It happens a lot in the European Union, hardly in Ukraine and somehow in the USA: the government tells you what to do for your own good. Advices are great, but I hate being told what to do!
The EU treats people as retarded kids, in the USA is varies a lot, from nearly libertarian places like New Hampshire and South Dakota, to full blown fascist territories like New York City or New Jersey. Click here to see the rankings of the states based on several criteria.
New Hampshire is one of those places where wearing a seatbelt is not mandatory. In Florida you can ride your bike without helmet, but you need to have $10.000 for emergency service costs, so it’s your own responsibility. If you drive unbelted or without helmet you’ll only put your own life at risk, not the lives of others. The same in Ukraine, no helmet required. But if something happens to you even if you’ll get hit by a car it’s also your own problem. Suing the perpetrator is possible but that will only be successful if you have enough money to bribe the judge.
My point is not about the usefulness of wearing a helmet or seatbelt. It’s about why governments make a lot of unnecessary things mandatory. Take a look at New York City where dictator mayor Michael Bloomberg is the initiator of many controversial bans. In his quest to correct unhealthy behavior he banned large-size sugary beverages, the use of trans fats in restaurant food and smoking in public places in the Big Apple. Gun control there is extreme and they keep trying to create more of it. Besides that he also has demanded hospitals to stop handing out baby formula to persuade more new mothers to breastfeed their babies. Parents are responsible for their children, so what does the government have to do with this?
There are exceptions though. To stay with food take for example the school meals. If the parents nor the schools would provide kids with healthy food options the government could be the nanny here. But did president Harry Truman sign the National School Lunch Act into law back in 1946 to feed American kids chicken fingers, soggy pizza and frozen French fries with ketchup as ‘vegetables’? I don’t think so. Education about food from a young age is important while kids do what grown-ups do…
Do we want to go into the same direction as Japan, where health check-ups are mandatory? There are no infringements on other peoples’ freedom happening, so why mandatory? Of course there will be people saying that unhealthy people that smoke, eat junk food and do no exercise push up the costs for others on health insurance. But why not the other way around: let people with unhealthy behavior just pay more health insurance than people that have a healthy lifestyle. Again, take your own responsibility.
Even abortion is to me a matter the State should stay out of. I am NOT in favor of a woman getting an abortion, but to me that is a decision for her and her family, her partner (if he is around), but not for the State!
There is no perfect place, of course. But each time I see a new place and always measure it against my ideal of a Free State, where people’s privacy and personal freedoms are respected to the maximum extent possible. So far Florida, New Hampshire and Ukraine come relatively close to that ideal, in very different ways and for different reasons.