Nanny state is a term of British origin that conveys a view that a government or its policies are overprotective or interfering unduly with personal choice. The term likens such a government to the role that a nanny has in child rearing.

Tyler Brule, a Canadian journalist and editorial director of a mens’ magazine, enthusiastic for going back to the fifties with globalization, consumerism and entrepreneurs, wrote as follows:

. . .Australia is becoming the world’s dumbest nation . . .(because of) the removal of personal responsibility and the increase in the number and scope of health and safety laws,’ Monocle, 2015

‘He argued that Australian cities are over-sanitised,’ I said. ‘Many of the laws have been implemented in the expectation that they will reduce violence or improve health and safety. The excessive laws were accused of restricting freedom, ruining livelihoods and small businesses, turning the nation into a nanny state.’

Conditions in Australia could require more government protection than in most countries because we have large distances with sparse populations in the interior. There could be sympathy for interference with personal choice when Australians can freely choose to live in places where climate extremes prevail. The population emerged from compelled settlement with a predilection for governments espousing egalitarian values.

Both labour and liberal governments pay lip service to equality and invest in the public interest, such as infrastructure and social housing. More than in America, Australians make government provision for those who are unlucky or unfortunate, with disabilities, illness, victims of crime, prisoners, unemployment, or needing services such as electricity, water, hospitals, schools and internet at remote locations. Provision is also needed for the very young and the very old. Shortfall in representation and provision for indigenous people is being considered for affirmative action.

Australians regard themselves as living in a lucky country. The nanny state in Australia attempts to reconcile egalitarian government provision to remote locations. Inequalities of location, between city and outback, are difficult for private businesses to supply equally. Subsidised nanny state services, rather than internal migration, are preferred.

Nanny state provision may not be a panacea, because it can diminish personal responsibility. The irony of the nanny state is reduced self-care. For Australians, this could mean increasing individual taxes and expectation of increased international support for local collective action.    

See also my post: Is Australia a Nanny State? April 11, 2023

My novel ‘Turkeys Not Bees’ has a story with individualists in conflict with collectivists concerning sport and pandemic control. Reviews see

About martinknox

Materially minimalist; gastronomically prefer food I cook; biologically an unattached male survivor; economically independent; sociologically a learner and teacher of science; psychologically selfaltruistic; anthropologically West Country English tenant farmer; religiously variable; ethically case by case; philosophically a sceptical Popperian.

Posted on October 9, 2023, in TURKEYS NOT BEES and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on DOES AUSTRALIA NEED A NANNY STATE?.

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