Monday February 12, 2007

What's up with a trans-fat ban?

idiotic anti-trans-fat icon I can’t possibly begin to explain how much this crap bugs me. For those not following along, there’s been a wave of anti-trans-fat legislation sweeping the nation. It started when New York City banned it in December, and now Miami-Dade is getting in on the act.

Trans fat (aka Trans fatty acids) is some nasty stuff. (The 2¢ version of the science is that hydrogen atoms are added to existing fats, changing their molecular structure. Hey look, now they’re partially hydrogenated.) Restaurants and especially fast-food joints love the stuff, because it lasts forever without going rancid like other oils, and because it makes stuff taste deeee-licious. The bad news is that it’s a completely artificial food-like substance, and it will hasten the death of you. Trans fats pretty much stick around in your arteries forever, causing coronary heart disease and probably contributing to cancer and diabetes. Plus, ingested regularly, it will make you fat beyond your wildest dreams.

So, let’s get rid of it, right? We’ll save millions on public health costs, and all the kids complaining about slightly-less-delicious fries will thank us later. We’ve banned smoking and heroin, and those were way more fun then stupid artificial fats.

Not so fast. Trans fats are different. I would personally love to ban them from my diet, but passing a law against them crosses a creepy line. There is a very reasonable argument that smoking hurts people standing around the smoker. Even when you’re outside and it sounds silly, at least there a theoretical possibility of second hand smoke. No such luck with trans fats — you can stuff your face with them in my immediate presence and my exposure risk is nil. So this is strictly about looking out for our fellow humans, and the aforementioned public health bill.

But the public health argument doesn’t lead to a slippery slope — it falls off the edge of a cliff. We’re well into the territory of telling you what you can and can’t eat if we go for this ban. This opens so many doors that our self-appointed protectors won’t know where to turn next. How about how much sugar is in certain foods? How about things that pretend to be vegetables and aren’t? How about that other artificially-created horrible-for-you food-like substance, high fructose corn syrup? But you know, it’s not any one food you eat in isolation, it’s really the sum total of you diet that is or isn’t healthy. So really we should be keeping up with everyone’s whole diet.

The other reason this ban is an idiotic idea is that there is an equally effective and much less intrusive alternative: mandatory labeling. It’s the American way! As of January, Food sold in stores must list trans fats content (reports have food makers reformulating foods like Oreos to replace the dreaded stuff). Let’s just require restaurants to indicated which foods contain trans fats. Say, with a skull and crossbones icon.

Consider that an outright ban is a ban on certain types of food. Have we come so far in this country since September 11 that we’re ready to try to protect ourselves by banning food? And don’t kid yourself, only in a post-9-11 world America this be thinkable. We’ve gotten so used to the government taking things away “for our safety” and without any logical justification that this actually doesn’t sound unreasonable. “Sorry comrade, but you can’t take that water bottle on the plane.” What?! New York City should be ashamed of itself, and nobody who cares about freedom should emulate their example.

Update: In the New Times, Tamara Lush surveys locals about trans fats. The overwhelming majority miss the point and say shit like “well if they’re bad, then ban ‘em!”

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  1. Josh    Mon Feb 12, 10:02 AM #  

    See the Becker-Posner blog for a real analysis of the ban.

    The New York City Ban on Trans Fats
    Comment on the New York Ban on Trans Fats
    The Trans Fats Ban—Posner’s Response to Comments

  2. Alex    Mon Feb 12, 11:59 AM #  

    We fell off that cliff a long time ago. Many consensual activities are banned and criminalized (not just heroin, but gambling and prostitution for example) for which you could make the same argument that you are not harming anyone but yourself. Transfats are hardly the first product ingredient that has been banned after being proved dangerous (asbestos, lead paint). So it’s been established for a long time that the government can take things away for the greater good.

    I don’t think mandatory labeling is that effective, if it was nobody would smoke (“This will KILL you!”) Regulation, including bans, is one way to drive innovation on the private industry. They’ll come up with somthing new and we’ll be back to our delicious fries.

  3. stephanie    Mon Feb 12, 12:23 PM #  

    Ban it baby! The truth is you’ll never know the difference in taste and it’ll keep everyone a bit more healthy (what’s wrong with that?). Restaurants won’t do this on their own so someone needs to force it. Why are Americans so reluctant to healthier ways, Europeans would never stand for such…
    -My two cents :)

  4. mapache    Mon Feb 12, 12:39 PM #  

    I agree with Alex.
    I say ban the stuff… humble opinion

  5. Alex    Mon Feb 12, 12:55 PM #  

    BTW, personally I’m not in favor of criminalizing consensual activities. If it were up to me, prostitution gambling and drugs would be legal and taxed. I’m just saying it’s the current state of affairs. My disagreement is that I don’t see the trans fat bans as an escalation.

  6. alesh    Mon Feb 12, 01:08 PM #  

    There are arguments (silly, but there you go) the all those other activities hurt non-participants.

    The arguments at Josh’s links are really really good. “Paternalistic” is the word I was looking for, but they’ve got really in-depth analysis and figures that point to just how WRONG this is.

    BTW, warning signs on cigarettes are a very particular case, because there is a particular psychology at work that keeps people (young people, mostly) smoking despite knowing it’s deadly.

    In the case of restaurants, likely mandatory labeling would effectively force restaurants to offer reasonable trans fat free options (much the way almost any restaurant has some vegetarian options).

    As for all the “ban it, it’ll make everyone healthier” comments, you people need to take a hard look at yourselves. This is supposed to be a free country, and here you are on the bandwagon to arbitrarily legislate away people’s rights.

    Just because X is considered by a portion of society to be bad does not mean X should be legalized. Read the goddamned constitution.

  7. MiamiLawStudent    Mon Feb 12, 01:22 PM #  

    To the extent that it raises public health care costs and strains our ability to run hospitals, transfats do hurt more of us than just transfats consumers. Think of the transfat problem as a market failure problem like environmental degradation. Using up clean air, water, etc. doesn’t cost polluters a thing so they don’t think twice about doing so. Similarly, your health doesn’t cost transfat makers or users a dime so they don’t think twice about making/using transfats.

    Imagine taxing the hell out of transfats rather than baning them. Make transfats use in restaurants really expensive and earmark the proceeds for healthcare. If food with transfats tastes so much better, people will pay for them and companies will continue to profit.

  8. Alex    Mon Feb 12, 01:41 PM #  

    And it’ll keep young people eating away McDonald’s french fries, now with an added sense of dangerousness.

