The Manufactured Authority of the Nanny State

Lately, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been the chief spokesman touting the merits and necessity of a Utopian nanny state. In a moment of honesty, he said while making a recent appearance on NBC, "I do think there certain times when we should infringe on your freedom." [Emphasis added]

"We," of course, means the government. It is impossible to miss the separation he envisions between "you" and the government which he represents, and it's clear which of these two he imagines to be in charge. He was specifically speaking about his recent proposal to ban the sale of sugary drinks containing more than sixteen ounces, which was wrongfully blocked by a judge, he claims. But we can assume that this general opinion would apply equally well to his other social initiatives to infringe upon American freedoms, such as the freedom to own firearms, or the freedom to feed your child formula rather than breast milk. The implication is that government knows best, and in regard to whatever social reforms the government thinks might be best for the collective, coerced social conformity is of the highest priority, and individual liberty is a secondary concern.

This notion certainly doesn't derive from the Constitution, and it should be considered as nothing short of revolutionary to American sensibilities, as nothing could be more antithetical to the rugged individualism we Americans have historically treasured. Where we once viewed the American individual as Horatio Alger's Ragged Dick, whose personal ambition and dedication can enable him to rise from nothing, make wise decisions, overcome obstacles, and achieve a successful outcome, it would seem that the nanny state would prefer us to view the American individual as Dickens' Oliver Twist, who is relegated to meekly asking of his benefactor, "Please, sir, I want some more."

There can no longer be any legitimate question as to whether or not leftist social engineers view America this way, because they've never been so brazen in suggesting that we are helpless without government as they have recently. Remember Obama's "you didn't build that" comment last year? The phrase and its context clearly suggest that success and its fruits belong to the government which provides the means to them. A DNC video went even farther than that, suggesting that we Americans all "belong" to the government. The government is our benefactor, and we, the people, are its dependent charges.

It is under these pretenses that the nanny state invents its fabricated authority. Because the government would have you believe that it provides your liberty and property, representatives like Nanny Bloomberg suggest that government has the implied authority to dictate the confines and extent of your liberty in order to establish social conformity for a greater good, even beyond the boundaries of law, and in some cases, in direct defiance of it -- as is the case with gun control advocacy. The Second Amendment states plainly that the "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed," so ambition the likes of Bloomberg's in this arena not only ignores established law, but blatantly subverts it.

But even if we were to concede that a government benefactor might have the right to infringe upon our freedom, there's still a gaping hole in the logic. The government's not really anyone's benefactor, is it? Think about it this way. Is a single mother living in perpetual welfare truly a benefactor to her children? This mother probably tells her children that she is providing for them, and may even convince herself that she is providing for them, but she is not -- her welfare checks do that, and unless you count breathing, she didn't do anything to earn them. This means the value underlying the welfare check was provided by someone else's labor. Similarly, the government tells the masses that it provides for these poor souls, and many among the masses may even believe that -- but government merely issues their checks, it does not give the checks their underlying value. No, the true benefactor to both is the successful American individual whom the welfare queen hates and the social engineer demonizes for being too damn stingy with his own money.

Yet according to a social engineer's perversion of logic, the successful American individual is somehow indebted to the government and to the indigent, despite perpetually providing for the existence of both. And if you are this successful individual, you should understand that forking over more of your wealth and property is penance for your fortunate circumstances. But since you refuse to offer self-atonement and cling to a notion that your property belongs to you, it is to be taken from you by a mob that demands it for personal use, in a coerced transaction facilitated by the government.

Tyranny is an apt description for this. Whether or not you might immediately admit that this is tyranny, you cannot deny that the government does not create this wealth that is redistributed -- it merely forces a transaction that would not take place except by coercion, seizing property from one party and bestowing it upon another with no mutual exchange of value. And if, knowing this, you would still deny that it is tyranny, I would suggest that your inverse comprehension of dictionary definitions rivals Bloomberg's inverse comprehension of Constitutional Amendments.

Since the government is clearly not our benefactor as it would have us believe, but it is rather the beneficiary of the fruits of the American taxpayer's labor and success, what authority should it have to infringe upon a law-abiding taxpayer's liberty against his will, as Bloomberg says it should?

The truth is that social engineers in government and the collectivist drones that support them are either subversive toward or unbearably ignorant of the entire foundational concept of American government. The government does not exist to infringe upon individual liberty in efforts to chase a Utopian fantasy where people don't smoke, or drink sugary drinks, or gives their babies formula, or eat unhealthy amounts of salt, or own firearms. No, our government exists to ensure that that a law-abiding individual's right to liberty -- that inalienable right immortalized in the Declaration -- is never infringed in such ways.

The modern notion of individual liberty, including property rights and limited government, was born in Western culture. The procurement and protection of such liberty in this country, particularly, has been no easy task. Rather, it has been the product of blood, sacrifice, and providential circumstances. So it is a travesty that this very basic, core American concept has become so corrupted by politicians and ignored by so many of the public. And it is tragically ironic that, though American liberty was seized from tyrants with a passionate roar, it is being continually surrendered today with hardly a whimper -- the only audible noise being amplified by the media is the enthusiastic applause of the dehumanized flock, eager to sacrifice their liberty at the altar of government dependence.

William Sullivan blogs at: and can be followed on Twitter.