Worrying about bacteria, New Jersey banned restaurants from serving eggs sunny side up. The ban has since been lifted. Some New Jersey localities have a ban on people pumping their own gasoline. Policemen issue citations for driving without a seatbelt. By law new cars must be equipped with air bags. Federal law mandates that all new toilets flush using a paltry 1.6 gallons of water. Georgia's governor mandates that classical music be given to all new mothers so as to aid infant I.Q. development. California has banned smoking in bars. Clinton wants a law passed banning smoking within 100 feet of a federal building. In parts of Ohio, children going trick-or-treating must obtain a special permit. These intrusions and more were recently revealed by television journalist John Stossel on ABC's 20/20. The stated motivation behind this gross intrusion and criminalization of private behavior is to protect us from making unwise choices.
John Stossel asked Ricardo Martinez, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), why can't people at least have air bag on/off switches. Martinez responded by saying that society makes decisions about what benefits most people, and most people benefit from air bags. Stossel interviewed Yale University's Professor Kelley D. Brownell, director of the Center for Eating & Weight Disorders who thinks Americans eat to many hamburgers and French fries. Professor Brownell wants government to tax fatty foods and those with little nutritional content and use the proceeds to subsidize fruits, vegetables and other nutritious foods. He's suggested that some of the tax proceeds be used to build bike and hiking trails.
I'm wondering just when Americans are going to decide that we've had enough government meddling in our lives. It is nobody's business whether I eat eggs sunny side up, drive without wearing seat belts, or pig out on hamburgers and French fries. I'd like someone to show me Congress's constitutional authority for government protecting me from making unwise choices. Those who believe government should be in the business of making us take care of ourselves, should tell us where does it all end? Should government decide what time we go to bed? After all sleep is vital to good health. Should government force us to exercise, read wholesome literature, and bathe regularly?
The people who advocate a nanny government (a better term is Nazi government) are cowards. You say, "What do you mean, Williams?" Take Kelley Brownell. If he doesn't want me to eat that Big Mac and French fries, let him walk up to my table and remove them from my plate. He wants no part of doing that because he doesn't want to meet his maker this year so he prefers using the brutal forces of government.
When I was young, bullies use to pick on me, take food off my lunch tray and otherwise harass me. That's until I followed the advice of my stepfather who told me that if you let a bully get away with one thing, the next day it's going to be something else and the following day something else again. He told me that the bullying won't stop until I decide to stand up and fight. He said that even if I lose the fight, the next time I'm bullied, stand up and fight again. Let the bully know that when he bullies, win, lose or draw, he has a fight on his hands. Eventually he will stop. I think Americans should employ my Dad's advice. As long as we stand as lambs before the slaughter you can bet that there'll be no end to Congress's bureaucratic stooges bullying us.
Walter E. Williams
September 17, 1999
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