ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Now they're complaining about the Nanny State?

This story over at Breitbart is just laughable, since the final straw that makes the Europeans complain about the nanny state is the newly implemented restrictions on smoking and unhealthy food:

Europeans chafe under New Year 'nanny state' laws
Jan 3 12:57 AM US/Eastern

Europe started 2008 with a raft of new laws against smoking, air pollution and even junk food adverts, but some grumbled that the New Year's resolutions from the "nanny state" cramped their style.

Germany, France and Portugal joined many of their neighbours with anti-smoking bans in bars, restaurants and cafes from January 1, lifting the grey haze that was part of their romantic atmosphere for more than a century.

In car-crazy Germany, drivers in major cities including the capital Berlin faced restrictions barring smog-producing vehicles from their centres while the northern Italian city of Milan imposed tolls on the heaviest polluters.

And Britain cracked down on television commercials for food and drink products heavy in fat, salt and sugar that target children under the age of 16 in a bid to curb obesity.

While many accepted the new rules as reasonable measures in the name of public health, some bristled at what they called the state's overreach and the creeping end of the European way of life.

"I will not let anyone stop me from smoking at my own business," Ali, owner of the Westend Pinte bar in Berlin, told Germany's mass-market Bild newspaper.

"I've been smoking 40 cigarettes a day since I was 12 -- I can't quit now."

Anne Cicek, manager of the Bier Bar in east Berlin, told the daily Berliner Zeitung that she would defy the rules: "We are not little children who need to be told what we cannot do."
Except when it comes to saving for retirement, determining when and how to purchase healthcare, etc, etc
The conservative newspaper Die Welt noted that 19th century revolutionaries in Berlin had waved the banner for, among other civil liberties, the right to smoke wherever they pleased.

"The freedom to smoke in public was one of the few lasting achievements of 1848. That is over now," it lamented. "Of course neither the West nor democracy will founder with the smoking ban. But will anything really be gained for people's well-being or their health?"

After years of fierce resistance by the restaurant lobby, the legislation passed in Germany is piecemeal: smoking bans will be rolled out state by state until July and most allow establishments to maintain separate smoking sections.

Portugal implemented similar rules.

France in effect sent its more than 13 million smokers out into the cold on New Year's Day as few bars and restaurants took on the large renovation and equipment costs to construct separate smoking rooms.

Despite opinion polls showing broad support for the ban, some commentators saw a threat to France's hallowed "liberte".

Writing in the left-wing Liberation newspaper, sociologist Henri Pierre Jeudy suggested the ban marked "the end of an era" for France -- and a danger for personal freedoms.

"Public health costs are being used to justify an ever more coercive control over our private lives," he said, with France's yen for smoky cafes now cast as "an unhealthy mistake".
control over your private life is what socialists are known for, my friend...
But Jeudy also warned that "alcohol and tobacco have traditionally been used as weapons against stress."

"Their use, and sometimes abuse, has probably prevented many a collective revolt. Will banning them spark new rebellions?"

In a column in the influential Le Monde, doctor Micheline Benatar challenged the ban as the first step toward a "totalitarian society".

"'Life kills,', 'Drinking kills,' 'Eating badly kills' too," she wrote.

"How long will the law continue to allow menus 'a la carte' in restaurants and cafes? When will it start to impose low-fat menus -- for our own good... to guarantee stable blood pressure, low blood sugar and cholesterol?"

"True, passive smoking is a public health concern. But is it not worse to start a car engine than to light up a cigarette?"
[...]
What I find laughable about this is the fact that the average European has already ceded control over much of their life to the state as it is. From the cradle to the grave, the ever-present hand of the state is controlling their lives and providing for them.

In addition to this, I find it absolutely amazing that the citizens who "enjoy" government-run medicine are complaining about the state trying to enforce healthier lifestyles. If the government is paying for health care, it's in the state's interest to legislate healthier lifestyles to reduce costs.

We find a similar phenomenon in the US, with employers giving incentives to employees for healthy lifestyle habits and/or pre-employment screening to determine which candidates might consumer more health care services. This is a problem related to the fact that we have an employer sponsored health insurance system.

And if you're a libertarian or liberal who thinks that it's the nasty Republicans that want to interfere with your daily life, just wait until the Dems get socialized medicine and start legislating behavior. They will be justified in doing so, because you've just made your health the purview of the federal government.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler