Garden State Sprouts Discontent

From arena-rock deities and creators of fictional mob families, to movie stars who revel in middle-class existential angst, New Jersey natives have long mined their love-hate relationship with their home state for artistic gold. But now local lawmakers have provided a new muse: unadulterated, blinding rage.

As we have told you before, State Senator Ellen Karcher has taken a cue from her neighbors to the north and plans to introduce a bill this week that would ban trans fat in all New Jersey restaurants. And vegetarian Assemblyman Michael Panter — inspired by the recent antics of Chicago’s city council — wants to outlaw the sale of foie gras. Both proposals have been met with an uproar from locals, including editors at the Asbury Park Press:

New Jersey has more pressing problems. Panter and Karcher should be focusing on the reasons people are migrating south, and not just for the winter. It’s not because of force-fed geese. It’s not because trans fats are used in restaurants. It’s because there is too much pork in the state budget that they can no longer afford. If bills such as those served up by Panter and Karcher are allowed to divert attention from the Legislature’s core challenges, our goose is cooked.

Trentonian columnist Jeff Edelstein sarcastically suggests other “dangerous” activities that need to be placed on the legislative chopping block:

Over 44,000 otherwise healthy Americans are killed in car accidents yearly. Clearly, there needs to be someone looking out for us. I nominate you, Ms. Karcher. Ban cars before it’s too late. We should all start riding a horse and buggy …

This is a sad one. According to the NSC [National Safety Council], some 17,000 Americans die in falls each year. And while I’m not advocating we all stay in bed — so don’t get any ideas, Karcher — I do think all new dwellings should be one level, to avoid the need to climb stairs. Also, there should be an auxiliary bill, mandating the whole of New Jersey be outfitted with Velcro floors. And we should have to wear Velcro shoes. Obviously.

And don’t forget about Christmas lights, which, according to the Centers for Disease Control, are responsible for more than 5,000 “holiday-decorating-related falls.”

New Yorkers are waging a war of their own against the forces of paternalism. Fortunately, the Big Apple’s defenders of consumer freedom have discovered the most damning aspect of the food police’s most recent culinary campaign: hypocrisy. As reported in the New York Times:

No surprise, then, that many people are cynical about the proposed ban. Grand public health gestures make for perilous public relations. Not so long ago, remember, eggs were causing heart attacks. Vegetable oils were causing cancer. And the saturated fats that we’re supposed to be using again — whose idea was it to avoid those? Oh. Right.

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