Friday, July 5, 2013

Nanny states

I was in Germany for the first two weeks in June. It was amazing, I was able to get everywhere I needed by mass transit in the cities, they were efficient, hospitable and fast (in Germany). You could do pretty much anything you wanted, no limits on pictures, get anywhere by bus, u-bahn, s-bahn or if you are going outside the greater area for the city, the train goes everywhere. Buses are starting, but they aren't as fast or comfortable as deutsche bahn. Most people use mass transit because it goes where you need to go. As long as you aren't being dangerous (eg leaving your guns where a burglar can get them, or in the business world bribing or committing fraud) freedom reins supreme. Customs in the Netherlands and Germany was efficient and quick, with one check point and one scanner for your bags. I didn't observe anything like what conservatives deem out of bounds, living beyond your means, or the big bad gubment.

Then I get on the plane going home and my welcome is "don't take out your cameras on the beautiful German countryside, sit tight, arms at your sides and be scared." (I'm paraphrasing, the meaning was clear) as if I am a child and need the government to tell me not to use my arms. I knew I was home with those types regulations. As I read on the news evidence has proven the American government is spying on the British government and everyone in the world. I land in Atlanta and go through three different checkpoints, and have to carry my bag from one carousel to another, different from both Amsterdam schippol and Istanbul where they did it for me. Customs was harder and took more time with more questions for this American who has committed no crimes than the Netherlands, Germany, Georgia, Canada, and Australia.

I notice differences in our culture, while Germans and Georgians all use cell phone while driving at higher speeds with no large difference in accidents, we drive at lower speeds and can't communicate with our destination (big gov?). As I ride my bike there are fewer places I can ride here than in Europe where if you aren't clearly being reckless they will be ok with you. The only ways I can think of Germany being more restrictive than America is privacy laws, which I have already blogged about, and it is more difficult to commit fraud in Europe without going to prison. I saw friends in Germany who are going to college and like most if not every German they will be debt free when they graduate, which gives more economic freedom than the USA. I could think of different cultural differences where Europeans are able to do more, but these come to mind. In general I feel the US is the most restrictive country in the day to day lives of the average citizen than other countries I have been to (with an exception of gay rights in Georgia, though I haven't been to and won't go to Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Russia, or North Korea). We can do better. We must do better. We deserve it.

Which leads me to the question, who really is the largest nanny state?

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