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

Cato Studies

Street Prostitution Zones and Crime

By Stephen Kastoryano, Paul Bisschop, and Bas van der Klaauw. Research Briefs in Economic Policy No. 74. April 19, 2017.

The Effect of Indoor Prostitution on Sex Crimes: Evidence from New York City

By Ricardo Ciacci and Maria Micaela Sviatschi. Research Briefs in Economic Policy No. 70. February 22, 2017.

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

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


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

Who Will Nudge the Nudgers?

Phil Murray. Regulation. Spring 2017.

The War on Consumer Surplus

Pierre Lemieux. Regulation. Spring 2017.

Safety at Any Price?

Phil Murray. Regulation. Fall 2016.


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

Featuring Matthew Feeney and Kat Murti. 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.