Imagine my surprise this morning when I turned on my computer, browsed over to MSNBC.com and saw a picture of white take-out boxes brimming with Chinese food and read the headline “Chinese restaurant food unhealthy, study says.”
My Pavlovian reaction was to drool a little, and make plans to walk over to the Tiki In restaurant in Watertown Square for a lunch of sweet and sour chicken with boneless spare ribs. My nose soon filled with the imaginary scent of deep fried chicken, sweet sauce, fried rice, dumplings… but then I also smelled a rat.
Sure enough, the story was prompted by a report issued yesterday by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. That knight in shady armor, tilting at nutritional windmills on behalf of you and me (whether we like it or not), issued a report yesterday that takes aim at Chinese restaurants.
Actually, I should apologize to every buffet gourmand reading this column. Who knew that when I wrote “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of General Tso’s Chicken” the result would be swift retribution, a direct attack by SCPI on General Tso himself.
Since I seem to have influence with them, here are a few more dangers that the do-gooders over at SCPI might want to investigate:
Fuzzy puppies have sharp teeth, are prone to chew.
Pretty flowers contain pollen, may prompt sneezing and congestion.
Loving mothers known to discipline children, causing children to cry.
Newborn babies poop in their diapers, odor often found to be offensive.
At what point are agents of the Safety Gestapo (our own Kevin Weeks is more polite and eloquent on this subject) going to stop? My guess is, never. As long as people take them seriously, and as long as they and their ilk continue to influence meddlesome lawmakers into proffering ridiculous laws and regulations, they will continue to issue their reports.
Since my June screed, we’ve seen laws against trans fats in New York City, bans in Bangor, Maine against smoking in your own car (hey, I thought smoking was Maine’s official state pastime?), and other infringements on personal liberty. I certainly don’t advocate smoking, nor do I believe people should engage in any number of health-hazardous habits, but I’m also no fan of micromanaging the lives of Americans through well-meaning legislation. I still believe in the concept of personal responsibility and feel strongly that by removing that burden from the average citizen is weakening our society.
At what point are we going to be satisfied that we’ve outlawed everything that might cause someone harm? At what point are we going to realize that, by not speaking up and giving our lawmakers the freedom to pass silly legislation, all the while ignoring the serious problems we face at the local, state, and federal level, we’ve done nothing but fill the law books with rules that cannot be fairly enforced.
In the meantime, our streets need repair, our economy needs attention, and there’s this matter of a war in the Middle East that someone should probably do something about. I guess it’s easier to make feel-good decisions fraught with unknown consequences than to address real problems that demand real solutions.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to call for take-out.