I’m not going to lie, and I don’t care if I sound like a total health-freak or something, but I hate fast food. Now, I enjoy Boardwalk Fries with Old Bay at the beach, and Paula Deen is my role model, so its not the unhealthy aspect of fast food that irks me. I just think the culinary arts are incredibly fascinating and fast food doesn’t do meals justice. To me, it contributes to a culture of instant gratification and mindless consumption.
All this being said, I was outraged to read that the city council in south Los Angeles has made new fast food restaurants illegal. (http://apnews.myway.com/article/20080730/D9284FQ80.html) The rational behind this decision is that the higher obesity rate in this poorer area of L.A. has resulted from too many fast food restaurants. When these restaurants are blocked from entering the market, hopefully new healthier chains will take their place.
This gives me the chills. First of all, any time market forces are obstructed like this, we know it’s bad news. The unfortunate fact is that there is a high demand for cheap unhealthy food in this specific area of Los Angeles and, actually, in all of America. Not that if you’re poorer you are doomed to obesity (a side salad at Wendy’s is $.99: less than a medium fries), but in much of our country, as proven by the success of such restaurants, people like their fried food. It is a culture this L.A. council is trying to change.
This may sound lovely, and like I said before I hate the fast-food culture as well, but when the government is controlling what you eat, I feel like it may be a little too involved in your life. No matter how well intentioned these political bodies are, the role government has been slipping into, of providing the solution to every problem a citizen encounters, is dangerous. I know it is just a city council, and I know it is just cheeseburgers, but it is this same mentality of paternalism which inspires a government to centrally plan larger industries….and we’ve all seen how well that works.