Editorial – Seatbelt laws took forever, too

Jeff Burgar

You think something is not right in the world? Complain to your government! They will happily jump at most opportunities to pass a law against that wrongness.

Naturally, depending how bad the supposed item is deemed, there might be a small fine, some kind of penalty, perhaps even a jail sentence. In some societies, pickpockets lose their hand. In others, a murderer may lose their own life.

Societies and technologies come with new challenges and in some eyes, new evils. Some people think it should be against the law for electronic devices to render opinions. Yet, print magazine Consumer Reports, along multitudes of other publications, have rendered constant opinions over past decades which vehicle, washing machine, camera, winter tire, power toothbrush, computer and kitchen knife one should buy. So why not electronically to keep up with the times?

As in, “Alexa, who should I vote for today?” or “Best Reviews, which truck should I buy?” or “Reddit, should I buy Canadian, Saudi or Russian oil?” or “Should I short Gamestop?”

We already know some answers to that. New American President Joe Biden figures Canadian oil, via the Keystone XL pipeline, is bad. Did he get that from Google, or somebody on Snapchat?

Professional and government studies over more than 10 years say Keystone is far away the safest method of transport. Canadian oil is the most environmentally friendly, from a nation with among the best human rights records on the planet.

With a pen stroke last week, Biden crushed the pipeline. Chinese solar panels and European sourced bird killing wind farms are just fine, apparently. No matter what the cost.

Personally, we don’t have Alexa or Echo, or Cortana, or any such ilk. We also won’t add them to our host of labour saving knick-knacks. We also sincerely hope our Roomba floor sweepers never get as invasive. No telling what any might report finding under the sofa, hearing what we listened to on radio, or watched on TV.

Worse, some deep thinkers are already saying we are heading to a future in which critical thinking of any kind is well on the path to extinction.

Why learn arithmetic, when a handy Smartphone or calculator can give you the answer, even if it is in Imperial, and not metric? Or was it the other way around for the Gimli Glider?

Why learn geography, when Google Maps will show you that shortcut right through the lake?

Why learn some politics, when CBC will tell you who are the best candidates?

And finally, let people say it is all just fine to pass online, any dang thing you feel like saying. Meanwhile, every conventional publisher in the world, online or in print, has to follow laws.

At the end of the day, truth is their objective. Online? For average citizens, and giants like Facebook, Twitter and more, truth is the first casualty.

One wonders why, except possibly for bribes, campaign donations, gratuities, favours, and simple ill will, politicians allow this. In a world where politicians always want to make laws, maybe that’s the answer right there.

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