I do not sign petitions that increase the amount of influence government plays in our lives. A recent Facebook post linking to a whitehouse.gov petition was going around asking to require that porn be an ‘opt in’ feature offered by Internet Service Providers (ISP). While I agree with the morals of the petition, I disagree with the means themselves.
Another recent Facebook blurb illuminated the fact that government creates a new regulation every 2.5 hours. That is just shy of creating 10 regulations every day. For the mathematically challenged, that would total just over 3,500 regulations per year. Just think of that for a moment. No, seriously. Stop reading this blog post right now and think about what that means.
It means that government is growing more and more cumbersome with every passing day. With every regulation passed, it is easier and easier to find yourself on the wrong side of the law. Ordinary citizens, desiring nothing more than to go about their daily business, may be visited by an agent of the government, whether that agent comes from the EPA, the IRS, the DHS, the DHHS, or any other one of the hundreds of federal agencies. This says nothing of these agencies’ auxiliary arms or the thousands of agencies that exist on the state, county, and municipal levels.
Now, think about who these regulations hurt the most. How does this impact the mega corporation? We don’t worry too much about them. They have the resources to have a staff of legal professionals that can keep them abreast of the latest regulations coming down the pike that will affect their business.
What about the local mom and pop shop that makes your favorite bagels? What about that local restaurant that makes up your orange chicken just the way you like it? How about the fact that a rise in the minimum wage makes it so that your teen-age son or daughter is no longer employable because McDonald’s has chosen to fully automate their food production and now only requires one or two people to run the entire store?
The burden of regulation on small businesses is magnified even more as it becomes a practical necessity to hire staff or to hire an agent with the specific designation of making sure that their business is complying with the regulations coming down from our benevolent governmental rulers. As it becomes necessary to make these kind of employment decisions, think of the effect on a company’s bottom line. Instead of being able to focus on the production of a product or providing a valuable service, a company is distracted with the need to make sure that they are not breaking any rules that may or may not be necessary.
If you’re going to send around a petition, make sure it’s directed at the correct source. Don’t demand that government be the solution to all problems, especially when you espouse to be a conservative. Conservatives are supposed to stand for smaller government. Conservatives look for market solutions, not government solutions. Conservatives are not lemmings that sign any bit of paper, virtual or otherwise, that is shoved under their nose just because it is purports to be something that they believe is morally correct. When you do, you’re only sacrificing one moral for another, which nets you nothing.
Let the businesses you’re interested in know that there is a demand for a product. In the case I started with, petition your local ISP directly to find out if they would consider offering an opt-in feature that allows the flow of pornography to your computer. If your local oil refinery is putting harmful pollutants into the air, don’t ask the EPA to intervene. Let that company know that you’ll be voting with your dollars as to whether that business will be allowed to continue its production or not. If you’re unhappy with the amount of salt content in your burger and fries, let McDonald’s know that you are interested in healthier alternatives.
Businesses are often willing to listen when you use your voice, but will listen even harder when you speak with your dollars. A business without a customer base is one that won’t be around for long, whereas once you allow government in, they are nigh to impossible to displace.
Do not give government one more reason to think that it needs to micromanage every aspect of our daily lives.
For further reading detailing the dangers of internet porn, see the following.