Salt of the Earth, But Not of New York

First they came for our cigarettes, but I did not speak out–bc I was not a smoker.

Then they came for the trans fats, but I did not speak out–bc I had no real relationship with hydrogenated oil.

Then they came for . . . salt?!  What the heck, New York?

“No owner or operator of a restaurant in this state shall use salt in any form in the preparation of any food for consumption by customers of such restaurant, including food prepared to be consumed on the premises of such restaurant or off of such premises,” the bill, A. 10129 , states in part.

The legislation, which Assemblyman Felix Ortiz , D-Brooklyn, introduced on March 5, would fine restaurants $1,000 for each violation.

And whatever happened to this New York, the Sidney Morgenbesser age of irony and intelligence and wit?

Morgenbesser was leaving a subway station in New York City and put his pipe in his mouth as he was ascending the steps. A police officer told him that there was no smoking on the subway. Morgenbesser pointed out that he was leaving the subway, not entering it, and hadn’t lit up yet anyway. The cop repeated his injunction. Morgenbesser repeated his observation.

After a few such exchanges, the cop saw he was beaten and fell back on the oldest standby of enfeebled authority: “If I let you do it, I’d have to let everyone do it.” To this the old professor replied, “Who do you think you are, Kant?

The word “Kant” was mistaken for a vulgar epithet and Morgenbesser had to explain the situation at the police station.

Has America grown so helpless that we need suckle at that big regulating teat rather than buck up and take responsibility for our choices?  Are we so unwaveringly concerned for Our Fellow Man that we can’t stand the idea that we cannot protect him from himself?

Or,  in these days of funding police departments through grabby government and TSA-style blatant regulatory overreach, should we just chalk up our greedy regulatory state to the immortal words of George Harrison: “If you try to walk, they’ll tax your feet”?

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