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Nannies to stop people being arseholes

Posted by Tim on Friday, November 19, 2004 | Permalink

Following reactions to the proposed ban on smoking in public places and talk of the "nanny state", I would just like to make something clear.

A big brother state would ban smoking completely. People would be continually monitored to check that they weren't having a crafty one out the back or something. They'd probably have some kind of brain implant to see if there was even a desire to light up, and if such a desire was detected then the person would be dragged off to the bowels of the ministry-of-something-or-other and made to face their worst fears until they truly loved the government for eradicating their evil desire to smoke and making them pure again.

A nanny state would stop people infecting others with their smoke, but allow them to do what they wanted in their own homes. It would point out the dangers of smoking and help people to stop. It would even provide the healthcare they needed for any illnesses caused by smoking.

The two are obviously very different. I'd never want to stop people doing whatever the hell they want to do - as long as what they're doing doesn't affect other people. What annoys me is the hypocritical right-wingers banging on about "so-called liberals" restricting their rights, without realising that what they themselves are doing is trampling over the rights of others.

I'm going off on a tangent here, but it's along the same lines - I used to live in a flat where the guy next door would frequently decide to start playing deeply unpleasant bass heavy dance music at about two-o-clock in the morning. When I complained his response was that I was obviously some kind of fascist and that he could do what he wanted in his own flat. I pointed out that, if anything, he was the fascist for forcing me to listen to his music - he could indeed do what he wanted in his own flat, but the music didn't stay in his flat, it came into mine as well. (He didn't seem to get the point, although he eventually did stop - probably because he was fed up with me complaining all the time).

The point is that people should not have a "right" to act like selfish arseholes and restrict other people's rights and well being. The fact that they have always done this in the past doesn't automatically make whatever it is they're doing ok.


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