a law!". One way I attempt to keep up with the times is to watch TV about once a week, usually a news program on Sunday morning. Holy cow! A dozen "there oughta' be a law!" incidents come up in 15 minutes (so far, my upper tolerance limit), most having to do with advertising:
- Gambling is portrayed as entertainment, showing idiotically grinning couples. I've never seen people smiling in a casino, have you? There oughta' be a law against these ads.
- Drugs are also paired with happy, healthy actors who, in reality, will probably never need a prescription in their lifetimes. Drug ads should be illegal.
- Fashion is advertised as an essential source of happiness, acceptance and, well, evolving as humans! A top fashion consultant admitted that he doesn't follow consumers' fashion desires, he manufactures them. There oughta' be a law. (But in my case it's obvious I don't follow fashion.)
- Food. If you just look around it's apparent that Americans get plenty of food. Yet billions are spent daily trying to get us to eat cheap, crappy "food". Or food that neither our budgets nor our bodies can afford. This should be illegal, just like hard liquor ads are.
- Cars are a personal statement, instant evocations of status and coolness. Oh. And they can transport things and people. But we need fewer of them, not more of them. How are these ads any different than hard liquor, gambling, drugs or food?
- Investing "porn" is everywhere. Really? You're going to plan out the rest of your life based on information from whoever spends the most money to catch your eye?? Where do they get all that money to spend on ads? From your money. There are rational, evidence-based rules & tools you can find online, most for free. Finally, there are honest, wise and experienced advisers in your community to help you curate the deluge of money madness. Investing & insurance ads should be illegal.
But then, several weeks after our Nuevo Vallarta vacation, it dawned on me what had been different- and profoundly relaxing -about Mexico. At the resort, what was it about the pool area, the weight room, the parking lot . . . everywhere that was so calming? What was absent? Then I realized there were No signs, no rules, no "Danger" or "Forbidden" or "Warning" placards at every turn. It felt clean, quiet, uncluttered, adult. They relied on the intelligence and character of their guests to make things run smoothly and so far it seemed to be working.
Wouldn't it be easier, less expensive and more effective to encourage consumers* to be smarter and more discerning ? That's a transferrable skill. It would make us all better citizens, parents, workers, entreprenuers and, yes, consumers. Absolutely there should still be laws and enforcement of them. But the path to perfect safety is more perilous and ultimately results in zero freedom under dictators. Which is why our current administration wants to entice you down that path to make you dumber, more fearful and less tolerant, hence, easier to manipulate and control.
*And, in the vein of today's post, voters
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