Thingish Things

The Sophistry of the Food Fascists

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Jun• 06•12

We laugh at the food police. We are mildly annoyed by them. But they are scary mothers and they need to be engaged and defeated. If someone can tell you how much iced tea you can ingest, he can ultimately enslave you — and he will.

Today, New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman weighs in. He prefaces his argument thusly: “There actually is no right and left here, only right and wrong.” Whenever I hear or read that, I know a doozy is coming. Bittman does not disappoint.

“What, exactly, is food?,” he asks in Bill-Clintonian fashion (what is “is”?) ” My dictionary,” Bittman continues,  calls it “any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink, or that plants absorb, in order to maintain life and growth.” That doesn’t help so much unless you define nutritious. Nutritious food, it says here, “provides those substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition.”

Sugar-sweetened beverages don’t meet this description any more than do beer and tobacco and, for that matter, heroin, and they have more in common with these things than they do with carrots.”

In other words, according to Bittman, sugar is a drug. And as a drug, it should be regulated. But more than that, it is non “nutritious” and should therefore be verbotten (The food police are now in charge of your nutrition.)

In a single question, Bittman moves the argument from “does government have the right to tell you what to eat?” to whether sucrose  can be logically and chemically construed as a drug. He takes the sophistry a step farther:  Your drug use, he says, is costing him money through higher health care costs, so he has a right to intervene in what you eat.  If that were the case, though, wouldn’t I have the right to demand to know my neighbor’s pre-existing health conditions? How dare he cost me money by having asthma? Or shouldn’t I be able to know what his family is buying at the supermarket?  “Hamburgers again, Mr. Johnson? You’re going to get reported.”

I don’t want to live in that kind of country.  But that’s where we are headed if we don’t stand up to proposals like the one in New York City that are always being done “for the kids.”  I shudder to think what the future will look like for those kids if the food fascists get their way. Resist. Resist! With everything you’ve got. 

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