Bourdain’s Foie Gras Politics

Perhaps not surprisingly, Chicago’s foie gras ban has become a libertarian touchstone. The issue outed Charlie Trotter as a libertarian, and currently serves as shorthand for various kinds of prohibitions that libertarians hate.

So it’s no wonder that libertarians love Anthony Bourdain (while they simultaneously despise Rachael Ray). Bourdain’s pro–foie gras stance goes along nicely with his other antiregulation stances (he’s also anti–smoking ban). But whether or not Bourdain actually was a libertarian or not remained an open question until recently. In a video on libertarian magazine Reason’s video site, Bourdain discusses foie gras and his own “libertarian instincts”:

When you look at the EU, that’s kind of the future for this country. ... There seems to be an assumption that the government owes you absolute safety, absolute security, absolute purity. Those things kind of scare me, especially when they’re wrong much of the time. ... On one hand, I don’t want people putting battery acid in my food. But on the other, I don’t … feel like I need a 20-page informational pamphlet telling me the cholesterol and contents of every special at every restaurant, as some people have suggested.

...

Essentially we’re being infantilized by our government. ... It’s the first thing you learn—what you do and don’t put in your mouth. Apparently American adults can’t be trusted with making those kinds of decisions. Now on one hand, that’s shocking and offensive to my libertarian instincts. But on the other hand, this is a country of unbelievable fat bastards—we’re dropping dead left and right.

In other foie gras news, the ever-politically-unpredictable hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons has come out in support of Chicago’s ban. Foie gras politics: Look for the lapel buttons coming soon.