Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Nanny State

Why does the LA City Council believe that they must step in and make individual choices about what people eat and where they eat it? They've passed a year long moratorium on building any additional "fast-food" restaurants in South LA because they're concerned that the people in South LA (an ethically mixed and low-income area) are considered too fat. Does anyone else have a fundamental problem with this? I thought this was a free country, where people have the right to make bad decisions, as long as those decisions don't hurt anyone else. Deciding to eat food that may be served in bigger portions (super-size it, please) or have a higher-fat content may be a bad decision, but it hurts only those who actually eat the food. Now I understand that obese people generally have more medical problems, that may lead to higher medical costs; most of which are carried by the government for those without medical insurance (like many low-income folks). But, rather than try to regulate what and where people eat, why not do something to educate folks on healthy choices or advocate diet and exercise? It seems to me that by taking away a person's ability to choose, the LA City Council is really saying that the folks in South LA are too stupid to make intelligent decisions. Now why isn't that considered racist or elitist?

Jay D. Homnick wrote about the ban on The American Spectator's Website. I agree with his comments:

At moments like this, people who believe that constitutional government is the foundation of our nation experience culture shock. It seems absurd even to be debating the merits of such a statute. Unless the obesity "crisis" has reached proportions that call for instituting martial law and suspending habeas corpus, there is no conceivable theory by which a government has the power to a) prohibit fast food restaurants anywhere, b) prohibit any kind of restaurant in a particular zoned-for-business neighborhood, or even c) determine a category of food as being officially "not good for you."

The particular legislation will either succeed or fail to be enforced and will either fail or succeed to make a difference in the habits of individual citizens. More important to public policy and political science is the arrogation of volition. The sheer gall of believing that elected officials are better equipped to make private life choices. The staggering effrontery of coercing such choices. And the stupendous audacity of employing the law as a vehicle to implement such coercion.

Perhaps it is time for folks like you and me to throw in the towel and pick up the handkerchief. Let us suggest more laws in this spirit. People waiting for public buses may no longer read Archie comics, only War and Peace. Movie theaters in low-income areas may no longer show Kung Fu, only Bambi. Longshoremen may no longer marry women with tattoos, only librarians. Construction crews after work may no longer guzzle beer, only Pinot Grigio. If those pigs can play Pygmalion, if those burghers can ban the burgers, if those flies can ban fries, why can't gentlemen cultivate gentility?

I just can't wait for the law requiring ranchers to raise only low-fat emu and stores to sell only fresh vegtables, no artifical perservatives please! Apparently, we all need the government nanny to tell us what's good for us because we're too dumb to figure it out for ourselves or too much of a victim to live with the consequences.


LT Nixon said...

It's all about control of the populous. When people are starving because they can't afford cheaply priced food, they tend to not make trouble. I don't even think huge donors to South Central (like Magic Johnson) can save the people from the overextending reach of the state.

Grama36 said...

When did the American people get so stupid that they cannot make their own choices where and what they will eat, drink or wear.. We are suspose to have freedom of choice in this Great Country of ours and we are free to suffer the consequences of those choices.. Really gets my dander up along with my blood pressure when people start telling me what and where I can eat. I hope that never happens in SD They are already telling me what sort of light bulbs I have to use in my house in a few years. I am afraid that if we end up with Obama, Pelosi and Reed running this Great Country of ours we will be told more and more what we cannot do.. Wake up America !!!!! There I go again with the rant...