Relentless Pursuit of Wisdom and Liberty

The weblog companion of, dedicated to pondering, "If Patrick Henry could see us now..."

Thursday, February 24, 2005

The War on ... um ... Candy?

The Austin Statesman ran an educational story last weekend about Austin High School:
When Austin High School administrators removed candy from campus vending machines last year, the move was hailed as a step toward fighting obesity. What happened next shows how hard it can be for schools to control what students eat on campus.

The candy removal plan, according to students at Austin High, was thwarted by classmates who created an underground candy market, turning the hallways of the high school into Willy-Wonka-meets-Casablanca.

Soon after candy was removed from vending machines, enterprising students armed with gym bags full of M&M's, Skittles, Snickers and Twix became roving vendors, serving classmates in need of an in-school sugar fix. Regular-size candy bars like the ones sold in vending machines routinely sold in the halls for $1.50.

"There was no sugar in the vending machines, so (student vendors) could make a lot of money," said Hayden Starkey, an Austin High junior who said he was not one of the candy sellers. "I heard kids were making $200 a week just selling candy."
This kind of thing can be very instructive - but only to the open-minded - on the efficacy of the War on Anything (Junk Food, Drugs, Guns, etc.). Illegal or not, if people want something, they'll get it somehow, and there ain't nothing anyone can do to stop it. Given the fact that drug users want drugs, criminals want guns, and fat kids want candy bars, the only effect that outright bans have is that law-abiding people are deprived of something that would otherwise - in a free society - be available to them. Outlaw chocolate and only outlaws will have chocolate.


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