The era of Lifestyle Fascism is upon us, and so we face this highly-charged tool of the State that threatens our ways and habits, freedom of contract and association, and ability to function as men and women of free choice.
On one end, we have the jack-booted food pyramid — courtesy of Big Guv — being shoved down our throats, even as those wearing the jack boots had to recently change their useless pyramid because it essentially advised the average, sedentary person to super-size his or her carbohydrates while essentially avoiding the "evil" known as fat. In addition, Big Guv’s dim-witted pyramid almost never stressed the importance of protein, let alone differentiating good fats from bad, or, better carbohydrates from the lesser ones.
The government’s pyramid was so simplistic as to make no distinction between essential fatty acids and saturated and trans fats. The government’s low-fat revolution essentially produced an overall fat scare and created a starch-dependent populace as massive amounts of carbs came to replace fats — even good fats — in the reckless and irresponsible pyramid diet that was pushed onto adults and children alike. In addition, thanks to government guidance, sedentary people were wolfing down high-glycemic carbs — as opposed to moderating those in favor of low-glycemic carbs – and creating a diabetes and obesity epidemic not seen anywhere else in the civilized world.
Now, the hysterical thing is, government is purporting to attack diabetes and obesity — two issues it helped to create in the first place.
On the other end we have the general busybodies, either empowered by government or hoping to become so empowered. They are like locusts, swarming every morsel of supposed "health news" spewed by government talking heads, and they don’t care what the issue is, so long as they can play a part in controlling someone else’s life, somewhere, for that person might be enjoying life — gasp! — and having a good time doing something they perceive as bad. This is what H.L. Mencken dubbed the "Puritan mentality." Thus, smoking, alcohol, and a super-size order of anything is under attack from those who know better than you what’s best for you.
Thus many libertarians, nowadays, have taken to writing about “eating healthy.” Certainly, they seem too focused on the thesis of eating healthy and maintaining health as a means to "living longer." However, I take find this focus to be overly-clichéd and quite erroneous.
"Health nuts" do not necessarily “eat healthy” in order to live longer. This is not accurate. To eat healthy is to make one’s existing life one of quality, joy, vigor, efficiency, and supreme energy. To “eat healthy” in the here and now is to finely tune and maintain the body God gave you – and such ways drastically enhance your ability to take on and accomplish worthwhile tasks as opposed to merely being a reactive sloth. Plus, if you are still alive and kickin’ at 80, the goal is to be self-sufficient and athletic and mobile, still, instead of having lived the donut-and-recliner life, leaving you unable to function beyond the basics. General time preference theory tells us that we prefer good benefits sooner as opposed to later, but that we also prepare for future returns (good health) by sacrificing some of things we desire now. Hence we do eat healthy and exercise for some long-term returns, but only as a secondary notion to living well in the immediate sense.
Oftentimes you see the opponents of lifestyle fascism point out the irony of alleged good things having been found to be "bad" for you — like broccoli or exercise, or even breathing. When focusing on health issues, it is easy to sarcastically note the irony of “long distance runners dropping dead” and then point to myriad mainstream, contradictory studies — that combat previous studies – about various foods and exercise habits as being examples of the unhealthiness of healthiness, especially when those "studies" are 750-word bits on Fox News or USA Today. We’ve all heard the "studies" about broccoli either helping us to live to 1,000 or having us die of rectal cancer before we are old enough to join AARP.
Quite often, citing these amateur investigations and their contradictory information and thus admitting to one’s confusion is the excuse given for maintaining one’s state of unhealthiness. But, if we understand the nature of causation, and how people treat causation in search of their own agenda, we know that studies everywhere purport to prove that A can lead to B just as easily as one can “prove” that people who smoke are more likely to wear orange or fart in public as opposed to non-smokers. There are too many “studies” trounced out-and-about that allege that something that has previously been “proven” in a study can be unbound in their study. This is mere pop culture-o-rama for the short attention span crowd that desires 750-word pronouncements on everything from the history of the Middle East to staying healthy. Ignore it. The research – from academics and professionals and private institutions – is out there, so seek it and learn from it.
