When the governmental nannies tell us that a Big Gulp is just too much Pepsi, that cigarettes must be banned or that fast food is not heart friendly, they tell us they are doing it for our own good. We will be happier if we just give in to their hectoring. Taken to its logical extreme, however, the Nanny State will not tolerate your disobedience. During Prohibition, the Nanny State was a killer.
Frustrated that people continued to consume so much alcohol even after it was banned, federal officials had decided to try a different kind of enforcement. They ordered the poisoning of industrial alcohols manufactured in the United States, products regularly stolen by bootleggers and resold as drinkable spirits. The idea was to scare people into giving up illicit drinking. Instead, by the time Prohibition ended in 1933, the federal poisoning program, by some estimates, had killed at least 10,000 people.
Although mostly forgotten today, the “chemist’s war of Prohibition” remains one of the strangest and most deadly decisions in American law-enforcement history. As one of its most outspoken opponents, Charles Norris, the chief medical examiner of New York City during the 1920s, liked to say, it was “our national experiment in extermination.”
The state will poison gin to help you be a teetotaler. The state will ship weapons to Mexican drug lords to teach you about the danger of gun violence. It will dump Agent Orange on you and tell you it is safe. It will infect you with syphilis just to see what it does to you. It will test hallucinogenic narcotics on you and never tell you what it is doing.
But by all means, trust the government when it tells you giving up your guns will make you safer.