Monday, May 26, 2014

What is better? Nanny State or Free State

I have some friends who like progressive people in government like former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.  They think it's a good idea that laws are made that urge healthy lifestyles.  I, however, think that this form of nanny-style government is dangerous.

Think of it this way.  Think of the government as your home.  Since the parents are paying the bills, they get to set the rules.  They can prevent you from eating foods high in sugar and fat, and they can encourage you to exercise.

Now, once we the people give the government the power to pay our bills, then we are, in essence, making the government the parents.  By default, this gives the government the power to tell us what we can and cannot eat.

So every time a new study comes out showing that something we are eating is bad for us, then these government officials want to make laws preventing people from eating it.  This is what Bloomberg did when he banned the sale of 36 ounce drinks in New York.  

Why did he do it?  The bottom line is the government of New York pays a lot of money for healthcare.  A high cost in healthcare is the cost of caring for diabetic people.  Since pop has a lot of sugar, the idea was the people would drink less pop and ingest less sugar. 

This is the crux of the progressive movement.  They believe that experts in Washington should decide what's best for us. They believe that in the absence of a nanny state in government, people are stupid and will make unwise decisions.  

The problem here is that the these experts assume they are right.  But what if they are wrong.  What if people will simply buy more pop?  What if not drinking pop will still result in diabetes? What if these experts are proven wrong?  

Will they then get rid of the law?  There have been many instances in the past where these so called experts were proven wrong, and this did not stop them from changing their ways.  It has never resulted in the reversal of any laws. 

Whenever someone proves one of these idealist experts wrong, the expert simply trudges forward, even it it takes denying the facts and telling lies.  

Consider that, despite the assault on high fat foods such as McDonalds, Burger King and KFC under the belief that high fat foods cause hardened arteries and heart disease, science has proven that this is a myth.  

Scientists actually found a high rate of hardened arteries and heart disease in ancient Egyptian mummies, and their diet didn't even include meat.  They didn't even have the knowledge to make fried foods.  This has experts wondering if it's not the foods we eat but genetics that causes heart disease. 

Regardless, the experts continue the assault on high fat foods.  And I'm not saying you should eat these foods, I'm just saying that the experts are not always right. They make laws based on "it sounds good" myths, and make laws because "it's for our own good" and they they find out they are wrong, but they deny they are wrong.
A second thought I have on this topic is that for every new law one more liberty, one more freedom, is taken away. You must consider that every law tells me one more thing I must do, or that I cannot do.  It takes away my right to decide? It tramples on my personal liberty.

A third thought I have on this topic is this: Is the government supposed to make a new law every single time a new study comes out?  I mean, what if a study came out showing that long-term ingestion of popcorn caused dementia in the elderly? Are they going to ban the sale of popcorn?  Where does it end?

There is an alternative to the nanny state, and that is to assume people are smart rather than stupid.  I think people are smart, and will make decisions they think are best for them.  When provided with better knowledge, they will make better decisions.  

So, the powers that be should not assume people are stupid, thus making laws forcing them to make wise decisions.  Instead, they should assume that most people are smart, and make a gallant effort to educate them about the advantages of making smart choices.