Julie Gunlock
This Independence Day, Americans everywhere will fire up their grills, pack a picnic basket, or head out to a friends' house for a day of celebration. Most will end the night huddled together outside, watching a fireworks display, eating ice cream and apple pie, and sipping a drink. Some will take the time to reflect on the greatness of this country and explain to their children why we mark this important day. July 4th is about independence, and remembering those who fought for a government with limited powers over its citizens.

Yet, increasingly Americans seem willing to give up some of their freedoms and are letting government control their choices. Consider government's growing involvement in Americans' food choices. City governments are outlawing trans-fats and proposing taxes on sodas and snack foods. San Francisco famously banned toys in happy meals and in New York certain city workers must abide by strict workplace policies on what food can be consumed at work (tap water is required for office parties and bagels must be mini-sized!).

School districts are getting in on the action too—several schools ban chocolate milk on the lunch line despite this being the only source of calcium for many kids. North Carolina actually bans medium-rare hamburgers in an effort to protect consumers from food poison. Last month in Pennsylvania, an Amish farmer was arrested by FDA agents for selling unpasteurized milk (also known as raw milk; it is illegal in most states). In Missouri, a family was recently fined nearly $100,000 for selling rabbit meat by the pound to neighbors and friends.

The First Lady’s Let’s Move Campaign, celebrated by many politicians on both sides of the aisle, is emblematic of how Americans are increasingly willing to relinquish personal responsibility to a paternalistic government. The First Lady has been meddling in how food manufacturers do business—telling them how they should market their products and pushing them to change their nutrition labels so that they appear on the front of the package. Ms. Obama has also “suggested” restaurants serve smaller portions and food companies change their products entirely so that they contain less salt and calories.


Julie Gunlock

Julie Gunlock is director of the Culture of Alarmism project at the Independent Women’s Forum (www.iwf.org).