Hold yer water

We just received the Redneck Mansion water & sewer bill for the quarter.  Down towards the bottom of the bill is a statement: "Your neighbors in the town average 11,900 gallons /quarter."

Well, we're breaking our arms patting ourselves on tha back since we don't use nearly that much water because, as everyone knows, rednecks don't shower, shave, brush their teeth, or flush the commode.

But that's neither here nor there.

It did remind us, though, of a recent Freakonomics podcast entitled, "Riding the herd mentality."  You can listen to the podcast here, but the gist is that it's about "how peer pressure – and good, old-fashioned shame – can push people to do the right thing."

Of course, another method of pushing the great unwashed to do the right thing is the proper kind of zoning, as Alice discovered in Zoningland a while ago...but we digress.

The problem with relying on peer pressure and shame is that people can be exceptionally creative when it comes to avoiding doing the right thing.

To wit:

...in west Texas...a severe drought forced people to cut down on their water use. At least they were supposed to cut down — but those lush green lawns that some Texans were used to don’t just get green on their own...
Local talk-show host Robert Hallmark remarks on the invocation of the Slip 'n Slide Rule:
HALLMARK: The Slip ‘n Slide Rule was that you could operate a Slip ‘n Slide in your front yard for the kids anytime you wanted to. Now you know as well as I do a Slip ‘n Slide is nothing but a water hose with holes in it. It is just pouring water out onto the lawn. So we determined how much it would cost to hire kids to stand in your yard in a bathing suit just so you could water your yard.
Somehow all that good old-fashioned American ingenuity, though, has to get stoppered up or people will just keep on not doing the right thing, dag nabbit!
Enter John Roberts, Esq., and the concept of mandating behavior whilst seeming not to mandate behavior, and all by the fiendishly simple (not to mention revenue-producing) technique of imposing a tax—you know, just to get people to do "the right thing."
Shades of BF Skinner?