Role Playing: Nanny State Edition

Last night, I pondered what it would be like to become a nanny-stater. Instead of being content to simply not like something, what if I felt the need to call for government to ban these things? Once I started thinking about it, I realized just how much fun this could be.

So here’s my Christmas list of things I would ban if I believed in the nanny state:

  • Houses with all blue Christmas lights. They make me feel cold. Therefore, they might make children feel cold. If we can save just one child from feeling cold, it will be worth it.
  • Olives. Beyond olive oil, olives serve no purpose other than to make my stomach churn.  We must close the olive loophole that allows olives to be sold to the public in a form other than olive oil.
  • Holiday inflatable yard decorations. One home in our neighborhood has so many of these, they had to cut back their only tree to accomodate a Frosty the size of their house.  They have a Halloween inflatable that celebrates Death.  These disgraceful decorations are a waste of energy, and, as our neighbors illustrate, not at all green.  We must ban them to save the planet.
  • Wonderful Christmastime. It’s for the children.  Seriously, this song is all sorts of wrong, and it’s too easy for little ears to hear the jingle and start repeating it.  It must be banned so we can allow our children to grow up in a world without Paul McCartney holiday tunes.

This is just the beginning.  I can already see the ways I can make the world a better place just by using the force of government to ban things I don’t like.  Have a little fun with your own lists below.

24 thoughts on “Role Playing: Nanny State Edition”

  1. Er, were you aware that blue & white holiday lights are associated with Hanukkah?

  2. Smokeless Gun Powder. When I use it, it leaves me unsatisfied. Doesn’t create the pleasant *BOOM* and pleasing concussionious *THUD* of real Black Powder. If we can prevent one shooter from going unsatisfied, it will be worth it.

  3. You know, a lot of nanny-statism isn’t for reasons quite this trivial. Even the gun control movement isn’t built around esthetic disapproval of gun ownership. They have the wrong solution, but there is a real problem that drives their movement. And that’s true of the antismoker crusaders, and the “McDonald’s is making our children fat” crusaders, and many of the other issues. Comparing these to the National Campaign to Abolish Non-Crushed Olives misses a real issue.

  4. I’m not talking about blue and white holiday lights, geek. I mean those houses that choose to do only one color, and the color they choose is blue. Some houses do white, others do red, I think I’ve seen a green house or two. I don’t mind a variety of colors, or two colors. I also don’t mind all one of any other color. But all blue gives me the shivers. It really makes me cold just driving by those houses. (Actually, if I’m honest, I don’t like all red holiday lights, either. But that reason is even more arbitrary. All of the same color blue really does make me feel cold.)

    And Clayton, I know that most people in the gun control movement are in it for more than just not liking guns. (Though, I will also say that’s my grandmother’s view of things. She wants to ban things she doesn’t like with special exceptions made for limited family members or friends she randomly deems “good people.”) But, for in some nanny state movements, it is just because they don’t like things. I mean Mimi Roth simply hates food. (She actually will go an entire day without eating if she can’t work out. And she’s allowed to raise children. Worse, she’s trying to telling other people to pass these same ideas on to their children.)

  5. I’d like to apply for a concealed-eating olives permit. Hopefully it will be shall-issue, and not may-issue! :-)

    This is a fun game to play; and, contrary to Clayton’s reminder that it’s non-trivial, it’s nonetheless useful to play, too, to realize how ridiculous it is.

    Unfortunately, some people like to play it for real, and they even latch on to trivial things. Color of your house? Choose from these shades. Do you want to build a shed? You need to get a permit. Extend your house? I’m sorry, but it cost’s twice as much to put in a big window, rather than a little one. Put in a tree, or take one out? How about whether or not you keep a rusted car in your back yard? And so forth…

  6. Important question – does the blue-only light ban extend to those “white” LEDs that are in the 2000Kelvin+ range? The wife hates them, but I’m partial to them (especially in the snow).

    My list –
    1. Road bicycles on commuter roads (> 25MPH limit roads) in the travel lane. Double penalty for a bike that costs more than 15 year old Civic.

    2. Fanny packs.

    3. Selling sweetened iced tea but not unsweetened.

  7. Actually, I was going to add to my response to Clayton that a better analogy is really to HOA-types. Much of their meddling is based on personal taste as opposed to anything serious. (I can still concede there are legitimate community-wide concerns at times, especially in townhouses, condos, and neighborhoods with locally maintained public areas such as playgrounds.) To some degree, that level of nanny-ism can be codified with local governments a little too easily for my taste.

