The Two Party Nanny State

Reason looks at the nanny state with several examples of unnecessary government meddling in our lives, supposedly for our own good. They avoid the tendency of many libertarians to overlook the authoritarian tendencies of the Republicans and find fault in both parties. After giving many examples from Democrats, often with bipartisan support, they look at Republicans:

Before we get carried away scolding Democrats for all their scolding, let’s recall that Republicans are leading the crusade to stop you from using the Internet to play poker or bet on football games. It’s a Republican administration that has revived the effort to prevent adults from looking at dirty pictures in the privacy of their homes. And while the war on drugs is a bipartisan project, Republicans are noticeably more enthusiastic about imposing draconian prison sentences on drug offenders.

Broadly speaking, Democrats want to protect you from the physical threats posed by habits such as smoking, overeating, and crossing the street while listening to an iPod. Republicans are more interested in protecting you from the moral threats posed by temptations such as drugs, gambling, and pornography. Between them, they’ve got you covered, body and soul.

I am happy to see that they recognize that both parties are guilty on this, but they still have a Republican bias in their reporting. Many of the examples of nanny state legislation by Democrats is supported by some but opposed by other Democrats. The example of banning listening to an iPod while crossing the street was backed by a member of a state legislature and was laughed at by many liberal bloggers (including my post here).  In contrast, while there are some dissenters in the GOP, their nanny state legislation is more widely supported as the position of the party. The Democratic examples are also far less draconian. Requiring that calorie counts be posted in restaurants is a far less onerous rule than Republicans who use the national government to prevent medicinal use of marijuana even in states which desire to legalize it.

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