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Drop that Salt Shaker and Put Your Hands In The Air

The New York Legislature is considering a bill that would make it a criminal offense for restaurant chefs to add salt to food. Yes, you read that right.  Once again, the absurdity of real life makes satire obsolete.

This is exactly what happens when you let the nanny camel get its nose in the tent.

It started, of course, with smoking bans.  Nicotine nannies, using concocted “science,” demanded laws that prohibited smoking in any “public” establishment.  The results were devastating to many businesses, but they lied about that too.  Those of us who believed in property rights and freedom of choice were shouted down and treated like ignorant lepers.  Our warnings that this was the first step of an increasingly nanny state were met with derision.  “Pfft, that’s just the slippery slope argument.”  But slippery slope is exactly how these weasels operate – time and time and time again.

Two years ago The New York City Department of Health asked restaurants that survived the smoking ban to “voluntarily” limit their use of trans-fats.  (New York City has their own health department, because New York State’s DOH isn’t nanny enough.) Within a year it was law.  Über-nanny Michael Bloomberg hailed it as another victory.  Next they forced most restaurants to post nutritional information about all their dishes.   So although this proposed state law is so ridiculous we need a new word for ridiculous to describe it, it’s not surprising.

Felix Ortiz, the weasel proposing this legislation, has a history of extreme nannyism.  He once tried to legislate mandatory ignition-interlock breathalyzers in all automobiles in NY.  Not just those for people with a DUI, but for everybody.  Sound goofy?  Several car manufactures are now working on making it standard equipment for future models.

It won’t be the first time an oppressive government has tried to interfere with people using salt.  This legislation was announced on 80th anniversary of Gandhi’s Salt Satyagraha protesting the British salt tax.  It was the start of India’s revolution against the UK.  On this side of the pond it would be nice to imagine this could be the final straw, the thing that makes Americans rise up and lash out at any congress weasel that supports nanny legislation, but that’s wishful thinking.  Americans used to be made of sterner stuff, but today the majority either doesn’t care about this kind of tyranny or actually likes it.

The bill won’t pass this time, but once the derision dies down it will be back, probably in a more “moderate” form.  Nannies are the most persistent dirtbags on the planet.  To those who scoff, let me remind you that fifteen years ago the idea of Big Brother arresting you for having a smoke in a bar seemed outrageous.

So, liberals and progressives, still think having Big Brother in control of every aspect of your lives is a good idea?

Edited to add: With each passing day the wonderfully cheesy movie “Demolition Man” becomes more accurate.  Check out this clip at the 4:45 mark:

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6 Comment(s)

  1. The really big problem with this is that there’s no reason to think that salt reductions will have any benefit for most of the population.

    There are some people who are salt sensitive who may need to watch their salt intake. People who have high blood pressure might benefit. But most people are perfectly able to process excess salt without effect.

    So this isn’t even an intervention that’s backed by science!

    Parrot | Mar 12, 2010 | Reply

  2. “So, liberals and progressives, still think having Big Brother in control of every aspect of your lives is a good idea?”

    Actually they probably do. But this type of nannyism is just the most recent, most visible type. McDonalds stopped using salt and pepper in the preparation of their burgers in the late 80’s. When a friend of mine got a part time job there, to meet women, he insisted on using the salt/pepper shaker or he’d quit. They allowed it only when he was cooking, and that’s the only time another friend and I would go to the store. These nannys don’t seem to understand that using seasoning DURING the cooking process is completely different than adding it after. And since people who can’t have salt are still a small minority in the US it doesn’t make sense to remove it from all dishes. They can request salt free dishes for themselves.

    Brian Riley | Mar 12, 2010 | Reply

  3. “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
    C. S. Lewis”

    Michael Harling | Mar 13, 2010 | Reply

  4. Hey Mike, how are things across the pond in the UK? I hear they’re putting surveillance cameras in people’s homes now, but only in a few cases where they can say it’s for the childreeeeeeeen.

    That Lewis quote is perfect. H. L. Menken is another great source of wisdom:

    “Off goes the head of the king, and tyranny gives way to freedom. The change seems abysmal. Then, bit by bit, the face of freedom hardens, and by and by it is the old face of tyranny. Then another cycle, and another. But under the play of all these opposites there is something fundamental and permanent — the basic delusion that men may be governed and yet be free.”

    or

    “Civilization, in fact, grows more and more maudlin and hysterical; especially under democracy it tends to degenerate into a mere combat of crazes; the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.”

    Hittman | Mar 13, 2010 | Reply

  5. Dave, things are okay here. I have not heard about putting cameras in people’s homes and when I looked it up it seems to a bogus, or at least, exaggerated story. They do seem to be considering removing problem families to a place where they can be supervised to see they behave properly (sans barbed wire, guard dogs and electric fence, we hope) but that, too, may be bogus. The British press, I am finding, does not let the truth get in the way of a sensational story.

    That said, I was looking for (but could not find) a quote I ran into many years ago. It basically said governments like to use the “for the children” excuse because it allows them to visit the most radical impingements on people’s liberty with their full consent. I read that in a book, so it has a greater chance of being true, but there is less of a chance of me finding it. The conundrum of the internet ;)

    Michael Harling | Mar 14, 2010 | Reply

  6. The British press, I am finding, does not let the truth get in the way of a sensational story.

    Just like the American Press. Hell, even the venerable New York Times runs bogus stories.

    The only real newspaper, the one that wasn’t filled with lies, was the Merv Report. No wonder it folded.

    Hittman | Mar 14, 2010 | Reply

2 Trackback(s)

  1. Sep 2, 2012: from Nanny State Confiscates Salt Shakers :: Stolinsky.com | Conservative political and social commentary
  2. Jan 27, 2013: from Your Doctor or a Government Agent? :: Stolinsky.com | Conservative political and social commentary

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