Fast Food Bans

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

As our nanny state acts to "protect" us from "second-hand smoke" so it will act to "protect" us from -- what is the phrase I'm looking for? -- "first-hand fat".

First, revenue-hungry governments and trial lawyers took Big Tobacco for a ride. And now, it's Fast Food's turn -- as if Ronald McDonald ties people up and force-feeds them. Not surprisingly, local governments have taken the cue from the national stage and are deciding to start micromanaging how we live with respect to yet another "vice".

First, we saw a shameful nationwide proliferation of "no smoking" ordinances. (Even Houston has one!) Now, we're seeing localities use zoning to prevent fast-food restaurants from opening!

Worried by soaring levels of obesity and the health problems that go with it, the city council's youthful and slim health committee chairman says the time has come to challenge the rampant growth of fast-food chains.

"They make good-tasting, affordable food, but unfortunately, it lacks nutrition," says council member Joel Rivera, of the Bronx, who also leads the Democrats at City Hall.

"What I want to do is limit the number of fast-food establishments within specific proximity of each other, and try to give incentives for healthy alternatives, and give people choices," he adds.
What I find supremely ironic here is the following.

Not in any way to condone what he is doing, but Rivera and his fellow fitness fascists have a point. Lots of people do make stupid choices. But the government telling them what to do is a violation of individual rights, and would-be dictators like Rivera are destroying one necessity of life, freedom, in the name of promoting another, good health. We need both to survive, and it is Rivera's job to provide the first. That's what government is for. The second is up to each of us individually, as our medical bills should be. But what the hell is a busybody like Rivera doing in office? He got elected. By the same people who, apparently, are already extremely indifferent about their own well-being.

When the predominant trend of a culture is to shirk personal responsibility, it will get what it deserves one way or another.

In order to live, one must think. And in order to act on his judgement, one must be free. This is why each of us should do what he can to fight silliness like this. An individual can be rational or not, but if most of his society is irrational, his rationality may do him no good.

-- CAV


Anonymous said...

I can't help but think of how relevant your observation in "Failure to Educate" is to this.

("As our society stops holding individuals accountable for their own actions, we see the apparent paradox of more government intrusion into our lives coupled with its less effective protection of our individual rights. This seeming paradox arises because we are attempting to have the government do the impossible: assume the responsibilities its citizens abdicate daily.")

Gus Van Horn said...

Good point, Inspector. Thanks for mentioning it!

For the curious, here's a link to the post he's talking about.