Monday, March 06, 2006

Thought Experiment No. 6 - Extending the Nanny State

Proponents of law suits attacking, or regulation of, the advertising and sale of food that make us fat. (Like this guy) are advocates of a new kind of puritanism. They are seeking to save us from sin - or, more accurately, from being encouraged to sin by advertisers and fast food restaurants that want us to eat what we oughtn't to eat. They are trying to save us from being manipulated into doing something that will harm us.

It's for our own good! But do they go far enough? The modern liberal notion believes that the only enforceable purity is purity of the body. He or she seeks to prevent gluttony. But that that was only one of the deadly sins. Remember lust?

So how about some public interest litigation against, say, Abercrombie & Fitch or countless other advertisers for encouraging precocious sexuality. Let's recover the cost of out-of-wedlock births and sexually transmitted diseases? Maybe a class of gay men infected with AIDS could sue San Fransisco's bath houses and gay bars?

If we really have to be protected from ourselves, we've got a lot more to fear than Big Macs.


elliot said...

This story is a perfect use of the term Nanny State.

I still contend that refering to smoking bans as being an example of a Nanny State is an inaccurate use of the term.

(I'm sorry for hijacking your post, Rick. I just couldn't help myself.)

sneed said...

Let's try Thought Experiment No. 7 -- the conservatives brainstorm about how to reduce obesity. What's your strategy--will power, "just say no", declaring a "war on fat"? Or will the free market magically solve this social problem too? Perhaps vouchers to the local gym for those who can't afford the membership fee?

I rather doubt that the red states will lead the way to a solution on this one, since their obesity rates tend to be signficiantly higher than in the blue states.

Probably the conservatives will just say that obesity doesn't really exist, like global warming. Problem solved.

Steve S said...

It seems a bit of cognitive dissonance, then, that the same liberals who would sue McDonald's would like to get rid of the War on Drugs - people should be able to have their fun, after all!

Both sides are puritanical - it's just which issues they pick up. But both sides are usually wrong when they go on their puritanical kicks, IMHO.

Rick Esenberg said...


My goodness, no. Why would we expect anyone to control themselves when the culture sends so many mixed messages? We know better how others are to behave and it would be a failure of noblesse oblige to fail to act. But since we have such an awesome responsibility, we can't stop at Super Sized orders of fries. We need to save people from poor sexual choices. How is a young person supposed to control himself when all he sees is sexualized images. Let's sue the bastards. McDonald's and Victoria's Secret.

Peter said...

read my keystrokes ... it's none of your (blank-blank) business.

Peter said...

in other words, you take care of your household and I will take care of mine. What I do doesn't affect you and is really none of your concern. I stopped needing a mommy and a daddy years and years ago.

sneed said...

What a brilliant bunch of suggestions, guys! This site is a veritable conservative think tank, chock full of innovative ideas.

But wait, I have some more proposals for the conservative war on obesity:

We could ask Pat Robertson to intervene with God and move the fat away from America.

Or we could build a wall around Taco Bell.

Or declare Burger King part of the axis of evil and then invade and occupy it.

Or we could give some more tax breaks to the rich and hope that they spend the money on a cure.

Or we could ban abortion and contraception because then virtue would reign across the land.

Or we could blame immigrants, or Hollywood, or the liberal media, or Islam, or Europe, or the U.N.

In no time at all America will be lean. It's already mean, it just needs to work on lean.