Fat and freedom
“[This month] New York City banned the use of trans fats in restaurant meals, and an Ohio law passed in November [. . .] bans smoking in virtually all business establishments. [. . .]
“Although ‘give me partially hydrogenated vegetable oil or give me death!’ is not likely to become a rallying cry anytime soon, it’s worth pausing a minute to consider the country’s headlong rush to prohibit just about anything that bureaucrats — or simple majorities of voters — find offensive. [. . .]
“[E]ven when bans do have an impact that most of us would agree is positive, one-size-fits-all actions leave no place for individuals to make some intensely personal choices.
“They ignore the evolving social arrangements — such as nonsmoking sections, not to mention smoke-free businesses — that give people [. . .] more options rather than fewer. By the time Washington state passed its ultra-restrictive smoking ban last year [. . .] 80 percent of restaurants there were already tobacco free.
“Most important, these bans reduce all of us to the status of children, incapable of making informed choices. Is it quaint to suggest that there’s something wrong with that in a country founded on the idea of the individual’s rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?”
Nick Gillespie, writing on “The race to ban what’s bad for us,” Dec. 10 in the Chicago Tribune