Nanny state

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Nanny state is a term of British origin that conveys a view that a government or its policies are overprotective or interfering unduly with personal choice.[1]

The term Nanny state describes the tendency of liberal politicians to enact policies that make economic and health decisions for citizens. It is a Democrat method of solving society's problems by putting the government in control of the people. Essentially, the government becomes the decision maker as the person who knows what is in your best interest. It removes responsibility from individuals and parents and promotes irresponsibility and dependence.

Not every nanny state style policy seems like a bad idea, and arguments can be made for the state intervening to stop for instance the insane from taking their own lives. All but the most radical of Libertarians (more like anarchists) recognize that the state has some responsibility to prevent children for marrying too young or to prevent the use of hard drugs such a heroin or cocaine. The great difficulty that a conservative or libertarian world view helps us to deal with is keeping the nanny state impulse from getting out of control. As more and more nanny state policies are enacted it becomes legitimately in the states best interest and part of the states purview to enact more and more legislation that infringes on our liberties. Reducing the costs of the National Health Service has lead to British interference with diets and needle exchange programs.


Use of term

United States

Although the term is undefined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it has entered use in the United States over the past decade by some political commentators. For example, the term is used in an at-large sense against the perceived legislative tendencies of Liberal political ideology. For example:

  • Helmet laws.
  • In 2011, the Welsh government mandated fire sprinklers in all new houses, regardless of the wishes of the builders or owners [6].

Quotes about the Nanny State

  • "Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the state wants to live at the expense of everyone." -- Frederic Bastiat
  • "A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy…" -- Alexander Fraser Tytler, Scottish lawyer and writer, 1770
  • "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." – C. S. Lewis
  • "There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him." - Robert Heinlein, The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
  • "In politics, few talents are as richly rewarded as the ability to convince parasites that they are victims. Welfare states on both sides of the Atlantic have discovered that largesse to losers does not reduce their hostility to society, but only increases it. Far from producing gratitude, generosity is seen as an admission of guilt, and the reparations as inadequate compensation for injustices – leading to worsening behavior by the recipients." - Dr. Thomas Sowell

Incremental Gun-Grabbing of the Nanny State

Liberals and socialist support "common sense" measures - a "good first step" of the Nanny State. To a citizen-prepper-patriot and to the Bill of Rights, this is "death by a thousand paper cuts".

This Second Amendment Foundation video is the formal response to Hollywood's Demand a Plan gun-grabbing propaganda video. The video shows one of the main differences between liberal gun control Nanny states (Blue states) and conservative and/or libertarian Second Amendment-supporting "free states" (Red states). This video shows why we vote with our feet:

Naughty State List

See main article Naughty state

Nanny states are inclined to placed on the naughty state list.

See Also


  1., title=nanny, n.1 and adj, work=OED Online, date=December 2011, publisher=Oxford University Press, accessdate=27 March 2014}}
  3. Michael Grynbaum, New York Plans to Ban Sale of Big Sizes of Sugary Drinks,, Accessed 27 March 2014, New York Times, May 31, 2012, "The measures have led to occasional derision of the mayor as Nanny Bloomberg, by those who view the restrictions as infringements on personal freedom."

External Links

Find the corresponding Survival Podcast episode

Relevant TSP Episodes

Further reading

  • DiLorenzo, Thomas J., What Next for the Nanny State, 1997, Centers and institutes of Washington University in St. Louis, Center for the Study of American Business
  • Bennett, James T., The Food and Drink Police: America's Nannies, Busybodies, and Petty Tyrants, 1999, Transaction, New Brunswick, NJ, isbn 9781560003854|
  • Huntington, Robert, The Nanny State, 2004, Artnik, London, isbn 9781903906507
  • Baker Dean, The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer,, 2006, Center for Economic and Policy Research, Washington, DC, isbn 9781411693951
  • Hills, Simon, Strictly No! How We're Being Overrun by the Nanny State, 2006, Mainstream, Edinburgh, isbn 9781845961558
  • King, Thomas J., War on Smokers and the Rise of the Nanny State, 2009, iUniverse, New York, isbn=9781440123047
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