Kids can’t do chores that get dirt under their fingernails? In England, the refrain goes, “It’s Health and Safety, mate, isn’t it? (Or as your typical Londoner might say it: ‘Elf ‘n’ Safety, mate, innit?”). The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) is the justification for every nanny-state, micro-managed intrusion into the lives of the queen’s subjects. What we’d consider harmless child’s play is often banned. This problem naturally evolves from acceptance of the premise that it is the government’s job to keep us safe. Once government anoints a new bureaucracy to enforce that premise, the bureaucracy must create new regulations to justify its existence. Common-sense goes out the window.
Here in the United States, the Department of Labor just took another step in that direction. Weighing in on kids working the family farm, new regulations don’t reach the absurdity level you’ll find across the Atlantic, but they continue on that path by accepting the same premise: that a legitimate function of government is to protect us from ourselves.
Here are the reasons they are wrong: Continue reading