Widespread dietary issues in the United States don’t need to be subjected to more federal interference, but rather, less.
Hundreds of lawsuits, thousands of fuming activists, an entire government administration, dozens of significant Congressional moves, and even proposals to cap the size of sodas have resulted from America’s supposedly offensive eating habits.
Advocates of government intervention are all too quick to find a problem (currently the most hyped-up issue is the obesity epidemic) and demand that Washington, D.C. address the situation by throwing money at it, assigning a few Congressional-Chief-of-Staff wannabes to a federal administration, and tossing a couple hundred tactical Barney Fifes in the mix for good measure.
After successfully shooting down decent education standards and methods, punishing men and women who chose to risk their lives serving our country, butting into medical matters, squeezing between manufacturers and consumers everywhere, and regulating everything from chemical elements in dish soap to the size of seat belts, it was only natural that the federal government would also insist on meddling in what Americans are and are not allowed to eat.
The Left despises almost everything American, and yes – that includes diet.
The “obesity epidemic” and the rise of weight-related health problems in the United States is definitely a problem, but Washington bureaucrats aren’t the solution and never will be. Government can only do a few things in any situation: tax, subsidize, ban, ignore, or talk about a given problem.
For years now, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has adopted a policy of doing each and every one of those things to different foods, manufacturers, and corporations –it isn’t a game of chance, nor is it a matter of what’s scientifically or nutritionally better for the American people. Everything is decided by lobbyists’ money.
Government taxing, subsidizing, or banning a product almost always has a negative effect, but it can get worse. When lobbyists introduce cash and the bureaucrats accept it, the American people end up with a corrupt stronghold of special interests dollars fighting against their best interests.
Limited consumer options, wealth redistribution, and high food prices are the best the federal government has to offer; the only true solution to America’s dietary woes – if they can be called woes – is to permanently do away with the middleman between consumers and food: namely, government. Allowing free market forces to prosper is the only solution to the problem.
Constitutional Authority: Zilch
First and foremost, the federal government has no constitutional authority to interfere with food: the Tenth and Ninth Amendments strictly prohibit it. “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people,” reads the Ninth — meaning that even though there isn’t an amendment specifically regarding federal regulation of food, you still have the right.
The Tenth Amendment is fairly self-explanatory: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” The FDA has no legal right to exist in the United States.
Central planners, the only beings that can make adequate food choices.
The very concept of central planners – particularly in the area of diet, food choices, and food manufacturing – defies everything that modern liberalism claims to support. Specifically equality, diversity, and justice.
If the entire nation (except for the gifted minority running the FDA) is deemed incapable of making its own dietary choices, the left’s “equality” façade becomes apparent. Big government in and of itself assumes that a nation is an institution full of sheep-like citizens so dull they cannot be trusted to make a satisfactory decision about what’s for dinner. Central planners are not the only adequately equipped beings on the planet that can make food choices – although that’s a stretch, because it has yet to be decided if central planners as individuals are capable of making decent dietary choices.
The definition of liberty: “the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views.” One’s way of life most definitely does include eating habits. Even from a textbook-defined point of view, the FDA curtails freedoms and intrudes where it’s not welcome.
FDA: all about fads
Central planners are not only against equality, liberty, and property, they’re corrupt. And they’re government, meaning that they are first in line to accept politically correct standards and fads.
The FDA never does promote food safety; it promotes political correctness. In the 60s and 70s, Washington began promoting eating less meat, eggs, and dairy; in the 90s, it began pushing carbohydrates and low-fat options. Currently the government is attempting to promote more vegetables and whole grains.
If you sense a flip-flop, maybe that’s because there is one. Knowledge is constantly changing, the scientifically proven and nutritionally ideal diet is always morphing into something new.
When it’s considered that what may be assumed as healthy at the moment may actually be tantamount to poison, it makes even less sense to have a central planning organization that bans certain foods and promotes their “safe” and “healthy” alternatives.
Barney Fife, revisited
Whoever thought it was a good idea to give milk regulators machine guns? The FDA is more than a nuisance, it’s a dangerous nuisance. If you start to sell raw cheese or unpasteurized milk, expect a visit from the FDA’s modern-day equivalent of Barney Fife.
When government micromanages citizens’ lives, it fosters a police-state mentality. Evidenced by federal sting operations on Amish farms and food co-ops, personal food preference is a crime with the FDA. Importing your food may land you in jail; eating your favorite cheese may be a federal crime; bringing your own lunch to school could be a no-no with stiff consequences.
Diet is one of the most personal aspects of life on earth: religion, lifestyle, health problems, preferences, allergies, and price ranges define what a person eats. When government mandates what is allowed and what isn’t, whether raw milk is bad for you or if organic food must be certified, the state eliminates possibilities and violates the inherent rights of mankind.
The only solution
In the 70s, the FDA’s pet peeve was heart disease; now it’s the obesity epidemic. No matter what the case, the problem could be solved not by more government intervention in what Americans eat, but by less. Fewer regulations means lower food prices; lower food prices means more healthy eating options (for those of us with less grocery money than Michelle Obama has at her disposal).
A free market allows you to eat what you want, when you want – but you have to pay, and you have to face the consequences of your decisions.
In the end, the lawsuits, fuming activists, and insanely unworkable proposals about banning fast food or GMOs, keeping raw milk illegal, or mandating “nutritious” school lunches is unjustifiable totalitarian baloney.