City council appears to be the latest victim of the dictatorship of the do gooders.
I've often railed against this mindset, which essentially is a belief that government has a right to force you to be safe and healthy.
Don't get me wrong. I have no problems if people wear helmets when they ride bicycles and motorcycles. It's a very good idea. But should it be a law?
I have no problems if people want to eat healthy (although that seems to vary month to month based on the latest study -- remember the brief time when apples were bad for you?). But if I want to stuff myself with french fries cooked in transfats and then wash it down with a 24-ounce soda pop I ought to be allowed to do so. It shouldn't be against the law.
The city council just banned cigarette smoking in city parks. That"s outdoors!!!
Now, I'm barely living proof that smoking cigarettes is bad for you (I'm missing a lung because I smoked). It's not a behavior I recommend to anyone. It's dumb to smoke. But it seems to me it ought to be a matter of choice, not a law. There aren't many places left where a person can smoke these days and outdoors ought to be one of them. I'll guarantee that anybody who drove to the park put far more carcinogens into the air from their car getting there than any smoker could even imagine exhaling in an entire day of chainsmoking. There's a lack of science here when it comes to an actual threat. It's more a matter of "I don't like it, so let's ban it."
What it is, is social engineering and I am usually very reluctant to let government get involved in forcing people to live certain lifestyles. It's just a little too easy to get carried away and go after any lifestyle those in power don't like or aren't comfortable with. Personal freedoms tend to disappear in that kind of an environment.
The arguments no longer are simply about personal health, however, now they're about public economics. With universal health care just around the corner people are already touting the trillions of dollars it will (or is) costing the taxpayers from "unhealthy" choices by individuals.
Although they've been quickly rejected, it's significant that city councils, legislatures and even Congress have seen proposals brought forward that would add a tax to people who are overweight. The "fat tax" would be used to pay for all the extra health care costs that come with being overweight. Its day will come unless we get the dogooders in check.
Personally, I've never liked salads and I don't want to be required to eat them -- or required to exercise, which is the next step.
This is all part of the growing dictatorship of the do gooders. Individuals are being allowed fewer and few personal choices regarding their lifestyles, all in the name of saving them from themselves.
It is not, in my opinion, the role of government.