Synopses & Reviews
When did we lose our right to be lazy, unhealthy, and politically incorrect?
Move over Big Brother! An insidious new group has inserted itself into American politics. They are the nanniesnot the stroller-pushing set but an invasive band of do-gooders who are subtly and steadily stripping us of our liberties, robbing us of the inalienable right to make our own decisions, and turning America into a nation of children.
As you read this, countless busybodies across the nation are rolling up their sleeves to do the work of straightening out your life. Certain Massachusetts towns have banned school-yard tag. San Francisco has passed laws regulating the amount of water you should use in dog bowls. The mayor of New York City has french fries and doughnuts in his sights. In some parts of California, smoking is prohibited . . . outside.
The government, under pressure from the nanny minority, is twisting the publics arm into obedience. Playground police, food fascists, anti-porn crusaders whether they're legislating morality or wellbeingnannies are popping up all over America. In the name of health, safety, decency, andshuddergood intentions, these ever-vigilant politicians and social activists are dictating what we eat, where we smoke, what we watch and read, and whom we marry.
Why do bureaucrats think they know what's better for us than we do? And are they selectively legislating in the name of political expediency? For instance, why do we ban mini-motorbikes, responsible for five deaths each year, and not skiing, which accounts for fifty deaths each year? Why is medical marijuana, a substance yet to claim a single life, banned and not aspirin, which accounts for about 7,600 deaths?
Exhaustively researched, sharply observed, and refreshingly lucid, Nanny Sate looks at the myriad ways we are turning the United States into a soulless and staid nationeroding not only our personal freedoms but our national character.
"'Denver Post columnist Harsanyi's libertarian opus makes the case that government meddling in private lives demands our full attention. Whether bureaucrats are banning trans fats, trying to reduce drinking or legislating where citizens can smoke, Harsanyi objects. Such regulation, he believes, insults a freeborn citizenry. As he puts it: 'the five most frightening words in the English language: something needs to be done.' Aiming at predictable targets like New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg, he finds no meddler too insignificant to escape his contempt, including a Dublin, Calif., councilwoman who tried to further tighten the city's antismoking law. Harsanyi also trashes the religious right for trying to legislate morality. But the book would have benefited from more anecdotes and original reporting, instead of incessantly naming overzealous do-gooders. Moreover, Harsanyi barely considers business's role, as these dangerous do-gooders fight fast food and tobacco companies armed with hundreds of millions of marketing dollars. There's not much new, but fellow libertarians may enjoy getting carried away by the flood of Harsanyi's outrage. (Sept.)' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
In certain Massachusetts towns, school-yard tag is now banned. San Francisco has passed laws regulating the amount of water you should use in dog bowls. In New York City it is illegal to sit on an upended milk crate. In some parts of California, smoking is prohibited— outside.
In the name of health, safety, decency, and good intentions, ever-vigilant politicians, bureaucrats, and social activists are dictating what we eat, where we smoke, what we watch and read. Why do bureaucrats know what’ s better for us than we do? Have they overstepped their bounds in dictating our behavior through legislation? Are their restrictive measures essential to our health and safety— or exercises in political expediency? Girl Scout cookies, swing sets, cigarettes, alcohol, and gay authors are all in their sights. Nanny State raises a host of questions about the motives and influence of the playground police, food-fascists, anti-porn crusaders, and other “ nannies” popping up all over America.
Nanny State provides a rubric for viewing the debate about the size and scope of the state. Drawing on dozens of examples, Harsanyi offers a convincing argument that government intervention in its citizens’ private lives not only denies us freedom of choice, but also erodes our national character by promoting a culture of victimhood and dependence.
Harsanyi offers a convincing argument that government intervention in its citizens private lives not only denies them freedom of choice, but also erodes their national character by promoting a culture of victimhood and dependence.
About the Author
David Harsanyi is a staff columnist at the Denver Post. In addition to a twice-weekly column, his writings on politics and culture have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, National Review, the Christian Science Monitor, and other publications. He has appeared on Fox News (The O'Reilly Factor, The Big Story), PBS, NPR, and dozens of radio talk shows across the country. He lives in Denver, Colorado.