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Nanny State: How Food Fascists, Teetotaling Do-Gooders, Priggish Moralists, and other Boneheaded Bureaucrats are Turning America into a Nation of Children Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 18, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
Examples are of course smoking bans, "zero tolerance" alcohol policies, fun-free playgrounds (where any type of childhood exuberance is not tolerated), skateboarding bans, New York banning transfats, the Christian Right trying to ban pornography, etc.
Always, there is what the author calls a "nanny", who of course thinks they know better than us, what is good for us and society, and who then use police power to enforce this morality. The nanny is basically a puritanical authoritarian who can't tolerate anyone living differently than they do.
I can only say that this book rings very true. Having moved back to the U.S. from Germany, I noticed that even compared to Germany, there are a LOT of laws in the U.S. In Germany, there were also a lot of laws, but people were also much less uptight than Americans about certain things. For instance, it is legal in Germany for people as young as 17 or 16 to drink alcohol. And yet, there are not massive societal problems due to this. If you read and listen to the neo-temperance movement in the U.S., you would think that the world would end if we went back to the 18 drinking age.
Ditto many other things.Read more ›
This group of elite social engineers have appointed themselves the protectors of the public whom they treat like children. Like children the American public cannot be trusted to manage their own lives and must be protected from their irrational decisions by the Nanny elites, those annointed to protect us.
Each chapter of the book is dedicated to dangers from which we must be protected by our Nannies. The list includes fast food, playground equipment, alcohol, smoking, etc. In their quest to protect us from ourselves, these paternalistic social engineers enact often innnane and insulting regulations designed to relieve us of any personal responsibility for our lives. Not to be deterred by a scarcity of data the Nanny class often resorts to scare tactics, "creative logic," and twisting the facts to suit their arguments.
Many of the Nanny laws described in the book would be funny if they were not real. But they are real laws--real laws that take away our right to make our own descisions, and the responsibility to accept the consequences of our own decisions.
I would have given the book four stars if the author had included more discussion about why the American public seems so willing to be treated as a bunch of incompetents. Eventually children outgrow their Nannies and assume an adult role. But the American public seems willing to give up their adult responsibilities. The Nannies are not taking away our right to make our own decisions. We are willingly surrendering our rights to our new Nannies.Read more ›
Again, great reading, well-reasoned analysis, and courage to take on and defend the unpopular in the defense of liberty. Actual doing the job the ACLU claims to do and rarely does.
Harsanyi effectively depicts the invasive nature of this new dispensation along with how misguided and arbitrary the actions of the nanny state have been. As is always the case, if you want to improve society the worst way to do so is to get the government involved. Regulators and enforcement officers often produce false positives, false negatives, and commit atrocious errors of judgment. This is expected as such failings are intrinsic to every state initiative. Our bureaucracies have always excelled at incompetence ...and they always will.
Harsany asserts that "there is no way to legislate the kid out of kids" but the assumption is disputable. The jackboot of the state can deaden a child's spirit and stultify his imagination which is something nanny staters have been highly effective at doing. Some Ohio municipalities even require the acquisition of a Halloween license before one can go out and trick-or-treat.
We find too that dodgeball is going the way of the highball. What we once termed rough and tumble play now has a decidedly anti-social connotations. Joyous anarchic enthusiasm is often characterized by the uncharitable words of bullying, victimization, and aggression.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer 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