Free Markets, Free People

Tales from the Nanny State

The first comes from our “hoist on their own petard” department:

A study from three sociologists based out of North Carolina State University charges that First Lady Michelle Obama’s campaign topromote healthy eating and decrease childhood obesity rates is classist and sexist in its implementation. This is because the model Obama advocates tends to put the onus of preparing healthy meals specifically on women, and also expects a level of disposable income, transportation options, and free time, which low-income families may lack.

The researchers interviewed 150 mothers and spent 250 hours observing 12 working-class and poor families as they shopped for food, cooked, and ate. They note:

In the fight to combat rising obesity rates, modern-day food gurus advocate a return to the kitchen. […] First lady Michelle Obama has also been influential in popularizing public health messages that emphasize the role that mothers play when it comes to helping children make healthy choices. The message that good parents — and in particular, good mothers — cook for their families dovetails with increasingly intensive and unrealistic standards of “good” mothering. [Sage Journals]

The study concludes that, “this emerging standard is a tasty illusion, one that is moralistic, and rather elitist, instead of a realistic vision of cooking today.”

Yes that’s right, the Interferer in Chief’s campaign has been declared classist and sexist.  Of course if this were a right winger we were talking about all the lefty blogs would be blaring this in the headlines with a healthy dose of “I told you so” and “they just can’t seem to help it, can they” thrown in.

Irony.  You have to love it.  Its things like this that make my day go somewhat easier.

The second comes to us from Seattle, WA and is an example of what happens when people lose control of their government and that government decides to micro-manage every aspect of their lives with the intent of making sure they live it the way their betters decide they should live it:

The City of Seattle just passed a new trash ordinance that would fine residents and businesses for throwing away too much food.

The new rules would allow garbage collectors to inspect trash cans and ticket offending parties if food and compostable material makes up 10 percent or more of the trash.

The fines will begin at $1 for residents and $50 for businesses and apartment buildings, according to the Seattle Times.

So who will be the biggest offenders?  Well, most likely schools which use the Michelle Obama program – okay, I had to tie them together somehow.  No word, however, on how restaurants will fare under the law.

But think of it in a larger sense.  You buy the food.  It’s yours, your property.  You can prepare it however you like (within reason) and eat it if you care too or  … not.  What you throw away or decide not to keep is entirely up to you  — it’s YOUR property. It is none of anyone’s business.

On the other hand, you pay a fee or taxes to have your trash hauled away.  That’s their job.  Nothing more.  Haul your trash away. In steps government and arbitrarily decides that you’re throwing too much food away (goodness knows where that perception comes from) and the “there ought to be a law” folks step up.  They give those who pick up your trash the power to ticket you if they find you’ve thrown away too much food. Yeah, that’s right – the garbage police!

Most of the time these yahoos can’t even pick up the trash on time, and, of course they’re all math majors, so figuring out what percentage of your weekly trash pick up is over 10% should be a snap.  They have plenty of time, right?  I mean, good lord.

And if, in fact, people take this seriously, what do you suppose might happen? They’ll dump elsewhere.  If they’re smart they’ll find dumpsters outside the Seattle city hall and dump their food excess there.  Then the city can fine itself.

But it is another example of an unworkable law which will be arbitrarily imposed (if at all) and will see people attempting to circumvent it by means that I would guess will be less than sanitary and good for the city’s overall health.



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17 Responses to Tales from the Nanny State

  • “… classist and sexist in its implementation”
    When you peel away the veneer of racial victim hood, you are left with … more veneer

  • “Well son, I pulled you over on account of I saw you have a busted tail light on the passenger side of your vee-hicle.
    But now that I look into your car, I see you’re transporting a lot of old bad looking produce in the back seat in some of those environment dee-stroying plastic grocery bags.
    Would I be right in thinking you’re going to dispose of that food in an improper fashion in order to evade the efforts of the sanitation police?
    Why don’t you step out of the vee-hicle here, keep your hands where I can see em, and place em on the hood of the car please; that’s it.
    I could be wrong, but I think you’re looking at a pretty hefty fine and maybe some jail time son”

    Uses radio mic
    “yeah, caught another one running food and compostable materials across the city line, send a wrecker to my 20 and I’ll run the perp down to the station”

  • Garbage police.
    Ah, Merika, land of the free, home of the brave, beacon of hope to the world.

