April 27, 2006

slippery slope

Chicago has just approved a ban on foie gras.

Now, regardless of how you feel about foie gras personally, and I'm not going to get into the debate, this presents a very dangerous precedent. The arguments for this kind of ban are essentially identical to the arguments for banning abortion, and what it boils down to is imposing your own narrowly-defined morality onto the larger community. And once you go there, let's ban veal, let's ban commercially-raised meat in general, since all of it is produced by means of appalling cruelty. And then let's go ahead and ban alcohol, or sodomy, or interracial marriage, because some people believe those things are wrong.

As a society we can all agree that theft or murder are things we ought to officially prohibit. But when you move into areas where our moralities diverge, it is simply not appropriate to legislate behavior.

And even beyond all of this, it is ugly to think that our leaders can more effectively legislate policy on a morally-ambiguous luxury food than on something like, say, elementary education or affordable housing. I hope they dislocate something while they're patting themselves on the back.

(For something a bit more constructive, have a look here to see someone who's getting things done instead of arguing policy, and to see how you might be able to make a small difference in art education in Chicago.)

Posted by foodnerd at April 27, 2006 01:13 PM
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