Fat and free­dom

The Washington Times Weekly - - Culture, Etc. -

“[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

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