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Voter Warnings

Rebecca D. Costa, an American Sociobiologist, recently published a book titled “On the Verge” in which she explores human’s ability to foresee events through modern technology.  One subtopic she examined is the field of “Product Liability” and how, when and why a consumer product will fail and cause injury to its user.

Sophisticated data gathering, and analysis has given manufacturers a remarkable ability to predict failures and provide warnings to users on how to avoid injuries.  Even so, users find ingenious ways to miss-use products in ways that cause injuries and sometimes death, leading manufacturers come up with ever more interesting warning labels.

In examining the list of warning labels Costa provided in her book, I could not help but think of how useful a similar list of warnings would be to voters. A partial list of Costa’s warnings along with manufacturer’s names is as follows:

Rowenta: “Never iron clothes on the body.”                                                                                                                                                                      Nytol sleeping pills: “May cause drowsiness”                                                                                                                                                                     Peanut M&Ms:  “This product may contain nuts”                                                                                                                                                             Vidal Sassoon hairdryer: “Do not use while sleeping”                                                                                                                                                  Apple iPod Shuffle: “Do not eat”                                                                                                                                                                                           Zantac 75: “Do not take if allergic to Zantac”

As ridiculous as it may sound, I’m sure you can assume that at some point a user actually claimed injury based on the above causes. I hesitate to use words like stupid or irresponsible because I like to keep things civil.  However, I can understand the temptation to question the intelligence or sanity of the product users whose complaints led the manufacturers to adopt these labels.

Keeping in mind that most users of consumer products are also voters and possess similar cognitive abilities or desire to avoid responsibility for their own decision making. To those voters I provide the following cautions:

  • Taking investment capital out of the economy may reduce capital investment.
  • Less capital investment may lead to less wealth creation.    Less wealth creation may lead to less wealth.
  • Less wealth may lead people to have less money.
  • Providing more free things to people may lead people to expect more free things.
  • Making life easier for weak people may make weak people weaker.
  • Making life more difficult for strong people may make strong people stronger.
  • Providing less education to students may make students less educated.
  • Providing more entitlements to people may make some people feel more entitled and less responsible.
  • Placing more young people in prisons may make more people behave like ex-prisoners.
  • Being a responsible voter means being responsible for what you vote for.

Like it or not, a silly vote cast by an uninformed voter counts just as much as one that is well thought out by a conscientious citizen.

I knew a high school teacher who had the following saying posted on the wall in his classroom; “Everyone has a right to an opinion, no one has a right to be wrong with the facts on which their opinion is based.”  

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