PJ Media

The Nanny State

This weekend, I read an advanced copy (sent to a href=”http://instapundit.com/”Glenn/a and pilfered by me) of David Harsanyi’s a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0767924320?ie=UTF8tag=wwwviolentkicomlinkCode=as2camp=1789creative=9325creativeASIN=0767924320″emNanny State: How Food Fascists, Teetotaling Do-Gooders, Priggish Moralists, and other Boneheaded Bureaucrats are Turning America into a Nation of Children./em/aimg src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wwwviolentkicoml=as2o=1a=0767924320″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” / A general book description is a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0767924320?ie=UTF8tag=wwwviolentkicomlinkCode=as2camp=1789creative=9325creativeASIN=0767924320″as follows: /aimg src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wwwviolentkicoml=as2o=1a=0767924320″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” / br /br /blockquoteIn the name of health, safety, decency, and good intentions, ever-vigilant politicians, bureaucrats, and social activists are dictating what we eat, where we smoke, what we watch and read. Why do bureaucrats know what’s better for us than we do? Have they overstepped their bounds in dictating our behavior through legislation? Are their restrictive measures essential to our health and safety—or exercises in political expediency? Girl Scout cookies, swing sets, cigarettes, alcohol, and gay authors are all in their sights. Nanny State raises a host of questions about the motives and influence of the playground police, food-fascists, anti-porn crusaders, and other “nannies” popping up all over America.br /br /Nanny State provides a rubric for viewing the debate about the size and scope of the state. Drawing on dozens of examples, Harsanyi offers a convincing argument that government intervention in its citizens’ private lives not only denies us freedom of choice, but also erodes our national character by promoting a culture of victimhood and dependence./blockquotebr /br /In so many ways, the state has become the babysitter and infantilizer of all of us, even adults and the most depressing part to me is that we are allowing it, bit by bit, every time we give the state more and more authority in the form of petty laws that control the lives of countless citizens in ways that take away personal autonomy while at the same time, doing little to prevent or severely punish those who are truly violent. Rebecca Hagelin, the vice president of the Heritage Foundation pointed out in 2003 that “America started out with three federal laws–treason, counterfeiting and piracy. In 1998, the American Bar Association counted more than 3,300 separate federal criminal offenses on the books–more than 40 percent of which had been enacted in just the past 30 years…” br /br /It may be too much to expect that this book will turn things around, but Harsanyi does a good job of getting his readers to at least start thinking about the larger issues of state intrusion. So maybe the next time a politician wants to pass a new law requiring yet one more nanny state regulation, the voters will make it more expensive to politicians who seek to tyrannize us for “our own good.”