Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I am not a child!

"Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it." ~ George Bernard Shaw

I was reading through headlines today and came across this article about the plans for the Food and Drug Administration to begin regulating salt.

Apparently, according to the article, we're just too stupid to know what's good for us and continue to do things in our private lives that the government and 'experts' just don't approve of.

"Until now, the government has pushed the food industry to voluntarily reduce salt and tried to educate consumers about the dangers of excessive sodium. But in a study to be released Wednesday, an expert panel convened by the Institute of Medicine concludes that those measures have failed. The panel will recommend that the government take action, according to sources familiar with the findings."

See? They've tried to tell us that salt is bad but we just don't listen.

They've tried to get companies to reduce salt in their food products, but apparently, we, as consumers, don't happen to like those kinds of changes and won't purchase those reduced-salt products in enough volume to make them profitable.

But the arrogance of these 'experts' continues to astound me.

"We can't just rely on the individual to do something," said Cheryl Anderson, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health who served on the Institute of Medicine committee.

You cannot be trusted to behave in a manner that someone else thinks is right, so you must be forced into conformity through government regulations on suppliers.

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised as this is the standard route for 'advocates' to take. Failing to win the 'hearts and minds' of the individuals they seek to influence, groups turn to government to force their opinions/beliefs on others through laws and regulations.

But these 'experts' and the government know they can't just outlaw salt because there would be significant backlash. So they're going to gradually modify our behavior.

"This is a 10-year program," one source said. "This is not rolling off a log. We're talking about a comprehensive phase-down of a widely used ingredient. We're talking about embedded tastes in a whole generation of people."

I cannot help but be reminded of the boiling frog scenario.

I used to love McDonald's french fries. I know they aren't good for me, but I didn't eat them every day. However, between the changes in the types of oils they use for frying them and the reduction in salt they put on them, I don't like them anymore. Even putting extra salt on them to make up for what they no longer use isn't enough. So I don't eat them at all anymore.

The consumer is smarter than the government and the experts.

Is salt bad for you? Not always. Too much salt can cause health problems in some people. A lack of salt in your system can also cause health problems. Government's one-size-fits-all approach certainly doesn't work for everyone and each of us should be responsible for our own bodies and our own health.

But that's not government's idea of how things should go. They obviously believe they exist to keep us from making bad decisions. They justify such action by saying that government incurs the cost for the consequences of poor health choices. But that's easily solved by having government STOP such actions that absolve the individual from the consequences of their decisions.

But just like with the bailouts, government uses the funding they've provided to dictate the terms and behaviors. Our government is telling companies what type of products to make because they own a significant stake in the company. And now that government health care is the law (for the time being, hopefully) why should we expect anything less than control over what we eat, how much we exercise and other behaviors that might result in health issues the government (actually taxpayers) will be paying for? They'll justify this with the phrase of the 'common good.' As everyone is paying for your health care, it's in everyone's best interest that you be forced to behave in a way that leads to your own good health.

Sounds like communist China to me. Though the government stops short of regulating food purchases of people who receive food stamps, even though many of those individuals are the very ones most in need of 'education' about healthy eating choices. But government, in its warped sense of fairness, can't let some people make their own choices because they make good ones while seeking to control the decisions of people who make bad choices - so everyone must be regulated.

These people who seek to control us know that they really can't control our eating or our choices. So, in the plan detailed in the article, they're going to control the products we purchase by regulating what food manufacturers can and cannot do within the free market.

I know how I'll respond: I won't purchase those products. And if all product choices have new regulations that cut out something I like, I'll just add it after the fact.

I am not a child whose eating habits need to be regulated by people who think they know better than me. I have a doctor whose opinion I trust infinitely more than some bureaucrat in Washington - or some epidemiologist who gets appointed to serve on some panel.

I am a free individual - or so I thought - who is responsible for myself and willing to abide by the consequences if I choose to eat salt - or any other product some do-gooders think I should avoid.

And this sentiment of freedom - liberty to live a life of one's own choosing - is what led our founders to establish this great nation. I cannot help but believe they would be appalled at what we have become.

"In a free society the state does not administer the affairs of men. It administers justice among men who conduct their own affairs." ~ Walter Lippmann


Roman said...

This seems to be a problem with liberals trying to save "people" is using statistics. Too much salt, fat, trans-fats, whatever, used by too many people.

If we could just reduce the ________ in your diet, you would be better off. Nevermind that you are taking away a persons choice. We know better, and can cite numbers to justify our actions.

Do you really want every good idea to be enforced by law?

As in many liberal programs, this is about control. The "masses" are not capable of living their lives as good as the liberal elite can by making the decicions for them. Very patronizing!

navyvet said...

wFree has become a relative term with Big Brother contolling its definition...reserving the right to amend....

Mad Jack said...

I'll just add it after the fact.

There you go. You have a choice in the matter. As things stand right now, we have no choice. We either buy processed food with more salt than we want, or we buy no processed food at all.

My complaint against the food companies is that for every can of overly salted soup, there is no corresponding can of unsalted soup. Read the label on diced tomatoes sometime; what isn't salt is salt. I'm tired of not having a choice, and I don't care about other people's profits or freedom. It's past time companies started providing products and services with the consumer's welfare and comfort in mind - or at least on the priority list.

Maggie Thurber said...


The government shouldn't mandate these things. If consumers want less-salt products, the companies will respond.

Either the 'free market' will be allowed to operate or it won't. Government regulations on salt will negatively impact the free market, putting decisions about what products to make and what consumers have access to in the hands of a few bureaucrats rather than in the hands of the millions of consumers.

I'll put my money on the millions of consumers every time. Besides, just because 'many' Americans have an issue with too much salt, it doesn't mean that the rest of us should have our choices limited.

This is all about personal responsibility and limited government. Just because something is a 'good idea' doesn't mean that government should force it upon us contrary to our own wants and wishes.

This is a slippery slope: the government is taking these types of actions with more and more things. If they get away with salt, what will be next?

navyvet said...

s/ Pepper? :)

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