Sunday, May 10, 2009

Conspiracy Theories

Do you ever get the sense that you're being watched? Or that the government might be invading into the private realm just a little too much for comfort?

I don't know, chalk it up to my love of sci-fi, but when I recently became aware of the new speed videos that have been installed down the street from me, I started feeling a little like life was getting a little closer to a consipiracy novel/movie than I'm entirely comfortable with...

I mean, when does it go to far? I'm not saying that expect to wake up one day and realize that I'm living in A Handmaid's Tale, but I'm definitely aware of feeling like I'm a bit uncomfortable with how much the state/police are involved in our personal life. For example, the government is talking about banning smoking in a car with kids. I understand that smoking is dangerous to others and so forth and I even agree that it is completely selfish and disrespectful to smoke around your children... but.... does the government really have the right to say anything about it? And if it starts with cars, will it soon move to the home? And how do you invigilate something like this in the home?

I guess that ever since I got the j-walking ticket, I've been thinking about how much the state tries to dictate our behaviour. Yes, I'm bitter... sure... but that's not really the point. It's more just a question of where the balance is between people having common sense and the state needing to step in, and when have we let the state step in too much and relinquished too much of our autonomy? I mean, security cameras might seem like a good idea now, but what if they're on every corner? Will that be too much? And that points card for your favourite store is great right now because it gives you freebies in the store, but they're actually tracking your purchases in order to target their advertising to you.... what happens when ....

I don't know, but every now and again, a girl needs to stop and think about the slippery slope it all is.


  1. While I don't entirely disagree about the 'smoking in the car' issue, I can't say that I'm entirely persuaded that such measures are wrong-minded (though the practicalities of enforcing such a law are another matter entirely). Maybe it's my own personal feelings about smoking in general, or years of having to endure other people endangering my health, but it really burns me to see people deliberately poisoning their children, or at least making them more likely to become smokers themselves.

    If a parent was endangering their child in any other way, any reasonable person would suggest an intervention (though, again, whether we should leave this up to the government is another matter entirely). But yet we condone behavior that is indisputably toxic and wholly preventable. Feeding your child fattening food does not automatically mean they will grow up to be obese (though granted it's more than likely), but exposing them to secondhand smoke is absolutely bad for their health.

    While I sympathize with your point about the Big Brotherization of the world, I do wonder when people are going to become accountable for their own selfishness. Obviously, no parent is perfect, but to my mind this isn't a gray issue. You're hurting your child, period.

    End rant! ;)

  2. Hmmm... I'm not sure where to start. Thanks for the very well thought out response. I sort of rushed through writing this post because I was doing too many things at once and maybe didn't reason out my ideas very thoroughly.

    I agree that harming your children is unacceptable and really at the end of the day have no real issue with banning smoking in cars with children. I also wonder when people will account for their selfishness (myself included) and realize that we are not entitled to things just because we want them.

    My twinge of concern stems more from the question of where does the line get drawn? I used this example because it was the best one I could think of at the time to convey that question because it was what led me to start thinking about when we should be accepting something and when we might need to start questioning it.

    For clarity: smoking with children=bad, being told how to raise our children=grey (sometimes necessary, sometimes ill advised, sometimes downright intrusive and uncalled for), when we cross the line or have the right to cross that line=sometimes unclear...



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