Among the 50 United States, were you aware that there two states where it is largely illegal to pump gasoline into your own car?
Oregon and New Jersey are those two states, and a very interesting phenomenon is happening in Oregon, where a series of laws and proposed laws are making it possible for people to actually put fuel into their cars themselves. Imagine that: allowing customers to serve themselves like they are expected to anywhere else in the country!
One of the most interesting aspects of this turn of events is the opposition that such laws face from Oregon residents. Angry Oregonians have taken to social media to complain that they don't know how to pump gas, that it is dangerous for those without professional training even to try it, and that they put themselves at risk by exiting their vehicles in questionable neighborhoods.
We who have pumped our own gas for years without a special permit to do so can laugh at the silliness of this kind of response. However, it signals something very important that happens when the government steps in to regulate or to license something: over time, people cannot imagine what it is to accomplish those things on their own without the nanny state doing it for them.
We libertarians hear this claim from statists all the time. "Without government, who will build the roads?" "Who will keep our food safe?" "Without this law, people are going to DIE!" Each question or claim reveals a "learned helplessness" on the part of the person uttering it. They simply can't imagine a world where the government doesn't handle those things, because they have never experienced it personally.
In every case, the answer to "Who will do it if the government doesn't?" is "Someone else." It will get done. Very frequently, it will get done when we, as individuals, take personal responsibility to take care of ourselves. We, both as individuals and as communities, are capable of a lot more than we give ourselves credit for.
Why should cosmetologists be required to have a license to do makeup? Why does someone need a license to fish or to braid hair? A license to teach yoga? Why should individual states be involved in credentialing and permitting people to work in a chosen profession? The claim is always to protect its citizens, but that does nothing more than treats grown men and women as helpless children who cannot be left on their own to make wise choices in the marketplace.
Even in cases of poverty and other human need, the welfare state has not helped to reduce poverty in any significant way; it merely keeps people and their descendants poor and dependent on the government. Far better to leave welfare in the hands of those who will invest themselves in the recipients in order to lift them out of poverty and into self-sufficiency and even prosperity.
Just like Oregonians at the gas pump, we do not need the government to micromanage our everyday lives for us.