Keep the Nanny Statists Away from Black Friday and Thanksgiving

No, government should not prevent stores from opening on holidays.

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Shoppers throng Brea Mall during Black Friday shopping on Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, in Brea, Calif.
Black Friday gets under way with large crowds and some injuries reported throughout the country.

The nanny-state nature of American liberalism was very much in evidence over the just observed Thanksgiving Day holiday. It was not so much in the rejoinders against the commercialism of the "Black Friday" immediately following, but the demands that retailers close their doors so that employees could enjoy the time with their families.

Leave aside the all too obvious joke that no one really enjoys the holidays when they are spent with the extended family. Some people like to work holidays. They like the overtime. They like being in contact with other people, especially if they are single or are unable to travel to be with family so, rather than sit home alone, they look forward to another way to spend the day with others.

It is simply outrageous that these people, who fashion themselves experts in everything, know enough to presume they can tell American business to close and American workers to stay home on Thanksgiving or any other major holiday. Some even went so far as to propose the government make it a law that stores be closed. This is an example of the "I am from the government and I am here to help" syndrome in almost its worst possible form.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the economy.]

The compassionate idiots promoting the idea have no answer to the working single mother who is counting on time and a half at Thanksgiving to pay for Christmas presents for her children. Or for the small businessman or woman who has been losing market share to the online retail community who needs their store to be open as much as possible if it is going to remain open at all. And what, for pity's sake, do you say to the mother or grandmother who forgot to buy the cranberry sauce if the nanny statists succeed in passing laws to close all the stores on Thanksgiving? Sorry? Better luck next year? Have a second helping of the green bean and fried onion dish instead?

The practitioners of class warfare who have tried to instigate a fight between American business and American workers over this complain that no one should be forced to work on Thanksgiving. That it is somehow management against labor. Their solution to this imaginary problem? That no one be allowed to work on Thanksgiving, effectively swapping a form of coercion only they can see for one that actually exists.

It used to be that people in this country enjoyed freedom of choice. Now the only choice that seems to remain is the choice a woman has whether or not to abort her unborn child. On almost every other front, the ability to choose and the need to be responsible for the choices you make are being infringed upon in everything from the kind of health insurance you have to the schools your children attend to the size of the soda you can buy to what is under the hood of the car you drive. On the horizon may be limitations on how much you can save for retirement, how you can invest your money, where and how you use essential resources like water and energy and other limitations on our basic liberty.

[Read Charles Wheelan: Government Must Save Thanksgiving From Black Friday Creep]

The so-called "blue laws" that used to keep commercial establishments closed on Sundays were opposed by the chattering classes because they reflected a preference for the Judeo-Christian view of the world, the view that the Sabbath must be kept apart and holy. On the other hand, these same chatterers seem to love the idea of closing down the local department store on a holiday, but that's only because it reflects the Marxist view of the world that is, to them, a religion of its own.

This is no exaggeration. Republicans and Democrats alike are trapped into taking positions restricting freedom in response to the nattering of the nanny statists and the perception, incorrect though it may be, that they speak for the people. Do not be misled. Evolving right before our eyes is a tyranny of the experts and, because evolution is a slow process, most people are loath to do anything about it until it is too late.

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