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Encroachment of the Nanny State

By Lisa Fabrizio
web posted May 1, 2006

Having first dispatched with the notion of private property rights with a "me-too" smoking ban two years ago, followed up by the lollapalooza Kelo v. New London eminent domain case, my home state of Connecticut has upped the ante to new heights of socialist nanny-statism. It took all of three hours for state Representatives to pass a bill that, if the State Senate concurs, could send adults to jail for up to a year for serving alcohol on their property to those under 21 years of age.

Here in a state where business owners and consumers are deemed too stupid to make their own decisions about smoking, while others are thought too slothful to develop their private property into proper tax-revenue generating real estate, parents are now on notice that they do not have the right to decide how to conduct child-rearing in their own homes.

In 21 st Century America--at least here in the northeast where home-schooling is not the norm--citizens long ago ceded many of their parental rights to the state in the form of public education. Under the watchful eyes of numerous counselors, dieticians, psychologists, and a host of administrators, the profession formerly known as teaching has become an arm of a bloated bureaucracy, forcing the worst of the liberal agenda down the throats of our children.

From the noxious fumes of multiculturalism, to feminist and homosexual indoctrination and the big-daddy of them all, sex education, public schooling is, in many ways, the moral antithesis of what most parents would teach their children had they the time or inclination.

Yet, in the spirit of comity, we have not only permitted this abomination but lavishly funded it, as communities have bowed to pressure from rabid union officials who gobble up education dollars like ravenous wolves and now control virtually all aspects of public education.

And although my state has mandated that doctors now be included in the decision, schools can recommend potentially dangerous and mind-altering drugs to ward off what was formerly diagnosed as boyhood. But don't worry, Connecticut schools no longer serve carbonated beverages.

So, if we have voluntarily relinquished one our most important duties--the moral education of our children--to the state, why should further usurpations in that area be of any concern? The answer here in Connecticut regrettably, is that some parents now feel that it is the right and duty of the state to make such decisions for them.

At a local restaurant the other night, I heard a father bragging that he physically threatened a store owner who had twice sold liquor to his under-aged son. Yet it never seemed to occur to the man that it was his son who had initiated the purchase and so should share in the consequences, or that it was his parental duty to instruct his children in the proper use of alcohol. But why should he, when this is apparently now the responsibility of the nanny-state?

For those who doubt it, try this logic from a supporter of the bill: "This does give the police and all of us as parents and grandparents tools to tell our underage minors that they cannot drink because they would be subject to a fine, we would be subject to a fine, and it would be more of a police issue than it has been in the past." Got it? You no longer have to explain to your children why the abuse of alcohol is wrong, just use the state's nifty "tool" to threaten them into submission.

I can't even begin to think what Christmas Eve at my house would have been like had my father worried about the state interfering with our family's many toasts, including those in honor of our teenaged cousins who were home on leave from Vietnam. Or the happy memories of a great-uncle playfully spiking my soda with a dash of wine at Sunday dinner.

More to the point, especially vivid and instructive were those recollections of the punishment I received for running afoul of the rules for responsible drinking laid down by my parents. Also vivid is the feeling that I had disappointed them, because I realized that judicious discipline is a sure sign of love. Is the nanny state capable of love for anything but its own aggrandizement?

Lisa Fabrizio is a columnist who hails from Connecticut. You may write her at mailbox@lisafab.com.


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