pre-teen/early teen does not have the education and life-experience to apply good
critical thinking skills when faced with the kind of media blitz marketting companies
put out these days (Hell, in my opinion, I don't believe most ADULTS have those kind
I agree with your premise, but I believe that the conclusions you draw from it are flawed.
If I understand correctly, you argue as follows:
- Most children are insufficiently rational and mentally advanced to resist persuasion by "media blitz" advertising.
- Most adults have this same lack of ability, and therefore they cannot assist their children.
- It is therefore useful and correct for the government to provide "counter-advertising" to reduce or reverse the effect of the companies' advertising
I assume that you support the government's anti-tobacco advertising because you agree with it, that smoking is bad. This is arguably somewhat short-sighted. This time, on the smoking issue, the government took a stance with which you happened to agree. What will happen next time, on the next issue?
To answer this question, let us consider how the government offices are iflled. As a gross simplification, it is elected by adults. As one of our premises, most adults are insufficiently rational to resist "media blitz" advertising. I think it would be difficult to claim that political campaigns do not involve media blitz. Thus, politicans are elected mostly by adults who do not have the rational capcities to distinguish truth from fiction in their campaigns. This isn't looking good.
Let us suppose, therefore, that the politicans who get elected are the ones with the best advertising; this seems quite probable to me on the basis of the above, although of course I cannot conclusive prove it to be the case. Now, it happens, as I said, that in this case a government consisting of those with the best advertising happened to agree with you about smoking. Is there really any reason to believe that they'll agree with you about other issues? What about a huge ad campaign villainizing everyone who uses cryptography as terrorists? (Keep your country safe. Just say NO to PGP.) We've already seen advertising campaigns trying to get children to turn each other in for "suspicious behaviour"(although the extent of government involvement with this is not immediately clear). If we look at all government action instead of just advertising campaigns, I rather doubt that the majority of people here support the DMCA, the DeCSS verdict outlawing linking, or the degeneration of our judicial system to the point where corporations can get just about anything they want because individuals, even when right, can't afford the legal bills. You may (or may not; geeks generally seem divided on the issue) also take offense to the grevious violations of the Second Ammendment by our government who wants to disarm its citizens.
I happen to agree that smoking is bad. Smoke makes me cough and feel ill, and if nobody smoked in public, I wouldn't have to deal with their smoke. However, I believe that the long term effects of a government "cure" for problems like this are worse than the problem they are trying to solve. I am 100% convinced that the government of this country (of, by, and for the advertisers) fully intends to attack other things that I do support in the future, just as it has done in the past.
Let's suppose the government succeeds at stamping out smoking. Let's say they even do some more things that I would consider desirable, such as reducing pollution and providing cleaner energy. Let's say they also ban cryptography (of course, anyone with a legitimate need for cryptography can always get a government permit. We're only hurting the criminals here) and force all ISPs to filter their content. I don't consider it a win. I would rather that other people do things I don't like, and I be allowed to do things they don't like.
Of course, it would be great if the government agreed with me on everything, and fought only the things I didn't like. I don't think that's going to happen, however. Even if I give myself the benefit of the doubt and assume that all of my views are the only possible rational ones, we've already established that the government is elected mostly be people who aren't rational. Thus, at least as long as the governmen retains its present form, it seems likely that there are going to be issues where my views differ from those of the government. I'd prefer that the government keep its views to itself.
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