Tattoos and Ayn Rand Thought

gazette.jpg ———– The Gazette editorialist got out his little Ayn Rand ‘Atlas Shrugged’ book last Monday, waved it in the air, and pronounced it a good thing that El Paso County (Big Bad Government!) was no longer going to inspect tattoo parlors in the area. This is the same nut case at the paper that is all ‘for the troops’. Well, who does he think goes to many of these tattoo parlors? Well, it is the troops, Sir.

The Gazette is run my a bunch of sad sack ideologues who are always against Big Government, except when Big, Big, BIG GOVERNMENT is destroying somebody else’s country and making Big, Big, BIG BUSINESS a killing in tax payer paid government contracts. But when it comes to protecting the troops from getting AIDS or Hepatitis at the tattoo parlor, well The Gazette is against the County checking out the sanitation there! Sick. See below…

July 14, 2008 – 9:57PM The Gazette
Don’t involve county in body art

You walk into Bob’s Tattoos seeking service. You want a bone through your nose and the Virgin Mary etched into your arm. Something’s not right. You’re struck by the stench of kitty litter and other strange smells. You’re introduced to 300-pound Bob, the parlor’s founding partner and managing artist. Bob wears a grubby muscle shirt and Dolfin shorts to show off his own tattoos. They don’t look so good, but that’s OK because Bob explains he got them in prison, and not at Bob’s Tattoos. What do you do?

A. Look for a certificate from the county that says Bob’s OK to pierce your nose and jam ink into your skin.

B. Leave, and do some research. Speak with multiple peers with good body art, and ask them which parlors do it best. Find a reputable shop, check it through the Better Business Bureau, and then personally assess the risks.

Unless you’re ultra brave, the correct answer is “B.” After all, even Bob’s Tattoos could look good on the day of a county inspection. And even a once-good tattoo business can go downhill after getting a stamp of approval from the county.

The right tattoo on the right part of the right person can be a fine thing. But good, safe results aren’t something the county can or should try to ensure. If ever there were an activity in which the buyer must beware, it’s the business of shopping for body art.

The mere fact that so-called painful cuts to El Paso County’s budget involve the elimination of tattoo parlor inspections indicates fiscal excess. The health department has no legitimate reason for spending nearly $30,000 annually to inspect tattoo parlors.

It’s not in question that dirty body art tools can lead to infection and disease. But nobody is required to commission a tattoo, and the majority of citizens never do. It’s a risk anyone can easily avoid by simply choosing against body art. Those who do seek tattoos and such ought to be responsible for assessing the risks themselves. The tattoo-free public shouldn’t be forced to subsidize needless, private, elective bodily expressions.

The county’s Board of Health plans to vote Wednesday on whether to permanently eliminate inspections, and most certainly they should. Tattoo artists are organizing to converge on the meeting, however, urging the county to maintain inspections.

The fact that responsible tattoo parlors favor county inspections isn’t surprising. An approval certificate is like a valuable reward for good, clean practices. The inspection requirement creates a layer of bureaucracy that serves as a hurdle to entry. It dissuades cheap, startup fly-by-night operators from wanting to set up shop and compete. It also eases concerns of customers who might otherwise ask lots of questions or chicken out of getting tattooed.

Tattoo artists, however, don’t need government to give them a useful stamp of approval. Reputations speak for themselves, and stamps of approval are best obtained through private associations of professionals. Free publications that sell advertising, for example, pay private auditing associations to verify circulations. Without the audit, it’s hard to compete. Lawyers join private associations, such as the American Bar Association, that enforce standards on members and offer assurances to customers. Good tattoo artists, if they wish to separate themselves from the riffraff, need to form a credible organization that sells a stamp of approval to those who qualify.

No stamp of approval, however, should weigh in too heavily when it comes to letting someone inject ink beneath your skin. Few transactions require more personal information and diligence than the purchase of a tattoo. Good, safe tattoos aren’t something the county can or should guarantee. Nothing can replace the ages old advice: Buyer beware. Besides, tattoos are free-spirited expressions of individuality. Don’t involve the county in what’s otherwise a solid act of rebellion.

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7 Responses to Tattoos and Ayn Rand Thought

  1. To find out more about why Ayn Rand’s ideas of true freedom for the individual make commie-pinkos like Tony (not to mention the religious right) see “red”, visit the official website of The Ayn Rand Institute, Just wait till the Atlas Shrugged movie, starring Angelina Jolie, comes out. The howls will be deafening!

  2. Avatar tony logan says:

    ‘Commie pinko’? Well I feel just totally offended being called that by Michael Slivka, Grand Defender of Wall Street Socialism by road of War, War, War!

    You Ayn Rand-ers are always pretending that the capitalism we have is not real capitalism, and that only you nitwits have a divining rod to the true waters of ‘individual freedom’, as you put it. You are ideological cohorts of people like Bush and Cheney who claim to be taking ‘democracy’ to others, even as they turn them into refugees inside their own countries and out.

  3. Actually, the terms is “Objectivists”, and I for one am much more the ideological cohort of Ronald Reagan than Messrs. Bush and Cheney, who have utterly failed to defend the merits of real capitalism, thus playing into the hands of all you pinkoes. Even Einstein acknowledged that sometimes war is necessary to defend one’s own interests. We should print 6 billion DVD copies of “Red Dawn” and air-drop them over the world, to show what would happen if they try to fuck with us.

  4. Avatar Rory says:

    Words have meaning Mr Logan. Capitalism means ‘no government intervention in the economy’. There is no way you can say the current system we have is Capitalist, unless you think taxation, welfare, antitrust laws, environmental laws and Fed control of the money supply aren’t regulatory in nature.

    By regulation of the economy, I mean government initiated force (literally: do this/don’t do this, or I will FORCE you to do it/not do it) in any realm of trade.

    Do not confuse us with the ilk of Bush and Cheney – let’s not forget the great legacy of Bush’s era, of increased government spending and further breaches of human rights in the way of intrusive ‘intelligence’ protocols.

    Maybe you should pick up ‘Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal’ if you want to know what we actually think; or ‘The Virtue of Selfishness’ if you want to know why we think it; or ‘Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology’ if you want to know what thinking consists of, in case you need some help.

  5. Avatar ohwilleke says:

    FWIW, in the absence of tort reform, the tattoo parlors may still have to pay for their misdeeds and will have an incentive to prevent them. Of course, an incentive to prevent problems, and advanced public health inspections are two different things.

    Even more troubling than the end to tattoo inspections, and also fiscally driven, was the end to county support for the suicide prevention hotline. Probably not the best way to take a “right to die” stance.

  6. Avatar Tony Logan says:

    Reagan an ‘objectivist’? Many of us just think he was a thug who got us well down the road to legalizing government war, torture, and mayhem, all for ‘others’.

    I still like the technical term ‘nitwit’ though, Michael. It seems to fit quite well in describing ‘objectivists’. You can call me ‘pinko’ again if you want to balance out our good will?

  7. Tony, you fail completely to grasp the self-correcting mechanisms built into true capitalism. Let’s say a client at Bob’s (possibly one of the rare persons who seeks a tattoo while drunk, and thus misses the vividly described “no go” clues in the column you cite) contracts Hepatitis C.

    When the disease becomes symptomatic, probably sometime between 5 and 25 years later, the client, or perhaps his or her estate, can sue (or take more direct action). Voilà, Bob’s out of business, and the epidemiological hot-spot is gone!

    Surely the court costs (or arson investigation) won’t run anywhere near the total of $150K or more that annual inspections would have cost.

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