The Other Nanny State

I’ve been debating about whether to write this post – but an exchange I saw on Facebook today convinced me to move ahead with this idea.  First let’s lay the groundwork to explain “the nanny state” and then I will share my new perspective on another nanny state we have in the US.

Anyone on the “right” and plenty of the “left” would readily admit that its common for some people on the left to engage in what we could call “the nanny state”. Mayor Bloomberg is a great example of that with his ban on large sugary drinks – for just one example. Actually – if you look up “nanny state” on Wikipedia – Bloomberg’s picture is there — no kidding.

This is how Wikipedia defines the nanny state –

Nanny state is a term of British origin (and primary use) that conveys a view that a government or its policies are overprotective or interfering unduly with personal choice.[2] The term “nanny state” likens government to the role that a nanny has in child rearing. An early usage of the term comes from Conservative British MP Iain Macleod who referred to “what I like to call the nanny state” in his column “Quoodle” in the December 3, 1965, edition of The Spectator.[3] It is defined by as “a government perceived as authoritarian, interfering, or overprotective” and has also come to be associated with intrusive practices of having the government basically “baby” the populace by being in charge, in control of, and even financing all of its needs. Some governance claimed to represent a nanny state are those that emerge from application of public health, risk management of health and safety policies.

Here are some examples of “The Nanny State Gone Wild” –

The following are 18 examples of the nanny state gone wild….

#1 New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced that he wants to ban the sale of all large sodas and sugary drinks in order to fight obesity.  Personally I don’t have any sodas in my refrigerator, but I certainly do not want the government telling me that I am banned from drinking large sodas.  Every American should have the freedom to decide if they want to drink soda or not.

#2 In North Carolina, authorities are threatening to send a blogger to prison for blogging about his battle against diabetes….

#3 In San Francisco, if you do not recycle your trash correctly you can be fined up to $500.

#4 The following are just some of the cities that have started using RFID tracking chips to monitor the recycling habits of their citizens….

  • *Cleveland, Ohio
  • *Charlotte, North Carolina
  • *Alexandria, Virginia
  • *Boise, Idaho
  • *Dayton, Ohio
  • *Flint, Michigan

#5 In Minnetonka, Minnesota you can be fined up to $2,000 for having a muddy vehicle.

#6 In Hazelwood, Missouri it is against the law for little girls to sell girl scout cookies in front of their own homes.

#7 San Francisco has implemented a ban on Happy Meal toys.

#8 Over the past couple of years there have been quite a few instances all over the country where lemonade stands run by children have been shut down by police because the children had not acquired the proper permits.

#9 State legislatures all over the country have been passing legislation making it more difficult for parents to opt out of having their children vaccinated.

#10 In many U.S. states is it now illegal to collect any rain that falls on to your own property.

#11 In San Juan Capistrano, California it is against the law to hold a home Bible study without a “conditional use permit“.

#12 In New York City, it is against the law to smoke at public parks and beaches.

#13 In California,”food confiscation teams” visit the homes of people that have been discovered to have purchased raw milk.  The following is from a recent Natural News article….

#14 In Hilton Head, South Carolina it is illegal to have trash in your car.

#15 In major cities all over the United States feeding the homeless has been banned due to “health reasons”.

#16 In Louisiana, one church was ordered to stop passing out water because it did not have the proper permit.

#17 At public schools all over the United States, the lunches that little children bring from home are now inspected to make sure that they meet USDA guidelines.  The following is one recent report of this phenomenon from North Carolina….

#18 Today, a vast array of government agencies is constantly monitoring what all of us say and do on the Internet.  They claim that this helps makes us all more “safe” and “secure”.

I think that many people would find at least some of these regulations to be excessive and could be perceived as government overreach. People who keep an eye on the news – are likely to agree that we are seeing a lot of examples of government overreach.

But – I feel there is another type of overreach and another incarnation of the nanny state that we see on a regular basis. That is overreach by people who push their ideals of how to “protect” people in the name of religion. Read on because I would like to hear your thoughts…. although I know we are likely to disagree.

Not everyone has the same beliefs – and that doesn’t just pertain to how we each feel about God, religion etc. There are things that each of us may feel are “wrong”, “unacceptable”, “dangerous”. “hazardous” etc. I feel sure that Michael Bloomberg does feel it is his responsibility to protect the people of NYC and some of the ways he feels that should be done, have upset many people.

So – why is it different when a person says they are trying to protect you by insisting that its “wrong” for you to participate in various types of behavior. A couple that come to mind from religions are the limitations on the “appropriate behavior” between 2 consenting adults. This is especially true with restrictions  on physical activities between a married couple. While I totally agree that if one partner or the other doesn’t want to participate in specific sexual acts, their spouse should respect that. However, I do not feel a government, their clergymen or any politician should mandate what is and is not acceptable.  Why isn’t that an example of a “nanny state”?  Instead of calling it the nanny state, it is often labelled intolerance, but its a very vocal intolerance and judging people who do not act and believe the same. Remember, we have a lot of freedoms in this country and we are trying to protect those freedoms.

I could provide many examples from my life – where people put themselves in a position to mandate what was appropriate or acceptable for people they felt they had to “protect”. Too often, over time, it was revealed these people were over reaching and were being hypocritical through their actions. I’ll leave that for now – that is definitely a different blog post.

I am not speaking about things that are physically dangerous or harmful. I’m also not talking about things that break the law. There are many things we know truly do damage people. However, I am talking about people who want to dictate what people can say, how they should act, what they think about, and basically how they live their lives.

There was a lot of this sort of overreach and nanny state from the right during the presidential primary debates. And – I think this is one of many things that is hurting the GOP and Conservatives as a whole. Politicians need to just keep their mouths shut about certain topics — one prime example is the many ways GOP men have done so much harm with their thoughtless and uninformed comments about rape and other types of abuse of women. Many comments from some religious leaders are another prime example. There was one recently that was so insulting and just completely out of touch with reality. I listened to the video and checked to see if it was from 30 or 40 years ago….

Anyway – this is just a perspective that has been pushing its way to the forefront of my thoughts more and more lately and it always helps me to get these thoughts out. So – how do you think this overreach by telling people what is or is not “acceptable” in their personal lives affects Conservatives?


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