  • I live in Seattle and In fairness to the Seattle city council (I can’t believe I just typed that), it’s not a you-better-not-waste-any-food measure as many blogs on the right are portraying it, it’s that you need to throw the food in your compost container instead of your trash.

    You’re required in Seattle to pay for a compost/yard container (you can get yourself waived from that by petitioning/groveling to the city, I had a friend do that), but it’s not a “you better eat up!’ thing.

    Don’t get me wrong, the ordinance is 100% asinine, it’s just being spun a bit deceptively.

    • Do they pick up the compost containers or does it, and the contents, live in your yard?
      I mean, I have to say, I can remember as a kid the garbage pick up was from a pail in the ground in the yard, generally maggot filled from spring time on and the waft of the garbage truck coming down the street was a warning if you were down wind. Trash was not the same.
      Once the garbage disposal got installed, the garbage pale disappeared and eventually so did the garbage truck that did pickup.

      • A well-maintained compost system is not nasty.

        Thing is, like gardening, I jus’ dun do it well. I know a lot about both. But I don’t do either worth a damn, and am WAY too muley to let someone MAKE me.

        SCREW THAT…!!!

    • Still none of their business what food or how much you throw away, however it is spun.

      • But people will adapt in all the wonderful ways people do in a market…no matter how distorted.

        I, for instance, waste almost no food. I mean, a NORK would starve to death on my leavings.

        So, were I in Seattle, I’d put up a Craig’s List advert for “garbage credits”. People could come and put their food waste in my garbage for some consideration. (People WILL be doing that, of course, WITHOUT someone’s permission, as an ad hoc adaptation…).

        And Seattle-ites will accommodate this little stupidity as they tend to do, having sort of demanded government by, of, and for the stupid.

  • Not so sure the criticism of the motivation of the return to the kitchen. Kitchen cooking is cheap. Is the study ammunition to increase SNAP payouts or include restaurants in SNAP if they aren’t already. My personal opinion if you’re unemployed and on SNAP like program, you can kitchen cook.

  • I find it interesting that the Nanny State” began with what today we call “conservatives”, most notably the WCTU.

    And remember what, in the acronym, the “C” stood for.

    • Except it was a PROGRESSIVE notion, sharps. So you are just 180 degrees WRONG.

      The “C” stood for Christian, but the Lutherans and Catholics of the time would take violent exception to that. Remember: Wilson was a southern, racist, Christian, PROGRESSIVE Deemocrat.

      • Wilson? The WCTU started in the 1870’s.

        • Yes, yes. But the Nanny STATE impulse you alluded to required the Progressive Movement.

          Didn’t it?

          Now, there HAD been laws on the books BEFORE the Civil War in some states that were prohibitionist laws. They were largely precatory and unenforced. Kansas, I think, had them in its constitution, which is why Carrie Nation was so incensed.

  • I read most of the abstract at the link. Couldn’t finish it. My favorite passage;

    “The message that good parents—and in particular, good mothers—cook for their families dovetails with increasingly intensive and unrealistic standards of “good” mothering. According to the sociologist Sharon Hays, to be a good mom today, a woman must demonstrate intense devotion to her children.”

    “Intense devotion to her children”. Oh, the horror.

    The only thing dumber than a sociologist is a “political scientist”

  • Haul your trash away. In steps government and arbitrarily decides that you’re throwing too much food away (goodness knows where that perception comes from) and the “there ought to be a law” folks step up.

    Back in the 90’s, the big WHINE was that we threw away so much packaging. One group then dug up dozens of gasrbage dumps in the US, Mexico, and a few other countries.

    We did throw away a lot of packaging; the other countries threw away mostly SPOILED food. Those were countries beset by HUNGER.

    Gee, maybe that SaranWrap stuff might just keep things longer, as the S.C. Johnson Comp. advertised?