Must Big Brother get bigger for Americans to get smaller?
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When things like “nature-deficit disorder” are the problem, environmental changes are offered as the solution. Dr. Maria Brown, a Baltimore pediatrician who thinks the great outdoors are just great, said, “If this is going to succeed, we’ve got to advocate for more green spaces.” And so eating your greens and the Green Party’s platform are now one and the same.
Most of the anti-obesity schemes floating around have one aspect in common: Their ultimate goal is to redesign American society, not American individuals.
Some of the specific proposals sound banal enough: subsidizing fruits and vegetables, forcing restaurants to display calorie counts on menus, and more strenuous regulation of food in schools. Others are more far-reaching: banning advertisements of junk food to kids, taxing junk food, regulating the location of stores that sell junk food, and requiring sidewalks and bike paths in every single neighborhood.
For many social dieticians, unhealthy eating and passive living are only part of what bothers them. They also have a problem with consumption in general. NYU nutritionist Marion Nestle, in trying to identify the causes of obesity, found them deeply entrenched: an “overly abundant food supply,” “low food prices,” “a highly competitive market,” and “abundant food choices” — things enjoyed by people who like saving money and not starving.
“Rather than making us steadily happier, our increasing affluence and consumerism seem to have trapped us,” writes J. Eric Oliver in his book Fat Politics: The Real Story Behind America’s Obesity Epidemic. “[A]s the obesity epidemic shows, maximizing our choices does not necessarily maximize our freedom or power.”
But letting the government restrict our choices does?
If the weight of every body becomes everybody’s concern, the regulatory antidotes will spread at obesity-like speed, creating yet another epidemic, but one that can be easily averted. All we have to do is do nothing. Is that too much to ask?
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?