Watching the children

Are we citizens or subjects?

Can you go to jail for watching your neighbors kids at the bus stop in front of your house to make sure nothing happens to them? Yes children, as subjects of the Michigan nanny state you just might.

A West Michigan woman says the state is threatening her with fines and possibly jail time for babysitting her neighbors' children.

Lisa Snyder of Middleville says her neighborhood school bus stop is right in front of her home. It arrives after her neighbors need to be at work, so she watches three of their children for 15-40 minutes until the bus comes.

The Department of Human Services received a complaint that Snyder was operating an illegal child care home. DHS contacted Snyder and told her to get licensed, stop watching her neighbors' kids, or face the consequences.

"It's ridiculous." says Snyder. "We are friends helping friends!" She added that she accepts no money for babysitting.

The difference between a nation of subjects and a nation of citizens is that the authority of the state is supposed to dwell in and be derived from the citizens. Subjects, on the other hand, have no authority. They must obey or beg for permission to exercise their 'rights'.

This erosion of liberty is all done 'for our own good' or 'for the children' of course.

A DHS spokesperson would not comment on the specifics of the case but says they have no choice but to comply with state law, which is designed to protect Michigan children.

Subjects must ask for permission from our benevolent officials who watch over us for our own good. On the other hand, citizens can agree to do all kinds of things. Dangerous things. Risky things. The difference between a subject and a citizen is the definition of government itself. A government made up of citizens derives it's power from the citizens. We are the government.

The philosophy of government for subjects is that our rights are given to us by government. What is given by government can just as easily be taken away by government.

We are indoctrinating subjects who will accept the arbitrary rules of the 'officials' who act more like the politburo or the local workers council:

An East Valley eighth-grader was suspended this week after he turned in homework with a sketch that school officials said resembled a gun and posed a threat to his classmates.

Through Healthcare reform and Environmental law like Cap and trade soon the nanny state will be monitoring every aspect of your life to see if you are violating any rules, regulations, or edicts -- like how many calories you are intaking, or how big your carbon footprint is. Mileage tax using mandatory GPS in every vehicle. This will lay any and every action you take, from the littlest to the biggest under the watchful eye of our benevolent parental officials.

Posted by Eric Simonson at September 27, 2009 8:19 PM
Comment #288550

Eric - I’m not really sure I buy this as a political issue, more as a politically correct issue. It is of course absurd that we are turning into a nation in which you can’t even help a neighbor without repercussions. However, if you really want this to be a political issue, look no further than the Patriot Act - your freedom from Big Government was far more damaged by that one knee-jerk piece of legislation than by a million curtain-twitchers ratting out the nice lady next door.

By the way, even if I am pointing out an anomaly that I see in a conservative post complaining about the nanny state, I still agree with the majority of your argument. Unfortunately my reaction these days just seems to be another shake of the head and sigh.

What’s next? Banning Halloween, just in case?

Posted by: Jonathan Rice at September 27, 2009 9:11 PM
Comment #288558

Why DHS can claim they are doing their job responding to a complaint, if I was the Lady I would point out to the Courts that she is merely protecting her property because the County, School Broad, and DHS will not provide the necessary supervision for the children at the bus stop that stands on her property.

For why I agree that the DHS Worker is only permitted to read the Law one way and not looking at the Big Picture. I wonder if the person would donate their time to watch the children at the bus stop so they would not be put at unnecessary risk of being Unsuperviesd?

Hence, the problem with a double edged sword. Ruling for the State could lead to the Community Elders being responsible for providing paid bus stop gaurds across the county or more direct requiring DHS Workers to spend a few hours a day fulfilling those positions. For why I am no Lawyer, I do believe that if one of the children was to get hurt standing on the Lady’s Property while waiting for the bus would put her own welfare endanger. Since I am sure the parents of the harmed child could sue the Land Owner for a whole lists of things.

So why I understand the problem the lady faces due to an unnamed complaint, I do believe if she can find a Proper Lawyer that a phone call to the Director of DHS could quickly solve the problem. Because one of the cruses of your “Nanny State” is that the cure could be worse than the illness. However, having only heard one side I’ll reserve my judment until I hear the rest of the story.

