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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Government in the Bedroom – and Everywhere Else

Left-liberals, when discussing abortion on demand, often declare: “We don’t want government in the bedroom.” While I am not arguing about abortion rights, I will point out how the left really wants government in our homes.

After we moved to Cumberland, Maryland, in 2001, a woman from the state tax assessor’s office soon walked into our house. There was no asking permission, nothing. She strolled in as though she owned the place, and I suspect she understood her powers over our family and our possessions.

Indeed, on that day we did have government in our bedrooms – and everywhere else. That was not an aberration, and the huge reach that government has over our lives and homes hardly is limited to tax assessment. The majority of us, each time we visit a bathroom, can appreciate the long reach of the state whenever we flush a toilet. Jeff Tucker tells why:

This act [the Energy Policy Act of 1992], passed during an environmentalist hysteria, mandated that all toilets sold in the United States use no more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush. This was a devastating setback in the progress of civilization. The conventional toilet in the US ranges from 3.5 gallons to 5 gallons. The new law was enforced with fines and imprisonment.

Tucker points out that in the past, toilets with more water tended to flush better, and one did not need to constantly use a plunger – or worse. These toilets, he noted:

were great cultural and civilizational achievements. In a state of nature, the problem of human waste and what to do about it is persistent. Do the wrong thing and you spread disease and misery.

Indoor plumbing since the time of the ancient world has been a sign of prosperity and human well-being. Indoor toilets that flow into a sewer have been around since 1500 B.C., but every new settlement of people in a new area presents the problem anew. In rural America, indoor toilets weren’t common until the 1930s. That today everyone assumes them to be part of life is a testament to the creative power of economic progress.

Unfortunately, government policies have made our bathrooms more unsanitary. However, why stop there? Let’s go back to the bedroom.

As governments and political, education, and media elites continue to spread “global warming” panic, one of the things we are hearing from these elites is that governments need to adopt “population controls.” For example, Canada’s Financial Post recently had a column by Diane Francis that demanded a China-style “one child” policy for the world, in the name of “sustainability,” of course.

I don’t have to give a lesson in the “birds and the bees” to tell readers how children are created, so it is no stretch to say that Francis (who has two children, by the way) is calling for, well, government in the bedroom. So much for “pro-choice” policies.

But why stop at bathrooms and bedrooms? Government sees fit to rummage through your children’s toy boxes and tell you that many of the toys are “unsafe” and must be destroyed or recalled. (For that matter, one can surmise that the toy boxes themselves most likely are “hazards” in one way or another, according to the government’s Consumer Product Safety Commission.)

Then there is the kitchen. The same government that keeps your toilets stopped up, demands the authority to snuggle up with your and your spouse under the covers, and tells your children what are and are not “acceptable” toys, also tells you how to cook and keep your kitchens “safe.” (These safety sites don’t tell you how government policies make food prices higher, forcing you to use more resources than economically necessary. Nor do they tell of the symbiotic relationship between government food regulators and the food industry.)

So, there you have it. The same people who claim they don’t want “government in the bedroom” demand that government be in your bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and elsewhere. Gee, think of what might be going on if they claimed to want government in your bedroom.

  • Dr. William Anderson is Professor of Economics at Frostburg State University. He holds a Ph.D in Economics from Auburn University. He is a member of the FEE Faculty Network.