|Looking at Laws that protect us from us.|
Nanny State - How Food Fascists, Teetotaling Do-Gooders, Priggish Moralists, and Other Boneheaded Bureaucrats Are Turning America into a Nation of Children
By David Harsanyi
Publisher Broadway Books
Pages 236 with an additional 55 pages of notes, biblioghaphy, and index
When did we lose our right to be lazy, unhealthy, and politically incorrect?
Move over Big Brother! An insidious new group has inserted itself into American politics. They are the nannies--not the stroller-pushing set but an invasive band of do-gooders who are subtly and steadily stripping us of our liberties, robbing us of the inalienable right to make our own decisions, and turning America into a nation of children.
About the book:
The book begins by introducing us to what New York has banned or is planning to ban including things like pedicabs in the park, trans fats, and fast food restaurants in poor neighborhoods. It moves on to the term Nanny State, it's likely origin, and what it means. From there the author takes on drinking, eating, smoking and even playgrounds, pointing out how so much of our freedom to choose has been handed to or taken by the government. It ends with discussing the cost of such laws and the "mission creep" that is happening in America.
This book's slant is most definitely toward less government interference with the everyday choices people make. For example, do you want to buy UglyRipes tomatoes because they are vine ripened? On page 209 "In Florida, selling live lobsters is still legal, but exporting ugly tomatoes is not" Apparently Florida has a mandate that these tomatoes do not meet the standards for the Florida Tomato Committee "lack of blemishes" clause. Never mind the taste, or the food value. So you will have to get your vine ripened ugly tomato from some other state.
Not everyone will find Nanny State take on various laws acceptable. After all, Harsanyi does take on laws about vices such as drinking, smoking, and eating. He does, though, make compelling arguments why we should be looking at these issues.
I liked the writing style in this book. It is down home and straight forward, without being demeaning to the reader. Another thing that makes this book easy to read is the way it is broken into small pieces. A reader can pick up the book and read any of these short passages and get something. While I recommend reading the book from front to back, it is not mandatory as much of it has commentaries that are just like reading the opinion page of a newspaper. And just as interesting.
While not every reader will agree with Harsnyi's position, the book is entertaining, and a worth a read if only to answer things like, how did Glendale, Colorado manage to pass a law that made it illegal to sell or own fish and a law that technically outlawed the sale and consumption of chocolate? (This is not in the book but I was there when the laws were passed!). Nanny State will have you thinking.
I recommend this book for anyone, but especially for those who are interested in how the governments at all levels are slowly making our choices for us.