One of the more disturbing trends in government expansion over the last 30 years has been the collection of laws, regulations, and binding court decisions that make up the ‘‘nanny state.’’ Those laws and regulations represent government at its most arrogant. Their message is clear: politicians and bureaucrats know more about how to live your life, manage your health, and raise your kids than you do. Former president Ronald Reagan once said: ‘‘Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.’’ Today’s policymakers would do well to heed Reagan’s words.

More on The Nanny State


The New Front in the Global War on Drugs

By Ted Galen Carpenter. National Interest (Online). June 29, 2015.

Synthetic Drugs Are Very Dangerous. Let’s Legalize Them.

By Ted Galen Carpenter. Washington Post. June 18, 2015.

If You Don’t Want Your Food Genetically Modified, Tell Nature to Stop It.

By Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar. Reuters. May 22, 2015.

Cato Studies

Designer Drugs: A New, Futile Front in the War on Illegal Drugs

By Ted Galen Carpenter. Policy Analysis No. 774. May 27, 2015.

On the Limits of Federal Supremacy: When States Relax (or Abandon) Marijuana Bans

By Robert A. Mikos. Policy Analysis No. 714. December 12, 2012.

The Budgetary Impact of Ending Drug Prohibition

By Jeffrey Miron and Katherine Waldock. White Paper. September 27, 2010.


Is the Obesity Epidemic Exaggerated? Yes

Patrick Basham and John Luik. British Medical Journal. February 1, 2008.

Public Filings

FCC v. Fox Television Stations

By Ilya Shapiro and Trevor Burrus. Legal Briefs. November 10, 2011.

Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association

By Ilya Shapiro. Legal Briefs. September 17, 2010.

Safford Unified School District No.1 v. Redding

By Tim Lynch and Ilya Shapiro. Legal Briefs. April 2, 2009.

Cato Reviews & Journals

The Wages (and Revenues) of Sin

Tim Rowland. Regulation. Fall 2015.

Government Paternalism: Nanny State or Helpful Friend?

Phil Murray. Regulation. Fall 2015.

The Unintended Effects of Government-Subsidized Weather Insurance

Omri Ben-Shahar and Kyle D. Logue. Regulation. Fall 2015.


Drinks at your Fingertips: Klink & Regulatory Hurdles to Alcohol Delivery

Featuring Matthew Feeney. April 2, 2015. Cato Digital.

Why Congress Should Legalize Marijuana

Featuring Jeffrey Miron and Caleb O. Brown. December 18, 2014. Sponsor E-Briefing.

Unlucky Strike: Private Health and the Science, Law and Politics of Smoking

Featuring David Boaz. May 13, 2014. Book Forum.