I Haven’t Lost that Paternalist Feeling

What’s a paternalist to do? The American people are getting fatter, but they ignore warning labels, as well as increasingly shrill advice from their nutritional betters. So why not just ban restaurants that sell fatty food!?

The city of Los Angeles is planning to do just that. According to the Los Angeles Times:

As America gets fatter, policymakers are seeking creative approaches to legislating health. They may have entered the school cafeteria — and now they’re eyeing your neighborhood.

Amid worries of an obesity epidemic and its related illnesses, including high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease, Los Angeles officials, among others around the country, are proposing to limit new fast-food restaurants — a tactic that could be called health zoning.

The City Council will be asked this fall to consider an up to two-year moratorium on new fast-food restaurants in South L.A., a part of the city where fast food is at least as much a practicality as a preference.

“The people don’t want them, but when they don’t have any other options, they may gravitate to what’s there,” said Councilwoman Jan Perry, who proposed the ordinance in June, and whose district includes portions of South L.A. that would be affected by the plan.

In just one-quarter of a mile near USC on Figueroa Street, from Adams Boulevard south, there are about 20 fast-food outlets.

“The people don’t want them,” says Councilwoman Perry. Apparently she believes that local fast food franchises are forcing people into their establishments with cattle prods and locking the doors until people buy and consume food they don’t want. So docile are Los Angeles residents that 20 outlets have gathered in this one small area.


Can we put a moratorium on stupid proposals and statements from government officials?