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 Case to Reclassify Grass

By Jeffrey Miron. Newsweek. March 10, 2015.

Seeking Balance in Vaccination Laws

By Jeffrey A. Singer. February 7, 2015.

Don’t Take Vaccines for Granted

By Marian L. Tupy. US News and World Report Online. February 5, 2015.

Cato Studies

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.

Drug Decriminalization in Portugal: Lessons for Creating Fair and Successful Drug Policies

By Glenn Greenwald. White Paper. April 2, 2009.


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

Too Many Laws, Too Many Costs

David Boaz. Policy Report. January/February 2015.

Cigarette Taxes and Smoking

Kevin Callison and Robert Kaestner. Regulation. Winter 2014-2015.

City of Arlington v. FCC: Justice Scalia’s Triumph

Andrew M. Grossman. Supreme Court Review. 2012-2013.


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.