  8. I know exactly what kind of lights you’re referring to, johnny. We have a neighbor whose house is decked out with those and blue lights. (And, I think it’s safe to assume it’s not about Hanukkah since there’s a santa inflatable and other Christmas-themed decor up on the porch.) If I found a house with only those types of lights, I probably would like it. Even though they look a little blue, they don’t look the “cold” blue. They do lighten up the otherwise “blue” house they are on this neighborhood.

  9. Clayton, what is exactly wrong with fat kids or letting kids smoke? Both sets seem happier and less hyper than the others, which means they are less likely to accidentally run into traffic or fall in a well. There are upsides to letting kids get fat or smoke a cigarette. And couch potatoes are less likely to incur debilitating sports injury that will be with them for the rest of their lives. Same is true of the smokers as they’ll likely not be picked for any teams due to diminished lung capacity.

  10. You asked for lists here is mine.

    1. Require cars to be built in such a way that turning the wheel activates the turn signal.
    2. Require that the basic structure of all buildings be nonflammable and fire-proof.
    3. Ban the import of fish and fish products from coastal regions.
    4. Ban perfumes as well as artificial and natural scents added or applied to act as a perfume.
    5. Ban all assertion of scientific fact that are not falsifiable.

  11. The son / daughter of the coach of the school football / basketball / baseball team is not allowed to be the quarterback / point guard / pitcher of said team. Any other position is fine. All in the interests of “fairness”, you understand.

  12. What drives a lot of homeowners association concern about esthetics is something a bit more concrete: resale value of homes. This used to seem like a pretty silly concern…back before most Americans discovered that they are now underwater.

    With respect to gun control, it is more effective to show that we understand and appreciate their legitimate concerns as a step towards discussing what works, and what doesn’t work. Insulting gun control advocates, or denigrating their legitimate concerns, doesn’t change minds.

  13. I agree that elite disdain for guns is often esthetic. But the people that put enormous energy into gun control are often next of kin of someone who was killed with a gun. Trying to talk sense to them is easier if they don’t feel like you are disregarding their hurt.

  14. I hate small yappy dogs – so they should be banned.

    If we can force people to participate in insurance plans, let’s force them to do other things.
    I degree that everyone has to go to church or temple every weekend.
    Every kid has to play a sport – so they won’t be so fat.
    Every adult male has to join a gun club and shot once a month – just to be ready.

  15. I agree, Clayton. I probably should have said a lot of the casual opposition to guns is aesthetic — e.g. that guns are icky, or something uncivilized — but you’re right the hard core believers are victims of one type or another.

    It’s just I think a lot of the casual opposition is what we have to worry about. Those people are more numerous, even if not very motivated.

  16. I’ve tried to come up with a list for this post, but I’m not in the mood to ban anything right now. Every so often, though, I catch myself with a “there ought to be a law…well, ok, maybe not” moment.

  17. Hands off the olives… what’d they ever do to you?

    My ban list:
    1. CSPI and any other organization that tells me what to eat or take away my happy meals.
    2. Uggs: Because they offend my fashion sensibility, and we all know how important that is.
    3. Dull knives: I demand that someone come around and constantly sharpen my knives for me. Would prevent many deaths and injuries every year.
    4. Drivers in the DC area who don’t know how to drive in the snow: Self-explanatory.

  18. If the government can tell us to have health insurance; how to cook our food; what kind of food McDonald’s and others can serve, etc. then why can’t the government tell folks who are on Food Stamps that they can’t buy junk food and drinks with their Food Stamps. It goes all over me to see someone in line at the checkout stand with bottles of coke, bags of chips, and other junk food and pay for it with Food Stamps. At least WIC requires them to buy milk, whole grain cereals, and other healthy food items but Food Stamps well that’s another story!

  19. “If the government can tell us to have health insurance; how to cook our food; what kind of food McDonald’s and others can serve, etc. then why can’t the government tell folks who are on Food Stamps that they can’t buy junk food and drinks with their Food Stamps.”

    Because they’re victims of an evil, heartless, and cruel system! You are one of the perpetrators–and therefore are fair game!

  20. You can have my olives when . . . just kidding. You can never, ever have my olives.

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