Why can't the government leave us alone?
Attempts by the government to regulate our lives seem to be at an all-time high, at least for my lifetime. Every time I turn around someone at some level of government is trying to tell me what to do.
Government has gotten so used to legislating every instance of everyday behavior that now the different branches are actually arguing about who gets to tell us what to do the most.
A federal appeals court this week took President Barack Obama to task for comments he made about judges' authority to rule on the constitutionality of laws, so much so that it ordered the administration, via the Justice Department, to explain itself.
Obama, who I think would regulate the sunlight so that everyone got an equal amount if it were in his power, doesn't think those activist judges should be messing with his healthcare law. And the judicial branch would like for the executive branch to keep its mouth shut. Only judges will decide what's right and wrong about laws the legislative branch made, they say.
Meanwhile, in New York City -- a place that is the epitome of a nice place to visit but you wouldn't want to live there -- the Department of Education floated a proposal to ban an extensive list of words from standardized tests, including references to such inocuous things as personal computers, dinosaurs and birthdays -- birthdays!
That is where we are in this country. The leaders of one of the largest educational systems think it is so important not to offend anyone that they decided to ban birthdays from being mentioned on tests.
Luckily, these clowns at least had the sense to pull the proposal after the ensuing outrage. But where will it end?
The government listens in on our phone calls and reads our emails (Google NSA wiretaps to read all about that outrage). It spends tax money to campaign against behavior it sees as dangerous, morally reprehensible or otherwise against the "common good" -- despite said behavior being perfectly legal. (Don't smoke. Don't eat that. Don't do this to your body.) Lawmakers want to tell us who to marry and who to have sex with (and some would even tell us how).
Here's the proper way to discipline your kid. Here's how we think you should grow a garden. This is the best way to drive. The topic doesn't matter: Education, health, business, sports, recreation -- you name it and the government thinks it knows best.
What's even more outrageous is the hypocrisy it piles on top of the control:
Government: You want insurance? Go buy some. If you don't, we'll fine you.
Subject, er, citizen: Can't I just have the same plan you have?
Government: Absolutely not! You're on your own pal.
Citizen: Well, maybe I'll gamble a little. Then I can put my winnings toward insurance.
Government: Sure -- as long as you play our state-run lottery.
Citizen: But my buddies and I want to have a poker tournament at my hou-
Government: NO, NO, NO! We'll raid that and put you in jail.
Citizen: I don't like this. I'm going to protest.
Government: Sure. Just fill out all these papers, apply for a permit and pay for the security, traffic control and cleanup. Also, if you could let us know exactly who will be there and what you'll be protesting. And no signs bigger than 3 feet by 3 feet.
Citizen: Jeez. That's too much trouble. This is stressful. I need a smoke.
Government: Go ahead and light up. Make sure you're outside, away from all government and/or public buildings, businesses and people. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher on hand and dispose of the butt in a government-approved receptacle. But first, watch this video of a guy with cancer having his lung removed.
I could go on, but you get the point.
The government should, of course, have some authority to regulate certain things to keep idiots and criminals from hurting us. But the government should put more energy into protecting us from foreign enemies, both the kind that would kill us and the kind that would kill our economy.
It should put less into telling us how to live.
Email Nate McCullough at email@example.com. His column appears on Fridays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/natemccullough.