The Brian Gongol Show on WHO Radio
Brian Gongol

New York's trans-fat ban issue is bothersome for a lot of the same reasons as the many proposals to ban junk food in schools: There are things it's appropriate for the police to enforce, and then there are things it's more appropriate for Mom to enforce. It sure seems like the fat content of food falls into the "Mom" category.

New York isn't the worst example of overbearing government out there -- we even have examples worse than the bizarrely-long Federal regs on margarine. No, the worst example this week is actually the blocking of YouTube and the New York Times website by the government of Iran. There's just something especially repugnant about a government that prohibits people from reading the news.

A great example of the invisible hand doing some of its magic is the story of the Haitian girl who's been treated for a rare condition that essentially took over her face, making it almost impossible to eat or breathe. Thanks to millions of people all trying to make their own lives a little better, we have a magnificent amount of wealth in this country, making it possible to develop medical technologies out of reach of most Haitians. And thanks to thousands of people also seeking to make money in particular areas (like medical imaging), we have the specific tools available to fix even rare conditions. That doesn't mean that plain old human goodness isn't part of the deal, too -- just that all the good intentions in the world don't mean much unless we have the resources to be able to do something about it.