2006-10-05 / View From the Middle

View From The Middle

What About My Freedom To Eat Food That's Bad For Me?
By Charles Rogers


"...When it comes to my burger and fries, dripping with poly-saturated or mono-saturated fats that are not good for me, stay away!...You have no right to infringe on my boorish attempt to become obese if I want to...!""...When it comes to my burger and fries, dripping with poly-saturated or mono-saturated fats that are not good for me, stay away!...You have no right to infringe on my boorish attempt to become obese if I want to...!" Do you sometimes feel we're turning into a totalitarian society? Everywhere you step, it seems the government is telling us what we must do because, they say, "it's for your own good."

I cite a recent press release issued by the New York Coalition Against Hunger whereby they praise Mayor Michael Bloomberg for proposing the banning of trans fats from all city restaurants. The coalition's executive director, Joel Berg, also praised Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden for alerting his board to begin a process whereby trans fats will be banned from all city restaurants by the middle of 2008 - by law!

Fast food restaurants would feel the brunt of the ban, of course, since those scrumptious French fries you find at McDonald's and other quickie eateries are vast contributors to raising the levels of LDL, that "bad" cholesterol.

Now, I know trans fats aren't especially good for me, or anyone, for that matter, but, in this so-far free society, I will fight to the death so that the Establishment CAN'T TAKE AWAY MY TRANS FATS!

Yes, it's totalitarian. Who the hell do you think you are, Mr. Bloomberg, et al? A commissar?

I didn't mind (too much) when the no smoking laws came along and the mayor banned all smoking from inside restaurants, etc. I'm a reformed smoker (one day at a time!!!) and I realize that, after all, the second-hand smoke affected others, and it was not only prudent, but also considerate to not blow the ugly stuff into someone else's lungs - even inadvertently. Then there's the gun thing, and that's okay too. Keep them the hell out of here and crime stats will continue to go down. Putting your foot down on this one makes sense.

But when it comes to my burger and fries, dripping with poly- saturated or mono- saturated fats that are not good for me - stay away! You have no right to infringe on my very own boorish attempt to become obese if I want to!

The regulations imposed for a lot of things - the aforementioned smoking and gun control, especially - are indeed for my own good, although I still say they too infringe on my rights (let the smokers go into another room, for heaven's sake!). Trying to control drinking is another no-no. As long as I don't hurt anyone (a solitary drinker), then it's my business, not yours.

Of course, now we've got this camera surveillance thing, which, it seems, is set up to protect us. And that's good. If, however, it catches you doing something wrong - not illegal, but wrong by social standards nevertheless - that's bad. That's Big Brother. I never wanted my big brother to look over my shoulder at what Iwas doing when I was growing up, and I don't want Big Brother doing it now.

Other problems on a daily basis are based on political correctness. There are some offensive expressions and names that it seems appropriate to semi-ban. I say "semi" because normal decorum, politeness or just plain consideration should dictate whether or not you use some words.

Lately, though, it seems that the right of free speech is being infringed upon and, for instance, you don't dare mention the word Indian unless you're speaking about a person from India. It won't be too long before George Orwell's predictions in "1984" will come true and the thought police will be upon us.

As for gun control, here here! Three cheers and keep it up.

Except for the latter, my point is that, more and more, it seems government is tightening its grip on our freedoms.

Be aware! Be very aware!

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