Advocates of the Nanny State have long been with us. What was Prohibition but an early manifestation of government treating everyone as children to protect them?
But as Paul Hsieh points out in the Christian Science Monitor, other countries use universal health care as an excuse to further regulate the lives of their citizens. America already has started down the same road. Nationalizing the medical system would ensure even more government meddling and violations of individual liberty.
Although American healthcare is only under partial government control in the form of programs such as Medicaid and Medicare, American nanny state regulations have exploded in recent years.
Many American cities ban restaurants from selling foods with trans fats. Los Angeles has imposed a moratorium on new fast food restaurants in South L.A. Other California cities ban smoking in some private residences. California has outlawed after-school bake sales as part of a “zero tolerance” ban on selling sugar products on campus. New York Gov. David Paterson has proposed an 18 percent tax on sugary sodas and juice drinks, and state officials have not ruled out additional taxes on cheeseburgers and other foods deemed unhealthy.
These ominous trends will only accelerate if the US adopts universal healthcare.
Just as universal healthcare will further fuel the nanny state, the nanny state mind-set helps fuel the drive toward universal healthcare. Individuals aren’t regarded as competent to decide how to manage their lives and their health. So the government provides “cradle to grave” coverage of their healthcare.
Nanny state regulations and universal healthcare thus feed a vicious cycle of increasing government control over individuals. Both undermine individual responsibility and habituate citizens to ever-worsening erosions of their individual rights. Both promote dependence on government. Both undermine the virtues of independence and rationality. Both jeopardize the very foundations of a free society.