Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The "Nanny" state?

As I wrote yesterday, I really appreciate what Jamie Oliver is trying to do on his new show. But of course, there are critics. I really do not understand what so-called "conservatives" and libertarians find so repulsive about trying to get people to eat healthy. Just a few months ago, I blogged about Glenn Beck getting worked up just because a Maryland school district decided to have meatless Mondays, and Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity sneer at any meal that doesn't include a copious amount of beef (I wonder what kind of payments these guys get from the beef board?)

So, it goes without saying that the Conservative voices that be are outraged by Food Revolution. One piece I found intriguing is from Reason the mouthpiece of the "libertarian" movement. You can read it here:

OK, here's what I don't get. School lunches are already heavily regulated. They're probably the most heavily regulated food service industry in the country. So why pull a conniption fit just because people want to change those regulations to make the food healthier? Second, these are kids, and adults should be in charge of what they eat, so if adults are making decisions to change what is being done, how does that make us a "Nanny" state? Do these people really believe that reworking school lunches so that they include more fresh fruits and vegetables and fewer processed foods will really put us on the path of being some kind of a totalitarian state?

Even more telling is that the tone of the article seems to suggest that Reason is actually afraid of Oliver because of his popularity. This isn't just some crazy, tree hugging hippy that people will ignore. Horrors, people may actually LISTEN and do what Oliver says.

Now I did find some of the discussion as to how Oliver has tripped up in his mission (the suggested school lunches with excess calories and fat was particularly intriguing). Hey, if the guy is advocating something just as bad he should be made aware of it. But, curiously, the article seems to be more annoyed that Oliver is even suggesting that we all eat better. That somehow or another, it's an affront to freedom to try to get people to seriously think about what they are eating.

I find this argument curious coming from a Libertarian mouthpiece since Libertarians are supposed to be so concerned about taxes, etc. In fact, in the video above, the main objection the Reason people seem to have to improving school lunches is that they don't want to spend the money on it (Does that woman really believe that a Healthy Choice microwave meal is really healthy?)

If they're so concerned about money then why don't they realize that in the end we all pay for each others bad eating habits. One study projects that obesity related diseases cost Americans upwards of $150 billion a year. That's BILLION with a "B." That translates to higher health insurance premiums, and higher taxes to cover Medicare and Medicaid.

Since the author of this Reason article claimed that most healthy adults couldn't identify a beet, cauliflower or an eggplant, I have to chalk up a lot the hullabaloo to just plain ignorance. Being ignorant has somehow gotten to be a badge of honor in this country. It's amazing that a country founded by some of the greatest thinkers of all time, who were willing to open themselves up to being educated and thinking of things so differently, is now so willing wrap itself up and its ignorance and curse at anyone trying to educate.


  1. I'm enjoying your blog and just became a follower. Lots to think about! (Love your title by the way).

    I started blogging recently as a way to challenge myself to eat healthier and lose some weight before I turn 40 this year. I realized I was eating way too many frozen meals from a plastic tray, so i decided to go "old school" and follow the 1972 weight watchers program. It's wacky, but so much fun. And I am actually taking time to prepare REAL FOOD. Wow.

    Hope you'll stop by...

  2. I'm glad you're focusing on this. You are so right about the ignorance factor.