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Denver Post columnist Harsanyi's libertarian opus makes the case that government meddling in private lives demands our full attention. Whether bureaucrats are banning trans fats, trying to reduce drinking or legislating where citizens can smoke, Harsanyi objects. Such regulation, he believes, insults a freeborn citizenry. As he puts it: the five most frightening words in the English language: something needs to be done. Aiming at predictable targets like New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg, he finds no meddler too insignificant to escape his contempt, including a Dublin, Calif., councilwoman who tried to further tighten the city's antismoking law. Harsanyi also trashes the religious right for trying to legislate morality. But the book would have benefited from more anecdotes and original reporting, instead of incessantly naming overzealous do-gooders. Moreover, Harsanyi barely considers business's role, as these dangerous do-gooders fight fast food and tobacco companies armed with hundreds of millions of marketing dollars. There's not much new, but fellow libertarians may enjoy getting carried away by the flood of Harsanyi's outrage. (Sept.)
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Besieged by do-gooder legislators and activists pushing health, safety, or "family values," Americans have been subjected to bans on everything from trans fats to cookie-scented ads in bus shelters to happy hours. Harsanyi offers a catalog of rules imposed by "Twinkie fascists" and "playground despots" who are micromanaging all manner of bad habits and immorality that threaten to remove from citizens the right to choose how they live their lives. For example, he notes that the Centers for Disease Control has evolved from an agency concerned with infectious diseases to one concerned with overeating. Conceding that one person's idea of government intrusion is another's idea of prudent policy, Harsanyi stakes a claim on common sense as the judge. Laws against illicit drugs and prostitution are good for the public welfare; laws against smoking outdoors are intrusive. This is not just a rant against overzealous legislators but a thoughtful look at how the government is overreaching into everyday life and how Americans are quietly going along with it. An interesting look at freedom and personal responsibility. Bush, VanessaSee all Editorial Reviews
I came to this book after reading Harsanyi's more recent Obama's Four Horsemen: The Disasters Unleashed by Obama's Reelection. It was good, but I like this one more. Read morePublished on June 13, 2013 by applewood
Just got this book yesterday, and paged through it, especially the chapter called "Yahweh...or the Highway. Read morePublished on April 3, 2012 by Ben Masters
Conservatives complain that the government acts like a "nanny". Did your mom ever tell you not to stand in front of the refrigerator with the door open? Read morePublished on August 22, 2011 by Frederick Norwood
I agree with his premise that people have the right to have bad habits.
He freely writes about all the dangers of first-hand smoke that we all are well aware of. Read more
This books gives plenty of examples on how the US is turning more into to nanny state. I thought it was a very good read. Read morePublished on August 8, 2009 by another reviewer
This book reminds me of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, but only in the sense that it's more about the message than the prose. Read morePublished on February 28, 2009 by F. H. Payne
I read this book, Nanny State, for my CAPP government class as part of a book report assignment. Never reading a political book before, Nanny State grabbed my attention from the... Read morePublished on January 4, 2009 by Sheila Fredrick
A good review of the "wussification" of America. Why can't people live and let live? Read "Nanny State" and find out. An indictment of both the left and right.Published on July 21, 2008 by C. B. Younce
I consider myself to be a small "l" libertarian, so I was pretty excited to crack open Mr. Harsanyi's book about micromanaging bureaucrats and legislators. Read morePublished on February 9, 2008 by B. Mayberry