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June 30, 2007

Nanny-State Facts for the Day

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* When Tony Blair entered office, there were a couple of thousand surveillance cameras in the U.K. As he leaves office, there are now five million such devices. (Fact thanks to Brendan O'Neill in Reason magazine.)

* Not content with banning cigarette smoking inside restaurants, Beverly Hills has now moved to prohibit smoking even at restaurants' outdoor tables. (Link thanks to Reid Farmer.)



posted by Michael at June 30, 2007


Huh, whodathunk California would be so far behind in stupidity? NYS banned smoking at outside tables as part of its unilateral ban years ago. Philly's got 'em all beat, though: before I moved from there 14 years ago you couldn't smoke on one of the outside platforms of the elevated train line.

I especially like how they're starting the ban on October 1st to avoid screwing with the tourist season (so, which is more important? People's health or the bucks brought in by tourism? Oh, wait, they answer that: "We did it as a matter of health, and not a matter of business." Uh-huh), but allowed them to modify or repeal before it becomes permanent after 6 months...or well after the tourist season. In other words "we gave ourselves time to determine the effect this is going to have on business, but not enough time for there to be enough business to affect."

Posted by: Upstate Guy on July 1, 2007 11:36 AM

Re: the security cameras, Sam Francis had a word for it:

Anarcho-Tyranny - a social policy where the state refrains from to punishing the wicked, while piling control after control upon the innocuous.

Don't believe it? Well check out Gordon Brown's reaction to the recent London/Glasgow carbombs: "Brown promises cultural war on terrorism", here.

He's going to make sure you're raising your little kibblers properly, for a start:

In a speech covering many aspects of law and order, Mr Brown also proposed earlier involvement with families deemed to be troublesome. [!]

"We need to intervene earlier when children show the first signs of behavioural problems," he said.

In an echo of Tony Blair, Mr Brown proposed that some parents might need to sign "parenting contracts" to "change their own behaviour".

He's going after gun owners (I thought guns were already illegal?):

Mr. Brown told delegates that he would not shirk from giving the police more powers to deal with weapons crime.

"The clear message needs to go out to young people that carrying a weapon will be dealt with seriously: five years for guns, two years for weapons."

And you'd better stamp out that reefer, punk:

Under what he claimed would be a radical review of drugs policy, he said dealers should be named and shamed within communities and drugs education needed to be emphasised in primary schools.

Glad they've got their priorities in order!


Does anyone care about civil liberties these days? The right? The left? The center? Anyone?

Posted by: Brian on July 1, 2007 1:46 PM

The thing with security cameras is that the images generally are of very poor quality, as can be seen on any of those "shocking moments caught on video" TV shows.

Posted by: Peter on July 1, 2007 8:14 PM

Did you get the link I sent about the proposed law to require permits to take photos on New York sidewalks?

Posted by: Reid Farmer on July 2, 2007 8:13 AM

The cameras may be Orwellian, but as long as they got terrorists out there, people will be happy to have them.

After all, didn't they say that the suspected terrorists were caught on camera,and next thing you know, they were being arrested?

Try to tell people that something that can stop terrorists is bad for them...

Posted by: Adriana on July 6, 2007 1:02 PM

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