Some people have told me that these tyrants would never get away with controlling what we eat. Here’s the Mississippi Legislature House Bill 282, introduced this year by Rep. W.T. Mayhall, that in part reads: “An Act to prohibit certain food establishments from serving food to any person who is obese, based on criteria prescribed by the State Department of Health; to direct the Department to prepare written materials that describe and explain the criteria for determining whether a person is obese and to provide those materials to the food establishments; to direct the Department to monitor the food establishments for compliance with the provisions of this act.” The bill proposes to revoke licenses of food establishments that violate the provisions of the act.
You shouldn’t believe that if this measure is successful in Mississippi that it will stay in Mississippi. Moreover, it will be expanded upon because most people who are obese don’t become so by eating at restaurants; mostly, it’s food eaten at home. Thus, the food tyrants won’t be satisfied with restaurant restrictions, just as the anti-tobacco zealots weren’t satisfied with warning labels on cigarettes. They will push for legislation restricting the sale of foods at supermarkets. Since an obese person can get a svelte person to do his grocery shopping for him, legislators might propose sting operations to fine or arrest people giving an obese person high-calorie food.
The food tyrants have a compatriot in the person of Yale University’s Professor Kelly D. Brownell, director of the Center for Eating and Weight Disorders. He thinks Americans eat too many hamburgers and French fries. Professor Brownell, who is fat himself, wants government to tax fatty foods and those with little nutritional content and use some of the tax proceeds to build bike and hiking trails. Suppose not enough Americans bike and hike.
I bet he and his ilk would call for legislation that mandated some form of exercise.
Most evil done in the world is done in the name of promoting this or that supposed good.
Americans turning away from rule of law and constitutional government are following in the footsteps of other people around the world who discovered their liberties gone and recovering them was next to impossible. But, what the heck. You might be among those Americans who don’t smoke and are not obese, so why sweat it?
|Dr. Williams is a nationally syndicated columnist, former chairman of the economics department at George Mason University, and author of More Liberty Means Less Government|