Although freedom in America is under constant attack by the progressives and the radical left, it still has enough of a presence in our lives where, far too often, we take it for granted. People seem to think that even if we let our guard down and allow the federal government to accumulate power, liberty will never die. This way of thinking is not only dangerous, but it is also incredibly naïve. The truth is, liberty is only as secure as the people make it; turning a blind eye for even one election cycle could send a country like America into a death spiral towards tyranny and despotism. As Thomas Paine once wrote, “It is the duty of every patriot to protect his country from its government.”
To the western world, China is a country that is known for its human rights violations and its centralized, oppressive governing body. It is a prime example of what happens to a nation when its people do not put an emphasis on liberty and individualism. So bloated and intrusive is China’s federal government, that practically every product and service is regulated – even products that are used while sitting on the toilet.
Believe it or not, park managers at the Temple of Heaven in China have been trying to put an end to toilet paper theft for many years now. In order to cut down on waste, park managers have tried various forms of technology to limit the amount of toilet paper citizens can use at any given time, from fingerprinting to laser sensors. With nothing working, management eventually moved on to a more drastic measure – facial recognition technology. The crazy part? It appears to be the effective solution they were searching for all along.
Like a bunch of servile puppy dogs, park-goers step up to a yellow line marked on the ground and watch as their face appears on a blinking screen in front of them. The machine then dispenses exactly 60 cm of toilet paper, or 23 inches. If the same person tries to take more toilet paper than allowed in a span of nine minutes, the machine politely says, “Please try again later.”
Lei Zhenshan, a marketing manager for the company Shoulian Zhineng, acknowledged that “it seemed a little awkward at first.” However, Lei said they “saw that the degree of waste was quite severe, and decided to take this technical approach to correcting people’s behavior.” He added that the facial recognition technology has already reduced waste by 70 percent since it was introduced to Temple of Heaven.
But a regulation on the amount of toilet paper citizens are allowed to use isn’t the only overreaching and burdensome law on the books. One such law, issued by State Council Order Number 929, bans certain content from websites, chat rooms, blogs and other Internet pages, especially content that interferes with the social order of the country. Another law establishes a Household Registration System, whereby citizens are classified based on their wealth and place of residence.
While America certainly isn’t at a point, yet, where even the amount of toilet paper we use is regulated, it would be a lie to say that we aren’t heading in that direction. The federal government regulates just about anything it can get its hands on, from the amount of water that flows through our toilets to the amount of water collected in puddles in our backyards. The one thing that really keeps the United States and China separate is our emphasis on liberty; the Chinese people may be at a point where they are embracing centralized government, but in our country, there are still millions who resist.