More Government, Less Liberty

It’s only been a short while since two of America’s big cities launched their latest efforts to chip away at basic food freedoms we used to take for granted. The Chicago City Council recently went from passing an animal-rights-motivated ban on the French delicacy foie gras to considering a total ban on vegetable oils containing politically unpopular fats. In the same vein, a New York City councilman has proposed (ab)using the city’s zoning authority to limit the number of fast food restaurants below what consumer demand would dictate. In response to these threats to food liberties, two newspapers have served up some uncommonly delicious common sense.

The New York Post is ready and willing to call out New York councilman Joel Rivera for the beliefs that underlie his anti-fast food proposal: Rivera “knows better than you how you should live your life.” The editors continue: “Poor people in particular, in his view, are in need of his wisdom – because they’re not only fat, they’re stupid.” Like most food cop ideas, the proposal isn’t really about health: “Rivera and people like him don’t care about postponing death so much as they care about controlling life. Other people’s lives.

The Chicago Tribune has been similarly critical of the Chicago City Council in an editorial entitled “So many salaries, so little work,” inviting the Tribune‘s readers to watch the council “desperately search for a reason to be.” The reason, of course, is that the council seems to have nothing better to do than crack down on consumer choice:

[Alderman] Ed Burke has his 49 colleagues discerning whether Chicago should be the first city in the nation to prohibit restaurants from preparing food using trans fat oils. This now that all the busybody aldermen have recovered from … banning the sale of foie gras last month.

… It’s enough to make you cheer for more trans fats and fewer aldermen.

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