Nanny State or Reasonable Regulation?
It is often said that there is no such a foolproof system that a complete fool wouldn’t be able to cut his head off. Our modern reality presupposes that 99% of people, who are not fools, should make everything possible in order to keep the remaining 1% safe, although this one percent will cut their head off, no matter how we guard them.
Throughout history the state tried to limit the freedom of its citizens, to dictate its will to the ones who live under its rule; democratic transformations seemed to change this situation, people for the first time in history became safe, at least partially. Yet, it seems that the majority doesn’t actually like freedom. When the world’s governments began gradually impose the prohibitions and laws limiting freedom, the majority supported them. When the government bans gambling, they thank it for saving them from vicious extorters who made them spend huge amounts of money. When it forbids selling alcohol to underaged people, they thank it for saving them from immoral businessmen who make drunkards of them, etc.
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But from whom does the government actually guard them? Does anybody actually make somebody spend money on gambling, alcohol or anything else? No. In all these situations a person makes its own choice and, by all logic, only this person should be responsible for his or her actions. In reality, in order to protect one man from making a wrong decision, government limits the freedom of a hundred who are not going to do anything stupid.
The same goes for any sphere of human life. Smoking, spending money in any way, making investments – all of it is limited because somebody may harm themselves. The situation we are facing is widely known as the Nanny State – the state that, covering behind the doctrine of protecting its citizens, considers to have a right to make completely private decisions for people, because they may do something wrong and cause themselves harm.
In the course of several last decades we saw an increase of this tendency throughout the Western World, and it is alarming, for it is the spirit of daring, lack of fear for the consequences, initiative and inventiveness that made the West what it is. The state tries to eliminate any possibility of continuing this tradition. I think it has gone far beyond the reasonable regulation of human life.