When I was a child, a popular comic strip was There Oughta Be a Law. It ran in the paper that came to our doorstep every morning and was one of the first things I went to when it was my turn to get ink all over my fingers.
I later realized that at one level the cartoonist was satirizing people who hold to great faith in the ability of government to solve all manner of social problems.
I thought of TOBL when I read in General Surgery News (online) that a group of well-intentioned folks in Colorado – Parents Against Underage Smartphones (PAUS) – are lobbying state lawmakers to draft a law that would prevent smartphone sales to children under 13.
Their rationale is certainly unimpeachable: They maintain smartphone use in pre- and young teens quickly becomes an obsession that can harm ongoing brain development, hinder social skills, and even create addiction. The best research confirms all of that.
The Colorado law would create a bureaucracy that would be charged with enforcing said law, which, needless to say, cannot be done with any reliability. The proposed law would require smartphone retailers to ask the age of the primary user before making a sale.
The question then becomes: What prevents the purchaser (presumably a parent) from telling a lie? Does Colorado then create another law that imposes fines on parents who break the law and/or requires them to attend technology education programs? No, I’m not kidding. Those who govern us cannot, it seems, resist any opportunity to expand the powers of the state.
This legislation, should it pass, will be paid for with taxes which means nearly everyone in Colorado will be punished because many of those who have children (a) want their children to like them, (b) cannot manage to articulate the word “no,” © prefer, when it comes to child-rearing issues, to take the easy way out, (d) all…