BTW, are you opposed for Affordable Healthcare Insurance or the fact that President Obama believes every American should have the means to pay for their medical bills?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 28, 2009 2:51 AM
Comment #288569

Of course this is a ridiculous charge - this woman does not seem to be running and “illegal day care” for keeping an eye on a few kids waiting for a bus. On the other hand, letting people run unlicensed day care facilities out of their homes is a really bad idea and leads to unsafe and potentially life-threatening situations for children. This woman shouldn’t have to hire a lawyer and incur expenses for helping her neighbors - whatever government office who received the complaint should have gone and checked it out and they would have known if it was as she said or if it was something that needed legal action. I can see the need for the law as I have two small children and while we have been lucky to have my mother-in-law live with us and help out with our child care that could all change in an instant and we would be at the mercy or year-long waiting lists for day care centers or to be at the mercy of someone we don’t know. Having seen some of the really awful hidden camera shots of babysitters and home day care providers abusing, ignoring, or otherwise endangering kids whose parents mean well, there needs to be some kind of protection from that stuff. This seems like a frivolous case and not what laws like that are intended to prevent. It could be an overzealous prosecutor or petty bureaucrat who is at the bottom of this. While there have been serious infringements on our rights by what you call the “nanny state” I would target the un-Patriot Act or these inane anti-gay marriage laws more than this.

Posted by: tcsned at September 28, 2009 10:13 AM
Comment #288573

This article follows the following illogical construction:

Neo-Nazi groups harken to the original Constitutional proscription for slavery and discrimination based on race. Many conservatives also call for returning to the original intents of our Constitution. Ergo, to be conservative is to be racist.

It is a blatantly illogical argument. But, Eric makes the same illogical argument about government exercise of power, suggesting that anytime our government seeks to assert its power, it is engaging in Nannyism, to be loathed by liberty lovers. Basic argument: government is inherently bad, and therefore the government that governs least, is the best form of government. (Which suggests the counter-example: that anarchy in which each individual has total and complete freedom and liberty from the State to act anyway they choose toward others, must be the best form of rule for a society).

If that argument had any merit however, it would mean disbanding our military, all taxation, all public servants and services, and privatizing, for those who can afford it, any and all freedoms and liberties and conveniences which the private sector can then offer for a fee. Of course, much of the industrial period of of the 19th and early 20th century demonstrate how depraved a modern society can become under such an argument, with child exploitation, labor and sweat shops, and company stores indenturing servitude through debt, and of course that great non-interventionist byproduct of least government, economic depression and job dislocations affecting millions, dispossessing them of their homes, and even access to basic hygiene and food.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 28, 2009 11:25 AM
Comment #288575


“Basic argument: government is inherently bad, and therefore the government that governs least, is the best form of government. (Which suggests the counter-example: that anarchy in which each individual has total and complete freedom and liberty from the State to act anyway they choose toward others, must be the best form of rule for a society).”

the first part of this statement i agree with. the second part suggesting anyone who agrees with the first part must also subscribe to the second is nonsense. i think we all agree gov’t is for the most part a nessesary evil. suggesting those who are opposed to excessive gov’t intrusion in thier lives=anarchist is quite a stretch on your part.

Posted by: dbs at September 28, 2009 12:03 PM
Comment #288576

Hmmm, I saw a very similar story in a British town. I’m wondering if the story is a plant?

Posted by: gergle at September 28, 2009 12:33 PM
Comment #288590

Most of you should know that our founders envisioned a government somewhere in the middle between tyranny and anarchy. What we find written in our constitution was mainly derived from Anglo-Saxon law and that practiced by ancient Israel…both of which were similar in both precept and operational structure. Do yourselves a favor and read “The 5,000 year leap”, a book written almost 30 years ago by law professor Cleon Skousen.

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 28, 2009 4:05 PM
Comment #288592

Royal Flush-
Let me guess: You’re a Glenn Beck fan. Let me ask you a follow up question: Do you believe President Eisenhower was a communist?

By 1963, Skousen’s extremism was costing him. No conservative organization with any mainstream credibility wanted anything to do with him. Members of the ultraconservative American Security Council kicked him out because they felt he had “gone off the deep end.” One ASC member who shared this opinion was William C. Mott, the judge advocate general of the U.S. Navy. Mott found Skousen “money mad … totally unqualified and interested solely in furthering his own personal ends.”

