The Nanny State


More and more Americans, especially urban do-gooders, are becoming enemies of freedom.

Have you ever thought about what freedom is? It is simply the freedom to make your own decisions without outside interference. If you choose to smoke, drink and gamble, you should be free to do so. If you can’t, then you aren’t free.

There is an excellent book on this topic. The title is Nanny State: How Food Fascists, Teetotaling Do-Gooders, Priggish Moralists, and Other Boneheaded Bureaucrats Are Turning America Into a Nation of Children. The author is David Harsanyi, and the publisher is Broadway Books.

I confess that I have very old-fashioned values. I believe the government’s sole duties are to guard the coast, deliver the mail and protect us from violence and fraud. It is not the duty of the government to protect us from large restaurant servings, trans fats, saturated fats, tobacco smoke, and books and magazines the prudish disapprove of. It is not the duty of the government to make sure that parenting is easy, that no one ever offends us, and that our eyes never see a liquor ad or a Confederate flag.

It is not the duty of the government to tell me what I must eat, drink, smoke or chew. It is not the duty of the government to tell me how to rear my children. Personal health and personal safety are personal responsibilities, and the government should butt out.

It’s OK with me if the government wishes to come pick up the body of a would-be burglar, but when someone attempts to invade my home, I consider it my personal responsibility to stop him. I consider that it is my unalienable right to acquire the means to do so.

It’s distressing how easily Americans are accepting the Nanny State, which is tyranny, pure and simple. An oligarchy of do-gooders who are going to force you to live the way they think you should live is tyranny. That’s why the holy concept of limited government is so important. Once you allow government to encroach on your personal life in the name of doing what’s good for you, you are on the slippery slope that leads to slavery.

I don’t understand how Americans can buy the blather that our armed forces are dying for freedom in Iraq while the same Americans turn their backs on freedom at home.

Just because you disapprove of how someone lives does not give you the right to control his or her life. Only if the person attempts to harm or defraud you can you interfere in his or her life, and only then to the extent of preventing the harm or the fraud.

I thank God that I was born with Celtic blood and am genetically addicted to freedom. I have always despised being told what to do by anybody, and I always resist it. The very notion of molding my life according to someone else’s rules and regulations is an anathema.

I started working when I was 11 years old, and it never, ever occurred to me to ask the government if I could work. That was between me and my employer. It was, as far as I was concerned, none of the government’s business if I worked, under what conditions I worked, how long I worked or how much I was paid for my work. The only person I ever consulted was my father.

I learned a lot from all of my employers, including how to look out for myself working around machinery and lifting heavy objects. There again, I considered personal safety my responsibility. I didn’t need the government to regulate the workplace. I simply surveyed the hazards and took appropriate actions.

Americans had better wake up and start taking responsibility for their own lives, or they’re going to end up slaves to a despicable, incompetent bureaucracy. What greater horror can you imagine than to be ruled by the likes of Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif.?

Charley Reese [send him mail] has been a journalist for 49 years.