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  • Julia Johnson

Banning Culture: Cancel It.

Democrats and Republicans can’t agree on much, but when it comes to perceived safety or health ‘crises,’ they both have the same go-to: banning. 

Sure, they may not prescribe law and regulation for the same issues, but they both threaten individual liberty when they advocate government restrictions for their respective issues. Whether it be age restrictions beyond being a legal adult, taxes, or complete illegality, the government believes it can and should control people. 

The premise of individual freedom is the complete autonomy over yourself and what you choose to do, so long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of others. This means, if you so choose, you can eat and drink yourself into obesity, smoke yourself to cancer, and drink until your liver begs you to stop—because that’s your choice. 

Should you do these things? Probably not. In fact, your mother might prohibit you from doing any of these things. But the government isn’t your mother. Nor should they try to be. 

Still, politicians are crafting laws to dictate citizens’ personal behaviors. State after state is raising the legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21, the same age required to legally buy and consume alcohol.

Today’s youth are taking longer to grow up, and our nanny-state tendencies could be the reason why. According to CNN’s analyses of seven key studies, teens are now “less likely to drive, date or go out without their parents than their counterparts 10 or 20 years ago.”

Perhaps this dramatic shift in coming of age is because its hard to be an adult when you are not treated like one. Sure, you’re technically an adult at 18, and you can now be criminally charged as an adult and attend big boy prison. But, where are the rest of your ‘adult’ privileges? Can you drink? Can you smoke? 

These types of restrictions could actually be having a negative effect on citizens and furthering the idea that the government is responsible for the health or nutrition of its constituents. 

Not only should the government not be responsible for the health and nutrition of citizens, but even when they try to be, it doesn’t work. Let’s look at the example of the soda tax

When implemented in Philadelphia, it decreased beverage sales by 24 percent. Sounds like it worked right? Wrong. Sales in the surrounding area increased by 14 percent. 

When tried in Berkeley, a study conducted at Duke University showed that the tax had almost no effect on obesity or other health issues. Additionally, caloric intake from taxed beverages only decreased by about six calories a day. 

The main reason products exist is because there is a demand for them, not vice versa. Taking products away or restricting them does not lower demand. In fact, it gives way to illegal markets. 

Did we learn nothing from prohibition? People aren’t going to be told what they can and can’t consume by the government. The government is not your mom, your dad, or your legal guardian. It is not their place to tell us what we can and can’t do so long as we are not violating the rights of others. 

These types of nanny-state laws actually increase covert activity from organized criminal organizations and threaten the safety of the consumers who are now forced to shop for black market products. 

Government has drifted far from its original purpose. It is terribly misguided in its preoccupation with the restriction of individual liberties.