Nanny Laws Destroying Our Society


By Richard Eber, California Political News and Views, 

It seems every day there is a new wacky story about an elected official attempting to modify human behavior by making up a new law that is supposed to save us from ourselves.

California is famous for this.

In the past these so called “nanny legislation” was limited primarily to sin taxes on alcohol, cigarettes, gambling and entertainment.  The logic in these cases is if adults are having fun, the government should get a cut.  This is why tobacco products are so costly, a cheap six pack of beer runs over $5.00, legalized gambling is regulated and recreational marijuana is licensed by the State.

Strangely enough Progressive Democrats, who continually push for high tax base to afford their costly social programs don’t lose a minutes sleep imposing unpopular consumption taxes which are not very progressive.  The poor end up paying a much higher percentage of their income than their more well to do brethren. In addition, to carrying an unfair burden with sin taxes, those living in poverty take a big hit getting 10 bucks worth at the gas pump

Somehow those who imbibe in anything stronger than tap water are supposed to be consumed with guilt for their misdeeds.  It seems society accepts the notion that the government has to right to make a profit on consumers attempting to get high in any way.

Apparently for elected officials on all levels, receiving their fair share of “sin taxes” is not enough. As they say at the S&M Club, “More, More.”   It is their mission to modify their constituents behavior. The idea is that those who rule us have an obligation for everyone’s happiness and well being.

On the environmental front we have

  • Cap and Trade which in effect is an extra energy tax for business on behalf of Mother Nature to protect the earth and redistribution of wealth.
  • SB-50 which is working itself through the legislature mandates the construction of affordable housing in urban and suburban areas bypassing local zoning laws to construct a higher volume of units.  Such actions are justified as an attempt to combat Global Warming. Going along with this is legislation being pushed by Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) is an addendum  that  bans almost  all construction of single family homes in California
  • Cows are supposed to be bad for producing too much CO2 thus there is a subtle move on the left to discourage farmers from raising cattle.  There is an attempt to cast Elsie and her brothers aside for the common good.  PETA is cheering as there is no “cheeseburger in paradise” for environmentalists who have switched to vegetarian alternatives to save the planet.  
  • Banning Styrofoam, pushing for paperless receipts, charging us for bags at the grocery store etc. Hell, it is easier to score a hypodermic needle in San Francisco than a straw! Thus far missing from this equation are plastic water bottles which contribute more fill for dumps than almost any other item.

On the consumer front things are getting more repressive every day as law makers attempt to modify their constituents’ behavior by:

  • Imposing soda taxes that charge consumers a fee to drink soft drinks.  It is alleged that these beverages consume a large amount of sugar which is bad for health so it is government’s duty to treat this commodity in a similar fashion to tobacco and alcohol. The end game for such policies is that when the State takes over healthcare, “Big Brother “will be responsible for lowering costs by preventing disease.
  • Placement of warning labels on virtually every consumer item.  Corporations have joined this frenzy putting disclaimers on almost all food and pharmaceutical products. As a result few consumers read these labels any longer.  Being told to read the small print has become a way of life today.
  • Limit pollution by imposing a restriction on the amount of miles one can drive in a week similar to what was done when gasoline was being rationed.  Does the public want to live in new housing projects with almost no parking spaces for renters and condo owners? Is this what people desire or a way to encourage citizens to exit California?
  • Ignoring road repair in favor of encouraging public transportation.  In effect the policies of state government are so hostile towards paying for highway infrastructure, that they have made drivers into demons similar to alcoholics and junkies.  It does not matter that use of public transit has fallen in recent years. The Bullet Train presses on while Interstate 5 and HWY 99 still have only two lanes in many places.

Examples of this abusive behavior can continue until the cows come in (no pun intended) as Socialist overreach increases with each passing year.  What Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, and other Democratic nominees don’t realize is that their socialistic vision has not worked in the history of  Man and/or Women kind

Just look what happened in South Africa after the government nationalized electric service.  Bankruptcy resulted in less than seven years.  How are things going in Venezuela after the reign of Hugo Chavez and his successor Nicolás Maduro?  Has not Cuba been a big success story under the leadership of the Castro Brothers?

A good example of government overreach occurred in Russia in the early 1980’s. The leader of their Communist  regime Michael Gorbachev  was concerned with the growing level of alcoholism while he was in office.  Not thinking this trend could be dissatisfaction with his repressive government, Gorby decided to reverse this alarming trend by reducing the supply of alcohol.

This entailed cutting down government production of vodka and bull dozing vineyards in Georgia including some vines that were centuries old. With supplies of alcoholic beverages down, the shortage of booze was made up by moon shining going on in residential dwellings.

As a result of Gorbachev’s policies baths were harder to come by as tubs were used for other purposes.  In a few years the government abandoned this program as it ended up being a failure. Their “noble experiment” was over

The point is government, no matter how strong and militant, can’t mandate how people are to live.  This is why socialism has never worked. Such a reality is why conservatives are being so vociferous in opposing additional government regulation that Progressives, especially in California, are trying to impose

Unfortunately, the price that those on the right are paying for standing up to those in charge is very high.  With the Republican Party in California apparently headed to extinction, there are virtually no checks and balances trying to fight Gavin Newsom and his cohorts in Sacramento. 

In today’s troubling political climate, conservatives are depicted as racist, sexist, misogynistic,  prejudiced, and deviates; all because of our belief that government is not the answer to all that ails us. It  has come to the point where  those who still believe in the principles of the US Constitution are considered to be out of touch with modern society .Are we?


Richard Eber studied journalism at the University of Oregon. He writes about politics, culture, education restaurants, and was former city and sports editor of UCSB Daily. Richard is president of Amerasa Rapid Transit, a specialized freight forwarder.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of Citizens Journal.

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