John Stossel

Sandy Summers, the nurse's advocate, was undeterred. "So yeah, it may just all be a big joke. But, year after year, decade after decade, of, oh, nurses, brainless sluts. Nurses, brainless sluts. I mean, it's not really a joke anymore."

I asked her: Can't people tell the difference between fiction and reality? Should doctors be upset about Dr. Pepper?

"I don't know," she said. "I'd guess you'd have to ask them."

Instead I talked to Clark Neily, who works for the Institute for Justice, a law firm that defends small businesses from governments that bully them. I explained: The nurses say the Heart Attack Grill sexualizes their profession and makes people not want to become nurses.

"They have a point," Neily said, "They're professionals, and they should be treated with respect. But it is absolutely the wrong way to go about that, having the government come in and try to censor people who are saying things that offend you."

Exactly. Why do people immediately call for the use of force rather than persuasion when they don't like something? That's what a free society is supposed to be about: peaceful persuasion.

Even the nurses' advocate, who's organized a letter-writing campaign against the restaurant, called the attorney general's action an assault on free speech.

At the moment, reason has prevailed. After "20/20" and other camera crews showed up to film the waitresses and try to talk to the state nursing board, Arizona officials decided not to take any action against the Heart Attack Grill.

That's good news for the "nurses," and their customers. But the busybodies seldom rest for long. How long will it be before some other government officials threaten to shut down the Heart Attack Grill because of its name? Or because it sells fatty food?

Next week: how some busybodies stopped churches from serving food to the poor.


John Stossel

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at >johnstossel.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. ©Creators Syndicate