26 October, 2011

Welcome to the Nanny State

Much as we’d like to, it’s impossible to legislate common sense.  That’s the main reason we need other laws.  Since most of us understand that “rational self-interest” is a contradiction in terms, you’d think that requiring gamblers to nominate how much they are prepared to lose before feeding their money into a poker machine would be a fairly benign, uncontroversial requirement because it’s… well, common sense.

Tony Abbott though, sees it differently.  Echoing the sentiments of the pokie clubs, he has said, “I know the values and principles of my party and we are instinctively resistant to anything that smacks of the nanny state.”

Ah yes, the “nanny state,” the first refuge of anyone who thinks people ought to be able to do what they want, regardless of the harm it may cause.  Well, if Tony and his party would oppose poker machine reform on the grounds that it smacks of the nanny state, how do they feel about…

  • Speed Limits
  • Mandatory seatbelt laws
  • Mandatory motorcycle helmets
  • Mandatory bike helmets
  • Blood alcohol limits for driving
  • Banning marijuana
  • Banning cocaine
  • Banning amphetamines
  • Banning heroin
  • Compulsory education
  • Occupational health and safety regulations
  • Compulsory superannuation
  • Insider trading laws
  • Public decency laws
  • Firearm restrictions
  • Film, television and literature classifications
  • The age of consent
  • Minimum ages to work, vote, smoke, drive, and drink
  • Banning two-up 364 days of the year
  • Banning SP bookmaking
  • Building codes
  • Defamation law

All of these could be described as nanny-state policies.  If you want a libertarian dream world, go the whole hog.  Don’t just use an argument of convenience on a single issue.

Feel free to add your own.

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