Nanny State goes global

“Nanny State” laws are popping up with increasing frequency as big-government advocates continue to be elected to offices from the city council to the White House.  What many Americans may not realize is the extent to which such invasive and pervasive government actions are spreading around the world, creating a “Nanny World.”

As usual, California, with its many ultra-liberal communities, is leading the way here in America.  Santa Clara County recently voted to outlaw the sale of McDonald’s “Happy Meal” toys and a host of other novelties (including coupons from which a patron might download a song) provided by restaurants as a bonus for customers who purchase certain drinks or food items.  As bizarre as is this most recent ban, if some of that county’s residents have their way, it will be followed by many more.  One resident of Sacramento, for example, reportedly voiced support for the recently-passed measure because even McDonald’s “190-calorie salad dressing and mass-produced beef scare her”; New York’s Mayor Bloomberg would be proud of her.

The Global War Against Calories has reached all the way to the Congress and the White House.  First Lady Michelle Obama now regularly employs her bully pulpit to rail against obesity.  Of course, criticizing obesity is not itself inappropriate; far too many Americans of all ages are too fat.  However, when folks in Washington – including recently the chairman of the Federal Trade Commission — start issuing thinly-veiled warnings to food companies that they may be subpoenaed and forced to explain why their packaging is too enticing, or why they do not list nutrition information more prominently, we’ve moved beyond simple, personal encouragement to Big Brother-ism.

A bi-partisan reauthorization of the “Child Nutrition Act” now working its way through the Congress, would dramatically increase the reach of the federal government to dictate with great specificity what types of meals, snacks, and beverages could be sold in, or distributed by, every public school in the country.  You can bet a Twinkie or a Baby Ruth will not remain among the sanctioned foods.

While nothing that happens at the University of California at Berkeley would surprise any observer of big government, the latest move by its administration might cause at least a double take.  The university is asking incoming students to give the school a sample of their DNA when they register.  This measure will enable the huge state-run school to amass a database of the most personal information imaginable about its students and eventual alumni. In typical Berkeley-speak, in a local television interview a genetics professor said he hopes this program “will excite students to be more hands-on with their college experience.”

At the Department of State, Foreign Service nannies regularly issue warnings of all sorts to American tourists and business people, urging them to beware of every imaginable danger lurking in every nook and cranny around the globe.  Such warnings caution against bad drivers and pickpockets virtually everywhere, as well as eating in restaurants in certain countries.  The message seems to be that Americans should stay home because foreign travel is just too scary.

Not to be outdone by their civilian counterparts in Berkeley, Sacramento and Washington, DC, America’s generals are busy transforming our military personnel into ambassadors of wellness.  Already, tobacco and alcohol are on the road to prohibition in the armed forces; and “obesity” has been tabbed a major “threat to national security.”  In perhaps the most bizarre example of how far the feel-good nanny-ism has pervaded our military operating abroad, the command organization for all US and other nations’ forces in Afghanistan, is seriously considering issuing a medal for troops who refrain from using lethal force!

What’s next, a medal for soldiers who stop smoking, swear off alcohol, quit cussing, or lose 10 pounds?  And what might such a medal look like?  I suspect it would be cast of lightweight tin in the shape of a pansy.

61 comments Add your comment

neo-Carlinist

May 24th, 2010
6:30 am

as I have posted many times, a government cannot operate without a boogey-man. maybe at some point, Americans will come to realize the government itself is the boogey-man. If you don’t like Happy Meals, tobacco, or beer; DO NOT CONSUME these things. Geez.

Paul

May 24th, 2010
6:46 am

I like the McDonald’s banner ad displayed for this blog. I think I’m going to buy a McDonald’s cheese burger in protest.

Paul

May 24th, 2010
7:03 am

“What’s next, a medal for soldiers who stop smoking, swear off alcohol, quit cussing, or lose 10 pounds? And what might such a medal look like? I suspect it would be cast of lightweight tin in the shape of a pansy.”

Well, actually Bob, those who go through the “smoking cessations” class obtain promotion points, and with the weight requirements, many soldier (myself included at one point) must simply lose weight to qualify for promotion. (This of course leads to crash dieting, saunas, and abusing laxatives.)

Paul Murphy

May 24th, 2010
7:05 am

Couches, Tobacco and TV .

http://www.obesitythunderbay.ning.com is addressing childhood obesity with Education on Healthy Food Environments. The Food Giants will say and do anything to block , distort the real issue.

