What Does It Mean To Live In A Nanny State?

Can the Law be used to shape the morality of a people? Of course, it can. To illustrate just that point we will consider what is involved in creating a nanny state.

When we speak of the nanny state, we do not usually speak of slavery. Yet what a nanny state eventually becomes is a nation of slavish people. Here is an example. Have you considered the why Hebrews who left Egypt with Moses behaved as they did? In spite the fact they dramatically experienced the presence of Almighty God, they had no faith in Him. So it is that when God offered the Hebrews The Promised Land, they feared to enter.

Why such fear? Perhaps they had trouble developing the wisdom that comes from a healthy fear of the Lord. Perhaps that is why God left them to die in the Wilderness.

Numbers 14:26-38 New King James Version (NKJV)

Death Sentence on the Rebels

26 And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 27 “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who complain against Me? I have heard the complaints which the children of Israel make against Me. 28 Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will do to you: 29 The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above. 30 Except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun, you shall by no means enter the land which I swore I would make you dwell in. 31 But your little ones, whom you said would be victims, I will bring in, and they shall know the land which you have despised. 32 Butas for you, your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness. 33 And your sons shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years, and bear the brunt of your infidelity, until your carcasses are consumed in the wilderness. 34 According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear your guilt one year, namely forty years, and you shall know My rejection. 35 I the Lord have spoken this. I will surely do so to all this evil congregation who are gathered together against Me. In this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.’”

36 Now the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land, who returned and made all the congregation complain against him by bringing a bad report of the land, 37 those very men who brought the evil report about the land, died by the plague before the Lord.38 But Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh remained alive, of the men who went to spy out the land.

What is it about slavery that left most of the Hebrews twenty years old and above so unsuitable to God’s purposes? Consider the definition of “slavish.”

slav·ish [sley-vish]
1. of or befitting a slave: slavish subjection.
2. being or resembling a slave; abjectly submissive: He was slavish in his obedience.
3. base; mean; ignoble: slavish fears.
4. deliberately imitative; lacking originality: a slavish reproduction.

To a large extent, slaves are made, not born. When the Egyptians made the Hebrews their slaves they worked to make the Hebrews slavish. That no doubt included making the Hebrews dependent, fearful of making decisions on their own.

Similarly, don’t the people of a nation become dependent in a nanny state? What happens then? Eventually, when it becomes impossible to feed, cloth, and shelter those who are unwilling to work, is it not necessary for some governmental body to assume tyrannical control and enslave the people?

So what does this have to do with the relationship between morality and the Law? Both the nanny state and tyranny are different aspects of the same problem, people abusing government power to shift the burdens of their desires — and the consequences of their sins — onto others.

  • Those who desire the nanny state want mommy and daddy government to take care of them from the cradle to the grave. Therefore, we constantly hear various catch phrases. “It for the children.” “It is for the poor.”  “It is for the old.” “You don’t know what it is like to be black (or gay, or a woman, or disabled, or a victim of some sort).” “That’s not fair.” “There ought to be a law.” And on and on and on.
  • Those who desire to be counted among the ruling class want the power of government to stroke their egos. Even if you cannot be the king, it is still nice to be one of the king’s nobles. Right? Thus, the prideful use government to create slavish souls for their use and abuse. In fact, in the very process of creating a nanny state, don’t we institute special protected classes? When we allow some become more equal than others, have we not given government the power to create lords and ladies from those who were once just one of us?

Consider this argument.

The point is that the whole “chicken or egg” question is a fool’s errand.  Laws can and do shape public morality – for good or bad.  Libertarians often argue that social conservatives must win the “hearts and minds” of the American people before they can legislate morality.  Those libertarians fail to realize that laws are a means to winning the “hearts and minds” of the American people.  While the laws do not operate in a vacuum and must be supported with social efforts designed to advance public morality, they do play a key role and can lead to moral reform.

Social liberals are currently seeking legal precedent to advance homosexual marriage.  A Supreme Court decision in support of homosexual marriage and federal and state laws in support of it will be used by the left to advance their agenda and to normalize the practice of homosexuality – just like they normalized abortion on demand.  It is not inappropriate for social conservatives and others to seek to use the law to protect and advance their position. (from here)

Like it or not, every law has a moral component, an aspect that shapes the morality of a people. Thus, the article cited below states in summary.


