What is a Nanny State?

Yesterday my attention was drawn to an example of Nanny Stateism by an anti-gun advertisement by Mothers Demand Action. I know it wasn’t the message of the ads, but the message I gathered was one of the existence of Nanny Stateism creeping in. In case you aren’t familiar with the term Nanny State, here is a definition from an online dictionary: “a government that makes decisions for people that they might otherwise make for themselves, esp those relating to private and personal behavior.”

Do we have Nanny Staters in the U.S. government? I think so. Michael Bloomberg in NYC is a prominent Nanny State supporter with his wish to regulate soda cup size. I guess it is part of human nature to want to help other people, but the Nanny State approach is some deviant form of this. It is good to learn from experience and then seek to educate other people about situations that may be potentially harmful to them. Recommending to someone that they not drink 2 Liters of soda per day is one thing, making it illegal for them to do it is something else entirely.

The Mothers Demand Action (MDA) advertisements present three ridiculous comparisons in making the point that our country bans some innocuous things, but not guns. If you have read my blog before you know I am pro-gun rights, because I am pro-liberty, and I do think the two are directly related. MDA’s ads mention that a children’s book, a game, and a candy egg have been banned in the U.S. because each poses a threat to children. The banning of these three items is representative of Nanny Stateism.

Little Red Riding Hood is a classic children’s story. According to ABC News in relation to the MDA ad, there are two school districts in California where these books were banned because the illustrated cover of one edition of the story features a wine bottle in Red’s basket. Obviously, we don’t want to present alcohol culture to children, but doesn’t it seem a little extreme to ban a book because of an illustrated wine bottle on the cover of it? That’s speculation on my part, the illustration may appear throughout the story as well, not just on the cover. But still, an illustrated wine bottle is dangerous, but the end of the story where a wolf is presumed guilty of one count of grand-matricide, impersonating a grandmother, and killing and eating Red is okay? Alright.

The next comparison suggests that dodge ball is being banned in schools because it is too violent. I’ve played a considerable amount of dodge ball in my life. We would play in middle school and it was my favorite game. Chris and I drew up a playbook with stick figure illustrations. We actually had plays that we would run in gym class dodge ball. I’ll admit, sometimes you get hit in the face and it hurts, but I’ve been hurt worse after tripping while walking. Should I never walk again? Dodge ball isn’t attractive to me because of the violence, but rather the excitement. Isn’t that the case with football?

Finally, there is a comparison of a chocolate egg import from Italy. At first, I had no idea what was wrong with the chocolate egg. The ABC News report identified the egg as having a small toy inside of the chocolate, posing a potential choking hazard. I guess the public feels it is too dangerous to market a candy with a choking hazard inside of it, because people wouldn’t be capable of realizing there is a toy inside and then not choking on it. Granted, young kids who can’t read might miss this, but then the responsibility falls on the parents to make sure their kids aren’t missing it. And that’s the whole point.

Proponents of a Nanny State whether they admit it or not, take the stance that people are not capable of managing their own lives so the government must do it for them. People are not capable of parenting their children, so the government must do it for them. There are things that government can do to help parents, but it should not take the lead role. Parents must accept the natural responsibility that comes with having children. Parents have to have the liberty to do so.

A Nanny State essentially removes any and all dangers in the interest of public safety. While admirable to want public safety, it is distorted and despicable to do it by eliminating personal liberty and responsibility.

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About paulbrodie

I am a writer and a musician. My education is in psychology with emphasis in industrial/organizational psychology. My work experience has been primarily with electronic document management. Academically and intellectually I am interested in criminology and sociology. I am married to my favorite person in the world and we have one daughter.
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