The Tyranny of Weight Control

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Once again, the U.S. government is busy producing a series of frenzied health "findings," making the case that the assorted health problems plaguing Americans keep getting worse, they can’t be solved on an individual basis, and therefore it’s a collective problem that demands an aggressive intervention on the part of bureaucrats through a series of central-planning policies. This article from the Wall Street Journal gives publicity to the government’s obsession with stamping out one health issue in particular, obesity. A couple of snippets from the article claim,

"Obesity and with it diabetes are the only major health problems that are getting worse in this country, and they’re getting worse rapidly," he said.

Change is needed on many fronts, he added. "Reversing obesity is not going to be done successfully with individual effort."

These words were verbalized by Thomas Friedan, the new director of the CDC (Center for Disease Control). Obesity and diabetes are two of the government’s favorite "wars," and this is because the epidemic of obesity, which tends to be a chief cause of diabetes in adults, can pave way for a series of centrally-planned food and prescription drug policies that can be passed off, with minimal effort, as a collective cure to the masses. In fact, solving America’s fat problem, on an aggregate scale, would provide government with wide-ranging powers over individuals and their day-to-day lifestyles. This has government officials — federal, state, and local — salivating over the prospect of such an enormous level of control through policy-wonking and special interest baiting.

Unfortunately for the wanna-bee CommuNannies in Washington, diabetes can only be approached on an individual basis. One person’s diabetes is not the other person’s diabetes. Lifestyles among individuals are drastically different and therefore each case requires unique approaches that get at the root of each diabetic’s problems. Mostly, Americans are becoming diabetic due to their diet — fast foods, sugar-laden foods, processed foods, and overindulgence in carbohydrates that continue to be dominant in the American diet.

Since we know that the modern explosion of diabetes is related to poor diet and inactivity, and each person’s diet and activity level is unique to him, how does diabetes become a problem to be collectively solved? By making such claims through their carefully-plotted propaganda, this is the only way that government autocrats can turn weak-minded Americans into jelly and have them begging for intervention, laws, Big Pharma’s pills — anything that promises to cure what ails them. Somewhere within this strategy I also smell the promise of scores of clients and big dollars for Big Pharma through the use of mandatory drugging for people who do not meet the government’s BMI standards, or some other politically influenced and capricious weight criteria.

FOX news recently covered a story that is monstrous on all counts. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) just concluded a three-day conference in Washington, D.C. called “Weight of the Nation,” which is described as an “inaugural conference on obesity and weight control.” According to the CDC’s website, the purpose of the conference was to “provide a forum to highlight progress in the prevention and control of obesity through policy and environmental strategies and is framed around four intervention settings: community, medical care, school, and workplace.” (Emphasis mine.) One of the conference objectives was to “discuss the use of law-based efforts to prevent and control obesity (e.g., legislation, regulation and policies).” From the FOX story:

But they also venture into suggestions for new restrictions. The recommendations call for communities to restrict the availability of unhealthy foods and beverages, institute smaller portion sizes, limit advertisements of unhealthy products and discourage consumption of sugary drinks.

The recommendations generally apply to public venues, with the possible goal of prompting more widespread restrictions elsewhere.

This article brings up one very important point that should make people pay attention: reducing obesity is at the heart of President Obama’s health care plan. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stated this fact at the conference on Tuesday, July 28th. In effect, government officials are executing an agenda for enriching special interests and restricting free choice for individuals, in regards to food and beverages, as a part of the totalitarian nationalized health care plan. Other brilliant ideas offered up to collectively control the weight of millions of people are the usual: fat taxes, as well as food stamps to subsidize the purchase of “healthy” foods. Even known health expert Bill Clinton, a former presidential power broker who remains in elite company, spoke at the conference as a consultant to this national urgency (emphasis mine):

It is a public health issue that cannot be dealt with entirely within the confines of a medical office,” Clinton told the CDC conference Monday, talking about childhood obesity. “If we want to change this, we have to change what goes on at home and in the community and in the neighborhood and in the schools.

Such changes can only be accomplished when government takes bureaucratic control over individuals and uses force to alter their habits. Public schools are public tools for the government to move in and indoctrinate and control young children, thus this environment gives way to numerous possibilities for control policies within those boundaries. In fact, exercising weight control tyranny through the school systems will be a cinch. However, homes and neighborhoods and communities are private. A family makes a home, households make up a neighborhood, and neighborhoods are the foundations for communities. Yet we have ex-government officials, who are still kept in the power loop, declaring that individuals and families should be subject to coercive decrees that violate their ability to function as free individuals making free choices.

