I read a couple of items yesterday.
The first was an opinion piece from Australia – Cigarette packaging rules: give the nanny state the boot.
The second was a local item – Menthol cigarettes will be 'banned in Ireland by 2020'.
What struck me about the first one is that ten years ago it probably never would have been published, but there seems to be a growing number of articles which in turn are growing in their criticism of the Nanny State.
The second article, which I find a little more intriguing is the comments that appear underneath.
For years, any article that mentioned smoking was followed up by a rash of comments along the lines of "I hope all those filthy addicts die" or "smoking kills millions every day and it should be banned". In other words, there mere mention of smoking would unleash a torrent of bile from the bovine herd.
There does seem to be a change taking place. Now an article on smoking is more likely to unleash a torrent of criticism aimed at the Nanny State. More and more are taking the line that they are adults and are entitled to do what they like without interference from any State. In fact the very frequency of the expression "Nanny State" is on a rapid increase.
Out of interest, I checked Ngram for the term Nanny State from 1970 to the present and it produced a nice little graph –
Now "Nanny State" is a pejorative term and is unlikely to be used by the Nannies themselves, so this seems to represent a groundswell if not of opposition, at least of a growing awareness of the phenomenon.
The Nanny State is widely criticised on social meeja such as Twitter and "Blogs" but they tend to reach a minority audience, and usually an audience of like minded people so there does tend to be an "echo chamber" effect. Occasionally an "outsider" does reach my outpourings through searching for something like "is smoking really dangerous" or "anti smoking propaganda" so maybe the message is spreading?
I have noticed this rise in the numbers standing up against repressive legislation. Articles on news sites are now more likely to attract criticism of the Nanny State than support. Critical comments are more likely to attract approval.
Or is it just in my imagination?