Walter E. Williams
by Walter E. Williams: It
Just Ain't So
at a Raeford, N.C., elementary school, a teacher confiscated the
lunch of a 5-year-old girl because it didn't meet U.S. Department
of Agriculture guidelines and therefore was deemed nonnutritious.
She replaced it with school cafeteria chicken nuggets. The girl's
home-prepared lunch was nutritious; it consisted of a turkey and
cheese sandwich, potato chips, a banana and apple juice. But whether
her lunch was nutritious or not is not the issue. The issue is governmental
usurpation of parental authority.
In a number
of states, pregnant teenage girls may be given abortions without
the notification or the permission of parents. The issue is neither
abortion nor whether a pregnant teenager should have an abortion.
The issue is this: What gives the government the authority to usurp
Part of the
problem is that people who act as instruments of government do not
pay a personal price for usurping parental authority. The reason
is Americans, unlike Americans of yesteryear, have become timid
and, as such, come to accept all manner of intrusive governmental
acts. Can you imagine what a rugged American, such as one portrayed
by John Wayne, would have done to a government tyrant who confiscated
his daughter's lunch or facilitated her abortion without his permission?
I believe that
the anti-tobacco movement partially accounts for today's compliant
American. Tobacco zealots started out with "reasonable" demands,
such as the surgeon general's warning on cigarette packs. Then they
demanded nonsmoking sections on airplanes. Emboldened by that success,
they demanded no smoking at all on airplanes and then airports and
then restaurants and then workplaces – all in the name of health.
Seeing the compliant nature of smokers, they've moved to ban smoking
on beaches, in parks and on sidewalks in some cities. Now they're
calling for higher health insurance premiums for smokers. Had the
tobacco zealots demanded their full agenda when they started out,
they would not have achieved anything.
Using the anti-tobacco
crusade as their template and finding Americans so compliant, zealots
and would-be tyrants are extending their agenda. Why not control
what we eat? San Francisco, Chicago and several other cities have
outlawed or are seeking to outlaw serving foie gras in restaurants.
Here's my challenge to these people: Don't be a coward and use the
state to accomplish your agenda. If you see Williams eating foie
gras, just come up and take it off his plate.
tyrants want to stop us from eating Dove and Haagen-Dazs ice cream,
Mrs. Fields cookies and McDonald's Chicken McNuggets. San Francisco
has already banned McDonald's from selling Happy Meals with toys
in them as sales pitches to children. Seeing San Franciscan compliance
may have been the source of inspiration for the North Carolina schoolteacher
who took the 5-year-old girl's lunch.
have become compliant in nation-crippling ways. Over the past several
years, gasoline prices have been shooting through the roof, but
not to worry. President Barack Obama's current secretary of energy,
Steven Chu, said in December 2008, "Somehow we have to figure out
how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe." That
translates to $8 or $9 a gallon. During a recent hearing on the
Department of Energy's budget, Rep. Alan Nunnelee, R-Miss., asked
Secretary Chu whether it is the DOE's "overall goal" to lower gasoline
prices. "No," Chu responded. "The overall goal is to decrease our
dependency on oil, to build and strengthen our economy."
are so compliant and willing to suffer silently at the gasoline
pump, the Obama administration is willing to press on as handmaidens
of environmental extremists who want to halt the exploration of
our country's vast oil supplies, which are estimated to be triple
those of Saudi Arabia. The Obama administration would rather pour
more taxpayer dollars into risky alternative crony energy suppliers
and electric cars. The OPEC nations have to be laughing at us, and
I wouldn't be surprised if it were revealed that they are making
under-the-table payments to environmental wackos.
E. Williams is the John M. Olin distinguished professor of economics
at George Mason University, and a nationally syndicated columnist.
To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other
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© 2012 Creators Syndicate, Inc.
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