The Politics of Obesity
The equation of being able to eat whatever one wants with personal liberty is surely one of the most ridiculous analogies that has ever been made. The very meaning of "freedom" has become so distorted that we consider ourselves "free" to the extent that the government does not tell us what we can eat, drink, smoke, etc. In other words, so long as all the possible avenues to killing ourselves remain open, we are free.
I constantly serve people who "freely" exercise this right. One will get five refills of Coke, another extra dressing on side, still another an extra side, the two on his plate not being sufficient. Every time I bring a refill of soda to some ten year old I cringe. Last night, I had barely placed a Coke in front of one such youngster before it was gone, and he, most importunely, was demanding another. (The free refill, it is the bane of a waiter's existence. Eliminate it, and he has nothing to do). He found satiation on the fourth refill, and I found sanity when he, and his parents, departed, many, many thousands of calories later. Now this child, assuming he keeps eating and drinking the way his parents have so wonderfully trained him, will cost the state money. He will, in all likelihood, get one or many of the self-inflicted diseases caused by gluttony. Is it really so bad, then, to try to convince him to eat and drink another way, a way, which, incidentally, will leave him more mobile--and thus more free--in his older years?
And if he can't be convinced, what then? Well, yes, he must pay an extra premium on his healthcare when he comes of age. Jan Brewer's proposal that obese Medicaid recipients pay a fifty dollar obesity fee is only the beginning of a much needed wave of anti-obesity legislation. After the predictable outcry about how the government is taking our freedoms away, perhaps we will return slowly to the monastic idea of freedom. True freedom, after all, means nothing less than all we can do without, including Five Guys.