'We can't just do nothing'

The work of a Nanny Stater is never done. Somewhere, they will always be able to find someone supposedly in need of rescue by those who know better than they do.

Indeed, as journalist and social critic H.L. Mencken pointed out more than 70 years ago, "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."

Today, California is particularly fertile habitat for the Nanny Stater. Dominated by big government leftists for almost a generation now, the state is a petri dish of progressive experimentation -- and as such predictably in the throes of financial calamity. But that doesn't stop many Golden State officials from focusing on minor distractions.

This week, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors discussed whether to regulate Happy Meals. Supervisor Ken Yeager said toys that restaurants provide to children can lead to a lifetime of obesity. His proposal -- to either ban the toys outright or restrict them to "healthy" meals -- remains on the table.

"They want the toy and have no idea what's in the food," Mr. Yeager told the San Jose Mercury News. "You can't expect a 3-year-old to say there are too many calories in that hamburger."

Besides, this eager captain in the Nanny State Brigade argues, "We can't just do nothing and hope that families just find another way to avoid obesity in their kids. We have to hold the fast-food chains responsible."

No, no. We certainly can't just "do nothing" about this scourge of My Little Pony figurines being thrust upon innocent children so as to entice them into a life-long habit of Whoppers and Big Macs. Parents? What parents? Children belong to the state, don't they?

Mr. Yeager's idiocy highlights just how aggressively shameless his ilk have become in their quest to use the power of the state to destroy the concept of individual autonomy and responsibility under the cloak of compassion and benevolence. It's becoming more and more apparent that the Nanny Stater recognizes few if any boundaries when it comes to meddling in other people's business.

The time is nearing, though -- even in California -- when many of their potential subjects will no longer be so easily herded about.