    Look, nobody is proposing criminalizing being fat or unhealthy (that’s where your logical leap falls), just taking a dangerous product out of circulation. Food is highly regulated in this country -there’s a whole agency dedicated to it! Your constitutional rights are not affected by a ban. A ban is merely regulation of commerce, when the societal costs are weighed against the manufacturers and providers of a product. The ban will not stop you from adding your own hydrogen to your oil if you have the means and the inclination to do so. I recognize this is reductio ad absurdum but so is claiming we are losing individual rights over this.

  9. MiamiLawStudent    Mon Feb 12, 01:43 PM #  

    Also, transfats are bad to the extent that they kill and otherwise hurt the productivity of our work force (i.e., health problems keep them from going to work). We can draw another parallel to a pro-environment argument to understand just how.

    The idea of “environmental services” says it’s cheaper to let nature run its course (e.g., by purifying water) than it is to destroy nature and provide environmental services ourselves (e.g. purify water ourselves). Similarly, it’s cheaper to ban transfats and keep everyone healthy than it is to pay for public health.

    Alesh, I am usually on the same page as you when it comes to “free country” and antipaternalism arguments. However, these have their limits bounded by rationality and social norms. Letting people “eat poison” and letting people “feed others poison” are two of those limits.

    Finally, I can cry out “I am my brother’s keeper” with as much passion and sentiment as you can scream “paternalism!”

  10. Liz Donovan    Mon Feb 12, 01:56 PM #  

    One of the things that is always said about this problem: makes food taste delicious. NO NO NO. Real fats, like butter, lard, suet, bacon fat, (saturated but no trans fats), and even the better-for-you fats like olive oil, avocados, nuts, make food taste delicious. Trans fats are basically — Crisco. Nothing delicious about that.

  11. Guv    Mon Feb 12, 02:19 PM #  

    If you don’t want to eat trans-fats, don’t buy foods containing them. If you prefer that restaurants prepare food without trans-fats, vote with your feet. Don’t blame McDonalds for your expanding waistline when you are an adult who can make your own choices about how you stuff your face, and don’t ask the government to intervene to protect you from yourself.

    Demanding the availabiity of information about the contents of food (clear, honest labeling) is one thing; supporting an across-the-board ban on the food-villain-of-the-week seems incomprehensible to me, and is analogous to our government’s zealous regulation of “dirty” words on the airwaves. It’s a brave new world.

  12. alesh    Mon Feb 12, 02:40 PM #  

    Liz ~ thanks. my bad.

    alex~ I’m just saying that tigers lie that way. You could say the same thing about motorcycles. Motorcycles kill people — let’s ban motorcycles! (In fact they just re-allowed riding them without helmets.)

    The point is that what you eat is an individual choice.

    In the link above Posner makes an interesting argument — that it costs more money to prepare food without trans fats, and if people really cared about it, restaurants would advertise their trans fats-free food, creating a natural market for the foods.

    I would change this slightly to say that in light of all the attention trans fats have gotten lately restaurants will begin to do exactly that — not indicating foods with trans fats, but indicating foods WITHOUT them. As this becomes more common, you’ll see transfats disappear without any despicable legislation.

    Guv is exactly right. Remember margarine — this is like if we’d outlawed butter in the midst of the margarine craze!!!!!!11

  13. MiamiLawStudent    Mon Feb 12, 02:56 PM #  

    Transfats are not ideas. They’re not even food. Don’t be so overdramatic by brining “brave new world” into this. There is no fundamental right to eat or manufacture transfats; your life is no poorer for lack of transfats.

    As for your “I am an adult” arguement:
    The very same can be said about restaurants’ use of transfats. They are businesses who must deal with government regulation. What’s more, they are experts in preparing foods and can find healthier and cheaper alternatives with little burden. This is especially true of fast food corporations like McDonalds. They are highly sophisticated corporations that can find tasty alternatives to transfats and can steamline their stocking practices to make sure the alternatives don’t go rancid as quickly.

    As an aside:
    Do you also hate that car manufacturers are forced to put in seatbelts or required to emission requirements for their products? Hell, we’re adults, we can choose not to buy a car without one. What about clothing made with American child labor? I’m an adult I can choose not to buy it. You get the point.

  14. mapache    Mon Feb 12, 03:16 PM #  

    I should expand here since I did not express myself correctly prior to someone telling me that he/she is repulsed by the idea of the government controlling people to that extent and so extreme.
    In a way it does repulse me too to be controlled like that. The whole idea of something being banned and controlled to the extent as the government telling you what food is good for you and what food is not, it is so Cold war-eastern block Russia, suddenly George Orwell’s big brother comes to mind and the Cuba of Fidel Castro as well. Maybe Venezuela heading that way with Mr. Chavez? Dunno….
    But I agreed in the part that Alex says it began way back in the days when Lead paint, DDT, Asbestos, and multiple other things were banned for our well being. Although Asbestos, lead paint etc… don’t enter in the same ball park as Trans fat does, Alex does have a point, so when I said “ban the stuff” what I was trying to accomplish was the sarcasm in saying that it has already begun and that Trans fat might just be “one more thing” they tell us it is not our choice.
    MiamiLawStudent: The idea of choice comes in many forms and ways, yes you can choose a lot of things but government telling me that if I choose lead paint and DDT and asbestos will kill me, well then I do appreciate it when they ban it. The idea of establishing certain safety parameters when I’m moving at 60 mph when the human body was never intended to so, I do appreciate the government implementing them. The government telling me what food I can or cannot eat by choice, then no I do not appreciate. It’s like Castro telling you, you only have three rations of Trans fat a month. You are confusing choice with something else.

  15. Alex    Mon Feb 12, 03:19 PM #  

    Yeah, except that to ride a motorcycle without a helmet you have to buy a $10K policy, so that I’m not paying for your stupidity. So mybe we can let restaurants serve transfat if they buy an umbrella insurance policy to cover medical costs for their patrons.

    I agree it’s patronizing. I’m generally of te opinion of letting people lie on the beds they make. At the same time I think bans and regulations like these are an integral part of the free market process, spurring innovations that benefits us all. For example, CA has the most restrictive emissions regulations in the country, and they are one of the reasons we have ULEV and super ULEV engines.

  16. Manuel A. Tellechea    Mon Feb 12, 03:24 PM #  

    More freedom, not less freedom, is always the answer. Adults should be free to engage in any activity or indulge in any habit that does not harm a third party.

    150 years ago it was a capital offense to commit suicide. If you survived the attempt the government would take matters into its own hands and hang you. Ultimately, all invasive actions undertaken by the State on our behalf tend to result in a diminution in the quality of our lives or restrictions on our freedoms.

