June 18, 2011

There are three forms, or levels, of statism. The pure form is communism which outright denies the individual the right of property. One rung down is socialism, which actively redistributes wealth by taking property from one group and giving it to another. But an insidious third level, which many fail to even distinguish as statism, is the "Nanny State." A Nanny State gives individuals the pretense of property rights, but dictates to them what they may or may not do with their property. A Nanny State attempts to replace individual decisions with government decisions. 

This third form of statism has another name, which few say out loud; a Nanny State is a polite term for a fascist state. Most avoid talk of fascism because it brings up images of Nazi Germany and Adolph Hitler. But fascist is what a Nanny State is, whether we like it or not.


All government directed policy is a form of fascism. Controls and regulation are fascism’s tools. Soon there will be over 4000 new rules courtesy of Obamacare, the Dodd-Frank regulatory reform bill, and new EPA rules attempting to promote clean energy. This rush of new rules is unprecedented in this country. No one knows what ramifications these regulations will have on the economy. But they will surely cause confusion—and confused people hold back from taking action. Confusion will further stunt economic recovery and jobs growth.


It’s ironic that while so many are concerned about things such as unemployment, we see the government imposing new policies that prevent businesses from hiring. It is estimated that two million jobs would be created if government would simply allow normal oil and gas exploration to occur. So why does a government who claims it is all about jobs-jobs-jobs, not allow untold jobs to be created by companies who, for example, want to drill for oil and gas? The answer is simple: there are good jobs and bad jobs. The government doesn’t want people drilling for oil and gas.


The Obama Administration prefers that people work in “green” industries; producing "green cars,” windmills, and solar energy. These are "good jobs". People who work in the oil, gas, or coal business are penalized for doing so. Work in education and be rewarded, but work on Wall Street or the financial industry and expect to be penalized. Thousands of new jobs have been created within government over the last few years, while Wall Street has drastically decreased its employment and intends to lay off 4 to 6 thousand more jobs in the next six months. Exports are promoted at the same time imports are discouraged by government dictate. In the end it is Washington in the role of the puppet master, with the American citizen playing the part of puppet.


Strip the nanny mask from the face of fascism, and you will see the stark raw face of force and coercion. If you are a businessperson, your only choice becomes to comply or die. If you are a young person without insurance, you are now mandated to buy it, or be fined or worse if you do not. If you are rich, pay the state higher taxes or go to prison.


Fascism allows you to keep and use your property only to the extent that government allows. Eminent domain, one of the most explicitly evil laws on the books, nullifies the right of ownership of property by the individual openly. It confiscates your property thereby verifying the principle that your “right” of property is not actually a right but in fact only a permission—a permission that can be revoked. Property rights under fascism are a fiction.


In one of the most egregious recent government acts of attempted control, the National Labor Board of Relations, an arm of the federal government, sued Boeing for deciding to build planes in South Carolina rather than in Washington State. A poll was conducted on CNBC last week asking if Boeing should be “allowed” to move to South Carolina. That they can even ask such a question is an excellent indicator of how far we have moved away from freedom in this country, and in such a short period of time.


A Nanny State tells you not only how to use some property, but also which property you cannot use. Recent examples of this power are plentiful, and even extend to which light bulbs we are required to use! All old, free market bulbs are now being outlawed in favor of what the government wants.


It is now up to the government, not you, to decide what kind of health insurance you are to have and at what price. On the flipside it is the government who tells insurance companies what kind of health coverage they are to provide and at what price. Obamacare proposes to set up a board of healthcare regulators whose “job” it is to decide for you which healthcare services you are entitled to, and which you are to be denied. Sure fascism will allow you freedom—except for anytime it decides to take it away.


Many fascist government actions are indirect rather than direct, such as subsidies that encourage people to take certain actions. Among these are subsidies to Amtrak or bus operators that make public transportation more “attractive.” There are ethanol subsidies to steer you toward purchasing government approved fuel, while penalties such as gas taxes are meant to limit how much you drive. Rules and regulations that influence how an individual or business should act, such as export subsidies, import quotas, and tariffs, are all attempts to move people like a herd into a government created corral.


Education is one such area that government wants to control. "We need to train people with new skills.” Who will train the people? The government will. And where will the money come from to conduct the training? Not from the consumer. The government will take it in taxes and disperse it. And what new skills will we teach them? Whatever the government says they must learn.


Rarely do civilized countries develop dictators these days. Instead they are voted in and go to work immediately creating incentives and disincentives to either encourage or force people to take certain actions. One day the nation wakes up and wonders why the country they once had is no longer. We are not a fascist state yet, but the direction is clear. So, the next time someone talks about the Nanny State, and perhaps smiles at its seeming absurdity, strip the nanny mask off for them, and let them see what really hides behind it.

Paul Nathan