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Argument: Trans fat ban creates slippery slope to further nannying

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George Mason University economist Don Boudreaux asks what a trans fats ban is a model for: "Petty tyranny? Or perhaps for similarly inspired bans on other voluntary activities with health risks? Clerking in convenience stores? Walking in the rain?"[1]


Art Carden. "Life, Liberty And The Pursuit Of Fatty Foods." Forbes. March 4th, 2010: "A simple reductio ad absurdum shows that regulations aimed at protecting people from themselves are morally absurd. Why stop with trans fats? Why not activities that could pose more of a threat to our individual health and well-being? If we are going to try to control smoking and trans fats because they are dangerous, should we not also try to control risky sexual behavior? Giving the state discretion over what you do in your living room (smoke) made it much easier for them to regulate what you do in your kitchen (cook with or consume trans fats). Letting the authorities into your living room or your kitchen puts them only a few steps from your bedroom, and I for one won't be surprised when they try to invite themselves in."


Don Winter. "EDITORIAL Trans Fat: The Choice Between The Law Or The La, La, La’s Of Someone’s Whim." Resident Media: "In the past you were responsible for your own weight, today it is the fault of some sinister corporation that will manufacture some life threatening but delicious food or cocktail that turns you, the poor and helpless victim, into a joy junky. Behaviors must be changed, says science. Pleasure must be banned, says the health conscious pharmaceutical industry, and of course businesses must be curbed, declare social guardians interest groups. Finally, the First Amendment must be tossed out: We will take care of you, say our all-caring local politicians. Please don’t let us have our choice, responsibilities, and our political rights, say voters.

What’s next, no walking on busy streets, because carbon emissions are too high? No more candy or soda, as we know that they contribute to cavities, and result in elevated blood sugar? No more pastas, unless whole grain? No more white rice, only brown rice? No more tuna or sword fish because mercury counts are too high? No more high fructose corn syrup—after all The New York Times ran a lengthy article about the adverse effect that this has on your health? No more bike riding because the increased risk of injury compared to walking? No more going outdoors when the sun is out because of the risk of skin cancer? No more than one drink in bars? No more steak restaurants – fat, fat, fat? Ice cream? Forget about it. Only organic milk – how dare we sell milk that contains growth hormone? Vegetables – out of the question, unless of course they are organic, because pesticides are carcinogenic."

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