    The government doesn’t have the right to dictate to anyone how he should treat his own body much less what he should eat. Let the food faddists live on straw and morning dew if they want. But do not confuse their fanaticism with science however much they try to couch it in scientific terms.

    Trans-fats are just the latest banning fad; what saccharine was to another generation. The artificial sweetener was labelled a carcinogent (in rats) for 20 years until further research found it to be harmless to humans and rats. I do not doubt that the same thing will one day happen with trans-fats after all the hype dies out and the facts are examined dispassionately.

  17. MiamiLawStudent    Mon Feb 12, 03:26 PM #  

    Transfat is not food. And, so far as I know, doesn’t occur in nature.

    Banning transfat is a safety parameter just like moving at 60mph when the human body was never intended to do so. Moreover, the bans are not on eating transfats they’re on selling transfats in restaurants. That’s a very important distinction. The government isn’t keeping you from having transfats ever. It’s just saying there’s too much of it and choosing limits on restaurants, hospitals, schools, prisons etc. as its means. You’re still welcome to buy transfats at the grocery store, the quick stop, the vending machine, etc.

  18. Guv    Mon Feb 12, 03:30 PM #  


    1) Some of the possible replacements of transfats (certain “natural” oils) are NO healthier than transfats.

    2) Requiring a seatbelt in the car is like requiring McDonalds to disclose food ingredients, thus giving the consumer the ability to choose foods with the ingredients they prefer (like allowing me to choose to strap myself into my car). I ultimately choose whether to wear the belt, and I choose whether to eat the Big Mac. (An aside: Yes, Florida fines me if I don’t wear the belt, because the Feds give Florida money for implementing seatbelt laws…).

    3) Yes, we DO have the choice not to buy clothing made with child labor, American children or otherwise. Remember the fray ofer Kathy Lee’s Kmart clothes? Not long ago, college students were boycotting Nike en masse for their labor practices. I would argue that these businesses respond better to market pressures than governmental regulations (I am sure their R & D departments can come up with something much more harmful that transfats! whereas if we-the-people demand olive oil, the company who gives us the olive oil gets our dollars).

    4) When you eat at the Subway on the bricks at the UM School of Law, you choose which chips to buy: either the zero-trans-fats baked chips, or the BBQ Transfatitos. If you kids stop buying the Tranfatitos, they will stop stocking them at the Subway.

  19. MiamiLawStudent    Mon Feb 12, 03:34 PM #  

    Anyone have thoughts on foie gras bans?

    If you’re not aware, some municipalities including Chicago have baned foie gras in restaurants because they consider the process of making foie gras is cruel. The process involves force feeding ducks and geese corn mash until their livers enlarge.

    Do we as adults have the right to eat foie gras?

  20. Guv    Mon Feb 12, 03:41 PM #  

    Mmm… foie gras. Incidentally, foie gras contains no trans fats! However, if you eat it regularly you’ll probs end up with The Gout, so best not to overindulge.

  21. Manuel A. Tellechea    Mon Feb 12, 03:43 PM #  

    “Transfat is not food.” — MiamiLawStudent

    Anything that you put in your mouth and provides you with energy (calories) is food.

  22. mapache    Mon Feb 12, 03:50 PM #  

    You DO have the right to eat Foie Gras, as well as you DO have the right as an adult to buy a seal skin coat for your wife/girlfriend/significant other. The way baby seals are killed to make these coats is the cruelest I’ve ever seen. But you have the right to chose weather you buy it or you don’t. The same right to chose….what you put in your mouth as food (i.e. Trans fat) and what you don’t (i.e. foie gras).

  23. MiamiLawStudent    Mon Feb 12, 03:54 PM #  


    1) I’ve read conflicting data on the healthiness of transfat alternatives. So let’s both just drop the point.

    2) The seatbelt and child labor points were meant to be general rhetorical points but since you brought them up.

    You don’t have a choice to buy a car without a seatbelt; you must pay for one. How is this limitation on your choice substantially different from a tranfat ban in restaurants? Your freedom is constrained by the government in both cases.

    Florida’s fines for not wearing a seatbelt are not just some extra tax. You’re breaking the law when you don’t wear a seatbelt. When a law is passed its presumed that everyone must follow it. The fact that the penalty is “just a fine” doesn’t mean its optional.

    3) I said AMERICAN child labor. You can buy clothes made by children in third world countries but you can’t buy clothes made with American child labor. We have child labor laws.

    4) I don’t go to UM School of Law, I go to Northwestern University School of Law. Coincidentally, I eat the baked chips.

    5) You give consumers and marketers too much credit. Most people don’t take the time to think or learn about transfats. Even when its pushed at them every other night on nightly news health segments.

    Many others are limited in their diets by their incomes (the same people who need health to just ban transfats than to hope that consumers will wise up. care $$$ the most).

    I have no evidence to support the claim but I can’t help but marketers don’t seem to be all that responsive to consumers; there are always problems of incomplete information and market failure (see my earlier posts).

    Finally, I think it’s cheaper and easier to ban transfats than to hope / wait for consumers to will wise up

  24. J-J    Mon Feb 12, 04:00 PM #  

    Say no to Foie Gras! We are better than that. Treat animals humanely…remember you may be reincarnated as one!

  25. alesh    Mon Feb 12, 04:09 PM #  

    the difference with foie gras is that arguably animals are tortured to produce it.

    re #5, I think it’s true that people are stupid and they need to be babied. Let’s ban chocolate, too.

    I mean, red meat kills people; remember that link to the Michael Polland article (please please go read it people) where he says that heart disease plummeted in the war years when red meat was nonexistent? RED MEAT CAUSES HEART DISEASE, THE #1 KILLER OF AMERICANS!! Stop messing with small potatoes and ban cows.

  26. Guv    Mon Feb 12, 04:18 PM #  

    I know firsthand how families can be limited in their diets by their incomes, but there are thousands of meal choices that are comparable in price (or cheaper) than fast food, more nutritious, and I’d argue more delicious. Education of the public is more important (and a better role for the government to take on) than unilaterally making the “right” choices for the people.

  27. Alex    Mon Feb 12, 04:24 PM #  

    You’ll have to pry my steak from my cold, dead fingers…

    Seriously people. You can’t compare foie gras with transfats. In terms of scale and price alone, foie gras goes to a small segment of the population that have the financial and educational wherewhital to influence their choices. Many upscale restaurants are voluntarily not using foie gras anymore.

    Trans fats in McDonald’s french fries? Apples to oranges. It is cheaper to cook with transfats and therefore those fries wil be cheaper. If we don’t accept a certain amount of government regulation so that mass manufacturers and retailers improve the quality of their products, we end up with a class of people who are consuming crap because economically they can’t do better.

