Sunday, November 7, 2010

Justice as a Misnomer

We hear the word "justice" tossed around quite frequently these days, and often in startlingly cavalier fashion. While America is a nation of laws, its people are ever increasingly being subjected to the whims of its government under the guise of justice. It is a cunning practice, for who could legitimately argue against fairness?

The accelerating attacks on liberty are all bolstered by the spectre of justice in many forms. Social justice, economic justice, racial justice and the like have become a natural part of the American lexicon, and people numbly nod in agreement without so much as a casual thought as to what those things mean to themselves. Sooner or later there is going to come a shocking "wait-a-minute" moment, and then all Hell will break loose.

As government takes on more and more responsibility for our care, - or seizes it as the case may be - they also claim more of the necessary control in order to rein in associated costs. The latest example of this is the city of San Francisco's mandate that McDonalds cease and desist from selling Happy Meals. The reason? Obesity, and the cost associated with medically treating the ailments associated with being fat. Oh, McDonalds can still sell food, thanks to the gracious magnanimity of our "public servants", but they cannot package it with toys.

Add then to the list the moniker of nutritional justice. Just as social justice has outlawed your right to engage in a legal activity - smoking - in certain public settings, just as racial justice has criminalized speaking to someone in a cross manner or criticizing a person of different hue, and just as economic justice has suddenly made the redistribution of personal finances an acceptable practice in a nation that has redistributed more than its share of blood to fight such a thing, now we have our government dictating what we eat and drink.

The governor of New York, David Paterson, has also delved into the arena of government mastery, proposing taxes on sugary drinks and considering additional taxes on "other obesity-linked foods such as hamburgers and chocolate bars." Paterson attempts to justify these positions by claiming that the state would be able to better cover "the $7.6 billion the state spends every year to treat diseases from obesity." (Forgive my ignorance, but I thought that's what personal insurance and pro-rated premiums were for).

David Chapman has covered this in Townhall .com. Here is a sampling:

As it happens, soda taxes may affect only the people who don't need affecting. California Polytechnic State University economists Michael Marlow and Alden Shiers, writing in Regulation magazine, noted data showing that "taxes on alcohol consumption significantly lower drinking by light drinkers, but not heavy drinkers." One study found that a 58 percent tax on soda would "drop the average body mass by only 0.16 points" -- on a scale of 30.
Restrictions on fatty food are no more promising. Suppose a 5-year-old has a Happy Meal every week (which is how often new toys appear). Economist Michael Anderson of the University of California at Berkeley tells me that while a child who dines on fast food may get a couple of hundred extra calories, that's not much compared to the 11,000 calories she is likely to eat in a week.
Perhaps our elected officials should focus on the criminals who have slowly forced our children indoors and thereby into such sedentary lifestyles. Perhaps they should focus on releasing the taxation stranglehold on the people so that we may slow down enough to enjoy healthier meals at our own discretion. Maybe we would all benefit from lower stress levels through the absence of worry over how to make enough money to give more to a monolithic government.

As for McDonalds, I would love to see them sell the toys separately, and have parents buy food in a box, adding the toy before they bring the food to the table or to the home. That would be poetic justice for the ruling elites.

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1 comment:

carmar76 said...

unbelievable what we allow to happen to our "freedom." *sigh*