Not the Nanny State — the BULLY State
“Higher taxes have discouraged public consumption of whiskey and tobacco. Now it’s sugar’s turn.”
— Lead editorial, AARP Bulletin, June 2012
It is time we started calling liberal Democratic policymakers what they are. We all too frequently lament the ever-reaching ‘nanny state,’ but that term violates a cherished cultural staple — nannies are Mary Poppins or such maternal substitutes as the TV character played by Fran Drescher. Statists are not nannies, they are bullies. Consider the following:
Deval Patrick (D), current Massachusetts governor, recently defended Obamacare in a conference call with reporters, referring to the law not as a tax but a penalty on “freeloaders” who take advantage of emergency rooms, roughly 1 or 2 percent of Americans.
Such uninhibited, feral denunciations of uninsured Americans is curious and out of character for modern Democrats. Freeloaders? Where is all this compassion for the little guy about which we’re always hearing the Dems boast? And we just overhauled our nation’s health care system to deal with 2 percent of the population? And furthermore, since when do liberals harbor such animosity toward freeloaders? Liberalism has thrived for the last 50-plus years by transferring wealth and securing a permanent dependent class.
Then there’s the war on obesity. If you think this is all about Oreos and 32 oz. Cokes, then I’ll cite for you a recent HBO documentary The Weight of the Nation, produced in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The target: fruit juice. And you thought that bottle of Ocean Spray added health-kick bragging rights to your diet. According to pediatric obesity specialist Robert Lustig, “Juice is just like soda…” Yes, according to the “experts,” fruit juice is full of sugar and lacks all the nutritional value of real fruit. Let’s just hope Mayor Bloomberg of New York hasn’t heard about this one.
In truth, it is not the obese who are the gravest threats to our pocket books. In a free, competitive market, those who make foolish choices (and obesity is not always the result of choice) would pay the penalty through higher premiums. But the pertinent point here is an overall pattern that has become glaringly obvious.
“Freeloaders.” “The obese.” While space will not allow a thorough psychological assessment of the liberal mind, their compulsion to target and regulate the most benign activities of everyday Americans suggests a loathing of the very people they purport to champion. While it is too simplistic to suggest that all liberals loathe average Americans, the fact remains that one does not seek to fundamentally transform a people or a nation that he loves.
Liberal thought and policy simmers with eye-rolling disgust at smokers, SUVs, Wal-Marts, Happy Meals, plastic bottles and grocery bags, gun shows, etc. All things dear in West Virginia, Idaho, South Carolina and backwater towns everywhere. With themselves fully ensconced in power, liberal statists can assure that overweight trailer-park moms and $10-an-hour iron workers in Tennessee who can’t afford health insurance because federal edicts have outlawed competition remain in their places, if not through government fiat, then by marginalizing them. And they annoyingly hide behind the facade of acting in the public good. But let us call them what they are: statists who label juice boxes, Oreos, Big Gulps and Happy Meals as enemies to be penalized through taxation and onerous regulations, are not nannies, they are bullies.
David Bozeman, former Libertarian Party Chairman, is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer.