Last year, Reason TV gave its Nanny of the Month award to New York state legislator Jeffrey Klein for his crusade against … fish pedicures. Despite getting no complaints and no evidence that the common Asian practice of having fish nibble off dead skin has any ill effects on humans, Klein petitioned to outlaw the business. Now, the Live Free or Die state of New Hampshire has followed Klein’s lead, and Ted Balaker does more reporting on the latest shocking danger to American health — the nanny state:
Pay close attention to this part:
Unfortunately for Ong and her customers, New Hampshire’s Board of Barbering, Cosmetology, and Esthetics banned the practice.
That’s right, the state that lets adults motorcycle without a helmet or drive without a seat belt won’t tolerate tiny fish nibbling at the dead skin on your feet.
Who runs this board? It’s run by the licensed providers of New Hampshire — in other words, Ong’s competitors. Gee, why would they want to outlaw a practice for which Ong has the only outlet?
Why is that significant? When we debated the public option in ObamaCare, I repeatedly warned about the effects of having a competitor regulate a market. It would be akin, I said, to having Wal-Mart take over regulation from the Federal Trade Commission; no matter how circumspect the regulator would be, it would act to put its competition at a disadvantage.
Even beyond that, though, don’t these people have more important issues to handle than fish pedicures? Absent real evidence of health risks, the state shouldn’t interfere with commerce. The only risk I see here is that it could make you dress in black and make great videos supporting fiscal liberty and free-market economics, if Nick Gillespie is any indication.