John Leo
Polls keep showing that American Indians aren’t really offended by college team nicknames such as warriors, braves, Indians, Seminoles, and Fighting Illini. But many sportswriters, campus “diversity” officials, and now the National Collegiate Athletic Association think they ought to be. So the NCAA says it will ban from championship play all college teams with “hostile or abusive” nicknames and mascots. It apparently took this action without consulting tribal leaders. “It’s like history-they left the natives out,” said Max Osceola, a member of the tribal council of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, which approves the use of the Seminole mascot and nickname long used by Florida State. “They have nonnatives telling natives what’s good for them.” Here we are confronted by the dreaded social disease of nannyism, the irrepressible urge toward do-good coercion. The nannies are all around us now, attempting to ban smoking in outdoor areas, including New York’s vast Central Park, working to eliminate one schoolyard game after another, including dodge ball (too violent), tag (hurts feelings by turning kids into targets), and just about any game with winners and losers (competition douses the cooperative ethic, and losers can be traumatized for life).

California has banned genetically modified fish from home aquariums, and San Francisco set strict rules for doghouse construction. Alabama banned sex toys. A California legislator introduced a state bill to prohibit use of tanning machines by those under age 18, unless they have a doctor’s prescription. A New York assemblyman sponsored a bill to require every car in the state to come with a device that would allow driving only if the motorist blew into a tube and passed a Breathalyzer test. The test would have to be repeated every 30 to 40 minutes, or the car would stop. In North Dakota, a state bill would make it illegal for people who are just turning 21 to drink before 8 a.m. on their birthdays. The goal is to keep the young from rushing out at midnight on their birthday to get drunk. It’s a good idea to stop glamorizing smoking in movies, but the nannies want more. Stanton Glantz, a researcher opposed to tobacco, wants smoking to earn a bad rating for films, maybe an R for explicit inhalation.

John Leo

John Leo is editor of and a former contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report.

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