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June 21, 2010

Life Imitates the Onion

From 2003. Soda taxes were a gagline back then.

Americans Demand Increased Governmental Protection From Selves

NOVEMBER 5, 2003 | ISSUE 39•43


NEW YORK—Alarmed by the unhealthy choices they make every day, more and more Americans are calling on the government to enact legislation that will protect them from their own behavior.


"The government is finally starting to take some responsibility for the effect my behavior has on others," said New York City resident Alec Haverchuk, 44, who is prohibited by law from smoking in restaurants and bars. "But we have a long way to go. I can still light up on city streets and in the privacy of my own home. I mean, legislators acknowledge that my cigarette smoke could give others cancer, but don't they care about me, too?"

"It's not just about Americans eating too many fries or cracking their skulls open when they fall off their bicycles," said Los Angeles resident Rebecca Burnie, 26. "It's a financial issue, too. I spend all my money on trendy clothes and a nightlife that I can't afford. I'm $23,000 in debt, but the credit-card companies keep letting me spend. It's obscene that the government allows those companies to allow me to do this to myself. Why do I pay my taxes?"

Beginning with seatbelt legislation in the 1970s, concern over dangerous behavior has resulted in increased governmental oversight of private activities. Burnie and Haverchuk are only two of a growing number of citizens who argue that legislation should be enacted to protect them from their own bad habits and poor decisions.

Anita Andelman of the American Citizen Protection Group is at the forefront of the fight for "greater guardianship for all Americans."

"Legislation targeting harmful substances like drugs and alcohol is a good start, but that's all it is—a start," Andelman said. "My car automatically puts my seatbelt on me whenever I get into it. There's no chance that I'll make the risky decision to leave it off. So why am I still legally allowed to drink too much caffeine, watch television for seven hours a day, and, in some states, even ride in the back of a pick-up truck? It just isn't right."

The ACPG has also come out in favor of California's proposed "soda tax," which addresses unhealthy eating habits.

Thanks to David P.

It's not just soda taxes, either. Our "expert class" now says it's bad for kids to have best friends.

How deep must the depths of anxiety be into which our administrative class is regularly plunged. They are getting the bends. They are seeing spots. Potential trouble. Anything that hints of exclusivity. These are operatically pathological attitudes, utterly paranoid and inimical to human liberty in any form. No matter how 'political' this insanity seems, real politics -- practiced by those who are friends, if nothing else -- is impossible in a world where no friend can be closer or better to you or I than any other.

There is a large amount of life I put into the category of "Stuff that government workers and administrators should not even have an opinion, let alone a policy about."

They don't see it that way, apparently.

Especially because most fail at the tasks they actually are assigned. So, like Obama, they go a-huntin' for new tasks they can (arguably) succeed at.


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posted by Ace at 02:20 PM

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