United States going the way of the USSR

Back in the USSR, something as simple as waxed paper was unavailable. The explanation I got was that it was possible to make them into primitive printing plates with a typewriter. Not sure how true the explanation is, but it fit well with the paranoid attitude of the Soviet government. The point is that I had no idea waxed paper existed until after I left the USSR for a more free world.

The process is repeating in the United States. Every year, something becomes illegal or plain unavailable. Last year, it was laser kits over 5mW. Previously, chemistry learning sets lost many of the chemical materials previously supplied. Next year, it will be something else. And once a few years pass, the next generation won’t even know that they are missing something.

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free” wrote Goethe. He had a good point.

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9 Responses to United States going the way of the USSR

  1. Bear says:

    Waxed paper: Sounds like they were worried about a mimeographtype process.

  2. J. Smathers says:

    Interesting perspective, Oleg. Thank you for sharing.

  3. BillCa says:

    I’ve often wondered if there was a certain hidden bureau in Washington that specialized in paranoid thought. When cola bottles became plastic it happened quickly and it immediately cut down on the number of glass bottles in circulation (think Molotov cocktails). A short while later, “Strike Anywhere” matches were removed from stores then later brought back, but you’d now have to buy a multi-pack of boxes for more money. Some time back regular matchbooks were regulated to be “harder” to ignite which means they’re less volatile and go out even easier in a breeze. Laws were passed to restrict buying hobbyist rocket-motors to those 18 and older. Ammonium nitrate lawn fertilizer has been replaced with a sulfite version. Some states make body armor illegal for civilian wear and that includes the kevlar helmets. California outlawed the metal 1-gallon and 5-gallon gas cans which were replaced by a poly-container that doesn’t leak much if punctured. Cigarettes now contain less nitrites that kept cigarettes burning if you didn’t inhale, so most of them will go out if left unattended (so much for that “fire bomb” trick we learned from Stalag 17). I’m sure someone can add lots more to this list.

    • LarryArnold says:

      Back when I was growing up drinking straws came in paper wrappers. They were a bit loose, so it was easier to tear the end off. Then you could blow through the straw and launch the paper cover acroaa the room.

      Of course such behavior was frowned upon by Responsible Parentss, so it didn’t happen too often.

      Now the wrappers are tight, so parents no longer need teach children to behave.

      IMHO that might be the incentive behind many of our nanny laws.

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  5. Allison says:

    Thanks for this, Oleg. I’ve been wondering about this attrition of choice, its causes and its ramifications. Seems like litigiousness and efficiency could be some of the cause for small things, but… Hey, is there a word or phrase for making laws that has a similar connotation to litigious?

  6. PawPaw says:

    Thanks for reminding me. I expounded on the point at my blog.

  7. Pingback: 4th Equals freedom… or something | let it burn.blog

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