This week, the New York City Board of Health instituted a ban on trans fats in restaurant cooking. By July, all restaurants must switch to frying oils that virtually eliminate trans fats. By 2008, all restaurant items must contain less than 1/2 gm of trans fats.

OK, it's New York, but Chicago has been trying to pass similar measures, and the slippery slope is a valid analogy here. We certainly haven't reached the point when organized crime will be warehousing T-bone steaks, Twinkies and potato chips for sale on the black market. Nor are steakhouses with decadent desserts yet relegated to back-alley haunts you can enter only with a password.

But the reality is, there are those who actually would like such scenarios to exist. More importantly, these folks believe Americans, unable to make "common sense" choices, must have them foisted upon them.

Milton Friedman, one of the greatest free-market economists of our time, died last week. His message that the government doesn't belong where the market can respond is a timeless truism.

There are several types of liberty in the world -- political freedom being one, economic liberty being another. Unfortunately the war to preserve and advance them is never-ending.

For the most part, individual and economic freedom is alive and well in the cattle industry, but we need to advance these causes on the periphery of our industry, as well.

The Arizona referendum that will outlaw the commercial pig industry is one example to motivate us, lest we forget our opponents are working every day to legislate us out of business. They are committed to a long drawn-out battle of attrition, where it's not the power of the message, but its persistence, they bank on to carry the day.
-- Troy Marshall