When Skousen aligned himself with Robert Welch’s charge that Dwight Eisenhower was a “dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy,” the last of Skousen’s dwindling corporate clients dumped him. The National Association of Manufacturers released a statement condemning the Birchers and distancing itself from “any individual or party” that subscribed to their views. Skousen, author of a pamphlet titled “The Communist Attack on the John Birch Society,” was the nation’s most prominent Birch defender.

With no real communism to compare our society to, the fervent anti-communists of today are cottoning to a man whose literature conservatives and anti-communists of the past thought was off the deep end.

As for what our founders thought? Though traditional Christianity was much more in practice in their time, it bears noticing that the constitution expressly forbids religious tests for office, and the First Amendment explicitly forbids government intervention for or against any religion. There was no established church, no national sect or denomination.

From these actions alone, these agreements, we can see actions uncharacteristic of religious republican government. A government could not support a church, nor forbid it.

This nation was made secular, made secular not to destroy religion, but to give everybody the ability to decide what their religion would be for themselves, and not have the government forced to referee religious disputes as a matter of government policy.

Read some real history, and find out about the sectarian wars that ravaged Europe in the history recent to the founders. Read some real history and you would know many of those who settled in America came here to escape from Britain’s imposition of its Anglican, established church.

Also realize that the ranks of the founders of our Republic had a broad mix of deists, enlightenment followers, and others whose emphasis on religion were not so strong. It was not a government founded mainly by people just like the Fundamentalists and religious conservatives who keep trying to claim the origins of this country for their own.

They should be satisfied that their faith is protected and that their views are part of the mix of our Republic, our Democracy. Instead, they seem to want control of everything. The rest of us want to enjoy America’s freedoms. They want America’s freedoms to the be the freedom to believe like they do, and the freedom to further their agenda.

Such sensibilities among the right are a big reason that when I hear Republicans talking like Eric, I feel a certain depth of irony in their talk of freedom and of not creating a Nanny State. This was the party that went out there and abrogated state law in order to try and save Terri Schiavo from life support.

The Republicans are all for intervening in their own ways, on their own grounds, but unlike Democrats, they will not be so honest about the fact that they like Government very much when they do so. They have to play like they’re the cool rebels against the establishment. Newsflash, folks: for the last three decades, they were the establishment. They were the party on the rise, the party in power.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 28, 2009 4:41 PM
Comment #288593

Thank you Mr. Daugherty for your lengthy response to my simple proposition; that being, “Most of you should know that our founders envisioned a government somewhere in the middle between tyranny and anarchy.”

As for your enlightenment on Mr. Skousen, I really don’t care as the book by him that I referenced contains valuable insight into what motivated the men who wrote our constitution and bill of rights.

As for being a fan of Glen Beck…again, who cares. I listen to various political commentators, read a great variety of newspapers and magazines, and form my own opinions. I am an avid reader of world history and in particular, American history. Please don’t allow your remarks to be condescending as it subtracts from our conversation.

Posted by: Royal Flush at September 28, 2009 5:02 PM
Comment #288603

Royal Flush-
If my response is lengthy, you just have to keep in mind that I tend to run down sources. If you look at the comments of my latest entry, you’ll see me addressing the documents that Cheney asked the Obama Administration for. Somebody was still insisting that Obama release it, and I told them he already had, and provided a link.

You cited the 5000 Year Leap, so I made my guess of where you learned about that. It’s not difficult, Beck’s the principle salesman for that. I already knew about the author, and so I ran down that bit. I also knew the associated philosophies, so I went into that.

This guy also made the claim, in the Naked Capitalist, that the communists and Soviets were fronts for capitalists with Jewish sounding names. This is where a lot of that New World Order crap comes from, stuff that Glenn Beck and the like peddle. Did you see his exegesis on the meaning of GE headquarters architecture?

If you want to be taken seriously by me, don’t bring Skousen, Beck, or their like to the table. I can respect people who have a difference of opinion about today’s reality, not those who are living in their own alternate reality.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 28, 2009 7:31 PM
Comment #288604

“our constitution was mainly derived from Anglo-Saxon law and that practiced by ancient Israel”

Huh? The New Year being celebrated now is 5770.
I think the founding fathers thought and knew much more about the Romans than ancient Israel.

