Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Obesity - the Greens want to parent you

From 2006

The Green Party is supporting the Health Select Committee's inquiry into obesity and type 2 diabetes today. Of course MPs inquiring into obesity are the blind leading the blind, or as David Farrar puts it “like asking Black Power to inquire into gang violence”

Sue “ban or make it compulsory” Kedgley said “If we are serious about reducing the risks of obesity we have to find ways of reducing the overwhelming pressure on children to eat unhealthy food.”

We do have two ways, one is called PARENTS, increasingly incapable of deciding their children's diet, school and television viewing, the other is social pressure. What is more powerful that seeing how unpopular it is to be overweight, especially for girls? It can be cruel and soul destroying to be teased about your weight - and this in itself can have a profound effect (and also worsen it, by kids using food as a crutch).

The fundamental philosophical difference here is between:

1. Those who believe that obesity is a personal responsibility of people who eat too much and exercise insufficiently, and of parents of children who do the same; and
2. Those who believe that people are too stupid and incapable of choosing healthy food and exercise, and get seduced by big mean corporations “forcing” them to buy those things that they “can’t help but buy”.

Obesity in most cases is about making bad choices. Nobody makes you go to McDonalds instead of a fruit store. Nobody makes you buy ice cream instead of salad.

The Greens will want to tax what they see as bad choices, which are not bad if you eat them in moderation – this simply gives nanny state more of your money to spend on what the Greens want. The Greens also think that manufacturers of sweet or high fat foods are morally wrong – and should not be allowed to advertise their products when and where they wish (despite some reports from Sweden that have shown such bans to be ineffective).

I simply would say such moves increase the prevalent culture of not being responsible for your own life and choices, and treat people as children who the state needs to look after.

Who, other than a blithering idiot, thinks that eating large amounts of sugary sweets and deep fried food is good for you? Why the hell should we care if parents are too stupid to resist their children’s calls for bad food?


Well I DO care about parents who let their children become morbidly unhealthy.  It raises the difficult issue as to when the state should intervene against parents who are deliberately or recklessly harming their children, because I am instinctively uncomfortable with people defining what that is.

Without a welfare state, this may be easier, and it may be easier without legislation that protects people from alleged discrimination by private individuals. 

For adults, it should be left to them, but to parents of children that are obese (and who exacerbate or don't care about the situation), is it about other relatives, friends and family caring.  I tend to lean towards the state intervening only if the parents actively take steps that are risking the child's life or being wantonly negligent.  

Meanwhile, if other people are concerned they should act.

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