  28. MiamiLawStudent    Mon Feb 12, 04:35 PM #  

    Yea, but the processing involved in transfat production makes all the difference. My understanding is that transfats are artificially made. Red meat’s not as processed (I’m opposed to hormones and other additives to the extent that they’re harmful to humans but in favor of them to the extent that they help feed more people).

    As for “more natural” processed foods like chocolate, I think there are logical limits to how far a ban on a particular substance needs to go. I.E., not everything slippery slopes.

    An imporant distinction that I’m making and I feel most others (e.g. Manuel Tellechea) arent is my feeling that transfat is not “food.”

    Manuel Tellechea:
    Chewing gum provides me calories and fits in my mouth but that doesn’t make it “food.” Hell, the ethanol we put in cars will give me calories too but it’s definitely not food (it’ll kill me).

    I agree. Foie gras is delicious. If I were a duck I’d force feed myself corn mash in the hopes that someone would enjoy my liver with a nice eisewine and maybe some beaufort cheese.

    My love and enjoyment of foie gras doesn’t mean I have a right to buy it. Nor do I have a right to kill a seal or buy a seal skin coat.

  29. mapache    Mon Feb 12, 04:48 PM #  

    You DO have a right to buy foie gras, but you chose not to do so because it is your choice of convictions and beliefs. You DO have the right to buy a Seal skin coat or go hunting for seal, or moose or whichever animal is not protected, but you chose not to do so…..key words here are right and chose.
    just as J.J. believes in reincarnation, which is his right and his choice, Alex believes in eating cow (so do I Alex…it’s delicious) his right and choice, and it is my right to chose not to buy a seal skin fur coat and my right to chose to eat foie gras or Trans fat. But i have the option to chose weather I do so or don’t.

  30. Jonathan    Mon Feb 12, 05:15 PM #  

    5) You give consumers and marketers too much credit. Most people don’t take the time to think or learn about transfats. Even when its pushed at them every other night on nightly news health segments.

    MiamiLawStudent, you give lawyers, politicians and other busybodies too much credit. Your assertions make clear that you disagree with many people’s individual decisions, but you provide no evidence that you or anyone else would on balance make those decisions better.

    Besides, freedom is good for you. You should have more of it.

  31. alesh    Mon Feb 12, 05:21 PM #  


    Boy, I sure hope you’re not really a law student. You keep making distinctions of what you’re in favor of and what you’re against, and this is more artificial then that, like you were making a choice about what to eat or not. You’re not talking about that. You’re talking about WHAT TO FORCE ME TO EAT or not!!

    Remember, I started this all out by describing trans fats as a “food-like substance” and I described at some length why they should be avoided and even why I, personally, want to avoid them. But legislating them out of existence? That’s just plain wrong, dude.

    You make the claim that “the processing involved in transfat production makes all the difference.” You seem to be saying that the processing makes it OK for the government to ban them. Since you’re a law student, can you cite one instance where something was banned because it was artificial whereas something similar that was natural remained legal? I believe that would be called the naturalistic fallacy.


    You can’t compare foie gras with transfats. In terms of scale and price alone . . .

    We’re talking about the principle. If you were being pragmatic, you’d ban it all. And the chocolate and red meat. You’d also start working right away on implementing a universal mass-transportation system and abolishing cars. You’d also get rid of all the clothing stores except some sort of non-profit Wal-Mart. Is THAT the society you want to be living in? Again, it’s not a slippery slope, it’s a cliff.


    Well said.

  32. MiamiLawStudent    Mon Feb 12, 05:39 PM #  


    this is an online message board of no major significance to anyone or anything—its a thing of mere entertainment. pardon me if my arguments are not as tight as they could be. i didn’t think it worth the time.

    that said, yea, there’s a difference between less processed food and highly artificial “food” in that we must eat to live. i consider transfat merely an additive with no real redeeming value; not a food.

    how is banning transfats ONLY IN RESTAURANTS, HOSPITALS, PRISONS, and SCHOOL wrong? We have no “right” to them. They are not essential to life, liberty, or happiness.

  33. MiamiLawStudent    Mon Feb 12, 05:46 PM #  

    Where does this right to eat foie gras and kill baby seals come from? The state certainly affirmatively protect them even if it does not prohibit them. Are you willing to call them inalienable rights?

    The freedom to do something is not same thing as the “right” to do.

  34. Alex    Mon Feb 12, 06:08 PM #  

    Alesh, why the absolutism? Again, it’s just regulating the sale of a proven harmful product, not throwing you in jail if you consume a banned substance (now, talk about a huge loss of rights nobody gets worked out over). How do you get from point A to point B? Is there such a concept as a degree or scale?

    Applying the same logic, I could say you just want everything to be available and unregulated. Nothing but everybody’s personal judgement. That’s not a slippery slope? After all, it’s the principle.

    BTW, I love cars, but can see a point when it’s going to be impossible for everybody to have one. That’s just reality. It’s like loving horses and pretending you could just gallop down I-95.

  35. mapache    Mon Feb 12, 06:09 PM #  

    Chocolate is not essential to life, yet its there, weather it makes you fat or just enjoy it its there and nobody tells you weather you can or cannot eat it; it’s your choice, my choice, anybody’s choice. I am not arguing between freedom and right. I am arguing weather or not you have the right to chose weather or not the government takes away your right, your freedom to do something, in this case eat Trans fat. Weather you believe in hunting or not, it is your right to chose weather you do so or not. Your beliefs in protecting animals are not in question here, what is in question is weather or not we have the right to CHOSE if we want to eat Trans fats or not. Weather someone tells me or more likely FORCES ME WHAT TO EAT or what not to!!. I love foie gras and steak and I have the right to chose weather to eat it or not. I won’t buy a fur coat, any kind of fur coat for that matter, but it’s my RIGHT to choose. For a student of Law in Northwestern University you seem very opinionated and not well versed on law. FORGIVE ME IF I AM WRONG, but at least from what you are writing you seem to be. Are you trying to convince us through your beliefs and not by using written laws that the government SHOULD take away our right to chose weather we eat Trans fat or not? Key words here again are right and choice.
    Please explain to me how in this particular case of “the right to chose or freedom to chose”, right and freedom are any different.

  36. MiamiLawStudent    Mon Feb 12, 06:41 PM #  

    Mapache said:
    “Please explain to me how in this particular case of “the right to choose or freedom to choose,” right and freedom are any different”

    Rights are things that the government can only take away from you by showing a really good reason. If it’s not a “right,” the government doesn’t need to show very much of a reason at all. To be a “right” it must be listed explicitly in statute or the constitution, or it must be inferable by looking at a long history of common law, statutes, or fundamental beliefs in our legal history (this is a point of controversey that has many arguments in the legal community and elsewhere, the most notable of which is the idea of a “right to privacy” that can protect abortion rights).

