My libertarian impulses include the feeling that informed people who really want to undertake the risks of trans fats should be allowed to do so. In a perfect world, a small mom-and-pop restaurant would be able to pay a "vice tax" and receive a license to use trans fats, provided they prominently display that they are doing so. People who need that trans fat fix could go and get it (probably at much less cost to their health, since the normal food supply would be drained of trans fats). But what too many conservatives are now promoting is the idea that when people dine out they should be able to spot and avoid an invisible industrial process that endangers their health. That seems to me like a parody of personal responsibility.
Trans fats are only a small part of our national epidemic of heart disease, but they are an unjustifiable part.
There's an old saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater." But in this case, there is no baby there. Throw it out.
Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.
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