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The End of the Road for the Colombian Nanny State

By: Javier Garay - @Crittiko - Jul 13, 2015, 12:49 pm

EspañolBogotá, Colombia’s capital, was the target of several terrorist attacks last week. The primary suspect is the guerrilla group National Liberation Army (ELN), but police have also arrested two former contractors of the current administration of Mayor Gustavo Petro in connection with the attacks.

In other words, there are signs that the guerrilla have infiltrated Bogotá’s local government, just like Colombian congressmen have been involved with paramilitary groups in the past.

Shockingly, it has become clear that these rebel groups have made their way into the government at various levels.

To make matters worse, a scandal involving corruption in Colombia’s high courts recently came to light, and still remains unresolved. Constitutional Court judges have been accused of taking large sums of money to render favorable rulings in various cases involving powerful businessmen.

The judiciary at the highest level is corrupt, and in the service of a few at the expense of the many.

Meanwhile, ever since the FARC ended their unilateral ceasefire last May, Colombia has undergone serious attacks against the infrastructure and natural wealth of the country, as well as the welfare of citizens. Authorities have been unable to prevent these attacks, much less provide any lasting solutions.

Colombia’s security forces are incapable of providing even the most basic security, while unarmed civilians are left to bear the atrocities of these violent groups.

What’s more, the country’s economy has begun to worsen. Our dependence on oil exploration, driven by the decisions of successive administrations; the overtaxation of local business, new and old, big and small; and the paltry reform toward facilitating wealth creation, are all factors that explain this process.

State intervention is strangling the economy.

And yet, faced with all these problems and more, the Colombian government has decided to take action against what it considers the greatest threat to peace, security, and public welfare: the consumption of mini-gelatin cups.

You read that correctly.

In Colombia, before the ban, people could buy this small, sugary gelatin treat at local stores and eat it by pressing on the lower part of the package. However, wise Colombian experts, always in search of a way to justify their salaries and prevent people from living their lives in peace, have determined that this product may (heavy emphasis on the may) cause small children to choke.

In other words, parents no longer decide what products their children may or may not consume, or even how they should be educated. It is the government’s responsibility to assume this role instead. And since they have decided that this product may be harmful to small children, everyone must be prohibited from purchasing it, even adults.

Of course, the authorities only want what’s best for us. After all, Colombian adults are obviously incapable of making their own decisions.

Clearly, this corrupt Colombian state, which only provides justice for those with enough money to bribe judges; whose security forces are unable to confront violent groups and ensure safety; that kills any possibility for wealth creation; this is who knows, better than any of us lowly citizens, what we should eat and why.

The Colombian state prohibits us from making our own decisions, and makes them for us. Is there any better example of a paradox of power, in general or in other contemporary government in particular, than what exists in Colombia today?

Instead of fulfilling their duties, government bodies are devoted to preventing people from making of their lives what they wish. They are dedicated to impeding the pursuit of individual dreams and interests. They have accumulated such authority and control, and corrupted to such an extent, that they only serve the interests of those in power and their criminal friends.

If things keep getting worse in Colombia, maybe Pope Francis will even decide to visit the country next year.

After all, the pope has demonstrated on his most recent tour that he likes the excess of power, the elimination of autonomy, and authoritarianism, as long as they are justified by a hatred for capitalism and freedom.

Translated by Rebeca Morla.

Javier Garay Javier Garay

Javier Garay is a professor at the Externado University of Colombia. He has written two books on international issues, such as development, after his doctoral dissertation focused on the same topic. Follow him on Twitter @crittiko and through his personal blog, Crittiko.