The reason why a “nanny state” is sometimes a good thing
I’m not a strong supporter of large government, but I have definitely come around on the issue of government acting as a “nanny” It is not always a bad thing. Living in New York, I’ll use NYC as an example. Here, smoking was banned from restaurants/bars/clubs a long time ago. Food containing trans fats are currently banned. Calorie counts are listed for every menu item at eating establishments of a particular size. And now, Mayor Bloomberg is exploring a possible tax on the use of plastic bags
In that article, I read this excerpt, which made my eyes pop out:
Just a few weeks after Ireland adopted a similar, though much heftier tax in 2002 — charging shoppers 33 cents a bag — plastic bag use dropped 94 percent, and within a year, nearly everyone in that country had purchased reusable cloth bags.
That is amazing! Look, we don’t need plastic bags, so the only way to get rid of them is to make them less convenient. As we have learned, most people cannot be counted on to make the right choices and voluntarily give up things like fatty foods and plastic bags. This is where the government comes in, instigating a modest (and short-term) inconvenience in exchange for what should eventually be a long-term good for all those affected by the law.
This is not a blanket statement in support of “nanny state” governance, since I believe all possible regulations must be considered on a case-by-case basis. But when you read statements like the one above about the virtual abolition of plastic bag usage in an entire country, it is difficult to argue with the efficiency or effectiveness of these pesky, intrusive laws.