Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Ads

There've been commercials advertising the Forests and Fish Law, telling us that "private landowners" are "working to keep our forests and rivers clean."

The law is on the books, private landowners are compelled to "protect" the habitats and whatnot on their land. Why, then, must the law be advertised? There is no public vote to be had, so one would think there's nothing to be gained.

On the contrary, there is everything to be gained by wasting taxpayer money on an ad campaign for a law that is already on the books. You see, the government, be it federal, state, or even more local, has everything to gain by being not only legitimate, but adored. Obedience through fear, consequences, or sheer order is no match for obedience through blind trust.

Sure, it seems like you can get people to do a lot if you slowly raise the temperature, but you will hit the boiling point sometime, and you just hope it's too late for the frog to jump out. If you convince the people it's a hot tub, though, and crow about how you're raising them temperature to help them, they'll not only thank you for it, they'll ask that you keep raising it.

This is why the gun control requires convincing a large portion of the people that guns are bad. Sure, if you slowly whittle away at the right to bear arms, there is a good possibility you'll get pretty far without too much incident, but there comes a point that the weakened few will resist. It's costly, so you try to find another way. If you can convince most of them that they'll want to get rid of them--tell them that they're more likely to be used against them; tell them the guns will be stolen and used in crime; tell them they'll accidentally shoot themselves--you can't lose anything. If it fails, you continue in small steps. If it succeeds, people not only give up their guns voluntarily, but they beg for the very steps you would take anyway.

This, of course, can be applied fairly universally. You speak of tolerance to stifle free speech, and people start to ask for restrictions. You talk about religion and you can stifle the freedom of the press. You talk about conspiracies and public safety, and people will beg for restrictions on the right to assemble. You convince people that the laws are the only reason the forests still stand, and they beg you to stop the loggers (who, by the way, have good reason to replant the forests, anyway, since trees are their livelihood). You convince them that you know better how to build on their land, and they beg for permits and report people who don't believe the government controls their land.

The government has everything to gain by running an ad campaign. After all, we buy the products we see, and we think we need those...why shouldn't we decide that we'll need more government?

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