Free Markets, Free People
Dear Nannies — Stay out of my dining room (and every other room!)
Freedom is truly an unwanted chore for some people. Unfortunately they not only want to limit their own freedom, but yours too:
Some public health advocates are pushing cities and states to tax fattening, non-nutritious foods, like sugary soda, french fries, and donuts.
Opponents say Americans should have the right to eat what they want without being unfairly taxed for their choices, and that poor people would end up paying too much.
For the nation that created cheap, fast food, we’re paying quite a hefty toll, CBS News Correspondent Michelle Miller reported on "The Early Show."
When it comes to what we eat, many Americans are making bad choices.
Back to my basic freedom definition: “Freedom is choice.” Corollary: Freedom also includes the right to make bad choices. That’s right – as long as my choices don’t harm others or violate their basic rights, I should be free to make them. And that, of course, means making choices others conclude are bad choices about what I eat.
But the nannies don’t see it that way. And they somehow think they’ve been empowered by … whatever … to lobby government to make laws or enact punitive taxes in an attempt to limit your choices. In a free country taxes are tolerated at best and are collected only to fund the legitimate functions of government. That would not include limiting choices of what you can or can’t eat. And it certainly wouldn’t use a tax as a social engineering tool, vs. a revenue tool for funding government.
Of course we’ve already done that once, haven’t we? And that has opened the floodgates for the do-gooders. It is also very enticing for governments starved for revenue, isn’t it?
Mark Bittman, author and food columnist, said, "We ought to start discouraging the consumption of junk food, soda, and hyper-processed foods the [same] way we discourage smoking."
Some industry experts, including Bittman, think soda and junk food should be taxed – just as cigarettes are.
Bittman said, "The way we discouraged smoking and continue to discourage smoking is we tax cigarettes – a lot in some states – and we force the tobacco companies to contribute money to anti-smoking programs.
"Now, if we taxed soda and junk food similarly, and began a huge public health campaign that said, ‘This is the way we ought to eat,’ we might see similar results."
Translation: “We’ve been telling people this for years and they’ve essentially ignored us. Time to take their choices away.” I.e. let’s limit their choices by taxing them so heavily they’d do what we want because they can’t afford to do what they’re doing anymore.
Oh, but don’t worry, the nannies are doing it for the poor:
Miller reported the aim is to institute a "junk food" tax and "whole food" subsidy – to raise the price of foods high in fat, calories and preservatives, and drop the cost of fresh vegetables, fruits and other organic perishables.
Yessiree – taxes and subsidies, how refreshingly new and innovative, no? And as usual, that would involve government up to its armpits in the process, wouldn’t it? And, of course, we’ve never witnessed bureaucratic creep before, have we? When they get those taxes and subsides in place and you still ignore their desires for you, what’s the next step? Restrictions on food companies? Withholding health care? None of that’s beyond the pale by any stretch.
This is pretty basic Freedom 101 stuff. We’re not talking about anything particularly philosophically complex. Freedom means the ability and right to make decisions on your own without interference from others (again, with the standard caveat that your choice does no harm to others or violate their rights).
As more and more choices are limited or denied us, we become less and less free. We’re right in the middle of that now, as all should at least vaguely understand. With each new tax designed to socially engineer our behavior into some elitist view of proper conformity, another piece of our freedom goes with it.
This may seem to be a trivial thing, but it is not. It is another among many of those pernicious attempts by elitists who have a problem with free people making decisions they disagree with and having no problem enlisting the power of government to accomplish their goal.
It should be resisted utterly and completely with no compromise or quarter.
This country was not founded to be a nanny. It was founded to be the home of a free people.
[HT: Dan K.]