It seems that many government officials believe that their responsibilities include determining how people should live their lives. They try to influence people’s preferences and behavior by determining what foods people should eat, what activities they should engage in, and what should be allowed to transpire in privately owned restaurants and bars. Is it any surprise that the federal government now will attempt to force individuals to purchase health insurance?
The city of San Francisco – always a leader in bad public policy – has found a new opportunity to extend its reach into peoples’ lives. A nonbinding resolution encouraging restaurants not to serve meat on Mondays in order to foster “general civic health” was recently passed by the city’s Board of Supervisors. San Francisco’s resolution is nonbinding, but it is nonetheless inappropriate and unnecessary. Considering the critical financial situation of California, the Board of Supervisors would be better advised on focusing on fiscal matters rather than nagging citizens and businesses.
Some would argue that government should act as a paternal figure in order to protect and improve society. They believe that a select group on Capitol Hill knows what’s best for the other 300,000,000 Americans. But individual liberty has been an essential component of the culture of the United States of America since its founding. Actions of the government, both large and small, can undermine this important quality. Let vegetarians and carnivores advocate freely for their respective causes, while government sticks to its knitting.