Joetopia

If you don’t want a nanny state, don’t act like a baby

I think I would prefer living in a nanny state over one inclined to sit by and watch its citizens behave however destructively they want.

If people can’t even be trusted to individually manage the simplest matters of self-preservation, what hope do we have for the collective good?

We are, after all, the sum of our parts and only as strong as the weakest among us.

Through that lens these days, we see time and again qualities such as hate, selfishness, fear and greed magnified and multiplied to the point they gain undue credence and validity.

By now in our evolution as a species (and we are undeniably an evolving species, though whether forward or backward is up for debate), we should be able to agree without too much difficulty what is bad and what is good — so that we can mitigate the bad and enhance the good.

Yet here we are in 2016, torn asunder like no time in recent memory while we’re forced again and again to fight good fights against bad habits.

Like cigarettes.

And guns.

And Donald Trump.

On the whole, none of those is exactly good for your health, but plenty among us embrace one, two or all three.

Let’s start with cigarettes.

I was happy to read last week that the state Legislature had approved a bill to raise the smoking age to 21 from 18.

But did you see way down in the story that riding along with this positive change was an unwelcome freeloader? Although the bill would ban anyone younger than 21 from buying cigarettes, it also nonsensically stripped away the penalty for underage smoking.

What? Why confuse the issue? Smoking is bad. It has no redeeming social value. Let’s do everything we can to discourage its use, and that includes slapping the wrist of kids who want to try it out and risk addiction, cancer and an early death.

Meanwhile, the gun debate this past week meandered on its merry way, blissfully ignoring the now-tiresome irony of a gun advocate getting shot by her own child. It happened in Gainesville, Fla., when, according to the Associated Press, a 4-year-old riding in the back seat of his mother’s pickup began “behaving frantically.”

The boy then picked up her loaded .45 and accidentally put a bullet in her back.

Which leads us to Trump, who managed to de-escalate his debate tantrums while simultaneously watching the faithful at his rallies grow more hateful and unruly. On Friday, he was forced to cancel one such event in Chicago amid security concerns.

Across the Internet, you can easily find video of his supporters ridiculing, intimidating and even assaulting those who come to protest Trump’s ideas. They’ve been caught punching protesters, shoving women and roughing up reporters.

Does Trump decry the violence? Does he condemn the hate and intolerance? Does he make it clear such behavior has no place in American politics?

Quite the contrary: He welcomes it. He encourages it. He’s the grand poobah of bad behavior.

But we shouldn’t stand for it.

Trump would be well-served by a nanny state. If you’re going to act like a child, we may as well treat you like one.

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