The Nanny State Threat

Federal, state and local governments have recently begun to pursue aggressive regulatory agendas to manipulate consumer choice and discourage human behavior. This attempt at social engineering promotes the state as the best arbiter of taxpayers’ welfare, and presumes government can better portend individual well-being than employers and families can for themselves.

The Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency have both taken active roles in proscribing some of the most ubiquitous products and resources for American households and businesses. The FDA's jurisdiction accounts for a quarter of all commercial products, giving the agency wide latitude to effectuate its regulatory agenda. Steps they have taken to ban commonly-used products endanger the welfare of American consumers and diminish technological and industrial gains of the last century and a half.

What’s more, supposed health officials have taken a wider stance on government regulation of the American diet. These efforts include—but are not limited to—endeavoring to manipulate American taste buds to attune to their notion of a “healthy” diet. Efforts to eradicate basic ingredients in a healthy diet, such as salt, sugar and fat, are based on little, if any, backing or pedagogical research. Worse, the stigma created by officials’ pontification on a healthy lifestyle is as harmful as regulatory action itself.

Traditional bêtes noires of lawmakers and bureaucrats, such as tobacco and alcohol, continue to suffer discriminatory burdens at all levels of government. Zealous regulators have started to direct their ire towards everything from bottled beverages to plastic bags, lending a hand to the burgeoning nanny state at all levels of government.

The Center believes consumers should be the patriarchs of their own welfare, and opposes all efforts by the government to attempt to regulate away the free choice and common faculties that define the American marketplace of ideas and commerce.

TAGS: Nanny State