Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 6, 2006 / 13 Elul, 5766

Busybody politicians, get off our backs

By John Stossel


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | If you want to buy or sell foie gras in a Chicago restaurant, you'll have to break the law. Not that this stops anyone. Restaurants all over Chicago sell the French delicacy — even restaurants that never sold it before. They openly thumb their noses at the new law.


City officials say cracking down on foie gras pushers won't be a high priority. But the law is on the books, ready whenever the authorities want to harass some troublesome restaurateur. The ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said, "The more laws and order are made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there will be."


In this case the politicians are catering to the animal-rights lobby, which complains that geese and ducks are force-fed to make the fattened-liver paste. (The American Veterinary Medical Association investigated the process and has abstained from condemning it.)


Political leaders say they work hard to advance the general welfare. What they really do is help vocal and well-organized special interests.


Sometimes I think the type of people who run for office are the most dangerous people. Most of us want to run our own lives, or help people by offering them charity, or selling them things. The people who want to run other people's lives are . . . different. In pursuit of their vision of the perfect world, they justify even absurd restrictions on our freedom. For example:


In Belton, Mo., it is illegal to throw a snowball.


In New Jersey and Oregon, it is illegal to pump your own gas.


In Kern County, Calif., it is illegal to play bingo while drunk. In Illinois, it is against the law to hunt bullfrogs with a ?rearm.


In Massachusetts, it's illegal to deface a milk carton.


In Fairfax, Va., the use of pogo sticks is outlawed on city buses. In Palm Harbor, Fla., it is illegal to have an artificial lawn.


Some of these silly laws are old, but dumb as they are, they are still on the books. The bureaucrats' bad ideas never go away. They don't repeal old laws; they just pass new ones.


Plan on painting your porch on your day off? Don't do it in Spring Hill, Tenn. The city council banned any "alteration or repair of any building" in a residential neighborhood on Sundays, even do-it-yourself work.


The mayor of the tiny community of Friendship Heights, Md., said he had to protect his citizens from cigarette smoke. So several years ago, he got his town to pass the most stringent anti-smoking law in America. It banned cigarette smoke not just in restaurants, bars, and offices, but outdoors, too.


The mayor is a doctor who should have known that only the flimsiest of data suggests secondhand smoke hurts people. The suggestion of slight risk came from studies of people who lived with smokers, and were exposed to lots of secondhand smoke at home and in cars. The idea that outdoor cigarette smoke is a meaningful health risk is silly. Granted, secondhand smoke is a nuisance. But so are many other things.


But the mayor was a zealot, and Friendship Heights banned smoking anywhere on city property, which meant no smoking on the sidewalks, the streets or the parks.


I said to Mayor Alfred Muller, "You're another of these busybody politicians who want to tell other people how to live their lives." He replied, "Well, we're elected to promote the general welfare, and this is part of the general welfare."


The mayor seemed very sincere, and the citizens of Friendship Heights felt protected by his concern. However, shortly after I interviewed him, he had to register as a sex offender after touching a 14-year-old boy's genitals in a restroom at Washington National Cathedral. The mayor got probation, and the village council repealed his law. Now we finally know what it takes to get a law repealed.


The people who have the biggest passion for restricting other people's behavior are the very people we should worry about most. Unfortunately, they keep running for office.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JUST OUT FROM STOSSEL
Myths, Lies and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel --- Why Everything You Know Is Wrong  

Stossel mines his 20/20 segments for often engaging challenges to conventional wisdom, presenting a series of "myths" and then deploying an investigative journalism shovel to unearth "truth." This results in snappy debunkings of alarmism, witch-hunts, satanic ritual abuse prosecutions and marketing hokum like the irradiated-foods panic, homeopathic medicine and the notion that bottled water beats tap. Stossel's libertarian convictions make him particularly fond of exposes of government waste and regulatory fiascoes. Sales help fund JWR.



JWR contributor John Stossel is co-anchor of ABC News' "20/20." To comment, please click here.


Archives

© 2006, by JFS Productions, Inc. Distributed by Creators Syndicate, Inc.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles