Government Is Like Dandruff Shampoo


Column by Paul Bonneau

Exclusive to STR

Quite a few years back, I had a problem with dandruff. I bought various brands of shampoos that were advertised to deal with the problem, but for some reason they didn’t work. Maybe a day would go by that would be OK, but then my scalp would itch and soon after the dandruff was back again.

I “knew” what I was supposed to be doing, using those dandruff shampoos; but I finally grew suspicious. After all, what is in the interest of the manufacturers of dandruff shampoos? Surely not, to cure everyone of dandruff! Instead, they were made richer, the more dandruff there was out there. If you think about it for a while, you begin to realize that the very best you can hope for with standard dandruff shampoos is that they will not make the problem worse.

Well, I got the idea (probably from the Internet) to try some pine tar soap. At first all they had was bar soap, not really for hair, but I went ahead and used it anyway. Pretty much immediately, my dandruff problem disappeared, and I mean permanently. And the cost was lower too.

Eventually I got the idea (probably also from the Internet) to stop using soap most of the time. After all, what does soap do? It removes the oils from hair. Then you have to use conditioner to get a poor facsimile of your natural oil back in your hair. What really is the point of that, other than to enrich the conditioner manufacturers (the same guys putting out bogus dandruff shampoos)? So when taking a shower, I just run warm water through and rub my scalp. Every now and then, if I want a deeper cleaning, Grandpa’s tar soap is used.

What have I learned about hair care, at least the simple routine I prefer?

1) Well water is better than city water, because chlorine is Hell on hair and skin. A relative was losing her hair until she got a block filter to remove that chlorine.

2) Softer well water is (probably) better than hard well water.


4) Simple old-fashioned methods (like pine tar soap) are worth investigating.

Well, what does this have to do with government?

I’ve been on a lot lately. One big thing these days are the refugees from YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. They are mad that these platforms are censoring them or kicking them off, just because they express conservative views (or whatever). They claim they want free speech. Then, almost in the very same sentence, they call on government to prevent Twitter et. al. from censoring them. In other words, the government is supposed to guarantee free speech, by regulating a private business. The excuse for this intrusion is that Twitter is a “public square.” I am not making this up. Talk about cognitive dissonance....

These people are like I was, back when I had the dandruff problem. They “know” what works, government. They seem completely unaware of the incentives faced by the regulators. They don’t know what “mission creep” is, nor have they heard of Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy”. They are advocating the very thing they are suffering from, the regulation of speech. They don’t seem to realize that the market has provided the platform they are now actually in the process of using for their complaints,!

It is unreasonable to expect government to solve problems, as that is against their self interest. The very best you can expect from them is that they manage problems, at ever-increasing cost. No, it’s not true that “government works for us,” however much the propagandists repeat it. Only a fool or an indoctrinated child would think so. (This is another claim seen frequently on gab.)

I suppose that is what government schooling produces. People need to learn to sit back and think things over, look at it from other points of view, figure out the way the interests of the players run. A little patience would also help, while waiting for the market to sort things out.

Your rating: None Average: 8 (1 vote)
Paul Bonneau's picture
Columns on STR: 106


Samarami's picture

Don't know that I totally agree with your concept regarding the marketplace. If I were to invest in manufacturing a product "...guaranteed to rid you of (say) wiffles...", yes, I would perhaps feel threatened if wiffles were to become suddenly non-existent. However -- if you were to purchase my wiffle treatment with poor results (the wiffles continue to persist and aggravate), I would feel threatened that you and many others would be no longer willing to buy products manufactured by me, since I failed to produce what I promised to produce.

In other words, I believe in the marketplace -- a free marketplace. Of course, I recognize few of us have ever experienced what we'd like to call "free" markets. And it's the "free" market in which I believe.

Were I to lobby gangsters operating under the guise of senators and "representatives" to pass laws and regulations limiting or blocking other manufactures from producing wiffles, then I would fall into the category of your dandruff shampoo people that relish the proliferation of dandruff to "treat". Were I to have no competition it would be to my advantage to make certain that wiffles remain strong. And there might be still enough goof-balls who would buy my product that failed to do as advertised to keep me putting out anti-wiffle products.

I see the medical establishment in this latter light. AMA and their parasites are always in the top 10% of lobbyists. It seems that the rapidly diminishing local family doctor is the only medical producer to have an interest in genuinely wanting to see you get well. And s/he is often holistic in her approach.

Much could be discussed regarding this, Paul -- please don't take this as criticism of your essay. Sam

Paul's picture

I guess I'm missing your point... are we disagreeing about something?

I like the free market too - even if it is imperfect, and sometimes slow, and even if people attempt to manipulate it (mostly by making it less free). My solution was found in the free market...

Samarami's picture

More and more, Paul, when I go back and attempt to decipher things I've written a week or a month back, I also miss my own point.

Your essay was good, and think I was merely picking at lint. At least I don't remember what point I was attempting to make at the time.

Regards, Sam