From my cold, dead arteries!

"We live in a country where they are trying to tell you what to do all the time."

That's one New Jerseyan's response to a bill which would ban trans fats in restaurants:

Trans fats, which increase the level of bad cholesterol in the body, are found in partially hydrogenated oils - shortening and margarine - and commonly are associated with french fries, doughnuts, cookies and other snacks.

Karcher, vice chair of the Senate Health Committee, said the bill, inspired by a similar proposal in New York City, aimed to make food more healthful and in turn reduce the taxpayer-supported health costs associated with heart disease and obesity.

Many restaurants already cook without trans fats.

But Fifis of Ponzio's said such a ban would force him to reconfigure recipes that date back more than 40 years.

"It would be a total catastrophe. They need to do something more serious," he said, recalling a semiofficial ban on runny eggs some years back during a salmonella outbreak.

"If people don't want to eat trans fat, stay at home and make it yourself," Fifis said.

Remarkably, some of the supporters of the bill see it as a health issue:
Doris Evans, 77, of Mount Laurel, said she supported a ban.

"You don't realize until you get older how bad fats are," she said. "When you're young, you think nothing is going to happen."

There are a lot of dangerous things people tend to stop doing in order to live longer, and trans fat may be one of them. But I think it's remarkable to maintain that the state should use government force to compel what even doctors can't.

Overexposure to the sun is another one of those health hazards in which unthinking young people engage, and the New Jersey shore has many beaches which account for untold numbers of skin cancers. Why not require government approved sunblock and a limitation of hours people can sit in the sun? Beach passes are already mandatory at most New Jersey beaches, and the money pays for lifeguards. It would be a simple thing to train and deputize them to enforce the Overexposure Protection Act, and while it might cost more, consider how many lives would be saved? Besides, isn't that the function of a life guard?

New Jerseyans are the most over-regulated people I've seen, yet they seem to like it that way. Not only are their gun control laws some of the toughest in the country, you can't even pump your own gas there, and when there was a proposal to repeal this ridiculous law, the voters were furious, and it was abandoned.

The unsettling fact is, some people like being over-regulated, and they think the function of government is to tell people what to do all the time.

In theory, no one has to live in New Jersey.

(But that's like saying no one has to live in a democracy where taxpayers are outvoted by tax eaters.)

I've been writing about cream-filled donuts for years, but I never thought I'd see them as a symbol of freedom.

posted by Eric on 10.13.06 at 08:02 AM


I blame Upton Sinclair.

Sunlight is one of the few things that even modern governments haven't tried to regulate. Of course, if the future is truly to be found in space, that may change.

Jon Thompson   ·  October 14, 2006 4:03 AM

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