I can’t stand the term “nanny state”. It is an abomination. An intellectually lazy, hand-waving piece of right wing nonsense that is the equivalent of Marxists crying “fascist” and the Internet invoking Godwin’s Law, or pretty much any YouTube comment.
People sort of say “Nanny State” in response to things as if by invoking this phrase, they automatically win the argument, without actually having to make a coherent argument or use logic.
What TV and newspapers have taught me about this term is that it is a knee-jerk reaction to whenever a government legislates against something that someone (usually a conservative) disagrees with.
Typically this is:
- Legislation against hate speech or discrimination
- Any sort of safety legislation or health regulation
- Increases in social services funding
- Legislation against physical abuse of children or spouses
- Other useful legislation
“The Nanny State” has been used to oppose compulsory seat belts, air bags, building regulations and similar legislation. “The Nanny State” is apparently to blame whenever anti-smoking laws, regulations on food content, vaccination requirements or increases in health care funding occur. In this regard, it seems like “the Nanny State” has a pretty good track record for improving quality of life. How awful!
Apparently a study even showed that people like this Nanny State business!COMMUNOFASCISM!
Less funny are the people who demand the right to hit their children with belts and wooden spoons (because that’s the only way to raise a child), or rape their wives (because it’s a husband’s right) or insult whatever minority group they like (because they’re “saying it like it is).
A similar concept to “the Nanny State” is of people being “too politically correct”, as in, “the Nanny State wants to make us all too politically correct”. In other words, certain people feel completely entitled to say whatever offensive, discriminatory, harmful or violence-inciting bullshit they like. I’ve never heard anyone have a problem with political correctness unless they are about to start a tirade against Muslims, gays, Indians, Asian drivers, women who won’t put out, sluts, faggots. It’s just like “I’m not a racist but…”, which is inevitably followed by a horribly racist comment.
The implication of the term is that the government is big and totalitarian and goes around treating everyone like children. However when it comes to the government interfering with marriages (banning interracial or same-sex marriage), bringing in overbearing “anti terror” legislation, spying on the Internet, CCTV and wire tapping, interfering with access to contraception or abortion, suddenly the same people change their tune. They are against smoking regulations but in favour of arresting people and holding them without access to a lawyer. As long as that person is “one of those people” of course.
The sheer hilarity of people insisting that Australia, New Zealand or the UK are totalitarian states isn’t lost on me. Perhaps this is why so many of them are anti-immigration and anti-refugee? They assume that Saddam Hussain is kind of like Helen Clark with a moustache! Afghanistan is just the kind of place where the worst kind of problem they have is the government not letting them smack their kids or smoke indoors. Clearly these whingers don’t have it particularly hard and if they want to come to our country they had better wait in a queue. It’s the English way! And things are just so horrible and awful here with our totalitarian nanny state and its 1984-esque political correctness that we need to spend our very limited resources on helping ourselves first! There just aren’t enough jobs. 4% unemployment? That’s 4% too much! Probably all those dole bludging Muslim terrorist asylum seekers that the government won’t let us beat the shit out of!
If those politicians had been beaten as children they certainly wouldn’t be behaving like we’re too childish, selfish and stupid to decide for ourselves that using a circular saw with the safety trigger off is a bad idea. Oh, wait.