Because every law springs from a system of values and beliefs, every law is an instance of legislating Morality. Further, because a nation’s laws always exercise a pedagogical or teaching influence, law inescapably exerts a shaping effect over the beliefs, character, and actions of the nation’s citizens, whether for good or ill. Those who seek to separate morality from law, therefore, are in pursuit both of the impossible and the destructive. The question before us is never whether or not to legislate morality, but which moral system ought to be made legally binding.  (continued here)

For the sake of our children — if we want them to learn how to be Godly and God-fearing people, we must ensure our laws promote a moral society. How do we do that? We confine the law to its purpose. We demand that everyone be responsible for the consequences of their own actions (or inaction). We allow our government no more power than is necessary.

We remember our government’s founding purpose. Government does not exist to make the world “fair.” Government exists solely to protect our God-given rights.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. (from here)

Interested in considering another point-0f-view? Check out Pulling The Tares of Tyranny and Uprooting the American Experiment at The American Post-Standard.



  1. A few thoughts comparing both pieces and perhaps you can illuminate your ideas further:

    Compare Jefferson to that of John Locke’s theory on property which has been said to be a defense of the rights of individual property owners to be free of seizure of property in any form for social purposes, which I would argue is how you understand the citizenry’s social role in accordance to that of the law, as people must act in accordance to said laws because of what is considered to be proper by society.

    Comparing the two both declaration above and John Locke, ‘On Property’ , ask yourself why the people must consent; this is simply because their hearts and minds are their own, not the governments or even what society desires. This is why we must strive to convince them what is moral through the gospel of Christ.

    John Locke: “Two Treatises of Government”: On Property: Sec. 27

    “Yet every man has a property in his own person: this no body has any right to but himself. The labour of his body, and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his.

    I would surmise that I am certainly not the first to acknowledge that the reason Jefferson substituted the “pursuit of happiness” for that of “property” is that being a slaveholder it would come in conflict to ones moral compass when creating a document about those consenting to be governed.


    1. It has been a busy day. I have a copy of John Locke’s “Two Treatises of Government,” but I cannot say I have read it as carefully as I should so I will have to reply with respect to that tomorrow.

      Why did Thomas Jefferson use that phrase, “the pursuit of happiness”? I use to think as you did, and I suppose there is some truth in that idea, but check out

      One other thing. I have not advocated forcing Christianity upon the unwilling. What I have I advocated is that government exists solely to protect our God-given rights. I have also noted that no matter how hard we try we cannot avoid legislating morality. Even the recognition that we have the right to property is a moral issue.


      1. I concur that time is certainly fleeting, but I would also like you to consider in your response when you have the time to further illustrate your belief with how social conservative policy that may in fact legislate morality is or isn’t forcing through the coercion of the law Christianity.


    2. I must admit that I am mystified by your comment. I am uncertain what point you wish to make. You realize that Locke justified his defense of property rights as a God-given right? He even quotes scripture.

      If you want to quote Locke in this context, I expect that A Letter Concerning Toleration by John Locke might be more applicable.

      The toleration of those that differ from others in matters of religion is so agreeable to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to the genuine reason of mankind, that it seems monstrous for men to be so blind as not to perceive the necessity and advantage of it in so clear a light. I will not here tax the pride and ambition of some, the passion and uncharitable zeal of others. These are faults from which human affairs can perhaps scarce ever be perfectly freed; but yet such as nobody will bear the plain imputation of, without covering them with some specious colour; and so pretend to commendation, whilst they are carried away by their own irregular passions. But, however, that some may not colour their spirit of persecution and unchristian cruelty with a pretence of care of the public weal and observation of the laws; and that others, under pretence of religion, may not seek impunity for their libertinism and licentiousness; in a word, that none may impose either upon himself or others, by the pretences of loyalty and obedience to the prince, or of tenderness and sincerity in the worship of God; I esteem it above all things necessary to distinguish exactly the business of civil government from that of religion and to settle the just bounds that lie between the one and the other. If this be not done, there can be no end put to the controversies that will be always arising between those that have, or at least pretend to have, on the one side, a concernment for the interest of men’s souls, and, on the other side, a care of the commonwealth. (from

      Keep in mind that any society is by definition unified by commonly held beliefs. Keep also in mind that laws represent codified moral precepts that force is used to enforced. Hence we use the law to enforce morality. The question is: where we draw the line? The answer: we use the force law to protect the rights of the individual. That is, we prohibit people from interfering with each others rights, but we do not use the law to give people rights. Because giving people rights requires government to take from some to give to others, when government is empowered to give people rights that government cannot be trusted to protect people’s rights.


