Category Archives: must population growth trump freedom

Nanny State

Alexander McCall Smith in his newest book The Lost Art of Gratitude says, “our ordinary freedoms are being eroded by the nanny state.” I don’t know if he coined the term but it struck a perfect note with me. I always wonder how much freedom we will be willing to trade off for safety. Of course, we must protect our children so all the rules about car seats and shots and “Purell” dispensers everywhere make sense. Drunk driving laws, speed limits, air bags, side airbags, full body scans, new passport rules – all useful, especially in a crowded world. Law after law gets passed. Whenever a risk is identified a law soon follows. So far, not completely unreasonable. Smoking laws, food rules are all justified because they protect children as well as adults. Perhaps we will be subject to exercise and calorie requirements. How far do we want to go? I guess we can never expect everyone to be responsible so we legislate to protect ourselves. My lunch companion reminds me that this is really all about money, somewhat cynical, but most assuredly true. Every time, whatever the rationale, we lose a little freedom. Will we eventually say enough?