Wednesday, March 10, 2004

The Nanny and The Cop

When it comes to government intrusion into people's lives, there are two ways it can show itself. One I call the Nanny and the other the Cop.

The Cop is what comes to most people's minds when they consider government interference in their lives. We can imagine jack-booted thugs in police uniforms breaking in doors to search for immoral, and hence illegal, acitivities (John Aschcroft, anyone?). This William Safire cloumn looks at the way surveillance is encroaching on privacy. The assumption behind the Cop is that freedom must be curtailed because everyone can be a criminal.

The Nanny does not get as much attention. This force of government interference is responsible for mandatory helmet and seat belt laws. It tells us that companies have to provide greater and greater protections for their workers. This Telegraph of the UK article talks about wide ranging smoking bans. The assumption behind the Nanny is that everyone is too stupid and/or helpless to be able to take care of themselves.

As a Libertarian, I would like to cordially tell both the Nanny and the Cop to go screw themselves. I don't want protection from myself and I can be trusted to keep and deviancy I may or may not practice in my home in my home.

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