Surfing the Nanny State
An extreme athlete appears to have set a new world record by surfing a towering 100-foot wave. A nanny-state mentality would have prevented this achievement.
The nanny state is predicated on the idea that people are stupid and need to be protected from harming themselves and others through their ignorance.
This is the basis for Mayor Bloomberg’s soda ban. The logic goes something like this: sugary soda is bad for human health. Stupid people — i.e., those not enlightened enough to work for the government — aren’t capable of figuring out that soda is bad for their health, and so they drink it anyway. Ergo, the government, peopled by philosopher kings like Mayor Bloomberg, should make it illegal to drink too much soda at any one time.
And so New York City starts down the path lampooned by The Simpsons. Soon, no doubt, there will be a Bloomberg edict requiring New Yorkers to drink broccoli juice and the mayor’s office will convene a council of the city’s comic book dealers to consider a plan to limit breeding to every 7 years.
Yes, the nanny state is ridiculous in its farcical evil.
While it is easy to make fun of the fools in government and their stupid laws, the truth is these things still are laws and these laws limit human endeavor. And that’s a terrible shame, and a crime against humanity.
Unchained from government bondage, humans really are capable of remarkable things.
Consider Garrett McNamara. GMAC, as he is called on his blog, is an extreme surfer. As if regular surfing is not enough, McNamara seeks out waves that would swamp multistory buildings and submerge unwary ships at sea. And when he finds them, he’s towed out to them by a jet ski or boat and then surfs them.
He really likes big, dangerous waves. He recounts that in 2007 he and his partner traveled to Alaska hoping to catch waves generated by icebergs calving from glaciers.
“It was the heaviest rush sitting out there, dwarfed by this enormous 300’ glacier,” Garrett recalled for his blog. “We were just waiting for the whole thing to crash down in front of us and hoping we would survive when it did.”
He survived and sought larger waves. He found them off the coast of Portugal where he has surfed the largest waves yet. He recently surfed a new record-setting wave that towered as much as 100 feet over his head.
If McNamara had attempted this feat in sight of New York City, one can imagine Bloomberg would have locked him up and thrown away the key.
You can almost hear the "liberal" mind at work: This kind of behavior simply isn’t safe and government must take action.
McNamara’s extreme surfing is exceptional, but it serves to point out the folly of the nanny state.
Achievement and innovation is very rarely safe. Marie Curie was a pioneering scientist, making great strides in improving our understanding of radioactivity. Her research was dangerous, but she chose to do it and government didn’t stop her. She died from disease brought on by years of exposure to radiation.
The Wright brothers were the first to fly in a heavier than air vehicle. This was inherently dangerous. Their spindly craft could have crashed and killed or maimed the pilot. But the Occupational Health and Safety Agency was not there to stop their dangerous experiment. Absent invasive government interference, the daredevil brothers launched an industry that enabled the rise of the modern world.
Other examples abound. Columbus sailing the ocean blue in 1492? Very risky. Going to the moon? Exceedingly dangerous. Microbiology? Chemistry? Physics? Potentially dangerous in each case. Mining, manufacturing, fishing, farming? Dangerous, dangerous, dangerous.
Risk taking is part of innovation and part of moving forward to a better future. Every time the nanny state puts regulatory road blocks in front of people, freedom is restricted and innovation is stifled.
For America to move forward, Americans have to insist that the nanny state and the politicians that enable it are voted out of office.