30,000 American Toddlers , who are 30 POUNDS overweight today ,and the 2,000 Americans to be diagnosed with a Chronic Illness on this day await a new action plan.

Who is going to Pay for the Health Care? Is the Food Industry going to stand up? And can somebody help the media off of the Couch Potato Myth?

I think we need a new model and mine is called Shared Accountability.

Obese children are not the enemy.

Anti Biggest Loser is on FB

Beautiful At Any Size is on FB

Thanks

Drago

May 24th, 2010
7:21 am

Ya know Barr, when you were a prosecutor, you said “guns are bad.” But when you became a candidate, you said “guns are good.” Who is paying you to say what now?

Barr's blog

May 24th, 2010
7:21 am

Perhaps Barr would prefer the military issue a medal for Koran flushing.

The Cynical White Boy

May 24th, 2010
7:22 am

Yeah boy, God forbid that parents should actually take responsibilty for their kids and teach nutrition and self-discipline. Let’s just let Obama handle that, too.

As for State department warnings, how about including certain parts of Atlanta?

Scout

May 24th, 2010
7:23 am

Bumper Sticker:

“THE BIGGER THE GOVERNMENT THE SMALLER THE CITIZEN”

nelsonhoward

May 24th, 2010
7:36 am

I do not know about this, a “Nanny State.” Cuttin out cussing, smoking, drinking, obesity and helping the enemy by being careful and not killing anybody and helping Afganistan with their opium crop[ Isaw it on the tube last night]. That takes the military to a diferent level than I know about. Government intrusion in all aspects of life. What if we get a bad nanny, one that does not know how to take care of the children[the citizens] who would like that?
Elin Nordegren was an Au Par[live in nanny] before she met Tiger. Now she wants 750 million as part of the divorce settlement. I am going to do some research this, the Constitution must have some to say about this.

mrs. w

May 24th, 2010
7:38 am

Funny isn’t it how obesity can be ” a threat to our national security” but leaving a border wide open and not implementing the immigration laws that are and have been on the books for years is not.. HHHMMMM. I am mystified.

Morrus

May 24th, 2010
7:46 am

Curiously, in a supposed anti-incumbent year, most of the departing are not retiring but seeking higher office. We may recycle more than we replace. The bad news is that a frustrating 114 seats still have but one contestant. Two of them aren’t even incumbents, meaning they will affect state policy without being vetted by voters. And I have to think that we’d be better off if many had run instead for the Legislature — and cut down on the number running unopposed. Georgia’s problems are numerous. They aren’t going away. There’s too much stale thinking at the Capitol, on both sides of the aisle. New voices would be welcome.

Bobby

May 24th, 2010
7:47 am

Paul, so if you quit smoking and loose weight you are a good candidate for a promotion in our military? How in the world did we win WWII. Boy, things have changes since I was in the military. Pansy? that is accurate!

Willibekind

May 24th, 2010
8:00 am

Hey, I told my sons not to join the military. Let the liberals die for their socialist nanny state. We will stay home and fight for our home when they get here. Of course we fight home grown terrorist.

ray

May 24th, 2010
8:04 am

I agree — these measures that Bob is writing about are going way too far in the realm of regulation, and are becoming more like taking choice away from citizens.
However, let’s also remember that those who seek to ban abortion or gay marriage are of this mindset, too.
If you don’t think abortion is right, don’t have one.
If you don’t believe in same-gender marriage, don’t marry someone of the same gender.

songbird

May 24th, 2010
8:05 am

The obesity problem in this country is going to bankrupt us and all you bozos can do is make fun of the situation. Pathetic.

Uncle Billy

May 24th, 2010
8:07 am

The best government would be no government. Where’s my musket. Perhaps a small thermonuclear device would be better. I thought the Rebels would have learned their lesson when I was down there in 1864 and 1865.

Bonaparte

May 24th, 2010
8:10 am

Give them a “whiff of grapeshot” or maybe just a shot.-Napoleon.

Don

May 24th, 2010
8:11 am

Oh I don’t know if that medal would be that different from history. I once saw a ribbon issued for carrying baggage.

Aj

May 24th, 2010
8:15 am

God i hate liberals!!!! a metal for not using lethal force, are you kidding? In that case take away the M-16 and give them a taser. The country is becoming like Obama, spineless

saywhat?

