If you are depressed about how America—once the home of the free and the brave—is moving toward a nanny-state government dedicated to protecting citizens from the scourge of too salty potato chips  and the dangers of a child’s lemonade stand, you can always look to Europe for a little pick me up, and reassurance that the U.S. isn’t quite as far into the deep-end of dependency as the rest of the world.

Here’s the latest example of European hyper-regulation

Hairdressers will be banned from wearing high heels and jewellery under nanny state proposals being drawn up in Brussels.

A health and safety directive orders stylists to wear ‘non-slip soles’ when they are cutting hair and bans wedding rings and watches as unhygienic.

The plans will see hairdressers told not to let staff do too many haircuts in one day to prevent ‘emotional collapses’.

And the bizarre rules will tell salon workers to have a regular ‘social dialogue’ – code for gossipy chats – to encourage ‘mental wellbeing’ in the workplace.

The story goes on to note that the National Hairdressers’ Federation estimates that the plan will “cost the UK industry £3million a year in wasted time and red tape.”  The UK’s employment minister was rightfully alarmed:  ‘We should be creating jobs, not killing them. This kind of stupidity has to stop. It makes no sense and I will do everything I can to stop it.’

Good for him. 

Naturally, he’ll be fighting against some unions representing salon workers.  One wonders just how many workers really believe that those unions are advancing their best interests with this kind of insane micromanaging of salon workers' dress code?  Perhaps some hair dressers wish they didn't have to try to squeeze in quite so many clients in a day, but surely some recognize that cutting less hair means less money for the salon… and eventually for the workers themselves.

It also seems outrageous, particularly giving the financial difficulties of European governments, that bureaucrats are actually being paid to dream up these kind of inane rules.  But even worse, just how much are they planning to spend on enforcing them?  Are inspectors really going to canvas European hair salons and slap fines on any establishment employin a hair dresser who has failed to remove a wedding ring or had the audacity to put on a pair of heels?

I hope that as an American, I can still laugh at such European foolishness.  I suspect however that if I did a little digging into the rules governing U.S. hair salons, I wouldn’t be laughing for long.  I fear over-regulation is a European import that Americans have embraced and made our own.