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Give Me a Cigarette

Here’s a letter to the Los Angeles Times:

Jonathan Fielding and Paul Simon praise New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg for “Incentivizing healthy eating” (Oct. 20).  Never mind that the mayor’s idea of an incentive is a ban – as in his ban on trans fats in NYC restaurants.  Also ignore the fact that it’s none of Messrs. Fielding’s, Simon’s, or Bloomberg’s business what I or anyone else eats.  If I choose to stuff my face with bacon-wrapped Twinkies fried in lard and slathered with salted butter, that’s my business.

Instead, focus on the fact that there are already in place natural incentives to eat a healthy diet.  Most significantly, people who eat a poor diet reduce their life-expectancy.  They also become less physically attractive and, hence, less competitive in the market for appealing mates.  If these incentives aren’t sufficient to persuade someone to forego an unhealthy diet, decency and civility require that we respect that person’s choice.  The life in question belongs to that person and not to society or the state.

Donald J. Boudreaux