Fat Chance

James Lileks has produced an absolutely awesome and righteous rant against Mike Bloomberg’s lunatic soda ban:

A culture that redefines food choices as moral issues will demonize the people who don’t share the tastes of the priest class. A culture that elevates eating to some holistic act of ethical self-definition – localvore, low-carbon-impact food, fair trade, artisanal cheese – will find the casual carefree choices of the less-enlightened as an affront to their belief system. Leave it to Americans to invent a Puritan strain of Epicurianism…

As I said, it’s not about health. If it was, no one would mention the cost of obesity. It’s an issue only because the rest of us have to pay for it? If that’s the case, then there’s no end to the restrictions we can conjure up and impose with equal parts of sadness and resolution. Smoking was easy because it stinks. Trans-fats was easy because no one knew what they were; it’s not like you go down the store to pick up some trans-fats. The soda laws appeal to the overclass because fat people are disgusting.

Read the whole thing. Please.

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2 Responses to Fat Chance

  1. What a great article. Some of these laws are just so stupid, they have nothing to do with common sense, which is something tha whole obesity debate needs a bit healthy dose of.

    And I don’t think I’ll ever understand the US mindset when it comes to taxes and ‘big government’. Why should every individual person get to decide where their tax goes? The fact that health care spending goes to the health care issues related to obesity…so fucking what? That is not an argument to ban large sodas. That is not an argument for anything! The health care system is there to care for peoples’ health, not run at a profit…

    • But isn’t yours and my and Lileks’ reaction all of a piece when it comes to a reaction against Big Government, and the sort of soft totalitarian mindset that thinks it knows best? This is one instance where the whole tax dollars argument is a complete furphy; this is about control and the enforcing of a certain self-annointed “expert” class’s preferences on everyone else. In this sense it is just a slightly more heavy-handed version of Thaler’s work around “nudge” public policy. Weirdly, I suspect that this sort of measure could and might be more easily applied in Australia, which has – as I have discovered over the past decade here – something of an “it’s complicated” relationship with personal freedom and liberty (c.f. implied free speech, etc).

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