Saturday, December 26, 2009

Athwart, The Game


Of all the screeching portents of doom from conservatives of days past here anthologized, this is my favorite:

“[I]t would make it practically impossible for any publisher in the United States to accept any food, drug, or cosmetic advertising without facing squarely into the doors of a jail.”

Federal Trade Commission Chair Ewin L. Davis, in 1935, on the dangers of empowering the Food and Drug Administration to regulate the food, drug, and cosmetic industries
Indeed so. Open any magazine or newspaper, turn on a television or a radio, and try to find an advertisement for food, drugs, or cosmetics. You can't! All the executives who might have approved them are rotting in jail!

In reply to this, I suspect some conservatives would respond by noting that it actually confirms the deeper conservative insight that people are fallible in their judgments and predictions, that all instances of human agency produce oodles of unintended consequences, and therefore the only sensible move is to find something and stand athwart it.

Remember Pong? This rhetorical gambit -- prediction followed by denunciations of the human power to predict -- is a lot like that game: dull, monotonous, and within a few minutes, entirely exhausted.

2 comments:

Ginx said...

Conservatives are 100% correct about government not working... at least how they run it. Once they have no say, things seem to do fine.

It's too bad we can't do what England did and ship them off to a newly discovered continent.

larryniven said...

Clearly you never played Mortal Pongbat for the Mac (but you can!). Lasers fix everything.