    Anyway, I’m not about to cite you case law or point to text books but BELIEVE ME you have no right to choose what you can and can’t eat. It’s no where in the commonlaw or statute.

    Now, there’s a concept call the “police power.” The police power gives the states the power to do whatever the hell they want so long as it is rationally related to the health, welfare, saftey or public morals and so long as it doesn’t infringe on some other right (due process and equal protection) or prohibition (like the prohibition on slavery). To be rationally related to the public interest, the government doesn’t have show that they’re reason makes any sense. Rather laws are presummed to make sense. When a court looks to what a state government has done pursuant to its police power, the court will ask only if it COULD have had a good reason to do what it did.

    Freedom means only that your actions, decisions, or thoughts have not been constrained. Currently, you have the freedom to choose to buy transfats from a restaurtant. But that’s only because your actions, decisions, and thoughts are not currently constrained. It’s only because the state has not decided to exercise its police powers to stop restaurants from selling you the transfat.

    The state can stop restaurants whenever it wants so long as it follows the right process. You can fight it by going through the political process (e.g., voting, lobbying, voicing your concerns, etc.) but you cannot successfully claim a violation of your rights because none of your rights have been violated. Again, you have no right to transfats.

    Believe me, there are many legal cases that illustrate my points. I’m not going to bother citing or discussing them. Wikipedia police power, and substantive due process and you’ll get a good enough background.

    That said, I wash my hands of this conversation.

    We’ve been speaking in two different languages; I don’t know why I’ve wasted my time.

  37. mkh    Mon Feb 12, 07:03 PM #  

    “Chocolate is not essential to life”

    Sez you!

  38. alesh    Mon Feb 12, 07:32 PM #  

    MiamiLawStudent, #32 (hereafter MLS)~

    OK, I’ll forgive a little intellectual sloppiness, if you feel it’s appropriate to the forum.

    I wasn’t asking for the actual distinction between trans fats and other food items — i understand the differences quite well, thanks. I was asking for the legal distinction; what makes them different under the law?

    Oh, and I don’t think it’s your place to tell me what’s essential to my life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the very walking talking definition of “liberty” is being able to do whatever I want short of smacking you up your self-righteous mouth, right? And for all you know, trans fats are the very thing I require for my happiness.


    When you get right down to it, yes, I want everything to be legal, short of smacking my fellow man upside the self-important mouth (however much he may deserve it). Gambling? Drugs? Seatbeltless cars? All fine by me. I draw the line at damaging the enviroment and maybe even eating foie gras on the argument that another entity is being harmed.

    Having said that, I recognize that we’re not living in a Libertarian utopia, and I accept that. Nonetheless, I see this regulation as a major major major step towards the dark side, qualitatively different from other regulations, and on par with banning chocolate or red meat.

    MLS in #36 is starting to sound like something out of Maoist China or Hobbes. Let me reassure you that that reasoning is ass-backwards. The founding principle of the constitution is that you are given rights by God, and that the government restricts those rights only to the bare minimum to maintain a productive society. Many of the founding fathers were actually opposed to adding a Bill of Rights for fear that it would be misinterpreted this way — that you are not allowed to do whatever isn’t spelled out.

    Thank God we don’t live in MLS’ world . . .

  39. j-j    Mon Feb 12, 07:50 PM #  

    Alesh: Just curios have you read The Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes? I think you are a little confused in regards to the meaning of freedom- and you should also brush up on terms like “social contract”. What you seem to be suggestin is that we go back to the “State of Nature”. Tsk…Tsk not a good idea.

    BTW I have a 1 year of Law School and a degree in Humanities- I’m with MiamiLawStudent on this one.

  40. alesh    Mon Feb 12, 07:57 PM #  

    Yes I have read Leviathan. The central argument is that we submit to the state, and grant power to the ruler, to protect ourselves from the natural state of anarchy. It may have made sense back then, but I like the foundation of the USA much better. That being that the government has certain limited powers. Those powers are granted by the people, but the rule of the majority is curtailed by certain larger principles.

  41. Manuel A. Tellechea    Mon Feb 12, 08:05 PM #  


    When you chew gum you are deriving calories from the sugar sprinkled on it. The rubber is not food (it has no calories) but the sugar is most definitely food.

    Transfats also provide you with calories and hence are food. If a scientist could invent a fat which had no calories it would indeed replace all other fats. Transfats have not.

    By the way, what is your position on white sugar. Is it as “dangerous” as transfats? Should sugar also be banned?

  42. j-j    Mon Feb 12, 08:12 PM #  

    Alesh said to MLS
    “Correct me if I’m wrong, but the very walking talking definition of “liberty” is being able to do whatever I want short of smacking you up your self-righteous mouth, right? And for all you know, trans fats are the very thing I require for my happiness.”

    Yes, you are wrong, Very wrong. In our modern society we agree to obey the rule of law. We enter a “social contract” in which we agree to give up certain liberties, for the social good. You may not agree with some of those liberties. And you have the RIGHT [which I believe is what MLS has been trying to say ] to voice your opposition and rally against it though our legislative processes. However, if you happen to loose i.e. the majority of the people do want TF Acids to be banned, you have to abide by the majority rule. Dude, it’s the way our legal system works!

    Now, you still have the right to disagree with that rule and you could make it a “cause celebre” and fight a revolution for your right to eat whatever you want. But this brings us back to the state of nature and there lies the need of a social contract.

    But I think MLS was right we are speaking different languages. I guess we move in different circles when it comes to social sciences.
    Nice try though, alesh, you certainly are a smart populist.

    btw: the founding fathers

  43. Jonathan    Mon Feb 12, 09:57 PM #  

    Yes, you are wrong, Very wrong. In our modern society we agree to obey the rule of law. We enter a “social contract” in which we agree to give up certain liberties, for the social good. You may not agree with some of those liberties. And you have the RIGHT [which I believe is what MLS has been trying to say ] to voice your opposition and rally against it though our legislative processes. However, if you happen to loose i.e. the majority of the people do want TF Acids to be banned, you have to abide by the majority rule. Dude, it’s the way our legal system works!

    What “social contract”? Where is it written? Who legislated it? Where did I agree to it? Give me some cites.