May 24th, 2010
8:19 am

We need an army of fat, drunken, slobs with emphysema and dry hacking coughs to enforce our nation’s will throughout the world!

saywhat?

May 24th, 2010
8:22 am

Maybe with the hopefully soon to be gone DADT policy, the armed forces can offer a medal to those brave soldiers who don’t wet themselves if they get too near a gay soldier.

Al Gore

May 24th, 2010
8:27 am

When I came up with the idea to form an army, I really didn’t mean for them to hurt anyone. That is why I came up with the idea for the Salvation Army. Then we can all eat, drink and be merry. And…you good folks be careful now, its getting hot out there.

Real Athens

May 24th, 2010
8:43 am

Bob,

What’s wrong with local communities passing laws they perceive will make their lives better? Isn’t that what a Democratic Republic is all about? Isn’t that the foundation of Liberty? A law passed by citizens in Santa Clara has no effect on you or the citizens in Georgia.

What’s wrong with the Federal Government subsidizing corn production to the tune of $58 Billion tax dollars from 1995 to 2006 while imposing tariffs and quotas on sugar production during the same period? All this to promote 2 lousy products: High Fructose Corn Syrup and Ethanol?

What is more harmful to Georgians?

EverybodyLovesRaymond

May 24th, 2010
8:43 am

ray@8:04 for Congress!

songbird

May 24th, 2010
8:47 am

Thanks Real Athens for some intelligent comments instead of the useless drivel that everyone else is posting on this blog.

retiredds

May 24th, 2010
9:02 am

It seems, Mr. Barr, that you have selectively left out the great nanny state of GA. What’s your take on Sonny and the Repubs not allowing its citizens to vote as to whether they want to purchase alcohol on Sundays. Seems the gov. doesn’t think it is right (or righteous) to do so. And it has only taken how many years for the nanny GA legislature to allow Georgians to vote as to whether they want to impose a 1 cent tax on themselves for regional transit (in spite of the nefarious Club for Growth opposition and funding GA legislators elections)?

Bob, instead of moaning and groaning about the national nanny state issue why not address its flourishing closer to your doorstep. There is plenty material regarding the nanny state right here in GA.

Sandy

May 24th, 2010
9:02 am

I really don’t see a problem with most of what you’re concerned about.

Ross

May 24th, 2010
9:10 am

So-called conservatives are mostly responsible for these laws – it started with MADD, the drug war, and tough-on-crime idiocy. Having second thoughts, oh ye wingnuts?

Willibekind

May 24th, 2010
9:22 am

Ross

May 24th, 2010
9:10 am
It started with DDT and the ’so called’ loss of egg density. Then began the EPA! It and Al Gore now has CO2 in its sights. The power of the EPA will start soon. The EPA can make law and enforce on the spot. I thought the SS was destroyed. I can not wait for November.

Willibekind

May 24th, 2010
9:27 am

Sandy

May 24th, 2010
9:02 am
If I am reading you correctly then I agee with you. It seems it is just another government intrusion in our lives. What happened to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Is it their life I am supposed to mimick, their definiton of liberty I am to have, and their idea of happiness I am to get in my lifetime. Progressive liberals are no better than Islamic extremist when it comes to individual rights vs social behavior.

Monroe Burbank

May 24th, 2010
9:29 am

Let’s not forget the city of Kennesaw, where every resident is required by law to own a gun.

Byron Mathison Kerr

May 24th, 2010
9:38 am

“I suspect it would be cast of lightweight tin in the shape of a pansy.”

Watch you mouth, Bob! I know quite a few pansies who could kick your ass — self included.

Willibekind

May 24th, 2010
9:44 am

Kennesaw has it right. It is in the constitution. To be assured you have that right just as any other law is to protect you. This keeps progressive liberals from taking it away. I bet many know about separation of church and state but know little of the next clause that says the free exercise of religion. I guess progressive liberals must have redefined “free” as Clinton tried to explain “is”.

J

May 24th, 2010
9:53 am

Bottom line is when our government tries to regulate your behavior and what you can put into your body then what they are saying is that you are property of the U.S.A. Inc. It is nothing more than another form of slavery. If your are a sovereign being and not violating the rights of others then you should have the right to eat or consume whatever you want to and of course its at your own risk, but to concede to the idea that some other entity can tell you what to consume is to concede that your are property of that entity to be controlled as that entity sees fit…..didn’t the 13th Amendment abolish slavery?

uga_b

May 24th, 2010
10:14 am

What did you expect when you made the government the main health insurer? They can target risk factors with legislation as opposed to incentives.

