Nanny State

Who's Your Nanny?


California Republicans are irked by the "nanny government" proposals of Democratic legislators, Inside Bay Area reports. The article clouds more than it clarifies, lumping together clearly paternalistic measures (such as seat belt and motorcycle helmet laws) with laws that ostensibly aim to protect third parties from injury (such as an anti-spanking bill and a ban on using hand-held cell phones while driving). Even the incandescent light bulb ban proposed by Assemblyman Lloyd Levine (D-Van Nuys) is officially intended not simply to save homeowners money but to protect the environment by reducing energy consumption and abating bglobal warming. Such measures may be ill-advised, but it's not because they exemplify "nanny government." In any case, it's hard to see how Democrats have an advantage in this area over Republicans, who if anything are more inclined to support policies aimed at preventing self-harm caused by using drugs, gambling, and looking at dirty pictures. Is there any meaningful sense in which Democratic paternalism is more nannyish than Republican paternalism?