While activists and policymakers sanctimoniously push eccentric edicts on the population in the name of health, the environment, and (most popularly) the children, there is at least one voice speaking out in the name of individual freedom: The Center For Consumer Freedom. On the Sunday opinion page of the Times Union, we discredited recent New York state menu labeling legislation:
Proponents of the measure — such as sponsors Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, D-Brooklyn, and Sen. Kemp Hannon, R-Nassau County — argue that pushing imprecise, in-your-face warning labels on consumers will spur them to make "better" food choices. However, common sense suggests that a consumer selecting doughnuts over yogurt lacks motivation, not information …
It’s time to draw a line in the sand and say, "Here, and no further." Unless we want government regulators to tuck us in at night, pretty soon we’re going to run out of ways to pretend that the government can make us healthy.
This bureaucratic overreach is not limited to east coast legislatures. Food activists are pushing for lawmakers nationwide to pass "fat" taxes, restaurant zoning, and food bans. And, evidenced by recent publicity stunts by animal rights groups like the Humane Society of the United States and lawsuits by food scolds like the Center for Science in the Public Interest, they show no signs of slowing down.
Following our lead in the Denver Post today, columnist David Harsanyi called into question the agenda of local lawmakers dictating consumer behavior in the name of public health:
Communities don’t have waistlines, actually. Individuals do. And the truth is, almost every child is at risk of becoming overweight if their parents allow them to sit on a couch and play video games all day. And the vast majority of parents know this – whether they do the right thing or not … The problem is that when citizens are slow to react, health zealots begin to concoct ways to coerce individuals to adapt a lifestyle they’ve chosen for us.