Al Swearengen and the present day nanny state

I admit it. I absolutely love the HBO series Deadwood. I am starting season three on Netflix right now. In fact, I am so enthralled by our American History that my wife, Michele, and I are going to take a road trip to Deadwood sometime next month when I am back in the Lower 48.

While I plan to give a synopsis of the series with my rants and raves once I am finished with it, I have to say–man, what it would be like to live there back in 1876-1878.

In Deadwood there were no laws. In fact they despised even the arrival of the telegraph thinking that it would disrupt their vices, criminal empires and shady deals.

In Deadwood roamed characters like Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane and Al Swearengen. Who could not like a pimp and an “entertainment entrepreneur” like Swearengen?

Then I think to the present day American and our nanny state laws that come up and are enacted with as little as a soapbox speech in legislative sessions throughout the land.

Think about it: 

They ban cell phones while driving. Tell us when to wear seat belts in our own private cars. How many dogs we can have in our yard.  Helmets on our motor scooters. No smoking in public places. And so on, and so on…

No matter what our political leanings are– conservative or (God forbid) liberal, the mind-set of nanny stater is you will do what I say and there will be no questions asked.

This isn’t just about helmet or seat belt laws. This is about a freedom to make a bad decision. People know that helmets are important as well as seat belts, but we should have the choice as to whether we wear one or not, regardless of what the law says or the threat of a ticket.

Here is an honest-to-goodness-real-life-example: When my brother was three years old he was riding in the back seat of my step-father’s-mother’s car (boy is that a mouth full) with three other adults. He was standing up between the seats on that little hump in the back seat.

They spent the day picking apples in Kentucky and a coal truck blasted into them head on and killed every one in the car–except my brother, Chris–he flew through the windshield and down and embankment. No one would have ever known he was in the car if it wasn’t for his crying and a Good Samaritan hearing him.

He ended up with a scrape or two and a bump on the head and that was it. He is 31 today and training to be a cop.  If he were in a car seat or wearing a seatbelt he would be dead.

I digress…

I think the people that are disgusted by these laws are a silent majority, until these laws affect them in one way or another. But then it is too late.

I thought I learned in American Civics class way back in the 11th grade that laws are supposed to be about protecting a person’s rights from being infringed upon.

I guess I was wrong.

So as I sit here pecking away at my keyboard on my iPad in the 21st century I find myself thinking–sometimes even yearning–to be back in the days of Swearengen.

Heck, at least back in those days, you didn’t even have to take a bath!

What are your thoughts on this? 

Robert Forto | Team Ineka | Alaska Dog Works | Mushing Radio | Dog Works Radio | Denver Dog Works | Daily Post


Robert Forto is a musher training for his first Iditarod under the Team Ineka banner and the host of the popular radio shows, Mush! You Huskies and Dog Works Radio Shows