Review: Fun Police Podcast Exposes the Nanny State

April 19, 2024   |   Tags: ,
minisfunpolice | Photo: <em>Fun Police</em>/Consumer Choice Center

It's a fairly well-established principle that the state can intervene when an individual harms another person: Your right to swing your fist ends when it hits my face. But what about when someone's actions harm only themselves?

For some, that's another opportunity for the government to get involved. They're the "fun police," constantly using public policy to nudge, cajole, or outright force you to accept their idea of a healthy, moral lifestyle. In a new limited-run podcast series produced by the Consumer Choice Center, a group that opposes paternalism in various forms, co-hosts Bill Wirtz and Yaël Ossowski turn a skeptical eye toward the do-gooders and nanny-staters who campaign against drinking, smoking, gambling, and more.

Wirtz, Ossowski, and their guests trace the roots of modern neo-prohibitionist movements to the Anti-Saloon League, which laid out the blueprint followed by public scolds today. Bankrolled by the Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Ford families, the League helped turn the "once-fringe moral movement" of alcohol prohibition into a "social force that dominated political life" and culminated in the 18th Amendment (and disaster). The same model is still deployed today, with wealthy funders such as former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg backing efforts to ban products from vape pens to Big Gulps.

Fun Police veers between practical examples of nanny statism and deeper discussions about the role of the state. It makes a compelling case for letting people live freely, even if that comes with a little risk.

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