When the Nanny State Starts Attacking Nannies

by on 31 August, 2012

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Bill Muehlenberg says we live in an age where we see evidence of cultural decline, the erosion of values…

OK, just a very short and sweet post here. I have written before about the nanny state and how big government feeds on itself, getting bigger and badder. Bureaucracies mushroom, egos expand, and freedoms lessen and shrink. The ever-increasing state gets more and more irrational as it thinks it must intrude into every area of life.

The trouble with soft totalitarianism is that it soon mushrooms into hard totalitarianism. Today’s bureaucracy on steroids becomes tomorrow’s Stazi or KGB. So keeping the state in check is an on-going work, one which must constantly and doggedly be engaged in. Or as has been said before, “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance”.

So here is another example of bureaucracy gone mad, and the nanny state going ballistic. The story comes out of Western Australia, and begins as follows: “A young mother was issued with a $250 fine last year for talking on her mobile phone while pushing a pram along a footpath. Police have confirmed the woman was issued with the infringement as she walked along a Mandurah footpath on April 21 last year.

“Police Inspector Bill Munnee said today the infringement was issued by a Senior Constable from the Peel Traffic office to the woman for using her mobile phone while she was in control of a pram as she walked her child on a footpath. The fine, understood to be $250, was withdrawn within 24 hours when the Senior Constable’s boss realised the massive error.”

OK, so it is just one small example. But unfortunately it is not unique. Such madness is happening every day, and it looks like this errant statism shows no signs of bottoming out. Plenty of social observers and political commentators of all varieties have pointed out the dangers here. Let me cite just a few of them:

-“The bigger the Big Government, the smaller everything else: In Sweden, expressing a moral objection to homosexuality is illegal, even on religious grounds, even in church, and a pastor minded to cite the more robust verses of Leviticus would risk four years in jail. In Canada, the courts rule that Catholic schools must allow gay students to take their same-sex dates to the prom. The secular state’s Bureau of Compliance is merciless to apostates to a degree even your fire-breathing imams might marvel at.” Mark Steyn

-“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.” Groucho Marx.

-“Individual liberty exists in inverse proportion to the size of the state. The bigger the government/state, the less liberty the individual has. The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.” Dennis Prager

-“Every step we take towards making the State our Caretaker of our lives, by that much we move toward making the State our Master.” Dwight D. Eisenhower

-“Most bad government has grown out of too much government.” Thomas Jefferson

‎-”Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.” P. J. O’Rourke

‎-”Now I am one of those who believe that the cure for centralization is decentralization.” G. K. Chesterton

-“In politics, the great non sequitur of our time is that (1) things are not right and that (2) the government should make them right.” Thomas Sowell

-“A government is like fire, a handy servant, but a dangerous master.” George Washington

Getting fined for talking on the mobile while pushing a baby carriage is one thing. Allowing the state to keep getting worse in this regard is another. A free people will always get things wrong. We will often endanger ourselves, and sometimes others. But the paternalistic state is not the answer.

Mark Steyn again: “Freedom is messy. In free societies, people fall through the cracks – drink too much, eat too much, buy unaffordable homes, fail to make prudent provision for health care, and much else. But the price of being relieved of all these tiresome choices by a benign paternal government is far too high. Big Government is the small option: it’s the guarantee of smaller freedom, smaller homes, smaller cars, smaller opportunities, smaller lives.”

Bill Muehlenberg is a Melbourne based author who lectures part time in ethics, theology and philosophy. He has an interactive blogsite called CultureWatch

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