"No one will miss it when it's gone."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The title to this post is a direct quote from one Thomas Frieden, Health Commissioner of New York City.

According to this article, Frieden is taking about trans fats, but don't let the sloppy, concrete-bound journalism fool you. He's really talking about what he hopes is the attitude of the people of New York City towards their freedom.

Not to be outdone for paternalistic foolishness by Chicago, New York City is considering a ban on a common and perfectly legal food additive, trans fats, in its restaurants.

Under the New York proposal, restaurants would need to get artificial trans fats out of cooking oils, margarine and shortening by July 1, 2007, and all other foodstuffs by July 1, 2008. It would not affect grocery stores. It also would not apply to naturally occurring trans fats, which are found in some meats and dairy.
Carnivores will, I suppose, be spared until Frieden or some other busybody decides that eating meat is unhealthy for us. Or, more precisely, that he can get away with banning it.

This is not entirely new in New York. Back in July, I blogged about a similar proposal, that the city use zoning to prevent fast-food restaurants from opening new stores in certain neighborhoods. What I said then remains true:
Not in any way to condone what he is doing, but [city councilman Joel] 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. [emphasis added today]
If you regard the government "taking care of" people -- any people -- as one of its proper functions, then you have no room to complain when it does just that.

-- CAV

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