Ed Driscoll

"Paternalism? No, Not Exactly"

> Paternalism? No, Not Exactly” href=”http://bluecrabboulevard.com/2008/08/07/paternalism-no-not-exactly/”>Blue Crab Boulevard has an interesting take on the nannies of L.A.:

Steve Chapman notes the new trend of what he calls paternalism.

In Los Angeles, driving out certain businesses is not a potential side effect–it’s a conscious policy. The city council recently prohibited the opening of fast-food outlets in the poor, 32-square-mile area known as South Los Angeles. If you’re a global corporation selling inexpensive meals to go, Los Angeles has a message for you: Invest anywhere but here. Apparently a vacant lot is better than a Burger King.

Councilwoman Jan Perry believes the measure will assure the locals “greater food options.” The Los Angeles Times reports she “said the initiative would give the city time to craft measures to lure sit-down restaurants serving healthier food to a part of the city that desperately wants more of them.”

Of course, it could do that without punishing outlets that don’t need luring. But if vegetarian and seafood restaurants didn’t see the area as profitable before, this law won’t change their calculations. It takes an Orwellian mindset to imagine that shutting out McDonald’s and KFC will expand, not diminish, the range of dining options in South Los Angeles.

All it will accomplish, as several fast-food workers told the city council, is to deprive residents of jobs in the forbidden outlets. Does anyone think unemployment will improve their diet? Or that a community with fewer jobs will be a more inviting place for preferred restaurants?

As I said, Chapman calls it paternalism. I think it is authoritarianism, pushed hardest by the left these days. The same folks who howl the loudest about the “government in your bedroom” have no problem whatsoever with the government in your refrigerator or in your food choices.

It’s the soft fascism of low expectations.