“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
– C. S. Lewis
Our state’s slow, steady procession of totalitarian incrementalism continues with House Bill 1726, the latest installment of government intrusion on the legislative assembly line which has just passed the Senate. This bill, sponsored by Rep. Jennifer Weiss (D – Wake), Rep. Bob England (D – Rutherford), Rep. Marian McLawhorn (D – Pitt), and Rep. Douglas Yongue (D – Scotland), represents a big step towards a veritable “nanny state,” as it seeks to subject children in child care facilities to a strict dietary regimen, courtesy of big brother. HB 1726 directs the Child Care Commission to “consider” a laundry list of stipulations regarding children’s nutritional intake that would turn something as innocent as daycare snack time into a mountain of red tape. These impositions include:
- Limiting or prohibiting the serving of sweetened beverages, other than 100% fruit juice, to children of any age.
- Limiting or prohibiting the serving of whole milk to children two years of age or older or flavored milk to children of any age. (Yes, they are in fact trying to do away with chocolate milk).
- Limiting or prohibiting the serving of more than six ounces of juice per day to children of any age.
- Limiting or prohibiting the serving of juice from a bottle.
This bill would further mandate, in addition to “kosher” kiddie meals, that children receive a nap time and a designated amount of time spent outdoors. These activities, however, are simply what is expected from daycare facilities, and if these activities were not provided by said daycare center, many parents would simply find a different daycare service provider. Moreover, this provision is indicative of government’s irresistible propensity to circumscribe societal affairs and practices via legislation, even when legislation is not necessary to ensure that those practices are properly carried out. In this example, the invisible hand would be more than sufficient to provide what the public would expect from a day care facility.
When the state is in a position to micromanage childcare activities and impose strict dietary laws that seem as though they could be found in Deuteronomy, there is a problem. This instance is a mere microcosm of the gradual centralization and consolidation of power that occurs when it is left unchecked. When the public is complacent or information of government activity has not properly disseminated amongst the demos, the vines of government red tape are able to extend a few inches more, constricting additional public freedoms. It is up to concerned citizens to stand athwart the totalitarian intrusions of the state and preserve their liberty.