    I don’t think you get it at all. Liberty isn’t some grant from the State. It’s inherent, a gift from God (if you see things that way). People have rights, and a political majority can no more repeal those rights than it can repeal gravity. If a majority decides to enslave a minority, that would be OK in your very silly and confused notion of liberty. But just because something is legal does not make it right. And just because something is illegal does not make it wrong. A political majority isn’t God.

    You and the “law student” both seem to be confused in the same way. No wonder he fled the discussion.

  44. Alex    Mon Feb 12, 11:42 PM #  

    That liberty is “inherent” is in itself a social contract. If a sufficient number of us don’t believe in it, it’s not worth the paper it’s written in. Up in the ivory tower it may not seem that way, but in the real world it’s how it works. If you don’t believe it, go to work tomorrow naked and see how long you last on the street, not to mention employed (and you will not be smacking anyone on the self-righteous mouth).

    A political majority can and does restrict what minorities can do. That’s not enslavement, unless by enslavement you mean the absence of material entitlement. You have no right to unfettered commerce. You have the right to fight for it and have the tools for that fight -speech, assembly, due process, state’s rights. That’s why is “the pursuit of happiness” not just “happiness”.

  45. J-J    Tue Feb 13, 12:12 AM #  

    Wow! Alex well said!

  46. J-J    Tue Feb 13, 12:16 AM #  

    BTW: this id the google ad that comes up on the topic of TFacid’s:

    “Sign up for ChemoCoach™ to prepare yourself for your chemo treatment.”

    F**k TCacids! Ban that crap!

  47. jordan    Tue Feb 13, 03:08 AM #  

    Lets protest, we need to ban air – air will kill us…

  48. alesh    Tue Feb 13, 06:39 AM #  

    Alex / J-J (#s 42 and 44 appear to state the same thing)~

    Yes, the majority can tyrannize the minority. And the government has the guns, so they get to take away my liberty whether the reasons are good or bad. You guys seem to be stating these obvious facts with glee. A reality check: it’s not a good thing when it happens.

    You have the right to fight for it . . .

    Yeah, I think generating discussion is a pretty good start. However modestly, that’s what I’m trying to do.

  49. alesh    Tue Feb 13, 07:19 AM #  

    . . . the more i think about what you guys are saying, the less sense it makes. It appears to boil down to “You entered into a social contract — how dare you question the government?”

    I mean, if you assume the existence of this “Social Contract” (and obviously that’s not a universally accepted concept), aren’t there limits on that contract? Ain’t I just arguing that this goes beyond the limit of the social contract for me?

    During WWII the government put Japanese-Americans in concentration camps. This was later seen as a gross violation of the “Social Contract.” If the medical establishment turns out to be as wrong about trans-fats as they were about margerine (admittedly difficult to imagine today), these bans are going to look incredibly stupid.

  50. Alex    Tue Feb 13, 07:48 AM #  

    Okey dokey. “Tyrannize” is a pretty harsh word here. If we were talking about mandatory diets, I’ll agree with you. The “glee” and “how dare you question the government” parts you are supplying. Obviously I understand this goes beyond the limit for you and you are fighting it with this blog post. I never said you shouldn’t. It’s great that you do it. I just disagree with the merits of the case.

  51. J-J    Tue Feb 13, 08:09 AM #  

    alesh said:
    “the more i think about what you guys are saying, the less sense it makes. It appears to boil down to “You entered into a social contract — how dare you question the government?””

    No dude, no one has said “how dare you question the government” You are the only here to one to have made that assumption.

    You can and should question the government.

    Hint: you can even change the government! Start a grassroots organization, collect emails and have them sent to your congressman. Let them know how you feel. Or keep on bitching in your blog -your choice!

    No one will stop you: you’ll be known as that critical funky dude that went to Tallahassee to fight for the liberation of transfattyacids!

  52. D    Tue Feb 13, 10:20 AM #  

    I’m glad they are thinking about banning trans fats. Somebody mentioned schools, prisons, and hospitals. In these places, consumer choice doesn’t really enter into the equation—at least not in a significant way. (i.e., you can choose not to eat the gummy mac and cheese at the school cafeteria in favor of a wilty salad, but the salad dressing will likely still have trans fats in it).

    When kids in K-12 schools, patients in hospitals, and prisoners depend on those institutions to provide them with food (which is usually the case) while in their custody they generally have no choice about what to eat. The quality of food served in most institutional environments is really, really abysmal. Have you seen hospital or public school cafeteria food lately? It is full of preservatives, chemicals, and other nasty stuff, including trans fats. Given the percentage of the population that are impacted by this, it’s truly a public health hazard.

    Labeling it is not going to be a viable solution in those situations. Taxing it, maybe. I see this as more analagous to the banning of asbestos. If it’s known that it’s toxic and harmful, what are the societal benefits of continuing to use it?

    White sugar is dangerous and harmful, but it’s much easier to choose to avoid. If you choose not to eat white sugar, you don’t need a label to know not to eat ice cream or cake. Trans fats have become ubiquitous and are an ingredient in everything from french fries to cookies to peanut butter and healthy-seeming whole wheat bread (and lots of other foods that “seem” healthy).

  53. Jonathan    Tue Feb 13, 10:34 AM #  

    No one will stop you: you’ll be known as that critical funky dude that went to Tallahassee to fight for the liberation of transfattyacids!

    No, it’s about the liberation of people. A ban on something ultimately means using the power of the State to punish people who voluntarily trade in the banned substance. I assume you aren’t in the restaurant business, so you don’t care in this case, and you probably figure that things that you like aren’t going to be banned soon. But if the govt can ban a mere food ingredient because it might be unhealthful, there is nothing it can’t ban. If you think restaurant owners should be fined or imprisoned for using a food ingredient, then what use of State power would not be justified in your opinion? And you can’t just say, “No problem — I would ban A and B but not C,” because someone else’s ban list would be different and by your reasoning there is no way to decide what to do except by fiat or mob rule.

    I don’t think some of you people understand the difference between pure democracy and a constitutional republic. In the latter, which is what we have in the USA, govt’s power is strictly limited in an attempt to prevent majorities from imposing their preferences on minorities.

    Your argument is essentially: “Individuals have rights by the sufferance of the majority.” But rights have no meaning in a context where everyone agrees with everyone else. The whole point of having a system where you recognize the rights of individuals is to protect them, not only from dictators, but also from the whims of democratic majorities.

  54. Alex    Tue Feb 13, 11:35 AM #  

    A (asbestos) B (lead paint) C (DDT) D (absinthe) E (fill in the drug of your choice) and so on are banned, but X can’t be banned? Or maybe what you are saying is that all those other cases are violations of liberty as well?

