City of Big Shoulders Meets Big Brother?

Published July 1, 2008

In an excellent exposé in last Sunday’s Perspective section, Radley Balko, senior editor of the libertarian magazine Reason, zeroed in on the increasing lack of individual liberties available to citizens of Chicago. Due to statutes, ordinances, and regulatory edicts Chicagoans cannot: smoke indoors or in the parks, use cell phones while driving, use trans fats to cook in restaurants, drive without being followed by surveillance cameras, drink bottled water without new taxes, or possess a handgun.

This brave new world of government paternalism includes the nation’s second-highest cigarette excise taxes and, as of today, the highest sales tax in America.

Obviously Chicago is proud to have jettisoned its “gangster era” reputation. But to replace it with an Orwellian tax-and-spend culture is not exactly progress.

Ralph W. Conner ([email protected]) is local legislation manager at The Heartland Institute.