A new campaign by Philadelphia officials to reduce sexually transmitted diseases allows children as young as 11 to receive free condoms via mail order . . .
As young as eleven? Really? Of course, why should anyone receive free condoms from any government? There is, of course, a whole series of answers typically given to that kind of question: because if we don’t give away condoms, there might be more sexually transmitted diseases and more unwanted (by their biological parents) children. Those are problems that will cost the government in question a lot of money to clean up. So we need to give away condoms – deliver them to your door if that helps.
Apparently, it does help. As the story goes on to report:
"Playing it safe just got easier," the website reads. "If you live in Philadelphia and are between the ages of 11 and 19, you can now have condoms mailed directly to you for FREE. Maybe it's difficult for you to stop by one of our sites to pick up condoms. Or maybe you're just shy or feeling weird about picking up condoms."
So you might be “shy or feeling weird” about collecting your free condoms in person. But, of course, you don’t feel at all shy about what you intend to do with those condoms. Seems like good bureaucratic reasoning to me.
You might think someone would complain about this arrangement in Philadelphia, but apparently not:
Jeff Moran, a spokesman for Philadelphia's Department of Health, said the campaign was launched last week. No complaints had been received as of today, he said.
Probably most Philadelphians were just feeling a bit too “shy or weird” to complain. And if no one complains, it must be a good idea! And then, this little detail comes up in the story:
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter unveiled the campaign on April 7 as he announced the winning design for the city's custom-labeled condom wrapper.
I wonder where this contest from hell took place? Can’t you picture all the grade school teachers in Philly announcing to their classes, “Children, the Mayor has asked that you work on a design for our glorious city’s custom-labeled condom wrapper. And don’t’ forget – the winner gets all the condoms you can use for the rest of your life.”
I wonder if Philadelphia received federal funds for this wonderful project?
No, friends, there is simply nothing governments can do to economize. There are no stupid, pointless, even counter-productive things that are funded by governments. Nothing like a design contest for a custom-labeled condom wrapper for eleven-year-olds in Philadelphia.
Nothing like that.