Tuesday, May 15, 2007

It's a Nannyriffic World

It’s become such an ingrained part of our culture that we don’t even think about it anymore. It’s natural - like a baby crawling. In fact, it’s exactly like a baby crawling, only in reverse. Instead of crawling so we can learn to walk, we have given up walking so we can crawl. And crawl we do, straight to nanny government whenever something bad happens. It has become so much a part of us that it’s practically an involuntary reflex – beyond our conscious control. We don’t even know we’re doing it any more. The doctor taps our knee with a small hammer and our leg jerks upwards. Something unpleasant happens to someone and we reflexively become a pathetic parody of Oliver Twist. Our arms extend outwards towards government, clutching our empty bowls, as we plaintively beg: ‘Please suh, can I ‘ave sum‘ore?”.

Always more, never less. More help; more protection; more safety; more intervention; more intrusive meddling. It’s what we demand and it’s what our almighty government benefactor loves to provide. Day by day, year by year, decade by decade, government does more and more for us and we do less and less for ourselves, our families and each other. Government grows bigger and stronger. We grow smaller and weaker.

The fairy tale maiden used to clutch her chest and sigh “my hero” when the dashing knight vanquished the evil villain. Not any more. Now she struts to the press conference microphone and publicly pouts about how there would be no evil villains in the first place if only our mighty government hero would fund more social programs.

But it wasn’t always this way. Once upon a time, people actually overcame obstacles in their lives without begging government for help. It’s almost impossible to believe. Were we really that unenlightened and regressive as a species? Imagine, actually accepting that, in life, we sometimes have to take the good with the bad. What WERE we thinking? After all, there should be no such thing as ‘bad’. And if there is, it’s the government’s fault for not regulating it away.

Hey parents, need that extra second income so you can buy that big screen and go to Cuba on vacation? Are the kids getting in your way? Don’t worry. The government will give you state subsidized daycare so Mommy can get out there and do stuff that’s really important and fulfilling, like maybe work in an office or a shopping mall.

Hey University students, are you having to go sober a few nights a week because those nasty tuition fees are eating up all your partying money? Hey, don’t worry, government will cap tuition fees for you and tax the middle class to pay the difference. Pretty cool huh?

Hey girls, is that hot boy ignoring you because he knows you don’t put out? What’s wrong with you? Get horizontal already. There’s nothing to worry about. If you get pregnant, the government will pay for an abortion or, if you decide to keep the baby, it’ll give you a free apartment and monthly welfare cheque, even if your boyfriend lives with you. Now that’s progressive.

Are your elderly parents getting in the way? Are you stressed out at the thought of having to take responsibility for them in their final years? No problem. Just ship them off to a handy-dandy government funded Nursing home and forget about ‘em. They’ll be happy, you’ll be happy and you’ll have a lot more free time to watch reality TV and bitch about how tough life is.

Are you or someone you love dieing of cancer? Never fear. Here in glorious nannyriffic Canada you get health care for free. Yep. You don’t have to do anything for yourself. Just let nanny do it all. Here, take a seat. The doctor will see you in three weeks. The specialist will see you three months from then. Tests will be done next year and treatment should start, oh, sometime between your wake and your funeral. And don’t worry about the cost. It’s all taken care of. Of course you’re not allowed to pay for faster service. That would be unfair to the people who can’t pay. So you’ll just take what nanny gives you and be grateful for it. Here, have some oxycontin. That’ll take the edge off while you wait.

Our enslavement was inevitable; our freedom fleeting and doomed from the start. Maybe humans were not meant to be free. After all, we have always lived under one form of tyranny or another, whether it was by tribal chiefs, dictators, monarchs, feudal landlords or whatever.

And now look what’s happened. This whacky experiment with democracy and capitalism is hardly a few hundred years old and already it’s starting to unravel. When it started we were free. People knew that freedom was directly linked to personal responsibility and autonomy. Our constitutions protected citizens from the state and enshrined individual rights and freedoms for all. And then what happened? Why, we promptly proceeded to barter away our freedom and autonomy to the state, piecemeal fashion, in exchange for safety and help in managing our lives.

You see, deep down inside, modern people don’t really want to be free. Been there, done that. What they want is to be protected and safe. ‘Risk’ is the new N word - a dirty word that must be expunged from our society. In fact, we have reached the point where taking even a minimal risk can be a crime, punishable in a court of law.

Not wearing a seat belt is stupid. It’s not particularly dangerous, mind you, given that 99.99999% of drivers never get in a serious accident, but stupid none the less. Same with adults who don't wear helmets on bicycles & motor cycles or 'personal floatation devices' (what a moronic term - what the hell was wrong with 'lifejacket'?) on water craft. Stupid - yes. But illegal? Should it really be the government’s job to haul us to court and punish us for making a free and conscious personal decision to take a stupid risk? Geez, if acting stupidly is a crime, why is Rosie O'Donnell still walking the streets?

And speaking of stupid risks - it seems to me that it’s far riskier to have unprotected sex these days. If the government was really interested in protecting us it would punish anyone who engages in sex without a condom. Maybe give ‘em some demerit points on their driver’s licenses or something if they are caught doing it in a car. It seems a little inconsistent to fine someone for not wearing a seatbelt but let them get off scott free when it comes to something as dangerous as not wearing a condom. Especially for gays. The fine for them should be double, given the significant health risk.

After all, if government insists on being in the business of protecting us from our own indiscretions and bad decisions, it might as well take its role seriously, and start by addressing the proliferation of AIDS. After that, it can get on with enforcing the seatbelt laws. It’s simply a matter of setting the right priorities.


Blogger Canadi-anna said...

Always having a crutch can be debilitating, but when it's the government acting as the crutch, it becomes permanent.

12:41 PM  

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