My Last Date in the Nanny State
NOTE: The opinions and commentary expressed in this essay are those of the author and are an exercise of free speech. They do not necessarily represent the views of Free State Project Inc., its Directors, its Officers, or its Participants.
My Last Date in the Nanny State
by Dada Orwell
Okay I will come clean here right off the top. There's some bait-and-switch in the title of this article. Yeah sure, I did have a date last week, and yes it did involve the usual blank stares when I brought up the subject of freedom. But I'm referring more to a date on the calendar: July 14. It's my last business day at work before moving to New Hampshire. My last day to witness, in its full hideous glory, the bizarre NannyWorld into which we have all sunk.
Before I start let me say I have a high opinion of the people I work with, even the people I work *for.* They're great folks and a generally decent company. The dysfunctions I'm about to recount are not entirely their fault, not by a long shot. But they serve to remind us why we are evacuating our current homes in favor of the Live Free or Die State.
I work for a TV station, editing the pictures that enable producers and reporters to tell their stories. Since government offices are open this day, that is what half the stories are about. And today, like most days, no one seems to question the ever-rising waves of authority that wash over our state. Each report seems relentlessly submissive to "full-figured government."
I want you to have a seat at my desk for just a moment and see what I am seeing (and sometimes complicit in) this last business day at work. Let's look up at the monitor and take in the news.
For starters, it appears our city is losing a Saint...a giant among men. That is to say, a school superintendent who isn't in Federal prison or suing his own district. Even I can admit this guy is the least wicked of the evil. He'd better be, we taxpayers subsidize him to the tune of $300 grand a year. Anyway, he's leaving the ISD. Wait! They're listing his "accomplishments.." this could get ugly. Yep, there it is...."succeeded in passing largest bond issue (formerly 'tax increase') since the District was founded." Don't let the door hit your backside on the way out, buck.
Next it's time for me to tamely implicate myself in this company-wide crusade for Nanny Rule. I get to edit a story sounding the alarm about our national nursing shortage. Fortunately, the reporter has a solution to pitch: There ought to be a law regulating nurses! No mention of the overregulation that helped bring the shortage about in the first place. By the way does anyone even do stories anymore that don't end with "there ought to be a law?"
Now I slip over to the feed booth and take in a story from one of our bureaus. They may call it news, but this piece is more of a shameless advertisement....not for a company but for a local tax office. Seems they have bought - and are continuing to buy - aerial photos of every house and business in the county, then scanning them for evidence of property tax fudging. Big Brother really is watching! But there is no hint of concern in the report, just the basic admonishment that Government is Powerful and will catch you if you try to keep the money you earned. I shake my head and wonder aloud how this could possibly be considered a good thing. But everyone just stares blankly at me. I'm starting to get used to it!
The day goes on, filled with stories like this. Local animal shelter deserves more funding. GovSchool teacher complains of low pay but botches most of the grammar in her interview. City cops work to fight neighborhood crime though "joint operations" with federal bureaucracies. Whatever happened to my beat cop?
Fortunately the crime reports today are shorter than usual, just a murder or two. The police will get to it as soon as they're done ticketing the seatbeltless and "coordinating" with the Alphabet Agencies, cheer-led by us media hounds.
Be it known that there are no dark mandates from above forcing pliant journalists into today's Orwellian contortions of right and wrong. No conspiracies or political censorship of content. No punishments meted out against dissenters like me who occasionally suggest a different philosophy. And sometimes stories do get on that question the size and scope of government.
But not today. Today our reports favor the Nanny State because our staff is made up of average Americans, and average Americans no longer demand or even recognize freedom. The principle that government should limit itself to the defense of individuals from aggression and fraud...this principle is alien to them. Local viewers never demand it; local activists never push for it. If even one of them did, they'd have a good shot at airtime.
Eventually my day at work ends, after some heartfelt good-byes and kind wishes. I like my co-workers and bosses just as much as I disagree with them.
But my serfdom continues into the night. Waiting for me at home is a half-inch-high stack of papers. Is it a novel? An application for permission to build a rocket lab? No, just the governmental instructions and records I've collected in an attempt to prove my 82-year-old grandmother isn't an Al Qaida hijacker. We simply want her to be able to board a plane, but for that she needs government ID. To get *that* she must have...government ID. And like many old folks, she's lost most of hers. We may not be able to get the right documents in time to prevent a "Rain Man." Actchung! Papers please!
"It's crazy" says one of my other relatives, "It's like she doesn't even exist!" We've spent more hours trying to prove she's not a threat to aircraft than it would take to just drive her where she needs to go. And how much safer are we because of this? The Powers can stop my grandma from boarding, but it takes them two years to give a few pilots permission to arm themselves. And it may take them till the next century to streamline the security bureaucracies.
In any case, it is a fitting reminder of why I am taking this action, voting with my feet. We the descendants of the American Revolution, heirs of men who bled and died to stop a 3% tax, now find ourselves tamely governed by power-worshipping apparatchiks who can spy on our backyards, strip us of our livelihoods and bar us from transportation but cannot perform basic protective functions.
New Hampshire does not have to be a utopia to be an improvement on this.
It does not even have to be livable. It just needs to be rightside up. It
just needs to know that Slavery is not Freedom, that Big Brother should not be
watching me and that my grandmother is not an Osama agent. That's enough.