Americans are on a slippery slope. Across the nation, self-appointed “experts” are lobbying to regulate the food we eat, the clothes we wear, and the goods we buy, assuming that Americans are too stupid to choose for ourselves. The fact is that paternalistic politicians are constantly overreaching. For instance, California legislators are currently battling to tax six-packs, grocery bags, and music downloads, on top of the state’s already sky-high taxes. Alluding to the “here we go again” nature of these “sin” taxes, the Los Angeles Times remarks:
The idea of taxing comforts and conveniences evokes the budget crisis of 1991, when then-Gov. Pete Wilson agreed to impose a “snack tax” on Californians, raising the cost of junk food and bottled water.
The constantly growing umbrella of “sinful” activities which bureaucrats self-righteously attack is evidence of a much bigger pattern: increasing government intervention in our personal choices. This happens so often, we can boil it down to a science. First, lawmakers and activist groups vilify an “undesirable” activity (like eating, drinking, even enjoying a hot dog) with wide-spread public relations campaigns. Then, they leverage the public’s resulting fear or disapproval of said activity to pass increasingly draconian regulations.
Food cops have already targeted fois gras, margarine, and birthday cakes at schools. Before they add any more of our favorites to their dietary blacklist, we must remind legislators that it’s our choice — not theirs.