Smoking, trans fat and auto emissions are only the beginning: A group of California legislators is agitating for measures regulating everything from having your pet neutered to changing your light bulbs. They're called "nanny laws," and poli-sci types say they're a product of prosperity. It's "post materialist," says Bruce Cain, a political scientist at UC Berkeley. Such measures are about quality of life, not survival, he says.
And it should be no surprise that California Democrats are particularly prone to them. "These post-materialist concerns may be ahead of the curve," Cain says. "Some of the things we did that seemed kooky 20 years ago are now widely accepted."