Saturday, July 02, 2005

Independence Daycare

nanny state
n. Informal
A government perceived as having excessive interest in or control over the welfare of its citizens, especially in the enforcement of extensive public health and safety regulations.

As Americans, freedom is of great import to us, and yet what have we done with those freedoms afforded us?
We have enacted (or allowed to have been enacted) laws to restrict those very freedoms we enjoy. We have invited a government that we created, that we elected, that is supposed to work for us into our homes and lives so that it can over-mother us into a society of afraid, cowering children.
Through asinine lawsuits, simpering civil complaints and overt whining we have opened the door for an oppressive nanny state to stick its nose into our personal lives.
We enact smoking bans on places that we do not go. We enforce safety compliances on vehicles we do not operate. We sue fast food restaurants for our own lack of self control.
I often wonder how an entire population could survive thousands of years and then decide that almost everything is unsafe enough to restrict or control within three decades. How did I and my generation even reach the age of 35 without the help of bicycle helmets, motorcycle helmets, seat belts, smoking bans, gun locks, hot coffee warnings, labels on our lawnmowers not to stick our hands into the rapidly spinning metal blades &ct? How did this same generation then decide to legislate commonsense personal decisions?
Don't get me wrong, I don't smoke (well, the occasional cigar, but usually at home), I wear my seatbelt, I wore a helmet all the years I rode a motorcycle, I think we should try to protect our offspring and I never reached for anything under a running lawnmower. I'm not against health and safety, I am against government legislation of personal choice.

Take a look motorcycle helmet laws. Name the helmet brand most states with these laws recommend. Tell me the quality requirements for these helmets. Can't do it? That's because there are none. NONE! Helmet laws are bogus because there are no set standards. There are no set standards because then the governing body would be responsible if those standards turned out to be inadequate. So the result is government intervention with no definitive result. Implied safety to placate a portion of the populace.

How about seatbelts? The major argument for seatbelt laws was (for a long time) insurance costs. A person injured in a car wreck costs time and money and makes your insurance rates go up. Well, statisticly people not wearing seatbelts are more likely to be killed in a major accident, and those with seatbelts only injured. Injured people require hospital time, doctors costs and rehabilitation, all expensive. Not to be morbid, but on the other hand, dead is dead, and will have limited cost effects. So, now we've moved into a slight untruth for more control.

Shall we move on to the smoking bans? This issue makes me so apoplectic I can barely articulate sometimes. Push aside the smoker's issues for just a moment, and think about the business owners. Imagine you have a business, you pay rent, licensing fees, and upkeep costs. You work hard to gain clientele. Now, a group of people who do not bring you any revenue, and do not frequent your establishment, petitions the government to stop your customers from exercising a personal choice, a LEGAL personal choice in your place of business.
It is the besetting vice of democracies to substitute public opinion for law. This is the usual form in which the masses of men exhibit their tyranny. -- James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851)
Now we have created a crime out of a legal act.
(for more on the Austin smoking ban please go see

Gun laws are another sore subject for me. There are thousands (yes, thousands) of gun laws on the books. Waiting periods, background checks, magazine capacity restrictions, carry restrictions and rate of fire restrictions are just the beginning. How, where and when you can use your gun are also tightly regulated. All these laws have one thing in common: a criminal already breaking the law will rarely hesitate to break these as well. The vast majority of gun owners are good responsible citizens. These laws only make it tougher for law abiding citizens to protect themselves. The governments solution: rely on the police for protection. Do not attempt to defend yourself, don't fight back, leave that to the professionals. So, lastly we are left at the mercy of the system.

Notice the progression, from ineffective and undefinable (and in some cases unenforceable) statutes to creating crimes out of thin air (so to speak) to being helpless and watched over.
We have started down a path that at best will be hard to turn away from and at worse will result in the loss of additional freedoms. We have given up personal responsibility for a false sense of security.
This 4th of July, have fun, be safe (use your brain) and think about freedom. The freedom you have, the freedom we've given up and mostly the freedom you want for the future.



At July 04, 2005 9:44 AM, Blogger Patrick said...

Are you strong eneough to handle the responsibilities of the freedom that you so covet?

At July 04, 2005 5:20 PM, Blogger K-nine said...

There is only one way to find out. You can't practice freedom in theory. "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin 1706 - 1790

At July 07, 2005 3:40 PM, Blogger baze said...

Interesting thoughts. My inner Libertarian generally agrees, even though I am a seatbelt-wearing gun owner and concealed handgun licensee who does NOT mind gun laws, including mandatory registration of all guns.

As a guy who once flipped a car 2.5 times, slid 100 feet on the roof and came to rest upside down, belted in, wallking away with only scratched, I am OK with a law that saves idiots from the idiocy of unbelted driving.

Even though criminals don't obey gun laws. I have no problem with registration of a dangerous item, nor with laws which restrict my purchase of a .50 caliber sniper rifle, 3 dozen guns a month, armor piercing or teflon bullets for example.

Am I a selective Libertarian? Perhaps. Stay away from the Bill of Rights though.


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