Thursday, November 18, 2010
The do-gooding politicians of Nannystate are at it again. Believing childhood obesity solvable by government edict, the San Francisco city council recently passed a law banning Satan’s tool of epicurean temptation: the Happy Meal.
The story was a focus of a number of media reports. CNN’s Anderson Copper worried of the enormous pressure applied by 3 and 4 year olds to their fragile parents. Coopper imagined a world in which we’re literally strong-armed into supplying a never-ending supply of crispy golden fries, thick frosty shakes and hot, juicy, cheese-laden burgers.
Sadly, assaults upon the ability of Americans to decide for themselves what they and their children eat are nothing new. New York’s activist mayor Michael Bloomberg has been at the forefront of these efforts, banning transfats, spending scarce city dollars on a crusade against salty soups and proposing restrictions on the purchase of soda. Not surprisingly, our government-happy state is not immune from these interventionist tendencies. In LA, prohibiting the opening of so-called fast food restaurants is seen as the panacea de jour while on the national level, first lady Michelle Obama has embarked upon a messianic quest to transform carrots into childhood’s newest guilty pleasure.
These statists would like nothing more than to have us to believe, absent their “help”, responsible parenting is an impossibility. Turn off a TV selling sugary cereals, unthinkable. Deny an unhealthy request in battleground supermarket, inconceivable. Compete with the influence exerted by a gregarious albeit fictional yellow sponge, unimaginable.
And what has the state been cooking up in it’s own glass house over the past decades? That’s right the school lunch: a grease laden, semi-edible smorgasbord of cholesterol, transfats and chemicals far unhealthier than anything that could have ever been concocted in a McDonald’s test kitchen.
To make matters worse the do-gooders have, this past year, been given a gift to make the realization of their ambitious goals eminently more achievable. The gift of course was and is Obamacare.
How can Obamacare further authorize and invigorate government intervention? As is often the case, one intrusion upon freedom is used to justify another. And with the new health care bill the connection between intrusions is obvious. A health care regime in which the state pays for the result of our “unhealthy” actions is the perfect pretext for allowing that state to control, prohibit or tax, through food and, perhaps someday, exercise policing. Perhaps even a ban on couches, TVs and videogames. How fortuitous that an entity with such an insatiable appetite for growth should receive such a powerful and protean gift.
But isn’t all this intervention really for our own good? Doesn’t the state care for and about us as we would care for and about a pet?
History tells a different tale. A tale in which the government owes its allegiance to, not our children, but the special interests. The corrupt process under which the food pyramid - actually the cheese, grain and beef, pyramid - was constructed is a legendary example demonstrating where state interests really lie.
It’s time we reject out of hand these ridiculous violations of American freedom while they’re still seen and mocked as the absurdities they are. For if we do not, and if we begin to journey slowly down the slippery slope of nanny state incrementalism, we will, before we realize it, end up as did the proverbial frog who, slowly and unknowing, had both his life and freedom cooked out of him.