This magazine, , might help in the quest for misinformation to spread.

Apropos of nothing, Senior Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens is supposed to be retiring next year. He’ll be 90 years old next April.

Posted by: ohrealy at September 28, 2009 7:50 PM
Comment #288615

I agree that the nanny state has run amok, but I smell something very fishy about this story and would be willing to bet that there’s some very big fact that’s being left out.

As the story has been told, this is nothing more than babysitting. Nobody needs a license to babysit other people’s children if the parents have agreed. You can even pay a babysitter, and this woman is doing what she does for free.

The big red flag here is that somebody has complained about this. Who would know that this was going on and then file a complaint about it?

My guess is that one of these children’s parents has a problem with this woman and something about her behavior while hanging around these kids, which means that she should knock it off and watch them, if she must, from her window, since the bus stop is right in front of her home. Another possibility is that she has some kind of personal enemy who is trying to cause problems for her—an ex or neighbor who she’s in some kind of dispute with. But that seems unlikely since the DHS is acting on the complaint.

Posted by: Paul at September 28, 2009 10:56 PM
Comment #288619

dbs said: “the second part suggesting anyone who agrees with the first part must also subscribe to the second is nonsense.”

I agree. It would be nonsense if anyone said that. What I said was: “(Which suggests the counter-example: that anarchy in which each individual has total and complete freedom and liberty from the State to act anyway they choose toward others, must be the best form of rule for a society).”

I was discussing the argument posed. You misread what was said, interpreting it as a statement about a certain category of people, which, of course, my comment does not refer to, at all. It is an observable fact that some conservative folks like Sarah Palin’s hubbie subscribe to the counter-example via secession, abandoning government for self-rule. Doesn’t at all imply that all conservatives must subscribe to such illogical arguments, which is what your comment suggests as nonsense.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 29, 2009 1:30 AM
Comment #288624

Why I will agree and defend Self-Rule, I wonder if Sarah Palin and others realize that those Princinples and Standards come at a very high price. For why every American is emtitled to their opinion. As it has been said seceral times Bo One is entitled to their own set of facts.

Now being right by those facts are known by both sides of the political specturm I would have to say that Sarahs’ brand of Self-Rule is based more on “What I say not as I Do.”

The Founding Fathers of America split the Argument between Greek/Rome and Anglo-Saxon/Old World using the Philosophy of the Amcient Ones of Songs and Rule of Law. And accompany that with the fact that no citizen can ever prove that they hold the Unalienablle Right Knowledge and Wisdom, you might want to thank them for stopping me from proving your belief in Religion wrong.

History is the key, but the Riddle of a Beter World is what makes Generational Change fun. And why Glen Bleck is wrong about a 5000 year leap, I’ll challenge him or anyone else to 100 year debate of what “We the People” are capable of given the power of Americas’ Democratic and Republican Civil, Political, and Religious Leaders over the Debate of “We the Corporation” given the Argument of Self-Rule.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at September 29, 2009 8:06 AM
Comment #288626

>A West Michigan woman says the state is threatening her with fines and possibly jail time for babysitting her neighbors’ children.

A bogyman in every closet. That is what Eric thinks of at night when he goes to bed. His whole premise is based on what one woman said she thought was happening…and the closet monster (big bad government) is going to jump out and bite his toes off.

Posted by: Marysdude at September 29, 2009 8:41 AM
Comment #288656

Yeah, Susette Kelo was just worried about the ‘closet monster’ as well.

“Go back to sleep America, your government is control again. You are free … to do as we tell you.”

Posted by: Rhinehold at September 29, 2009 4:03 PM
Comment #288679

People assume things about rationality in this entry and in this thread that simply isn’t the case.

When’s the last time you thoroughly looked through the last contract you signed. Say, with your cellphone company, or your credit card issuer. What parts, do you think, meant what, and what in that agreement could they actually enforce?

So, we see here two issues that rationalists of the market fail to deal with: one, that people’s lives are hectic, and for all the rationality of looking through the contract bit by bit, most people are neither inclined to do it, nor sometimes have the time to do it.

