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“I Did Kill My Parents, Your Honor. So I Plead that You Have Mercy on Me, a Poor Orphan.”

Here’s a letter to the Washington Post:

Former CDC official William Dietz – criticizing George Will’s criticism of the nanny-state’s quest to dictate our diets in ever-greater detail – observes that “Many neighborhoods have abundant fast-food restaurants and lack supermarkets….  Individuals can’t be expected to make healthy choices if there are no healthy choices available” (Letters, Sept. 1).

True.  But this fact doesn’t mean that George Will is wrong to counsel skepticism of government.  Quite the contrary.

Just this past Tuesday you properly criticized the use of zoning regulations to prevent the opening of a Wal-Mart in D.C. (“Expedite zoning appeal so Wal-Mart can start construction in the District,” Aug. 28).  So here we have a case of the market attempting to expand people’s food choices, only to be obstructed in that effort by the very agency – government – that Mr. Dietz calls upon to assist the market in expanding people’s food choices.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030