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Article
March 14, 1903

JUSTIFIABLE SUMPTUARY LEGISLATION.

JAMA. 1903;XL(11):718-719. doi:10.1001/jama.1903.02490110034009

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Abstract

The protest against "sumptuary legislation" is the war cry of the man who considers it an inalienable right of the individual to eat and drink what he pleases. It is frequently raised and for selfish ends. A similar protest is that against legislation that seeks to have those who treat disease qualified to some extent. One of these protests was by Mark Twain, who urged that a man should not be limited in his choice of a physician. Since the legislation was to restrict incompetence it was equivalent to saying that a man should be allowed to die in any way he chooses. This would not be bad for a joke, but no joke was intended. A man is emphatically not privileged to die as he chooses, nor to eat and drink what he pleases. It is now recognized as a right of the community to forbid the sale of

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