Louis James interviews Doug Casey discussing the Nanny State's interference in our lives. This interview was first published on March 14, 2012
Editor's Note: In yesterday's Weekend Edition, Casey Research founder Doug Casey explained why you should be skeptical of government "science."
In today's edition, Doug says the nanny state is tightening its grip on people's lives.
Louis James: If we end up in a totalitarian police state or nanny state, I don't want my children to lift their manacled wrists before my eyes and ask me why I didn't resist while resistance was possible.
Doug: Indeed. In spite of the blatantly obvious and disastrous results of Prohibition, politicians have declared open season on drug users, then smokers, then gun owners - All Things Fun. How far can it be from regulating politically incorrect eaters to regulating just about everyone's choices on every subject?
L: Not far.
Doug: And it gets worse. Now that we have socialized medical services in the U.S. (which is not the same as health care), genuine bad health choices that used to be individuals' problems have become everyone's problems, because we all have to pay for them. Socialized medicine is terrible; it's entrusting medical services to the same bankrupt organization that can't even deliver the mail reliably. It's also a powerful excuse for the nanny state to monitor, inspect, interfere with, and control all aspects of our lives, from what we eat and drink all the way down to what we do in the privacy of our bedrooms...because everything can impact our health, which is now society's obligation.
L: But it's all for our own good. "If it saves one child."
Doug: If it saves one child, how many children does it kill? If you ban Freon over an unproven fear that it contributes to ozone depletion, for example, and require use of a more expensive, less efficient, and incidentally more toxic and corrosive substitute, all because it might save one child, how many babies did you kill with spoiled milk and meat? What other consequences to your intervention are you ignoring?
This reminds me of the time Madeleine Halfbright was told that the sanctions she saw imposed on Iraq had killed about half a million children, and she answered: "Yes, it was costly, but we think it was worth it." These people are hypocrites, and extremely dangerous. Sociopaths. They don't care about saving human lives; they are more than willing to expend any number of them, like pawns on a chessboard, to advance their quest for power.
L: Bastiat's broken window all over again: "the seen and the unseen." But you've got to have a good cover story, like saving children's lives.
Doug: Of course. If you say you're doing it for the children, you can get away with almost anything.
L: Clearly, you don't subscribe to the precautionary principle, the idea that no new technology or innovation should be implemented until it can be shown to be safe.
Doug: It's a load of horse manure, and you can quote me on that.
L: I will.
Doug: Good! If our ancestors had been stupid enough to adopt such an absolutely paralyzing idea, we'd still be shivering in caves, ravaged by dread diseases, and hunted by animals larger and more powerful than we. No, I misspeak; most likely, we'd have gone extinct.
If the car were invented today, it would never be approved for use. The idea of millions of people racing towards each other at high speeds in vehicles they control themselves, with tanks full of explosive gasoline.it would never make it through OSHA, EPA, or a dozen other agencies. The idea of air travel, forget about it. We're just lucky these things were in common use before the nanny state came into its own.
L: Extinction.another strong statement. That's what you think would happen now if the precautionary principle were adopted and enforced by law?
Doug: 'Fraid so. Life without risk is a patent impossibility. Almost a contradiction in terms. And life without risk, innovation, new horizons, would hardly be worth living. But that's the way the world is headed.
You know, most people hardly pay any attention to such matters these days. Important news hardly gets discussed, while Rush Limbaugh insulting some law student is headline news for a week. (Whether or not the student in question is a slut, as Limbaugh said, is her business, not mine or Limbaugh's, and the whole issue is a matter of manners, not even deserving of a mention in the back of the society section of the papers.)
The issue of the student's call for expanding the U.S.'s socialized medical system to include free birth control, however, is a suitable issue for conversation. The costs affect us all, and it's another tightening of the grip of the nanny state on people's lives. All this squabbling over what should be paid for by the state would be eliminated if nothing were covered at "public" expense (i.e., using other people's money). But most people don't even think about that possibility.
We've already beat up on Limbaugh, so we don't really have to go there, but while it's on my mind, I have to point out that he really showed what an ignoramus he is when he defended Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army last year. He apparently thought they were Christians fighting Muslim tyrants, not the kidnappers and murderers the preponderance of evidence says they are. There's a video about Kony that's gone truly viral on YouTube, with over 75 million views in just one week.
The fact that an ignorant hypocrite like Limbaugh, who wanted to have drug users executed even as he was getting phony prescriptions for his Oxycontin habit, has such a large following is another sad sign of our times. It's not just the socialists advocating the nanny state who are the problem. So-called right-wingers are just as dangerous to personal freedom as left-wingers.
L: Any way to stop this train wreck?
Doug: None. It's like I said to begin with: This is a sign of advanced decay in a society that has lost its elan. It's not something you can fix independently of fixing the whole rotten mess; nanny-state thinking goes hand in hand with the entitlement mentality, which goes with irresponsible and self-destructive behavior. That accelerates the other, "male" side of ever-expanding state power that people like Limbaugh favor: The warfare state; the paternalistic, authoritarian state.
The bottom line is that, with more than half the U.S. population on one form of government dole or another, we've crossed the point of no return. We're going to have to go through the wringer before things can improve. The current situation is unsustainable. It's going to collapse.
Incidentally, as unpleasant and inconvenient as it will be, a collapse and reboot is necessary and will be a good thing. Hopefully, it will destroy the nanny state, if only because the nanny state is a dead hand on the development of technology. The most positive thing going on in the world today is the advance of technology. But, just as the car and the airplane likely couldn't be developed today because of the safety-first nanny state, there are lots of other technologies that won't ever come into existence, and we might never know it. Our conversation on technology is an example of what I mean by that. Anyway, we've got to pay the piper first.and the bill is rapidly coming due.
L: [Sighs] Okay, before we go all poetic, are there investment implications to the rise of the nanny state?
Doug: Yes. On the wealth-preservation, and health-preservation, side, it's vital to understand that today's wealthy Western countries are increasingly hazardous to the well-being of the people who live there. They have the power and the motive to do harm to any citizen as suits the short-term goals of those in office. That's long been the case financially and is increasingly becoming the case physically, both in terms of health and safety from police brutality. Just as we said last week in our conversation on cashless societies, the time is approaching, if not here already, when the wisest course of action is to get out of Dodge.or at least out of countries with powerful governments.
On the investment side, the West's increasingly irrational attitudes about meat may create more buying opportunities in the cattle business. Even if every single person in the U.S. stopped eating meat, those eating more in China and the rest of the developing world would make up the difference before long. At the same time, herds continue to go into liquidation in the West. Cattle have been in a bear market for many, many years, making it one of the best contrarian plays in decades. That's why I'm building my own herd: I'm buying low so I can later sell high. But we've talked about that before. Like any good speculator, I plan on making a lot of money while performing a public service.
Other implications are as we've discussed many times: Buy gold and silver, speculate on gold and silver mining stocks, own long-term energy plays and technology plays that will do well in hard economic times, harden your assets, and diversify yourself internationally.
L: Well then, I think our readers know what to do. Thanks for another interesting conversation.
Doug: Any time.
L: Next time.
Doug Casey is a multimillionaire speculator and the founder of Casey Research. Today, Doug predicts that we're headed into the worst financial crisis of the last 100 years. His latest book, Going Global 2015, is a groundbreaking step-by-step manual on how to survive - and even prosper - during the coming financial crisis. In this book, New York Times best-selling author Doug Casey and his team describe the three ESSENTIAL steps every American should take right now to protect themselves and their family.
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The article Doug Casey on the Nanny State's Interference in Our Lives was originally published at caseyresearch.com