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 martinknox.com
I asked ChatGPT the following question.
What social contexts limit affirmative action?
The response, unedited, was as follows.
Affirmative action policies are designed to address historical and systemic inequalities by providing preferential treatment to underrepresented or disadvantaged groups in areas like education, employment, and contracting. However, these policies can face limitations and challenges in various social contexts, including:
- Legal Challenges: Affirmative action policies often face legal challenges, with opponents arguing that they can be discriminatory against individuals who are not part of the targeted groups. Supreme Court cases in the United States, such as Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978) and Fisher v. University of Texas (2013), have placed restrictions on how affirmative action can be implemented in education.
- Public Opinion: Public opinion can limit the effectiveness of affirmative action, as there may be significant opposition to such policies. Public perception can influence policymakers and institutions, leading to changes or limitations on affirmative action programs.
- Political Climate: The political climate in a given region or country can affect the implementation and continuation of affirmative action policies. Changes in leadership or political ideology can lead to shifts in policy support and enforcement.
- Resource Constraints: Limited resources can hinder the effectiveness of affirmative action programs. If there are insufficient resources allocated to support individuals from underrepresented groups, the intended goals may not be achieved.
- Stereotyping and Stigma: Affirmative action policies can sometimes reinforce stereotypes and create stigmas, as some individuals may perceive beneficiaries of these policies as less qualified or deserving. This can affect the social acceptance of affirmative action programs.
- Enforcement and Compliance: The enforcement of affirmative action policies can vary, and non-compliance or lack of enforcement by institutions can limit their impact. Without strong oversight and accountability mechanisms, institutions may not fully implement these policies.
- Intersectionality: Intersectionality refers to the overlapping of multiple social identities (e.g., race, gender, socioeconomic status). Affirmative action policies may not adequately address the complex challenges faced by individuals who belong to multiple marginalized groups.
- Backlash: Affirmative action policies can generate backlash from those who feel they are being unfairly treated or excluded. This backlash can create tension and resistance, making it more challenging to maintain or expand these policies.
- Limited Scope: Some affirmative action policies may have limited scope and may not address broader systemic issues such as institutional racism, economic inequality, or educational disparities. Critics argue that more comprehensive solutions are needed to address these underlying issues effectively.
- Evolving Definitions of Diversity: As societal understandings of diversity evolve, there may be debates about which groups should be eligible for affirmative action and which dimensions of diversity should be considered.
It’s important to note that the impact and limitations of affirmative action policies can vary significantly depending on the specific context, including the country, region, and the specific goals and implementation strategies of the policies in question. Public debate and ongoing evaluation are essential aspects of discussions surrounding affirmative action.
My novel Turkeys not Bees abjures social conditioning. On Amazon.
Reviews see martinknox.com
Australians will vote shortly in a referendum for alteration of the constitution to have an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. There is no argument for a Yes or No position following. My intention is to draw attention to considerations that do not seem to be acknowledged in the official Referendum Booklet where the cases are compared. Novels I have written expound on three issues omitted from this official guide.
Is the proposed change overreach of Australia’s nanny state? I have presented disadvantages of our nanny state in my novel Turkeys Not Bees. A nanny state can benefit people but it can also lead to totalitarianism. My novel Animal Farm 2 is a satirical sequel to George Orwell’s expose of totalitarianism. The proposal is for more control of our democracy, reducing individual freedom.
Recognition in the Constitution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples would increase their collective access to Parliament and Executive Government, reducing relative access of other other individual Australians. A case for Australian individualism is presented in Turkeys Not Bees. The referendum proposes a new social spectacle, described by De Bord, 1967. It could appear to have solidarity within the Aboriginal and TSI community, which could result in exploitation by organisations and politicians, unless checks and balances would be adopted later.
Athletes’ access to government support should be equal for all Australians. Establishing affirmative action by this referendum could prevent performances by all Australians from being potentially equal. We need more Cathy Freemans, not an underclass of performers selected by race. My novel Time Is Gold makes cases for competition and innovation in sport.
In summary, the referendum could affirm nanny statism, collectivism, social exploitation and segregation.
My novels are available on Amazon. Excerpts and reviews are at martinknox.com
Brush turkeys are asocial, at the opposite end of a spectrum from Bees, whose roles are controlled by the group. Human control is changing towards collective control but it is not always wanted. The novel Turkeys Not Bees explores some trends in control and how they are being resisted. Chance is a physicist who overcomes epistemic injustice from working for employers who keep him on ‘treadmills’, unable to be creative. His experiences are explained by the philosophers Nietzsche and De Beauvoir. He quits and goes back to university to investigate the metaphysics of flow, a psychological condition observed by performers. He meets Megan, an elite athlete and he helps her to train to compete in flow by self-coached analysis of her phenomenon, by the method of philosopher Heidegger. She suffers gaslighting by officials and competitors who accuse her of unfair advantage and try to ban her training methods. She has to struggle to assert her individuality, against regulations imposed by ‘levellers’ who want athletes to have equal success. They act for a ‘nanny state’, which embraces collectivism to control sport, universities, schools, arts, healthcare and employment. Society is under the influence of The Spectacle (Debord 1967) with mass events controlled by industries and governments, for profits from consumption and for votes. Chance and Megan are in love and fight authorities to control her training for the Olympics. When they are quarantined in a pandemic, they lead a campaign which resists mandatory vaccination. Will their campaign of civil disobedience restore to them their traditional rights to train, compete and protect themselves? This is an exciting story set in Brisbane Australia, 2032, with conflict between individualism and collectivism. Turkeys Not Bees is available on Amazon. Reviews see martinknox.com