"I'm into freedom of speech and freedom of choice. I'm the kind of guy who likes to sit in a greasy spoon and wonder, "Gee, should I have the T-bone steak or the jumbo rack of barbecued ribs with the side order of gravy fries?" I WANT high cholesterol. I wanna eat bacon and butter and BUCKETS of cheese, okay? I want to smoke a Cuban cigar the size of Cincinnati in the non-smoking section. I want to run through the streets naked with green Jell-o all over my body reading Playboy magazine. Why? Because I suddenly might feel the need to, okay, pal?"
[Spoiler (click to open)]
It's sad that the government standard on nutrition are observed even less religiously than freeway speed limits, but I really don't see using the power of law to (allegedly) prevent people from making poor decisions.
[Of course, the flip-side of nannyism is, 'to what extent are we the people responsible for treating or insuring the diabetics and lung cancer patients, who are choosing themselves to an early grave?']
The challenger in this corner is the state of Louisiana, which has moved forward to privatize education with a voucher system. Now many of the public schools in Louisiana suck, but I'm not too confident about the quality of the private schools that have been approved for the vouchers:
The school willing to accept the most voucher students -- 314 -- is New Living Word in Ruston, which has a top-ranked basketball team but no library. Students spend most of the day watching TVs in bare-bones classrooms. Each lesson consists of an instructional DVD that intersperses Biblical verses with subjects such chemistry or composition.
At Eternity Christian Academy in Westlake, pastor-turned-principal Marie Carrier hopes to secure extra space to enroll 135 voucher students, though she now has room for just a few dozen. Her first- through eighth-grade students sit in cubicles for much of the day and move at their own pace through Christian workbooks, such as a beginning science text that explains "what God made" on each of the six days of creation. They are not exposed to the theory of evolution.
"We try to stay away from all those things that might confuse our children," Carrier said.
Now I'm not so much a nanny-statist that I want to prevent parents from sending their kids to private religious schools on their own dime, but I think the low bar for accreditation in the great state of Louisiana may need some beefing up. Our children are supposed to be introduced to knowledge, not protected from it. And I do get itchy when the government proposes to use tax moneys to support these institutions. The state has a legitimate interest in having an educated electorate, not an electorate that has been protected from 'confusion'. Here's an authentic example of confusion: