Thingish Things

NYC Health Police Gone Wild, Part 923 (Update)

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Jan• 11•12

An observation from the 19th Century German poet Heinrich Heine came to mind this morning upon cracking the pages of The New York Post.  The prescient lyricists, 100 years before the rise of Adolf Hitler, wrote, “Where they burn books, they will ultimately burn people.” 

In other words, those who attempt to eradicate free will and free ideas — those so sure of their own orthodoxy — are the greatest threat to humankind, regardless of the populist rationale they give when igniting that first page.

One gets the feeling, after learning of the New York City Health Department’s latest plans to demand compliance with its orthodox thinking over eating, drinking, and smoking, that, given free reign, its so-sure-of-themselves commissioners might eventually line fat, drunken New York bon vivants up against a wall and paddle them. Or, in a more likely scenario, send them to  re-education therapy sessions in the name of public health.

The New York Health Department has gone power mad. It is out of control. After banning restaurants from cooking with certain ingredients — the Department tried to regulate how much salt New York chefs could put in their vichyssoise — and banning smoking outside, the Health Department now wants to give busy-body community boards the right to decide where and how many liquor stores, bars, and alcohol-serving restaurants can exist in their neighborhoods.  In other words, it is giving committees power over the free market system in the name of health.  

The city will argue that this is no different then granting a liquor or restaurant license, but it fundamentally is.  Those permits are given based on merit, not ideology.  This is not bureaucracy, it is social engineering 202. 

If The New York City Department of Health had dictatorial powers, is there anyone who believes it would not outlaw tobacco, salt, soda, candy, desserts, alcohol, television, cars, and all but a few restaurants tomorrow?  I honestly believe it would. Like those who try to regulate what we read, the Department is trying regulate what we eat and drink. It’s madness. 

The health police are the greatest threat to American freedom today. It’s not the salt and booze regulations that are worrisome, it is the rigid certainty behind them. That kind of thinking is mankind’s greatest enemy. It is far more dangerous than alcoholism, obesity, or lung cancer. 

UPDATE:  Mayor Bloomberg wisely put the kabash on this plan following this morning’s Post story.  

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One Comment

  1. liz feld says:

    Absolutely right! First it was no salt on your margarita. Now it’s no margarita at all. What next? No maraschino cherries for the kids’ Shirley Temples? We’ve got too many bureaucrats with too much time on their hands.

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