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Nanny State or dead children

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Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 15905
Location: Berkeley, California

PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2019 11:36 am    Post subject: Nanny State or dead children Reply with quote

n recent America, conservatism has become a religion, where thinking is not required and facts are not allowed. Part of the theology is that regulation must be stopped because each item of regulation costs us some of our freedom. But that's patent nonsense.

Yesterday's papers included a story about how California's regulation of swimming pools has led to a dramatic decrease in children drowning. Security features required by regulation have led to a drowning rate about one third of what it was in the early 1980's. (The East Bay Times reports that accidental drowning rates were 3.7 deaths per 100,00 between 1980 and 1982, and had fallen to 0.8 deaths per 100,000 between 2015 and 2017) Those are real children still alive today because of sensible regulations.

Auto safety is another story where regulation has saved lives--including those of my wife and I who survived a head-on collision. Some sources say as many as 3.5 million lives have been saved since 1965.

Certainly there are books filled with regulations that require car frames that don't collapse, glass that doesn't shatter and behead people thrown from cars, seat belts, air bags and the like. But I think that the fact that millions of people were free to live out their lives because of those measures requires, not merely justifies, such regulation.

Traveling by air is probably the safest mode of transportation, but has been made even safer by regulations.

According to research from the International Civil Aviation Organization, the rate of plane accidents is at an all-time low, with just 1.75 accidents per million departures in 2018a decline of 4.7 accidents per million over the preceding 10 years. Similar data from the Aviation Safety Network has shown a steady decline in the rate of fatal airline accidents per million flights since 1977

But a notable exception is the failure of the FAA under the Trump administration to regulate the new software for Boeing's new 737. In a by now familiar effort to divert attention from his appointees role in letting Boeing vet their new jets, Trump tweeted "airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly" and that an aircraft model that is "old and simpler is far better." Of course, folks on this forum will repeat such specious reasoning rather than ask whether deregulation is making us less safe.

Finally, let's look at air quality regulations--a target of the Trump administration and his funding cabal from big oil and big coal. I went to high school in Southern California in the 1960's, and played football in what are now stage 3 pollution events. There are millions more people, many millions more miles driven--and the air is usually safe to breathe. Thousands and thousands of lives have been saved. The whining of the auto industry that it just couldn't be done, or would lead to an economic armageddon was wrong.
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