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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/5860/freedom-of-choice-in-new-york-city-diet-no-gender-yes/

Freedom of Choice in New York City: Diet, No; Gender, Yes

November 7, 2006 by

From The New York Times of October 31, 2006:

Dozens of people appeared before the city’s Board of Health yesterday, offering a largely favorable response to proposed restaurant regulations that would ban all but a minute amount of artificial trans fats in food preparation, and require some restaurants to post calorie counts on their menus and menu boards.


The board has said it planned to vote on both proposals, which are supported by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, in December. The hearing yesterday was part of a process of public comment that also includes written responses.


The New York City proposals, which have drawn attention across the country, would establish some of the most rigorous limits on trans fats in restaurants and set requirements for menu labeling more rigid than in any other American city.

From The New York Times of November 7, 2006:

Separating anatomy from what it means to be a man or a woman, New York City is moving forward with a plan to let people alter the sex on their birth certificate even if they have not had sex-change surgery.

Under the rule being considered by the city’s Board of Health, which is likely to be adopted soon, people born in the city would be able to change the documented sex on their birth certificates by providing affidavits from a doctor and a mental health professional laying out why their patients should be considered members of the opposite sex, and asserting that their proposed change would be permanent.

Bottom line: Starting soon, in New York City, you won’t be able to buy a donut baked with trans fat, but you will be able choose your sex, irrespective of your anatomy.

If you think this is crazy, you’d better watch out and not say so. That’s because sooner or later, if there isn’t already, there will be a further regulation that bans such dissent as “antisocial,” “insensitive,” or “offensive.”

Even so, I can’t suppress the thought that if the hosts of, say, the Boston Tea Party, were alive, they might physically relocate New York City’s Board of Health to the streets below, perhaps with its office furniture wrapped around its members’ necks. A hostile response, I know. But then I’m feeling like that rattlesnake on a flag of my country’s Revolutionary War. His message to the world was, “Don’t Tread on Me.”

George Reisman is the author of Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics (Ottawa, Illinois: Jameson Books, 1996) and is Pepperdine University Professor Emeritus of Economics. His web site is www.capitalism.net. © 2006, by George Reisman.

{ 11 comments }

Perry E. Metzger November 7, 2006 at 4:50 pm

I can understand a fellow libertarian opposing food content regulation, but why do you care what sex people claim to be?

Heck, I don’t even see why we have birth certificates — the state has no business tracking the inhabitants of the country. If it is going to track such things, though, I don’t see what business of theirs it is telling people what sex to think of themselves as.

Steve Hogan November 7, 2006 at 4:56 pm

The only thing worse than a cynical politician who exercises power for its own sake is one who actually believes that he has the knowledge and the authority to dictate how millions ought to live. The former is merely annoying; the latter is truly menacing.

Bloomberg is a menace, and he needs to be reined in before he inflicts more damage on society.

Matthew November 7, 2006 at 6:07 pm

First lets start with the trans fats issue. I had been noticing that most of the major fast food chains fries had been going downhill lately. And my friend informed me that most of the chains were trying to get rid of trans fats and had to change their recipes. So now instead of going to the national franchises that offer consistent quality at every location I had to find a local mom and pop place. Most of my Paternalistic Leftist friends tell me that I should take of for the team as all they are trying to do is help people who can’t help themselves make the health decisions. I really hope that there is a backlash against the Paternalistic Elites soon.

For the choosing your sex: I wonder what will happen when people start changing their sex to take advantage of some sort of affirmative action program.

wrfe November 7, 2006 at 10:48 pm
Phil R November 9, 2006 at 1:21 pm

It’s easy to make light of transsexuality, particularly if you’ve never met someone who is transsexual. In addition to the prejudice they face from the general public, the state places a great many barriers on their autonomy; removing one is a cause for celebration or (at worst) indifference, not “crazy.”

There is no principled, freedom-loving reason to ban trans-fats. The ban should be opposed, and held up as ridiculous. There is also no logical link between the nonsensical ban and the decision by the state to respect individual autonomy.

You might no longer be free to buy or sell trans-fat donuts. This is wrong, and should be fixed.

You are still free, as an individual, to interact with trans-gendered people as though they were gendered according to their genitalia. I’d argue strongly that it is rude to do so, but that is your right. (Assuming, that is, random strangers even allow you to look at their genitals before you decide whether to refer to them as “he” or “she.” You might not even know.)

It’s none of the state’s business to say that anyone ought to undergo genital surgery to be recognized for who they are. It’s expensive, invasive, and some women simply don’t feel the need.

Milly March 22, 2011 at 12:22 pm

I’m glad somebody on Mises isn’t transphobic. I was starting to get discouraged.

Phil R November 9, 2006 at 1:28 pm

(nor do some men)

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