10.01.2008 0

Nation’s Press to Food Nazis: Halt die Luft an!

  • On: 10/20/2008 13:49:26
  • In: Government Transparency
  • It is unfortunate that our forefathers were not forward-thinking enough to include a dietary amendment in the original Bill of Rights.

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of food, or prohibiting the free consumption thereof.” That would have certainly done the trick and prevented a whole slough of trouble.

    Regrettably enough, however, this rather embarrassing issue has come to the forefront in a number of cities around the country. The Los Angeles City Council, for instance, voted last Tuesday to enact a moratorium on all new fast-food restaurants within a 32-square-mile area of South Los Angeles.

    The City Council, feeling overly parental, has decided that government-created laws are the only way to get Los Angeles residents to dodge those saturated fats and make healthier dietary choices. After all, if one eats too many Big Macs or Whoppers, he or she may develop heart disease and die one day in the distant future. Unlike the rest of us who will apparently live forever.

    Meanwhile, however, people are being murdered, drugs are being trafficked, and youths are dropping out of schools in droves. Something here is disturbingly amiss, and commentators around the country are thankfully taking notice.

    The Associated Press, for example, let a shadow if its own opinion on the matter subtly slip through the cracks with its coverage of the Los Angeles fast-food ban last week. Regarding the ban, one AP commentator had the following to say:

    “[The Big Mac ban] also comes as the Los Angeles City Council tackles issues beyond safety, schools and streets. The council last week decided to outlaw plastic bags.”

    Judging from the thinly veiled sarcasm, the AP has the correct angle on this travesty. The criticism doesn’t stop here, though. The Chicago Tribune editorial board seems to have its head in the right place as well. Eyeing the recent developments in Los Angeles, they argue:

    “That’s ridiculously paternalistic. It’s also based on the simplistic assumption that banning fast-food restaurants will magically convince grocery retailers to locate in underserved communities and bring healthier fare…

    But cities shouldn’t be in the business of reducing choices—making dining decisions for people. They should work to give residents more choices.”

    The primary dilemma here is not simply the fact that government is being intrusive and taking on the role of an invasive nanny state—although this is certainly a top concern. Rather, Americans ought to be most concerned about the underlying implications of this intrusiveness.

    It is time the American people realized that when a government’s top concern is regulating Big Mac consumption, the government has failed. When the Los Angeles City Council finds itself focusing on the minors, as it clearly is doing with the fast-food and plastic bag bans, it is a testament to the fact that the City Council has flunked the majors.

    They have surrendered the mantle of leadership to special interests and contrived issues—and sold out the people.

    The rest of the national press would therefore do well to continue their vigilance in this vital area. Issues like these must not be taken lightly and the national media serves its audience well when it calls upon government to stop obsessing over bills of fare and get back to upholding the Bill of Rights.


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