But there also is a growing number of laws and regulations that outlaw certain behaviors, legislate morality and ultimately criminalize the entirety of the American populace.
Mandated ultrasounds before abortions, prohibition on marijuana and various sex laws come to mind.
But Big Brother’s onerous paternalism doesn’t end there. Americans are constantly bombarded with warning labels, nutritional guidelines and even basic reminders on how to drive safely or avoid drowning by not getting drunk before swimming.
The all-seeing eye of the government nanny state wants to protect you from any and every possible mishap. Indeed, they want to protect you from yourself.
Government defends these encroachments into our personal lives with a simple defense: for the good of the people.
Now comes a new Nevada law that prohibits texting while driving.
I’m sure this law strikes many people as prudent, but only insofar as they fail to consider what implementing it actually means.
First, it should be noted, advocates of the law inflate the high price of texting while driving. They point to non-existent studies that show this act is more dangerous and takes more lives than DUIs, but a simple Google search reveals this to be entirely fabricated.
But my real objection is this: How exactly are the authorities expected to enforce this law?
Is it really that obvious when someone is texting? Perhaps they are simply staring at their laps while driving. Should this be a crime, too?
What about if I’m not paying attention because I’m fiddling with the radio dial? Or perhaps I’m engaged in a distracting conversation, or fixing my mirrors, or reaching for something in the glove department … should these actions be individually prohibited while driving?
Moreover, every time someone gets away with texting while driving, law enforcement is ostensibly derelict in its duties.
Even worse, this law subjects everyone from grandma to a 16-year-old, from a humanitarian to the Dalai Lama himself, to punishment, whereby we create an entire society of misfits and lawbreakers.
With so many nanny state laws, it is impossible to go through life, or even one year, without breaking one — no matter how upstanding you might be. Thus, every American is now legally guilty of something.
If you want to fix the problem of texting while driving, run public awareness campaigns. But don’t pass a law that is inherently unenforceable and only serves to promote the micro-managing of human behavior.
Of course, like anything else government does, this law is really all about money — lest you forgot how the nanny state operates.
Joshua H. Silavent is a reporter for the Daily Sparks Tribune. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.