If you really want a healthier population, force them to exercise and follow a nutrition plan. It’s common sense with very scary outcomes.

Rational Person

May 24th, 2010
10:45 am

A few years ago, a friend of ours died of lung cancer. He started smoking in the Marines and never could stop.

In those days, a soldier didn’t get to take a break unless it was a smoke break, so he was coerced into smoking.

If the armed forces could do that, they ought to be able to pressure men and women to stop smoking.

Banned By Cindy

May 24th, 2010
11:25 am

I perceive the jews should be wiped out. That’s my perception therefore it should be a local law.

PixiePundit

May 24th, 2010
11:25 am

The problem I see is the Government coercing people into being “taken care of” so they do not have to use their brains to think or have any personal accountability for what they do.

Barack

May 24th, 2010
11:49 am

I was elected as the head Nanny for a reason. I can solve all problems, including those of soiled diapers. We should not impose on the American people to think, they should just do. If not, they will all get time out. Yours Truly…Nanny in Chief

songbird

May 24th, 2010
11:59 am

Banned by Cindy – you should be wiped out. Please tell me where I can find you so I can take care of that immediately.

Real Athens

May 24th, 2010
1:38 pm

Cindy,

You’re one person in a vast minority. Elections are about what the people, not the person wants. What you propose is called Fascism. How very appropriate.

Horace the Hefty

May 24th, 2010
3:03 pm

Bob Barr, have you completely dropped all pretense of manners. Don’t you know by now not to use the word fat? Calorie-challenged is the more correct way of stating the concept, although I suppose obese will do in a pinch.

You’ve greatly offended my delicate sensibilities!

Scout

May 24th, 2010
3:27 pm

Willibekind @ 8:00am:

You are so right. With the politcal correctness in the military, the way they prosecute our warriors at the drop of a hat, and with “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” headed out the door I couldn’t in good conscience recommend that any of my friends or family go into the military now.

Let the liberals step up to the plate for a change. It’s their turn.

jconservative

May 24th, 2010
5:41 pm

1968, 40th MP Battalion, Korat, Thailand, a E-7 Sgt demoted to E-6 because of his weight.

This is nothing new Barr. It uis just new to you.

Barr's blog

May 24th, 2010
6:01 pm

Saw a report tonite about Somalia heating up again with greatly increased US involvement. AL Queda safe haven. Failed state.

Great. Another war. Our economy is going to be just fine.

THE ONE

May 24th, 2010
9:11 pm

Mr. Barr:
You are a former CIA officer. Please let the world know that the FBI swore and confessed that Bush Senior used FBI to inject hypno-paralysis inducing microchips that record sound into the entire news industry these last 30 years in a row.

The only reason why anybody anywhere in the world EVER had any type of authoritarian anti-libertarian or anti-democracy type of political orientation is because the modern COINTELRPO agents and Bush Senior’s Secret Police have been programming the thoughts of the news and entertainment industry these last thirty years in a row.

O
N
E

THE ONE

May 24th, 2010
9:13 pm

Mr. Barr:

You are a former CIA officer. Bush Senior admitted to federal agents that Bush Senior created set hypnotic programs to program the thoughts of 5 – 6 million Jewish people’s brains, in Bush senior and James Baker III’s attempts to make Jewish people support Bush Senior and James Baker III’s anti-libertarian and anti-Israel policies.

O
N
E

Bill Graham

May 24th, 2010
9:18 pm

F. Paul Wilson wrote about this 30+years ago, I’m amazed it took this long to come about: http://billstclair.com/DoingFreedom/000623/df.0600.fa.lipidleggin.html

I’m kinda glad I don’t have grandkids….

Mrs. Norris

May 24th, 2010
9:36 pm

As a smoker I am amused by this new found witch-hunt for the junk food junkies. It’s so tiresome being the leper du jour.

deborahinAthens

May 25th, 2010
5:37 am

It is no coincidence that the healthiest/skinniest people live in Colorado and Colorado cities keep most “fat” food places out. I was in a suburb of Denver once, starving, and literally could not find any fast food joint. Compare that to the rate of obesity in GA and a McDonalds on every corner.