    As far as food ingredients, look around the FDA website and you’ll see a bunch of other ingredients, aadditives and preservatives that have been banned (and some they tried to but couldn’t, like saccharin). This one just happens to have better PR.

    The part you don’t understand is what “rights” mean. A ban is not an infrigment on your liberty unless the state takes away your tools for redress as well.

  55. j-j    Tue Feb 13, 11:41 AM #  

    What a nice world that jonathan and alesh live in! Me? I’m due back on planet earth! Talk to you some other day guys…oh say hi to the romulans for me for me, will ya?

  56. nonee moose    Tue Feb 13, 12:57 PM #  

    ban naugahyde! BAN IT! all those poor defenseless naugas…

  57. Manola Blablablanik    Tue Feb 13, 02:17 PM #  

    The really scary thing behind this ban is that the government approved shit that was bad for you in the first place. Somebody stood to gain. Ditto saccharin, nutrasweet. I don’t even trust Splenda.

    BTW, after WW II a very heavy Soybean lobby and campaign against coconut oil wiped out its consumption. Now of course everyone is realizing it’s actually good for you.

    You just never know who/what to trust. Like they say in Cuban: “If it doesn’t kill you then it’s fattening.”

  58. Babe    Tue Feb 13, 02:35 PM #  

    Alex: some of the items you list in #54 present severe dangers to human beings who don’t voluntarily or knowingly partake of them (DDT, lead paint, asbestos). They’re dangerous not just for their effects, but because of their stealth. The other substances, IMHO, shouldn’t be banned at all. Responsible adults make informed choices about them. Isn’t that what it means to be a free human being?

  59. Steve    Tue Feb 13, 02:54 PM #  

    Alesh, how how come I’m “Babe” in comment 58? No, wait. Don’t tell me. Forget it.

  60. D    Tue Feb 13, 02:56 PM #  

    “some of the items you list in #54 present severe dangers to human beings who don’t voluntarily or knowingly partake of them (DDT, lead paint, asbestos). They’re dangerous not just for their effects, but because of their stealth. “

    Those characteristics apply to trans-fats as well.

  61. Alex    Tue Feb 13, 03:13 PM #  

    Gee, my comment disappeared. Anyway, here’s the gist: according to Alesh’s reasoning, all you need is labeling; “This house is painted wit lead paint”, “These asparagus were fumigated with DDT”, and your liberty is intact. Me, I’d rather not have to read a label every time I want to consume something.

    A better argument would be that asbestos, lead paint or DDT do not affect only the person who chooses to save money painting his house, their family would presumably be affected too. To which I’d say baloney, if fat guy full of transfat drops dead at 45, his family will be affected as well.

  62. alesh    Tue Feb 13, 03:43 PM #  

    Except that, Alex, that’s the reasoning that gets you to the banning of red meat and chocolate, not to mention mandatory exercise regiments.

    There is a large and fairly obvious difference between toxic building materials and unhealthy food items.

    I understand the desire to have the government baby you so you don’t have to worry about anything. I would love to have you live somewhere where everything was safe and easy, and you wouldn’t have to worry about making all those tough decisions for yourself. Unfortunately, what we’re discussing here is you forcing that sort of scenario on everyone, regardless of what they want.

    It’s just plain wrong.

  63. alesh    Tue Feb 13, 03:48 PM #  

    BTW, I obviously do support getting trans-fats out of schools and prisons (and even hospitals, though I believe they’ve been eliminated from there already).

  64. Alex    Tue Feb 13, 03:50 PM #  

    I’m the tyrant now? Wow.

    You serioulsy think red meat and chocolate are going to be banned an we’ll all have to get into mandatory training?

  65. alesh    Tue Feb 13, 04:06 PM #  

    What I’m saying is that we’re crossing a line here. There is no principle by which a trans-fat ban is OK but a red meat ban is not. You’ve been trying for 64 posts to name one and haven’t been able to!

    “You” are the tyrant where “you” = “anyone who condones this on the basis that ‘trans fats are bad’”.

  66. Alex    Tue Feb 13, 04:47 PM #  

    For crying out loud, I haven’t tried to prove that AT ALL. My only two arguments have been that the government has and always has had the right to regulate commerce for the “greater good”, including the banning of harmful products; and that in the real world, not the theoretical, “principled” one, those restrictions spur innovation -another greater good.

    I think you are saying that once New York City is given the right to ban transfats there’s nothing stopping Bloomberg from banning red meat. See, but it doesn’t work that way -our legal system is not merely comparative, it’s interpretative. “If it applies to A it applies to B” only works if A and B are equal in nature.

    Beyond the obvious difference between transfats —in your own words “a completely artificial food-like substance” with no redeeming value other than economics— and red meat, which is natural, has been a staple of the human diet for milleniums and has nutritional, some would say essential value; there are other safeguards for that ban not to happen. It’d have to go through the legal system test and the popular support test. And even in the extremely improbable case it does pass, it would only affect the manufacture and distribution, not consumption and it can’t be made permanent. Remit yourself to Prohibition (a constitutional amendment nonetheless) for a historical example.

  67. alesh    Tue Feb 13, 05:30 PM #  

    It’d have to go through the legal system test and the popular support test.

    This, and the allusion to Prohibition, highlights what I consider to be the crux of what we disagree on — you think that if the majority of people agree with the ban makes it OK.

    I understand your position that the government has a right to ban dangerous substances. I would argue that the government exceeds its authority in banning some of them. You dropped a list back in #54, which Steve answered pretty well.

    I understand your frustration regarding the distinction between principles and pragmatic results. Yes, the pragmatic results of this ban may well be positive. I don’t believe that pragmatic results are irrelevant. I simply believe that in this case the government is taking another significant step in micromanaging what we can and can’t do, and it irks the living crap out of my Libertarian sensibilities.

    Just plain wrong!

  68. Steve    Tue Feb 13, 05:48 PM #  

    I agree with Alesh: there’s a line we’re crossing (I’d argue we already crossed it) with this and it give me hives. It’s akin to the city of NY or Miami banning cigarettes. We all fucking know how dangerous they are, and if someone just emerged from under a rock and doesn’t know, he can read the label. If you insist, do the same with transfats, but don’t ban ‘em. That’s totalitarian.

    Besides, I understand they’re tasty, like coffee, red meat, refined sugar, lard, scrapple, sweetened chocolate, single malt scotch, and a zillion other products we consume happily and in great excess for no reason relating to nutrition, and no regard for their deleterious impact upon our health.

  69. Alex    Tue Feb 13, 06:45 PM #  

    Allright, it doesn’t make it OK, in principle. Happy now? It makes it, however, a reality. That’s what I have been saying all along. The slippery slope implications are just that, a slippery slope.

