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The lowest common denominator

July 27, 2009

by Herald Journal & Enteprise Dispatch Editor Lynda Jensen

As a mother, I use Tylenol every so often, during the few times per year when our kids get sick.

Depending on the circumstances, a dose of acetaminophen is a godsend to any parent, in order to restore sanity and wellness to your household. It can get you through a long, miserable night or two.

In fact, I use it myself for back pain, and am able to do a lot of things that a 41-year-old should do, with occasional assistance from a few pain pills. It’s a fact of life.

However, the Food and Drug Administration might add to the headaches of many of us (forgive the pun) by restricting the use of acetaminophen, or perhaps eventually abolishing it altogether in order to “save ourselves.”

Recently, a federal advisory committee voted to recommend that the FDA reduce the highest allowed dose of acetaminophen in over-the-counter pills like Tylenol to 325 milligrams, from 500, according to the New York Times. It also voted to reduce the maximum daily dosage to less than 4,000 milligrams.

This is fine, and I understand the FDA is supposed to be an advocate for consumers.

However, I am weary of this litigious culture where personal responsibility is shifted to somewhere else, and that people are, in fact, rewarded for “not” reading directions.

Each day, I am continually amazed by the slow death of common sense in this country, where people who deliberately disobey explicit directions are the engines who fuel laws with no common sense whatsoever.

Instead of using what most people would perceive as basic common sense while making public policy, we seem to be doing the reverse – replacing the general population with a small percent of people who don’t use their heads.

I would prefer that at least the lowest common denominator be used, instead of a figure that is achieved by taking the least intelligent, reckless, and most irresponsible of our population, and using it as the representative factor for the statistics that fuel these laws.

Do you really want a world that expects grown adults to act like teenagers?

Should laws be made that are based on a teenage mentality, created to cheat or punish every other normal, right-thinking person who would use reasonable caution and follow the rules, so that the one idiot amongst us can manage to escape every piece of responsibility and logic?

Just food for thought.

Quote of the week

Sing out loud in the car even, or especially, if it embarrasses your children. ~Marilyn Penland