The Instapundit links to a “Reason Hit and Run” post about Michigan telling a woman she cannot watch her neighbor’s kids for 30 – 45 minutes each morning as they wait for the school bus.

One of her neighbors reported her for running an unlicensed daycare. Anyone care to bet on whether that neighbor was a simple-minded busybody or a union activist who sees this as a way to force parents to put their kids in union-run daycares instead of simply having a neighbor be neighborly?

This is just one example of how our society has passed the threshold towards tyranny already. We don’t realize it because the slide has been slow and steady, but we are there. Glenn Reynolds likes to point out that due to the bewildering collection of statutes on the books today, it is virtually impossible to not be breaking some law. Watching your friend’s children for 30 minutes as they wait for the bus is now a criminal act. What else is criminal? Smoking in your backyard will soon be illegal.

This country has yielded its soul to nanny-state tyranny. Congress just last week passed a bill which makes it illegal to sell any “dangerous” children’s item at a garage sale. “Dangerous” items include pretty much any book published before 2000, virtually every toy or game you can imagine and many clothes, especially hand-made clothes which may not include proper flame-retardant processing.

This is not Obama’s doing, Obama is a symptom of this national pathology. We have become a nation of fear-mongering, litigating busybodies. You are a criminal, you just don’t know it. And the state can do pretty much whatever it wants with you, all it has to do is figure out which laws you are breaking.

Did you wash your car in your front yard using detergents which flow into the local sewers? It is highly likely you have broken an environmental protection regulation. Did you properly dispose of all of your empty cans of paint the last time you painted your house? Again, you have no doubt broken an environmental legislation. Do you have a carbon monoxide detector in your house? If not you may be breaking the law. Have you taken photos of your infant baby in the bathtub? You could find yourself on a sex offender list and in front of a judge.

This is no longer a free country. We live with the vestiges of freedom where the government simply isn’t interested enough to take it from us, but whenever they want to, they can.

And that’s the definition of tyranny.

Welcome to the United States of Tyranny.