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The Embarrassed Republican: The Nanny State?

Who are these 'Nannies' anyway?

The first time I heard the term “Nanny state” was in the early 1970s.  While we all waited in gas lines, on the even or odd days, people complained that police might look at their gas gauges to see if they were just “topping off” or really needed gas.  No one ever seemed very interested in my gas gauge, but if some jerk had made me wait longer so he could just get a gallon or two I would have been pissed.  Those lines took hours.

Lately I hear the cry of “It’s the nanny state!” a lot, mostly about food safety and health regulations. When they banned the use of trans-fats in food preparation in New York city some felt their right to coronary disease was protected by the constitution.  Maybe it is, but the right to contribute to someone else’s coronary issues isn’t.  It’s the same with the proposed “Giant soda” ban.   While that probably isn’t the most effective regulation ever suggested, the same dynamic applies.  Buy 64 ounces of soda if you want, but the vendor might have to sell you 4 separate drinks while assisting you on your way to early diabetes.

We have all heard of the shocking “happy meal toy ban” in San Francisco.  Imagine a government so enthused with itself that it imagined it could control who gets a toy at lunch and who doesn’t?  “Don’t eat a healthy meal, no toy for you!”  Except it wasn’t the “Government,” it was parents.  Parents all over San Francisco asked for and overwhelmingly supported the ban, so it passed.  Of course, McDonalds countered this dastardly plot by selling the toys on the side for a dime.  Thanks Ronald, yet another victory for corporate stinkerhood.

It seems that any health or safety law is a sure target for accusations of “Nanny State-ery.”  Smoking bans in public parks, food labeling laws and even seat belt laws have been accused of “governmental interference.”  These charges mostly come from people who don’t seem to realize that it’s other citizens that don’t want to be fogged out of the park or want to understand exactly what they're eating and are smart enough to know that a lot of people are too dumb to wear seat belts unless you make them.  “Oh, but Officer I wan’t planning to have an accident today!”

I’ve been snagged for my son not wearing a seat belt, right next to the Morris plains railroad station.  Completely my fault, I should have been paying attention and he should have been wearing a seat belt.  Strangely, after that experience it’s something he always remembers to do now, go figure.

Whether its the legal drinking age, DWI laws or even how old you have to be to buy cigarettes, someone is always convinced that their "rights" are being abused by the Government.   But I always notice that while they’re ready to fight the “Government” to death for the rights of a 13 year old to buy a bottle of Jack Daniels and drive around smoking two packs a day, they’re not so keen about going up against Mothers Against Drunk Driving or the American Cancer Society.  Good decision, they’ll kick your butt.

The sad truth about the “Nanny state” is that legislators don’t go around just making up laws, your neighbors are twisting their arms and making them do it.  The same neighbors who are tired of their medical insurance premiums constantly going up to protect our freedom to abuse ourselves.

So the next time you’re tempted to blame the government for making you sort the recycling or not letting you use good old DDT on the roses, take a quick look into how those laws and regulations came about. You’ll find a bunch of people got together and made it happen.  That’s how democracy works.

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Josh August 28, 2012 at 05:06 PM
So explain again how civil rights passed, when at the time a majority of the people would not have passed those laws.
CoolBreeze August 28, 2012 at 05:14 PM
That cost of doing business is passerd on directly to the consumer, namely us. That's what Obama Care missed - there are no caps on rewards for slip and fall accidents and more importantly there is no penalty for bringing a frivolous law suit. In pretty much every other country if you bring a suit and lose you pay penalities - not just the other side's costs. Really, once the drug and insurance companies got behind Obama care you knew it was no good for us. How about this - regulate the return on equity of insurance companies (just lke we regulate public utilities), impose penalities for bringing/losing frivlous law suits, allow interstae competiton for helath insurance, and establish an 'assigned risk' catagory to insure no one with a pre-existing condition is refused coverage? That's got to be a better plan then what the bozo's in congress came up with.
Matt Giordano August 28, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Ok people, please rally to get the candy manufacturers to produce smaller packages of candy. I cannot help myself when I purchase a box of Good & Plenty and "have" to eat the entire contents. Because of my lack of self control I am eating more calories, fat, and other not-so-good ingredients. This happens because manufacturers are still on the Super Size binge and I am unable to purchase small packages of candy. This situation is not limited to Good & Plenty. Can you help? Perhaps someone can organize a citizens group to protect me from the profit motivated capitalists and myself?
Prentiss Gray August 28, 2012 at 08:33 PM
There will be caps on what the companies can charge, the affordable care act does bring interstate competition, although someone in NJ won't get a better price from an Arizona company. Healthcare cost more here. Who would decide what frivolous was ?
Prentiss Gray August 28, 2012 at 08:42 PM
I think your wrong about that Josh. The bill's support in the north out-numbered the mostly southern citizens that were against it, on a popular basis. However it's not always about how many citizens are behind it, it's more about how determined the citizens who are behind something are. The passage was the first time in history a filibuster was actually shut down on a civil rights bill, you need a lot of votes for that. It shows a lot of support.

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