Additionally, rational understanding of those documents also take legal skill. So as a consumer, you might not be able to rationally determine what exactly you’re agreeing to, or even what parts can actually be enforced in this agreement. Most people don’t read the fine print.

Also, some practices in the market, while rational along certain lines, are completely dumbfounding in commonsense sensibility. Did you know that one of the easiest ways in the past to get a bunch of credit card offers was to declare bankruptcy? The Credit Card industry did this because their accounting practices centered not on how much they were actually getting from their cardholders, but on what they could possibly get from that card- a vastly overinflated figure that allowed card companies to start a chain of securitized debts. They could sell off the debt and make money off of these uncertain or next-to-impossible payoffs because of that.

Which is a microcosm of the larger problem in our economy, which was that so much of the wealth was and still is this kind of phantom froth of financial activity. Only now we’re running it with the credit system extending much less consumer credit, which is a problem because consumer spending was constructed around the model of the previous easy access to credit.

We should ask ourselves, looking at this economy, would anybody in their right mind put together something like this? And then we should ask ourselves why we didn’t set standards, why we didn’t take steps to better insure that the market signals on wages, on the cost of products, on the burden of debts and other matters in the economy weren’t drowned out by the activities of the various industries.

The time has come to stop expecting that people will by default construct a rational economy, and start putting a few more rules in so that actual humans can run this moneymaker without putting an end to it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at September 29, 2009 10:38 PM
Comment #288725

Focusing on the specific story - unlicensed daycare facilities, driven by the profit motive only, can be a problem worth having gov involvement. But a free daycare is very unlikely to be a problem - let’s only regulate if paid.

Posted by: Dr. Tom at September 30, 2009 11:05 PM
Comment #288785

I reckon the next thing would to be to make parents get a daycare license to care for their youngins.
This is totaly way over the top. But then most things the DHS does is.
If I was this women I’d be consulting a lawyer. I have a feeling she’s gonna be needing one.

Posted by: Ron Brown at October 1, 2009 8:36 PM
Comment #288827

Ron Brown
What your saying would not surprise me. My wife is a licensed day care provider, the things she has to go through is a real pain. Everyone in the household has to get fingerprinted and a background check run. Plus going to classes every so often for CPR and first aide.

Posted by: KAP at October 2, 2009 4:52 PM
Comment #288846

I don’t have a problem with a paid childcare provider having to pass a backgroud check. Or anyone living in the house. After all these folks are asking other folks to leave their children in the care of total strangers. I know I would feel a whole heap better knowing that no one in the a strangers house that I was considering leaving my child is a child molester.
In the case in West Michigan though it’s a neighbor watching another neighbors kids. The women isn’t getting paid and it seems that her neighbors are comfortable with leaving their youngins in her care for around 40 miniutes.
How many times have folks had neighbors look after their youngins? Or have watched their neighbors kids? It’s just something neighbors do.

Posted by: Ron Brown at October 2, 2009 8:58 PM
Comment #288848

I agree with everything you say but the children my wife watches are our great grand children. Back in the 50’s and early 60’s when I was growing up that was the way it was neighbors being neighborly and keeping an eye on each others kids. Times change and things have gotten worse, but IMO the DHS of Mich. overstepped it’s bounds this time. A parent should have the right to pick who watches or keeps an eye on their kid paid or not paid.

Posted by: KAP at October 2, 2009 9:18 PM
Comment #288880

Great grand children? And I thought I was getting old with grandyounins.:]
Why would your wife need a child care licnese to watch Great grand youngins? Is she getting paid? Or is that the law where y’all live?

Posted by: Ron Brown at October 3, 2009 8:37 AM
Comment #288881

BTW KAP, Back a few years ago we took 3 of or grendkids in when their parents died.
My wife and me both had to pass background checks before the state would give us legal custody.

Posted by: Ron Brown at October 3, 2009 8:41 AM
Comment #288883

My grandaughter is helped through our county with child care it isn’t much but my grandaughter didn’t want my wife to do the child care for free which my wife would have done anyway.

Posted by: KAP at October 3, 2009 9:13 AM
Comment #289184

I agree with you, but this is not a political issue. I’m usually with the democrats.

Posted by: Aaron Hughes at October 11, 2009 9:17 PM
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