You Can't Eat That - The Great War For Your Body


by Ray A. Davis - Date: 2007-04-11 - Word Count: 1199 Share This!

Surprise, surprise; our government/media complex is at it again. In their constant drive to control every aspect of our lives-and train us to beg them to do so-they have once again reached for the government coercion button. As usual, freedom must be restricted to protect us-the poor dumb masses-from ourselves or the perils of a dangerous world. The most recent example sweeping the nation is the dreaded trans fat scourge. Trans fats are an ingredient in some cooking oils used by many restaurants and food manufacturers when preparing fried foods. New York City has now banned the use of trans fats in restaurants and the battle is being joined across the nation.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm perfectly OK with removing demonstrably harmful substances from our foods. Even libertarians believe in sensible government regulation. Only an irresponsible government fails to limit mercury, lead, e coli, and other toxins capable of causing immediate illness or death. But trans fats? This substance apparently poses a long-term health risk to people consuming too much of it over long periods of time. It is probably a good idea-knowing the risk exists-to freely choose to limit our intake. My question is why must we always resort to government coercion to address these problems?

Wouldn't a concerted education program along with a reasonable menu warning-similar to the one on a cigarette pack-be a better strategy than a coercive ban? Such an approach gives consumers, manufacturers, and restaurants time to make an orderly adjustment to new information. It allows the market and free individuals to make responsible choices rather than asking our nanny government to issue a "Thou Shalt Not" in another corner of our existence.

Some commentators refer to the people pushing this issue and other health-related issues as food Nazis. I know many of the kinds of people behind this initiative. Many are well-meaning liberals who are trying to do something good for society. They simply have not realized that every time you push the "easy button" and involve government, we all become less free. This group-with solid reasons like asbestos, cigarettes, and many other examples-don't trust industries to police themselves in these matters. So, they believe government coercion is the action of first resort.

Other proponents are health professionals and the health insurance industry Health professionals-based on interviews and articles on the subject-see a legitimate health risk and feel an obligation to do something. I think they support government bans because they see them as the quickest way to get the desired result.

The insurance industry seems to view this as part of a broader strategy, along with more ominous approaches like grocery and restaurant receipt databases that evaluate personal health risks, to reduce the cost of doing business. Again, however, asking government to step in and mandate is the expedient way to the goal.

The common thought process seems to be, "I want to see something happen in society. So, if I can enlist the coercive powers of the government in my cause, I can achieve it much more rapidly than through education or persuasion." The problem with this approach is that it does not take into account how every one of these government intrusions impacts our ability to live as free individuals with choices and responsibilities in the society. It encourages the people to become like dependent children and whets the government's appetite for more control-a very bad combination if liberty is to flourish.

Statists from across the political spectrum have joined this binge of government intervention into the health of Americans. They argue that the financial costs incurred by the broader society for the poor diet and health choices of some; provides a justification for government intervention into these matters. This is highly suspect logic. Most people engage in some behavior that could be construed as "unhealthy" and a potential financial risk to the system. This makes any program to reduce these costs highly selective.

Besides, do these people mean that society and the government have an interest in controlling what we put into our own bodies? Well, the short answer for some of these folks is, "Yes." The truth is the trans fat debate is only one small skirmish in a much larger war over who controls your body-you or the government? The scary thing is how these arguments morph one into another forming a very slippery slope that just might end with you losing control of your own body to the government.

I'm not even going to touch the abortion debate here. It's so old school in the war over your body.

The new debate is over whether you-as a free, informed citizen-have a right to eat a trans fat French fry as opposed to one without trans fat simply because you believe it tastes better. Proponents-knowingly or unknowingly-are creating a health police state that will deny you that right. They are in the process of criminalizing restaurants or food manufacturers who would permit that free choice on your part. I agree that citizens should be given the facts, but decisions should not be coerced in a free society.

The new debate is over whether you-as a free, informed citizen-have the right to refuse a government mandate to be forcibly vaccinated with a dangerous vaccine like the small pox shot. Plan A fell on its face when health professionals and first-responders refused enmasse, but don't kid yourself the plan is still on the table.

The new debate is over whether you-as a free, informed citizen-have the right to refuse to be implanted with a rice-sized chip by the government to keep you safe in the age of terrorism. Devices that can or will eventually have the capability to track us and identify you everywhere you go all day long. It's all about a new, safer version of freedom where the government is your constant protector.

The new debate is over whether you-as a free, informed citizen-are competent enough, through the power of your own research, to decide if certain supplements are right for your health situation. These folks tend to think that large pharmaceutical companies and their well-healed Washington Democrat and Republican minions should, must save you from yourself.

The new debate is over whether your thoughts are your own or subject to random government monitoring. Sound like science fiction? Think again. The human brain is being mapped and brain responses are being mapped. Devices capable of reading and interpreting those thoughts are under design.

The new debate is over whether human DNA, the building blocks of your life, is just a mere commodity to be bought and sold as a biotechnology. On our slippery slope, how long before the result of those building blocks-you-are nothing more than a commodity?

If I've scared you, then good! We are entering a new age when some entities-for power or just profit-are looking for new, inventive ways to eliminate our freedoms and control us. That war has crossed from the outside world of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly into the inner world of your cells and your thoughts. My recommendation is to educate yourself on trans fat, but demand the right to make your own choices about your body. This is about much more than the fat on your French fry.

Related Tags: health, trans fat, freedom, vaccinations, government intrusion, implantable chips, ray a. davis

Ray Davis is a writer and thinker based in the American midwest. He researches and writes on national and geopolitical issues focused on respect for the dignity and personal freedom of the human being. He currently serves as editor of The Free Kansan -- the official newsletter of the Kansas Libertarian Party. His articles and poetry have been featured on numerous sites around the Internet.

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