Also, health is not necessarily always related to disease. Genetics and other factors affect one’s overall possibilities for health, but a vigorous approach in regards to exercise and good eating can certainly stave off the ill effects therein, or even prevent or tame what your genetics may have in store for you. Imagine perhaps if that long-distance runner didn’t lead an energetic life? Might he have dropped dead 10 years sooner? Or might he have lived the bowling-ball-belly-and-sedentary life for ten years beyond? Of course, there’s no study on that. He probably died very happy with his time here on earth. As an extreme example, the Tour de France dominator, Lance Armstrong, was dealt a rotten hand with cancer, but his body triumphed because it was strong and prepared, whereas a donut-riddled body would have succumbed. Disease or illness aside, we do have control over many aspects of our health.
Generally speaking, why are so many people slothful? During the course of my day – whether at work or play – I pass these sloths as if they were standing still. They lack energy and drive. They never seem to get out of first or second gear, even in their youth. They are always "so tired." They love those morning donuts and cokes, dang it, but they’re looking at their watches, waiting for that 12pm nap time at their desk on lunch. If this is all you desire out of life, so be it: it’s your choice. Make it.
There are a lot of anti-state writings that fight the government and assorted interest groups on nutrition and health issues. I think, in the end, when I hear libertarians voicing their “eat lard and donuts, and be fat and happy” philosophy, it’s merely a knee-jerk, juvenile reaction to the perpetual, in-your-face Lifestyle Fascism we have come to know from the State and its nosey minions. However, it’s no more useful – as a reaction – than the horsepoop the other side feeds us. The health totalitarians aren’t going to go away, thus, limit the foolish reaction when it comes to fact-finding, and fight back. Produce real evidence – and not just pure irreverence – stating to the contrary of what those birds say. Do your research if you claim to understand the issue. Using slop and silly, anecdotal ways to fight lifestyle fascism is no way to convince smart people of the totalitarianism we face. And we do face a hugely important battle concerning the State, food and health fascism, and all the drama and loss of liberty it brings with it.
Healthiness or unhealthiness, in a large sense, is a choice. A proper strategy for great health — solid nutrition habits, weight, and energy – includes, yes, moderation, but it also includes some hard-and-fast rules for total or near avoidance of those things which are scientifically and objectively deemed to be detrimental to a human’s overall well-being. You think it’s commendable to get in the face of the Lifestyle Fascists by announcing the "undiscovered" benefits of smoking or sugar, and to claim that they actually do some good? Neither have a single health benefit, though they may have psychic ones. An objective, critically-thinking mind makes that distinction.
Quite frankly, there is nothing appealing about announcing one’s penchant for being anti-athletic, anti-health, or pro-crappy food. If you eat crap, you will surely look like crap, and it will be apparent to others. That is nothing to boast about. Surely, such an attitude is not anti-state irreverence, but rather, it is anti-you. And you are an important piece in maintaining individuality and accountability, and thus fighting the State’s overreaching nannyism through self-preservation and self-improvement. So do your anti-whatever thing, but stay in the right lane, please. Other people — who eat, look, and feel good – will need to pass you.
It’s a great thing when we are able to make our own choices and bear out the consequences.
Karen De Coster, CPA, [send her mail] is an accounting and finance professional, freelance writer, and has an MA in Economics. She is fond of motorcycles, guns, Delirium Tremens, fresh lake perch, Stillwater (Minnesota), deadlifting, old barns, road trips through the Ohio Valley, magazine racks, general stores, cigars, iTunes, martini bars, Beethoven, Kid Rock, and articles defending Martha Stewart. She enjoys pissing off the extroverts by listening to her iPod in public. This is her LewRockwell.com archive and her Mises.org archive. Check out her website, along with her blog.