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In the U.K., the Nanny-State Apocalypse Is Now

How helpless can people become, in the grip of a relentless, cradle to grave nanny state? Here in the U.S., we still have time to turn back; most Americans are still horrified by the Life of Julia as a dependent of the state. But in the United Kingdom, the Rubicon seems to have been crossed. That is my conclusion, anyway, after seeing this piece in the Telegraph: the British government will be advising its citizens on how to change diapers, breast feed babies, and engage in “baby talk.”

New parents will be given government advice on changing nappies, breastfeeding and “baby talk” under a multi-million pound initiative to support family life.

Because family life is impossible without government programs.

David Cameron said it was “ludicrous” that parents received more training in how to drive a car than in how to raise children.

Not at all. Raising children is natural, driving a car is not. Moreover, people do get advice: mothers get it from their mothers and grandmothers, and from sisters, cousins and friends who have had children before them. One would think this is a whole lot better than emails from a government bureaucrat.

A £3.4million digital information service, which begins today, will provide free email alerts and text messages with NHS advice “on everything from teething to tantrums”, Mr Cameron said.

This is the same National Health Service that is storing patients on gurneys rather than in rooms because it is out of money.

Separate pilot schemes will offer couples with young children free parenting classes and subsidised relationship counselling to help cope with “tiredness” and “mess”.

Yes, young parents can get tired. And their homes might be messy. Does Britain’s Conservative Party (!) really have some especially sage advice on how to cope with what most of us would call “life?”

As part of a series of “family friendly” initiatives unveiled this week, the Prime Minister yesterday gave his strongest signal yet that tax breaks may be offered to families who hire nannies or childminders.

Speaking at a business event in Manchester, he said he was “hugely attracted to the idea of making child care tax allowable”.

You can increase the government’s haul that way. If a mother cares for her child rather than working in the labor force, the government doesn’t get a cut on her labor. But if the mother returns to work and hires a nanny to care for her child, the government gets to tax both the mother and the nanny. Giving a tax deduction to the mother is a minimal price to pay for getting to tax the rest of her income, plus the nanny’s. But of course, as the liberals tell us, the government’s motives are always altruistic.

This next bit will sound familiar if you follow American politics:

Mr Cameron, who has been stung by criticism that his policies have alienated women voters, said that the plan for parenting classes was not a manifestation of the “nanny state” and sought to pre-empt criticism that the Government should be focusing on the economy, by declaring that parents “shape” society.

“These are the big, gritty issues,” he said.

They are indeed, but what does the government have to do with them? The problem in England, apparently, is that there is too much diversity of information available:

A vast array of websites provide often conflicting advice on parenting, which ministers believe can result in “information overload”.

God forbid! This is the end point of modern liberalism: you are too stupid to take care of your children, so we will tell you how to do it. Not only that, we will make you pay us to tell you how to raise your children, whether you like it or not!

The day may come when Americans are that craven, but that day is not this day. This day, Americans are rebelling against the Life of Julia.

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