Minding Our Own Business

Bloomberg: Nanny-in-chief or health crusader?
By Tom Watkins, CNN
Since taking office in 2002, Bloomberg has unleashed a tsunami of public health initiatives intended to do just that — cutting sodium in prepared meals, ordering that menus in chain restaurants carry calorie counts, posting restaurants’ health department grades, as well as limiting the use of tobacco products.

So, just how and where did Mr. Nanny obtain any legitimate authority to decide all these things for other people?

Any serious cross section of the news headlines will result in dozens or more stories where some people are spending an awful lot of their time and money – and even more often spending stolen taxpayer money and efforts – in the attempt to stop or regulate exactly this sort of activity, from the serious to the trivial, little or none of which involves any actual threat to anyone else’s life or property. Hefty “fines” and even jail threats for not mowing the grass, or planting flowers, flying a flag, and a thousand other things being the trivial, and bogus “crimes” of insisting on the right to associate or trade with certain people and not others being far more serious. There are many many other such issues that span the entire spectrum, with the very serious attempts to keep people uninformed and helpless a very large part of it.

Most of it is driven by the desire of too many people to control, somehow, the thoughts and non-aggressive actions of other people. They simply can’t seem to mind their own business, and leave everyone else alone to do the same. We won’t go into the fact that no “law” can predict or prevent actual harm from happening. When that is peeled down to essentials, we find that preventing the harm is not really the central goal anyway, but that control of others most certainly is – even when the controllers sincerely believe it is “for our own good.”

Even worse, far too many are quite willing to use theft, lies, fraud (emotional blackmail), all sorts of coercion and even murder to accomplish their goal of forcing others to live more in line with their ideas of what is right and good and usually, not incidentally, for fun and profit as well. I am completely convinced that the power to control others, even the desire to do so, is the most addictive thing on earth, and one of the most destructive.

The conviction that a particular attitude, thought or action is “immoral” has led a great many people over the ages to do terrible and beastly things to their fellow men. Some sterling examples of this in history are the Inquisition, various reiterations of the Salem witch trials, and our best modern examples; the “war on drugs,” raw milk, consensual sex for money and, of course, “the war on guns” to create ever more disarmed victims..

The next time you disapprove of some comment or action by your neighbor – next door or anywhere – you might ask yourself if that other person is actually doing any literal harm to you or someone else. Not “inconvenience,” or “hurt feelings” or even “offense.” And harming themselves is also nobody else’s business.

If no real harm to you or others is imminent, before you comment or take action against them, you might consider simply shrugging and going about your own life instead. You don’t have to approve of anything to ignore it, any more than you have a legitimate authority to stop what others do or say.

Seems to me that the world would be a truly peaceful place if we’d just all mind our own business.

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