Let’s kick it off with a quote. “It is clear that with less personal freedom and a bigger and more invasive state comes less personal responsibility and greater lawlessness.” Those words came from an article about the UK fudging crime numbers by deliberately using fuzzy methods to measure malfeasance. So it’s sort of out of context, because I’m not going to talk about crime, but it’s still a good way to begin.
I want you to picture life in America in the 1800’s. The Wild West. There was very little in the way of “consumer protection.” You didn’t have a bunch of fucking laws and the laws you did have were enforced sporadically. What you had was a situation where, if you wanted to stay alive, you had to think for yourself. You had to take full responsibility for your personal safety. That sounds annoying, sure, but consider the flipside. That same lack of law meant freedom! People acted as they felt. Ride around drunk shooting your gun off, load up a wagon so high that it could fall over and kill someone, burn your house down and dance naked in the hot ashes, I mean whatever. Aside from a few dozen unpardonable offenses, you could do so much without looking over your shoulder that some bureaucrat is going to give you a ticket.
Which is what we have now in America. Eric went hunting on my father’s property one fall. As he was pulling onto the road a game warden stopped him and asked to see his muzzle loader (it being illegal to use rifles in this county, nanny state). Well Eric had left the blasting cap in place and Mr. Game Warden gave him a $300 fine for that minor offense. Thanks, nanny state. Trucks are not allowed to carry straps that have fraying beyond 1/8th an inch of the edge. I don’t mean use straps that have a bit of fraying, I mean fucking carry them. If a police officer finds slightly frayed straps on your truck you get fined. Way to go, nanny state. Slip and fall on some ice because it’s fucking winter and ice is slippery and it’s been slippery since the beginning of time, sue the bastards! Thank god we have a nanny state that enables this.
Use Your Head, Bill
The list goes on, of course. It’s just piles and heaps and stacks of regulations and laws and fines, governing your life. Keeping you safe. But really, the way I look at it, it’s keeping you safe but it’s also dulling the mind. It’s lulling a citizenry into a false state of confidence. Unlike the guy in the Wild West, the modern American doesn’t feel as though he has to use his head. He doesn’t have to think about how to take care of himself, the nanny state has that covered. And if he or she gets hurt doing something that could have been avoided with just a bit of thought, he or she can sue. This system works for some people. Although I find it somewhat distasteful I’m not arguing that it should be dismantled because of me, but it is interesting to note that there are alternatives…
In Asia, and in fact many poorer regions of the world, you have a chance to act more recklessly, and with more freedom, than you do in many first world countries. Drive on the wrong side of the road! Use frayed straps! Drive a forklift down the highway! Swim at a beach with no lifeguard! Climb all over that abandoned rusty bridge! It’s all kind of fun, I think. And you might die in some stupid fucking preventable accident that America created a law against 79 years ago, sure. But you don’t get to have your cake and eat it to. If you want that 79 year old law, and 10,000 other ones like it, well those are 10,000 rules to keep you safe, and also a list of 10,000 things you can’t do. Think about it.