Friday, 30 September 2011

I’ll Eat What I Want; You Eat Your Heart Out, Bloomberg

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Although I’ve never been one to demonize the rich, there is something particularly irritating about a busybody billionaire who confuses his bankroll with his I.Q. And the busiest of this species seems to be NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose latest patrician effort involves convincing governments worldwide to control what the peons eat.

Reporting on the story, writes:

During a United Nations General Assembly summit on non-communicable diseases — a discussion that included diet and eating habits — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said “governments at all levels must make healthy solutions the default social option.…There are powers only governments can exercise, policies only governments can mandate and enforce and results only governments can achieve. To halt the worldwide epidemic of non-communicable diseases, governments at all levels must make healthy solutions the default social option. That is ultimately government’s highest duty.”

“Government’s highest duty…” My, that sounds almost … religious, Bloomie. But this billionaire really does care — far and wide and everywhere. This is the man who hired private investigators to conduct firearm sting operations in Arizona and other states in an effort to buttress his anti-gun agenda. He did this on behalf of the people — using their taxes. It’s rumored that his money was all tied up in cash.

Bloomberg the Beneficent also funded an anti-gun campaign commercial in Virginia in an effort to influence its 2009 Governor’s race. By his lights, there is no reason to own firearms. Oh, you’re worried about self-defense? Don’t be stupid. Bloomie will tell you that that’s what bodyguards are for.

While addressing the UN General Assembly, the Beneficent boasted about his exploits in controlling the subjects’ health habits. He bragged about having trampled freedom of association in prohibiting smoking in privately owned eating establishments and then banning it even in city parks and on beaches. He kvelled talking about how his punitive taxation has made cigarettes in NYC the nation’s most expensive — $11 a pack. And he said:

In 2009, we enacted the first restriction on cholesterol-raising artificial trans fat in the city’s food service establishments. Our licensing of street "Green Cart" produce vendors has greatly increased the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables in neighborhoods with high rates of diet-related diseases.

We’ve led a national salt reduction initiative and engaged 28 food manufacturers, supermarkets, and restaurant chains to voluntarily commit to reducing excessive levels of sodium in their products. And we’ve mounted a public education campaign highlighting how consuming sugar-sweetened drinks contributes directly to the obesity epidemic that plagues far too many New Yorkers, especially our children.

Wow, NYC just sounds like such a healthful place to live. Except, of course, for all the rats running about since the Beneficent slashed the vermin-control budget in 2010. Well, you can’t say the Mayor doesn’t have an instinct for self-preservation.

Really, whether it’s the two legislators who wanted to prohibit Mississippi restaurants from serving fat people, the nanny-staters who would seize obese children from their parents, or the Beneficent, these health Nazis get tiresome. They claim to care about us so much that they will save us from ourselves. They cry for the children to the point where they would prohibit parents from smoking in a car if kids are present, but then support abortion. And it is this kind of shallowness that prevents them from asking the obvious question here: Even if some people do dig a grave with a knife and fork, so what?

I don’t mean to sound callous and uncaring; it’s a serious question. Of course, this is where the statists will say, “This isn’t just about you and your epicurean selfishness! When you damage your body, you cost the health-care system money.”

Now, it could be pointed out that this isn’t a problem of the Natural Economy; it’s a problem of socialism. It arises when you force people to be responsible for the consequences of others’ decisions. But we don’t even have to go there.

Because the statist claim is utter nonsense.

A 2008 study showed that, contrary to the modern socialist mantra, the obese and smokers actually save the healthcare system money. This is because they die younger and thus don’t require as much medical care as healthy people who live to a ripe old age and die slow, lingering deaths. So I can see tomorrow’s ObamaCare PSAs now, “Make sure you get all the different fat groups! And, remember, tobacco has been shown to improve concentration. Eat, drink and be merry so tomorrow you die (and save us money).”

But all joking aside, I ask again: So what if some people die younger due to freely exercised lifestyle choices? In ancient Rome, the average lifespan was 22, in Colonial Virginia it was under 25, and in some countries today it’s only 20 or 25 years greater (the expectation that we should live to 77.9 is a modern Western phenomenon). And some Americans risk their lives engaging in high-risk sports or sexual activities. So how is it the government’s concern if a bunch of us die fat and jolly at 60 in a smoke-filled beer hall and not old, frail, and on life-support in a hospital room? Why is it a greater sin to shorten your life with cigarettes than with homosexual behavior?

Now let’s delve little deeper. Virtually all of our time will be spent in the hereafter, and compared to this eternity our temporal existence is like a grain of sand in a desert. So while we should show respect for our soul’s temple, should we really become neurotic about whether that grain of sand is going to be small, medium, or large?

Ah, the statists would scoff at such talk? Yes, and that is the issue: Excessive concern about longevity is a function of godlessness.

A Christian may paraphrase Jesus and say, “Fear not that which destroys just the body; fear that which destroys the soul.” But what about when the body is all you have? When you don’t believe in the afterlife, this life is all you then perceive.

And then you may become obsessed with staying in it for as long as possible.

Then, there is no “sin” in the traditional, soul-endangering sense; there are only sins against the body.

When you consider this factor, it’s easy to understand why the Bloombergs of the world see themselves as grand inquisitors charged with “the highest duty” of stamping out body sins and health heresies. They are simply imposing the closest thing they have to a religion — something that gives their lives an illusory sense of meaning — through the state. It is the Cult of the Body.

And its grand high priest addressed the UN last week. Tending his flock and ever pastoral, he concluded with, “Thank you, and enjoy your stay in New York.”

Yes, enjoy your tasteless, banal stay in the Peoples Republic of New York. And don’t let the rats — either the four-legged or two-legged variety — get you.

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