Is the "nanny state" bad? One could argue just the opposite: that the lack of "protections" gave the US a Wild West mentality that allowed and encouraged worker exploitation, slavery, Civil War, and genocide. That these things have become less thinkable precisely because of increased government oversight.
All in all, I'm happier to live now, with a life expectancy of 80 or whatever, than then, when 50 was considered old. People died from disease, hardship, or violence that we've reduced through regulation.
This led to the following discussion with FB friend John:
FB friend JRey chimed in:
Including my immigrant Schmidt ancestors. Oops!
FB friend Paul also chimed in:
This is a classic case of white men like John arguing from their position of white privilege. How many women or minorities would argue that America's unregulated past was better than its regulated present? Let's ask blacks if they want to go back to the days of slavery, lynchings, and Jim Crow laws. Or ask Indians if they want to go back to the days of subjugation, assimilation, and termination? I'm betting most of them will say no.
For more on the subject, see Didier: Stop "Protecting the Weak," Westerners = Freeloaders, and The Myth of American Self-Reliance.
Below: Americans head west for government-granted freebies.