by Rich Kozlovich
Science fiction writers are an interesting lot. They do seem to have an innate ability to see farther into the future than most. They can take seemingly innocuous trends and extend the potential effects of these trends beyond the horizon. Forty some years ago I read a science fiction short story that dealt with the concept of risk mitigation.
As the story went, there was some scientist on another planet who created robots whose sole purpose was to keep people safe. Although this scientist's motives were of the highest order, his creation got away from him. Naturally, these robots had difficulty determining what exactly "safe" meant, and interpreted their programming far beyond anything he had intended or wanted. They extended risk mitigation to a computers logical extreme and stifled all activity.
They increased in number and eventually discovered the Earth. They started out quietly by creating an automobile that was called (if I remember this correctly) the Everlasting Car. Safe, efficient, cost effective wouldn’t rust (that was a big deal in the 50’s and 60’s), and they were, most importantly, very inexpensive. Soon they put all other car companies out of business. This gave them enormous capital and credibility and they soon took over more and more of mankind’s responsibilities.
There was to be no war, no dangerous jobs and no risk to mankind of any kind. Naturally everyone thought this was a great idea. Everyone was to be safe! Except that the robots would be the ones to determine what constituted "safe". Since these were robots with computer brains, “safe” became extreme, and now this “great idea” wasn’t so great anymore….but it was too late. They now controlled every aspect of human life.
The state of New York has banned total release aerosol cans because some idiots blew up their houses with them. I am sorry that people do stupid things….it is unfortunately part of what it means to be human. It is unfortunate that homes have been destroyed and extremely unfortunate when someone is hurt. I have to ask though; over the whole of this country; in how many houses has this happened over the last 60 years? I would bet that the number is remarkably low compared to the number of aerosol cans sold.
Although I have used them I've never been a big fan of total release aerosols, but when these products are removed from the market, “for our own good”, are we not now depriving responsible people of the ability to control pests in their homes. Are they all that effective? I don’t think so, but they do have their place and people should have the choice and option to use them or not as they please.
Risks are definable and there are charts that list risks. Approximately fifty thousand people are killed on the nation’s highways every year. Between ten and fifteen thousand children are hurt by lawn mowers each and every year. Each and every year approximately three million adolescents will contract a sexually transmitted disease and thousands drown every year. These are very high on the risk charts and yet we find it necessary to ban total release aerosol cans.
Our view of risk has been molded by misinformation through a corrupt media. We worry unendingly about theoretical risks regarding genetically modified foods, food additives, hormones in milk, electromagnetic radiation, fluoride and chlorine in our water and most importantly, pesticide residues on our fruits and vegetables. These have been shown to be extremely low on the risk charts.
Everything we are told should bear some resemblance to what we see going on in reality. In reality we live longer, healthier and more satisfied fulfilling lives than ever in human history. In 1945 the world’s population amounted to two billion people, and it took thousands of years to attain that number. During the time when modern chemistry came into its own, mankind’s numbers grew at an unprecedented rate, with people living longer to boot. The greenies constantly spew out all forms of claptrap about how dangerous chemicals and modern living are; and yet if all that they claim was true; do we really believe that we would have increased the world’s population to over six billion in less than 75 years?
Make no mistake about this. The patterns of history will repeat over and over again. Starting with the Progressive movement of Teddy Roosevelt, which laid the ground work for Woodrow Wilson's (whom historians call the first Fascist president)massive government programs, which was the basis for FDR’s New Deal (same people and programs as Wilson’s with different names), to Nixon’s massive regulatory factories at EPA, OSHA, and the Wildlife Service enforcing the Endangered Species Act, we see that very same extreme computer like mentality. We know best! Only we can protect you from yourself! Perhaps they really are from another planet.
We need to stop emoting and start thinking. That starts by reading something besides the lava flow of misinformation put out by the EPA and the green movement. I would like to recommend the book "Are Children More Vulnerable to Environmental Chemicals", by the American Council on Science and Health.