Furthermore, the government campaign attacking fatness has ramped up significantly as public health officials and assorted Czars start to smell blood in the battle to control consumer habits and behavioral outcomes. The propaganda campaign targeting obesity as a killer disease has built the foundation for the government’s declaration of war on weight. In fact, many people see nothing wrong with public awareness campaigns because they present information and advice as opposed to mandating particular behavior through forced policy. Only when these information campaigns turn into calls for government policies do some of them start voicing their concern for individual liberty. However, the government’s propaganda is paid for with stolen loot, and the funds are directed toward politically-favored schemes and allies that enrich and empower the very politicians who have the clout to put the propaganda in place. The public awareness campaign on obesity not only provides the opportunity for people-control via crisis, it is also an illegitimate use of power because government uses the very resources it controls (media, airwaves, schools, universities, etc.) to indoctrinate the masses toward its preferred views that it will later enforce through its laws.

To make matters worse, the government’s policies have promoted obesity in recent decades, as opposed to actually reducing the problem. This is because of the corporate state interests that have gained control of the politicians whose allegiance they purchase through campaign donations. This arrangement, that buys access for powerful special interests, keeps unhealthy, processed — but profitable — foods a part of the government’s food policy while demonizing foods, for years, that not only don’t pose the health risks claimed by food-Nazi bureaucrats and their paid researchers, but actually offer tremendous health benefits and maintain lean, healthy bodies. In terms of subsidized and harmful foods, think corn, and ask yourself why there is such a powerful corn lobby and why corn is found in so many highly-processed foods. In the other hand, healthy fats have been inaccurately portrayed as the villain in the American diet. In the end, the powerful corporate-state alliance will price you out of, or outright ban, healthy-but-unpopular foods while it forces unhealthy foodstuff produced within influential industries, such as refined, corn-based foods, into its centrally planned food policy.

If you want to see where this overall strategy is headed, read the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Here are some high-level snippets from the government’s plan:

  • Establishment of the Common Community Measures for Obesity Prevention Project (the Measures Project), with a goal to "identify and recommend a set of obesity prevention strategies and corresponding suggested measurements that local governments and communities can use to plan, implement, and monitor initiatives to prevent obesity."
  • The Measures Project will include a select Expert Panel of nationally recognized content-area experts in the areas of urban planning, built environment, obesity prevention, nutrition, and physical activity that will assist in the selection of the recommended strategies and measurements.
  • Twenty local government representatives, including city managers, urban planners, and budget analysts, who participate in ICMA’s Center for Performance Measurement (CPM), have volunteered to pilot test the selected measurements. (My input: this means local government agents “volunteering” to force businesses and citizens within their community to adhere to laws deemed desirable by the feds.)
  • Implementing a policy to affect the cost of healthier foods and beverages relative to the cost of less healthy foods and beverages sold within local government facilities in a local jurisdiction or on public school campuses during the school day within the largest school district in a local jurisdiction.
  • Partnering with communities to restrict the availability of less healthy foods and beverages, institute smaller portion size options, and limit advertisement of less healthy foods and beverages in public service venues.
  • Requiring licensed child care facilities within the local jurisdiction to limit screen-viewing time to no more than 2 hours per day for children aged ≥2 years.

At the Tennessee farm, July 2009.

If you breeze through these thirty-two painful pages you will observe a grotesque plan for micro-management of diet, nutrition, weight management, and activities of the U.S. population by utilizing a collective strategy for restriction and implementation, including the taxation of unfavorable foods and the subsidization of favored foods and industries dominated by powerful corporate giants. You will also note that the federal government plans to make extensive use of eager local officials in order to push its agenda down to the community level, as well as into the public schools. Along the way, the government will use “available evidence and expert opinion” to recommend strategies. Never mind the fact that 1) “evidence” is influenced and/or produced by special interests that wish to profit financially from government policy, and 2) “experts” are those whose judgment is deemed to take the correct position according to the desires of powerful and influential politicians, corporations, and special interests who will reap power and profit from a centrally-planned food policy.

Lastly, in staying with the usual course of dumbing down its propaganda to delightful, colorful pictures and graphs in order to appeal to the lowest common denominator in society, see the government’s cutesy little chart meant to inspire the masses to crave its invasive recommendations (on page 8 of this PDF):

Healthy policies = Healthy Environments = Healthy Behaviors = Healthy People

I can imagine this ridiculous motto drawn up in pretty colors on white paper, strung out on classroom walls and corporate cubicles all over America. For only when the majority of adults are reduced to hapless adolescents can the government work its parental magic on their teenage anxieties.

Karen DeCoster [send her mail] is an accounting/finance professional and writer. She rides a Harley, shoots lots of guns, and recently became a 1911 addict. She likes to put in long miles on her hybrid bicycle, lift heavy weights, use the crock pot, overindulge on Gouda cheese, do primal workouts, play Frisbee, get lost in the woods, and hang out at Bass Pro Shops. She won’t trade in her clunker for cash and it is highly unlikely that she will become a Czar in the Obama administration. This is her LewRockwell.com archive and her Mises.org archive. Check out her website.

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