Nanny State stretches into our personal lives

Posted: July 19th, 2009 by Militant Libertarian

Boston Herald, Jay Ambrose

Yoga? Even yoga?

In addition to all the other little things that government is regulating in a drip, drip, drip that is gradually becoming an ocean, states have lately been telling yoga schools what to do and how to do it and threatening them with fines or extinction if they don’t. Take that, you meditating bunch of stretch practitioners.

The nanny state, sad to report, has been around for a long time in this land of the increasingly less free, sometimes in highly restrictive licensing to further the interests of particular groups (by limiting the competition) and sometimes with the purpose of taking care of us helpless adults who obviously cannot cross the street safely without some bureaucrat holding our hand.

But this last brand of the totalitarian ambition – saving us from ourselves – has been really catching on of late, as in states and localities going to war with artificial trans fats in restaurants. A champion of that cause has been Tom Friedan, the New York City health commissioner who has now been named by President Barack Obama as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

He should feel at home in the Obama administration, one that has been unabashedly enthusiastic about a number of nanny state possibilities, including a provision of the cap-and-trade bill that would establish federal commercial and residential building codes. Imagine this – federal building inspectors deciding whether your lifestyle suits their druthers.

James Buchanan, a Nobel Prize economist, offers an interesting perspective. In addition to other kinds of liberty-squashing socialism, he said, add “parental socialism” that treats us like children, going beyond legitimate means of safeguarding the general welfare to the commands you might once have expected from your mom and dad.

Regulating the trivial can have the non-trivial result of divorcing us from vital aspects of our humanity.

Let’s take a cue from yoga teachers in New York State. They organized and persuaded the state’s education department to quit trying to license them.

Citizens of America, unite – we have nothing to lose but our baby cribs.

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