    As for Steve’s answer, see #61. But a couple more points: if the difference between asbestos and transfat is “voluntary or knowingly” using them, then can we ban them for children? And if it’s “stealth”, since transfats have no odor or taste, can we force the manufacturers to give them a distinctive odor and taste?

  70. Steve    Tue Feb 13, 07:42 PM #  

    Can we ban them for children? Usually, if by “we” you mean creatures like parents, guardians, and responsible loved ones. In fact, that’s what I meant by “knowingly:” I’m thinking of the distinction between a junkie drinking rubbing alcohol vs an infant licking the lead paint off the apartment wall. Otherwise I’d prefer to use “regulate” than “ban,” as government does for tobacco, alcohol, and sharp pointed sticks. But not guns!! See Second Amendment. Just a joke.

  71. alesh    Tue Feb 13, 09:25 PM #  

    it doesn’t make it OK, in principle. Happy now? It makes it, however, a reality. That’s what I have been saying all along.

    OK, great. It’s a reality. Except that it’s not yet, right? It’s a potential reality, one which will be decided by politicians, who care what their constituents think, and insofar as this blog gives a voice to the community, it communicates to them at least that a particular segment of the population has a real problem with it.

    But I have another problem. How would you feel if you saw someone torturing babies, and then you came to me and told me about it, and I said, “Well, it’s not OK to torture babies, but he’s obviously doing it, and so it’s reality, so that’s that!”

    Misses the point, right?

    Look, Alex: you’ve been taking the time to go back and forth on this for a long time. If you really think it’s wrong, say so, and drop the “they’ve got the power, whatever they do is the way it is” line. That works in Cuba, but here in the US we the people have the power, and if enough of us think clearly about this stuff it’ll be better for everyone in the long run.

    If you still agree with the ban, then spare me the placating.

  72. Alex    Tue Feb 13, 09:51 PM #  

    I was wondering when the Cuba thing was going to come up. Well, if that’s you best argument and your second best is torturing babies, then we are done.

  73. J-J    Tue Feb 13, 10:36 PM #  

    Gee alesh! is all about winning for you, the end does seem to justify the means for you. eh?

    I hope I don’t witness this behavior from you again, you pretty much bulldozed everyone with you faulty “oh no they are going to ban chocolates fanastical quasi-theory that works only in your mind” and in the process you managed to even outwit Thomas Hobbes!

    So there you have it alesh, you outlasted the everyone but does it matter? No not to me.

    Now let me ban those precious chocolates of yours!
    You mean-trash-talking straw man!

    Stil that was fun! Let’s go for round 2!

  74. alesh    Tue Feb 13, 10:39 PM #  

    Well, after the “I need big brother to take care of me” line got repeated a few times, it was like the elephant in the room, and I figured I’d be the bad guy and say it out loud.

    But hey — I argue the devil’s advocate side from time to time too, and I respect your stamina. But I’m also glad you’re conceding the point; I’d like to get some sleep!

  75. J-J    Tue Feb 13, 10:45 PM #  

    Conceding? The point? Sleep?

    I know of no such things!

    Prepare to re-start the discussion!

    Now were, where we?

    Ah. yes Cuba and the banning of transfattyacids,now who wants to take the bait, er, I mean continue our intellectual discourse.

  76. alesh    Tue Feb 13, 10:46 PM #  


    If you’re actually familiar with what a “straw-man argument” is, then let me hear you explain how the chocolate example is a straw man.

    Because it’s NOT, dude. My hats off to you — you’re a consistent commenter and obviously a very intelligent guy — but chocolate is BAD FOR YOU, just like food cooked in trans fats are. Give the government the right to regulate one, and explain to me how you’ll tell them they shouldn’t regulate the other.

  77. j-j    Tue Feb 13, 11:37 PM #  

    How is chocolate bad? Is a relaxant!

  78. Manola Blablablanik    Wed Feb 14, 12:19 AM #  

    Actually chocolate (the cacao bean) in and of itself is not bad for you. It’s the sugar and other ingredients. I’ve read that eating small portions of dark chocolate that contains a higher percentage of cocoa has antioxidant properties. The key here is small portions. In some Caribbean islands people drink cocoa tea but of course it’s super bitter so it needs to be sweetened. As you know chocolate is incorporated into Mexican moles in a healthful way.

  79. Dayngr    Wed Feb 14, 02:01 AM #  

    I just love it when Alex says “dangerousness”. It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. Oh wait, that might be the trans-fat in my late night dinner kicking in.

  80. alesh    Wed Feb 14, 09:16 PM #  

    In the New Times, Tamara Lush surveys locals about trans fats. The overwhelming majority miss the point and say shit like “well if they’re bad, then ban ‘em!”

  81. J-J    Wed Feb 14, 10:42 PM #  

    alesh said:

    “The overwhelming majority miss the point and say shit like “well if they’re bad, then ban ‘em!”

    Meanwhile at Critical Miami: the underwhelming minority insists on his point and says smug shit like “The point is that what you eat is an individual choice.”

  82. alesh    Thu Feb 15, 07:39 AM #  

    THAT’s smug? Then count me smug, I guess.

    I suppose you agree that if something is “bad” it should be banned, eh?

  83. j-j    Thu Feb 15, 11:35 AM #  

    Some things should be banned, I would love for fire arms to be banned

  84. alesh    Thu Feb 15, 11:38 AM #  

    OK. Are you having a difficult time seeing a category difference between firearms and trans fats?

  85. Henry Gomez    Tue Feb 20, 09:26 PM #  

    I’m not going to read 84 comments but I’ll say that Alex is not exactly correct when he talks about prostitution and gambling. Those things have always been illegal and are slowly being decriminalized. There’s poker at the dog and horse tracks (as well as slots in Broward), there’s the lottery, etc. Prostitution is still illegal but the internet and the weekly newspapers are full of ads for prostitutes err escorts. It’s not the 1950s or even the 1970s. You get aways with a lot more of this stuff than ever before. What politician is going to stand up and say “I’m for legalizing whores”?

    I agree with Alesh. This is crosses the line. Today it’s transfats and tomorrow it’s sugar, or caffeine, or regular fats.

  86. Henry Gomez    Tue Feb 20, 09:28 PM #  

    Fortunately the constitution protects me from people like J-J.

    ...from my cold, dead hand.

  87. j-j    Wed Feb 21, 11:46 AM #  

    wow this thread just wont die… was that a Charlton “nra” Heston quote? hmm, how anout this one:
    “get your hands of me you dam dirty pro-transfatty-ape!” :-)

  88. conductor    Thu Feb 22, 01:07 AM #