As part of its ongoing attempt to regulate the fun out of childhood, New York City’s busybody City Council has banned metal bats at public-school baseball games. The ostensible justification: Metal bats make baseballs go too fast. While we normally steer clear of social commentary about sports equipment, the bat ban is notable because of the condescension (some might say contempt) NYC’s lawmakers are showing for their constituents. As the City Journal‘s Paul Beston writes in the magazine’s spring issue:
[The ban] comes on the heels of the Bloomberg era’s most visionary idea since outlawing smoking in bars: a ban on trans fats in restaurants … "The legislature of the greatest city in the world is protecting its citizens from trans fats, and everyone else should do the same thing," said Councilman Peter Vallone, Jr.
Compared with that inspiring directive, banning metal bats may seem like small ball. But it perfectly expresses the council’s and the mayor’s underlying belief: too much liberty is hazardous to your health.
Moreover, the bat ban is part and parcel of a nationwide trend of nosy legislators chipping away at parental responsibility for their children. Whether it’s absurd restrictions on sodas or draconian directives for cafeteria food, elected officials are increasingly comfortable with telling your kids how to behave. As Beston also points out:
The larger question, of course, is why the council believes it necessary to micromanage school sports. Isn’t that the job of parents and coaches? … Maybe the council should just ban baseball, period.