Chicago, the City of Bans

A Chicago Alderman is trying to ban trans fats in an attempt to control what people eat. But this is just one in a litany of bans that are in effect in Chicago,

  • No smoking in restaurants.
  • No cell phones while driving.
  • No poorly dressed cabbies. (What the f**k?)
  • No smoking on the beach.
  • And no foi gras, not because it is bad for you, but because it is bad for the goose. (What the f**k…why not ban burgers then, those sure are bad for cows).

Now there will be another ban on trans fats because they are bad for you. Why not booze? After all that is bad, and drunk driving kills innocents. Oh…wait, Chicago did try that along with the rest of the country and it didn’t work out too well.

The motive for the ban is the “epidemic” of fat kids. Of course, instead of dealing with the problem of bad parenting (i.e. parents letting kids watch too much television, play video games, and eat fatty foods) we’ll go after everybody who is fat, thin, and in between and tell them what they can and can’t eat.

FILED UNDER: Health, US Politics, , ,
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.


  1. Greg Tinti says:

    Oh, the glories of the Nanny State. Save me from myself. Please, I implore you…

  2. Ira says:

    I suppose the next thing will be to make it illegal to eat trans fats while driving.

  3. Michael says:

    Seriously, with all the things the government bans because they are “bad” for our health, why are you a) surprised and b) offended by this particularly? Do you know just how many substances are currently banned for these same reasons?

  4. Anderson says:

    Point taken, but come on: “No cell phones while driving”?

    If we credit the research that says they impair as badly as alcohol, this isn’t “saving us from ourselves”; it’s saving us from each other.

    I mean, why ban drunk driving? “Nanny State! Nanny State!”

  5. Kent G. Budge says:

    I’m with Anderson. All your examples are good except the ban on cell phones while driving. I’ve had a number of near misses involving an idiot driver too busy yakking on the cell phone to notice he was about to slam into my car.

  6. Steve Verdon says:

    Kent & Anderson,

    Point taken, I’ve seen many idiots who seem to get in their car and dial their cell phones before they start their engine, but here is the question:

    Will a ban on cell phones stop this behavior, and are there measures in place to already deal with it? Many states/localities have laws about driving like a moron. Also, talking on the cell phone and rear-ending the guy in front of you, or some other accident will likely result in the cell phone talker being at fault/paying/etc. In short should simply keep making more and more bans even when there are perfectly good laws in place to take care of the problem? And what about technology? Now we have cell phones with those tiny ear-pieces, how do those work with bans? Often times bans to prohibit or even encourage hands-free gizmos which, IMO, are just as bad as it is the conversation that is the problem not simply the device. Soon, your “cell phone talking ban” is going to lead to another ban, and yet another and so on as technology evolves. Sort of like an arms race.

    David Boaz had an article on this at Cato @ Liberty that pointed this problem out. One instance of government intervention seems to beget more and more interventions.

    1. Certain drugs can only be handed out by qualified people.
    2. Oooops, we better have a regulation saying what a qualified person is.
    3. What? Some of these qualified people are refusing to dispense certain drugs because it is against their religious beliefs? Okay, now we’ll intevene again and tell them to knock-it-off (or not).