The Nanny State

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Smoking is bad for you. It’s so bad there have been Surgeon General’s warnings on cigarette packs for years. Of course, cigarettes are still legal in the USA, it’s just increasingly difficult to find a place where you can smoke them. In Washington state, you can’t smoke in any public establishment, like a restaurant or bar. I don’t have much of a problem with that, since smoking does have an adverse affect on employees of those establishments. Patrons can go elsewhere if they don’t like the second-hand smoke, but employees shouldn’t be forced to find other jobs.

On the other hand, where does this type of government regulation go from reasonable to ridiculous?

I remember, in my hometown, a bar I frequented was forced to remove artwork from its walls because it was deemed offensive. By whom? The Liquor Control Board, who threatened to remove the establishment’s liquor license if it didn’t comply.

Over the years, municipal, state and federal government agencies have increasingly exerted control in our “best interests.” In 2006, New York City’s Board of Health voted unanimously to force restaurants to remove trans fats from their menus. Earlier this year, a NY State Assemblyman called for a ban on salt in NYC restaurants. Salt! All salt, not just excessive salt. The mostcommonly used seasoning in the world. Ban it! It’s potentially bad! (Is it even necessary to point out the assemblyman in question is a Democrat?)

In California, the nuttiest state in the entire Union, a county board of supervisors voted to require toys be removed from high-calorie, salty meals. Why? Because all their kids are fat, and the tab to treat the resulting health problems is growing.

Remember the good old days? When parents made decisions for their children, rather than the government?

Even first lady Michelle Obama has jumped on the “junk food is bad” bandwagon. Another famous Michelle, one Ms. Malkin, points out that Mrs. Obama used to profit from the same industry she now demonizes. Ironic, or is that an overused word when we talk about typical liberal hypocrisy?

And we all remember another famous McDonald’s incident, where a woman sued after being scalded by hot coffee because she placed the coffee cup between her legs after getting it passed to her through the drive-thru. As a result, besides handing out a wad of cash and spending much more in legal fees, McDonald’s had to put a warning on their cups stating that the hot coffee was … hot.

Am I the only one who thinks someone who doesn’t know her coffee is hot is probably too stupid to read the warning label anyway?

We’ve become a nation of spoon-fed idiots and victims. 20 years ago, Tiger Woods would have been a philandering pig. Now, he’s a tragic sex addict.

Rather than educating people in how to help themselves, we now turn to government to force people into good or healthy behavior. Gambling’s dangerous, because some people abuse it. Drugs are bad, because some people abuse them. Did we learn nothing from prohibition?

And, despite the guarantees of the second amendment, guns are the worst!  We must ban guns! Because, of course, if we ban them, no violent criminal would possibly think of breaking a gun ban law. Yay! We’re all safe now.

It’s one thing for the government – or better yet, a private group, which is where this type of warning should come from – to educate me on the dangers of this, or the pitfalls of that. It’s quite another for anyone to force me into good behavior. Too much of anything is bad, so we’ve now opened the door to ban just about everything.

Did you know some woman is suing ConAgra Foods because she developed “popcorn lung”? Popcorn lung is a real problem due to a chemical called diacetyl, used until a couple years ago in most microwave popcorn brands. The problem isn’t eating the popcorn, it’s smelling the fumes, and this condition is most typical among people who worked in popcorn factories. But this woman ate two to three bags of Act II Lite popcorn every day for sixteen years!

When she drops dead of a heart attack due to high cholesterol, will her next of kin sue ConAgra again?

Every day, I see TV commercials advertising class action lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies for sufferers of side-effects that were widely advertised. For heaven’s sake, don’t use the birth control pill if it causes strokes, blood clots and heart attacks. Is getting rid of “moderate acne” while coincidentally not getting pregnant really worth dropping dead at 25?

By opening the door wide and wider to the government’s Nanny State control of our lives, abrogating personal responsibility, we’re giving up our freedoms willingly and sheepishly.

Stop it. Stop blaming everyone for your fat kids. Don’t want them to get fat? Then how about signing them up for a recreational program rather than spending $300 on that new PS3? How about not taking them to McDonald’s every day after they’ve spent five hours in front of the TV or surfing the web.

Don’t want your kids reading Harry Potter? Then forbid them! Don’t try to take it out of our schools because it promotes something in which you don’t believe.

We, as a society, should be advocating good causes and drawing attention to the dangers of bad ones. We should not be using the law to restrict our right to make potentially bad decisions. Screwing up is a part of freedom, and you can’t have the right to succeed without the possibility of failure. When you grant the government the right to protect you from the latter, you simultaneously give up your chances at the former.

You can have my guns, my trans fats, my salt and my Happy Meal toys when you pry them out of my cold, dead and morbidly obese fingers.

5 Responses to “The Nanny State”
  1. Our school requires my kids to fill out “fitness planners” at home recording their after-school level of activity. My oldest consistently has a C in PE ONLY because my attitude towards the fitness planner is, “BITE ME!” If I want to let my kids sit on the couch for 6 hours after school eating Pop Tarts and watching Myth Busters, that’s MY right as a parent. Is it smart parenting? NO! But I will defend everyone’s right to be stupid. I will NOT report what happens in our home to the school. None of their business!

    Next up will be “suggested meal plans” that are sent home with my kids (forget the swill they call school lunch – since when is fish nuggets, corn, french fries and a roll a decent meal?). People mock me when I say that and call me crazy, but it can’t be far behind with this attitude that government can control my home life. Many schools have already banned anything with sugar in it for school parties and birthdays. What do I do? I sign up to bring something healthy and then bring cupcakes… It’s always an awkward moment but when the kids see me walk in with cupcakes, the teacher has no choice but to serve them.

    • chrisisright says:

      I agree with you. If they’re worried about your kids eating habits, let them provide healthy school lunches. What you do at home is entirely your business, and schools intruding into that home is unacceptable.

      I remember Glenn Beck reporting on how some “green” organization was telling kids in schools how to go home and “educate” their parents on global warming. Outrageous!

      It makes me glad I’m not a parent. I’d be at the school banging on the principal’s door and venting my spleen every day.

  2. In a way, if the proposed ban of salt in Manhattan restaurants were to go through, I’d be extremely happy.

    Though I’m in no way a fan of The Big Apple, the very second that the salt ban went into effect, I’d move there and begin selling boxes of soft pretzels illegally out of my seedy ground floor Brooklyn apartment.

    I’d make an absolute killing… and would be able to eventually sell the movie rights of my story — tentative title “Against the Grain” to Paramount.

  3. Steve Ward says:

    Our representatives are supposed to be bored. Theses wild laws come from our representatives coming up with busy work for their selves.

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