Friday, January 15, 2010

Western Washington: The nanny state

I've written about the legal issues I face, and a comment to the deposition of paul anderson entry got me thinking. 

Seattle, and by extension, western washington, is an odd place to live.  On the one hand it's famous for its liberal views, for its "green at any cost" and for its gold-plated civic projects.   Don't forget that Seattle is where you have to build sports stadiums for hundreds of millions of dollars because its "an emergency"

"...According to him the bill contains an "emergency clause" which makes it effective immediately upon the Governor's signature, and denies the public the right to submit it to a referendum. An emergency clause makes building a new Seahawks stadium a necessity for the "immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety." This was the same clause that was attached to the Mariner's Stadium Act. The Washington Supreme Court, in a 6 to 3 decision, said that the state legislature could essentially call what ever they wanted "an emergency" and there by deny a public vote on the legislation. " 

We don't even get to vote on our stadiums for the most part.  We voted down the mariners stadium twice, only to have the legislature declare a "baseball emergency" and build it anyway.  Quote from here. 

But that's not the only thing that strikes me about Western Washington.  People here really want to get into your life.  No matter how small your personal quirk is, there's someone who wants to make a law or regulation that prevents you from doing it.  Lets take the most recent example, yesterday: 

Board proposes ban on spitting in public parks  Now mind you I'm not a big fan of spitting, I figure it's a little gross, but if I were to trot out a list of stuff that I don't like and propose laws, well, where would it end? 

That's what bothers me.  The pervasive notion that the only way people can live together is by having a body of laws that tells you were your dog can crap, and how often, what you can put into your trash can, and how much, and so on. 

The zoning laws and regulations are just one aspect of a law-crazy environment where the "liberal" majority seems intent on erasing any vestige of freedom. 

Weren't liberals supposed to be those folks who were more...liberal?  Tolerant?  Perhaps a bit permissive? 

The nanny state.  We will craft laws that will protect you and make your life better no matter what.  We know what's better for you -- and we'll tell you what that is. 


damae said...

Well said, Bruce, when will folks get tired of this and decide that freedom is more important than being babysat by the nannystate? Frankly, I agree with Patrick Henry, "Give me liberty or give me death!!"

Dean Smith said...

Bruce, I don't know about the rest of Western Washington, but Snohomish County has gone way overboard in the "protection" of wetlands. Salmon and Orca "protection" has been very expensive and has not been scientifically demonstrated to be very effective. One of the best ways the county could save money in a tight budget would be to cut in half or more its wetland protection budget. If the predictions of fuel shortages in the future actually materialize, we will need a lot more locally produced food. It takes 3-5 years to develop sustainable food production. That may be all the time we have left.

Imagine the possibility of $20+/gal gasoline (and diesel fuel). We will need to obtain much more of our food locally, perhaps even to the extent of carrying it home in our arms.

I, for one, would like to see the county give food production, especially in close-in areas like Ebey Island, a lot more emphasis. Food production should be the priority over development, growth and most wetlands protection. We need to take as seriously as the Dutch the need to protect food production (not just houses and factories) with dikes. The county should be supporting you, not fighting you. As an active member of Transition Everett, I intend to argue that to county officials.

Efficient food production, however, cannot include a lot of meat. You know that it takes a lot more (transported from far away) energy to produce a calorie of food in the form of meat than it takes to put that same calorie in a bean, a beet or kernel of corn. Meat must become the condiment, not the main course. What do you say to that?

Lee said...

I think Oregon is just as guilty of being a nanny state, and if the western states are this bad I can only imagine what it's like in Massachusetts or New Jersey. The "emergency" stadium you describe sounds downright criminal. Every congressman who voted for it should have been impeached.

From seatbelt and gun laws to building permits (over $100 to move an electric outlet?), dog permits, NAIS, etc. our society has become burdened by an unmanageable system designed to protect special interests and bubble wrap the world. As Ayn Rand wrote:

"There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws."

I don't really see things getting any better, as congress's job is to add new laws not slash all the brain dead old ones. My wife and I have what we call the "20 year plan". (Only 19 now, I guess.) We hope to live in this house for 20 years, and at the end of that time we'll decide which U.S. state still has the most freedoms left and move there. Sometimes I talk about moving to Tasmania, but Australia appears to be getting pretty draconian, and all of Europe is definitely out. Did you see that France has proposed to make nagging illegal?

Dean - American's definitely eat too much meat--for that we can thank taxpayer subsidized corn. However, efficient food production is difficult without meat also. Bruce's pigs eat a lot of food that would otherwise be wasted, and the sheep we plan to start raising on our 5 acres will live on pasture which also acts as a nature habitat, carbon sink, erosion buffer, and so forth.

Anonymous said...

Hey, even liberals agree that the spitting rule is going too far:

McWyrm said...

...are you seriously proposing that establishing rules governing conduct in public parks is beyond the proper scope of local government? That's just weird.