      1. It appears we are at an impasse, as I certainly don’t know why you are mystified, this is because I don’t see how Locke quoting scripture nullify’s my point or recognizing that property is god-given. This is because my point was to indicate that yes, Locke did explain that a person’s self is god-given property; pared with the above letter concerning toleration it better fits Locke’s perception of liberty operating as a key function of government because Christ also calls for liberty by demanding that the field ( the earth; which would mean all earthly creations such as government) must be undisturbed.

        Here’s a description of the above letter:

        Locke’s primary goal is to “distinguish exactly the business of civil government from that of religion.” He seeks to persuade the reader that government is instituted to promote external interests, relating to life, liberty, and the general welfare, while the church exists to promote internal interests, i.e., salvation. The two serve separate functions, and so, must be considered to be separate institutions.”

        As the constitution is purely a government document “relating to life, liberty, and the general welfare” it must stay with in those realms. Perhaps legislating a better ability to will estates, or allow insurance benefits; or allowing tax breaks for only those with children would be a better benefit of society. The danger that lies in the grass is that same-sex marriage has become the war-cry of populist politics, so Tom the question lies or you willing to sacrifice the roles of government and that of the general welfare by mandating the policies of salvation ?

        In a more concise explanation of the above; government goals being different than the goals of the Church must be open to the realms of all faith bases of their citizenry, in my opinion. Christ says this is okay to allow the field to be planted this way; but whoever in the end times does not subscribe to his word will be burned when he harvests the wheat.

        It’s not that we wish for different things, merely the tools to achieve it are different.


    3. Since it was never likely that one of us would persuade the other (that sort of thing is rare) to his point of view, we began at an impasse. The best I expected is that we would understand each other. 🙂

      So why am I mystified? I have been waiting for you to explain what it is I need to more clearly explain. Here I think you finally hit upon it.

      In a more concise explanation of the above; government goals being different than the goals of the Church must be open to the realms of all faith bases of their citizenry, in my opinion. Christ says this is okay to allow the field to be planted this way; but whoever in the end times does not subscribe to his word will be burned when he harvests the wheat.

      As I see it, government does not exist to “be open to the realms of all faith bases of their citizenry.”

      Government’s concerns are the protection of men from each other, not their faith. In fact, when some people insist upon practicing their faith so as to make themselves hostile to those they consider infidels, their faith becomes a threat. Here Locke explains.

      But besides their souls, which are immortal, men have also their temporal lives here upon earth; the state whereof being frail and fleeting, and the duration uncertain, they have need of several outward conveniences to the support thereof, which are to be procured or preserved by pains and industry. For those things that are necessary to the comfortable support of our lives are not the spontaneous products of nature, nor do offer themselves fit and prepared for our use. This part, therefore, draws on another care and necessarily gives another employment. But the pravity of mankind being such that they had rather injuriously prey upon the fruits of other men’s labours than take pains to provide for themselves, the necessity of preserving men in the possession of what honest industry has already acquired and also of preserving their liberty and strength, whereby they may acquire what they farther want, obliges men to enter into society with one another, that by mutual assistance and joint force they may secure unto each other their properties, in the things that contribute to the comfort and happiness of this life, leaving in the meanwhile to every man the care of his own eternal happiness, the attainment whereof can neither be facilitated by another man’s industry, nor can the loss of it turn to another man’s prejudice, nor the hope of it be forced from him by any external violence. But, forasmuch as men thus entering into societies, grounded upon their mutual compacts of assistance for the defence of their temporal goods, may, nevertheless, be deprived of them, either by the rapine and fraud of their fellow citizens, or by the hostile violence of foreigners, the remedy of this evil consists in arms, riches, and multitude of citizens; the remedy of the other in laws; and the care of all things relating both to one and the other is committed by the society to the civil magistrate. This is the original, this is the use, and these are the bounds of the legislative (which is the supreme) power in every commonwealth. I mean that provision may be made for the security of each man’s private possessions; for the peace, riches, and public commodities of the whole people; and, as much as possible, for the increase of their inward strength against foreign invasions. (from

      Keep in mind that Locke wrote for a Christian audience. When he wrote religious freedom was still a strange concept in most of Christendom, and the rest of the mankind would have thought him nuts. In many parts of the world today, Locke would still be considered nuts.

      You mentioned same-sex “marriage.” When we apply the expression “same-sex” as an adjective to “marriage,” we create an oxymoron. We have just been brainwashed by the mass media to believe otherwise.

      For thousands years governments have instituted marriages to support the creation of families. That’s because married couples have the best potential for producing and raising healthy children with sound moral values. What are sound moral values? Well, people who have such values generally obey the law.


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