Walter E. Williams

You say, "Williams, you're really stretching it; they'd never go to those extremes!" There's no limit to what do-gooder zealots will do to accomplish their mission. Think back to the 1964, the time of the "First Surgeon General Report: Smoking and Health." Back then, tobacco zealots called for "reasonable" measures such as warning labels on cigarettes and restrictions on advertising. Emboldened by their success in getting these relatively benign measures, tobacco zealots moved on to seeking bans on smoking on airplanes and airports; suits against tobacco manufacturers; confiscatory taxes on cigarettes; denying child adoption to smokers; bans on smoking in bars, restaurants and workplaces; even bans on outdoor smoking such as in stadia, public beaches and city streets. Had the tobacco zealots called for all of these measures, as a total package back in 1964, they would not have even gotten warning labels on cigarettes. That's the tyrant's strategy: Attacking people's rights to property and liberty on a piecemeal basis reduces resistance.

We Americans have given federal, state and local governments the right to interfere with any aspect of our lives when it comes to issues of health. So should we be surprised when an emboldened Congress enacts Obamacare, even though most American were against it, that not only mandates that we purchase health insurance but will eventually control virtually every aspect of our health care? Should we be surprised when government tells us what food to give our children? Should we be surprised when government taxes soft drinks in the name of fighting obesity? Should we be surprised when governments order restaurants not to serve foie gras or cook with trans fats? If you think government has the right to look after our health, how far would you have it go? How about a congressional mandate for morning calisthenics, eight glasses of water a day and eight hours of sleep each night?


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
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