It’s not exactly the sci-fi film Sleeper, in which a futuristic society had learned that deep fat, steak, cream pies, and hot fudge were actually healthful. But it’s shocking nonetheless: Nanny-state Norway's new health minister has said not only that “people should be allowed to smoke, drink and eat as much red meat [as] they just want,” but also that she’s very sympathetic toward a much maligned minority group: smokers. It’s a message that has the Cult of the Body health Nazis smokin’ mad.
As Sputnik reports, “Progress Party figurehead and newly-minted Health Minister Sylvi Listhaug has shocked her compatriots with an unorthodox stance on nutrition, alcohol, and tobacco” — because freedom (apart from the freedom to kill your unborn baby or raise your son as a girl) is truly shocking to today’s Norwegians.
“I believe people should be allowed to smoke, drink and eat as much red meat as they want,” NRK reports Listhaug as saying. “The authorities may like to inform, but people already know pretty well what is healthy and what isn't, I believe. It is not the government’s role to tell people what they should and should not do.” (NRK material auto-translated and edited for style and clarity.)
“My starting point for this with public health is very simple,” Listhaug also told NRK. “I do not plan to be a moral police, and will not tell people how to live their lives, but I intend to help people get information that forms the basis for making choices.”
Listhaug, who was just elected vice chairman of her Progress Party, also defended tobacco users. NRK again: “I think many smokers feel like a pariah. So they almost feel they have to hide away, and I think that’s stupid. Although smoking is not good, because it is harmful, adults have to decide for themselves what to do.”
While this seems like just common sense, it is radicalism — to radicals. To wit, Sputnik relates some criticism Listhaug has received:
“She seems to have little understanding of what public health really is and what her task as minister in that area is”, Norwegian Cancer Society Secretary General Anne Lise Ryel told NRK.
She fears that Listhaug, through her influence and eloquence, will affect many Norwegians.
“Many will adhere to what she says. That is to say, public health has been set back many decades”, Ryel said.
“This is wide off the target. It’s madness. Contrary to what the whole community is trying to work against”, trainer and fitness activist Anki Eie told NRK. “This is quite the opposite of how we work in this industry. It’s scary that it comes from a minister. This will break down our health”.
While one should question why a central government even needs a “health minister,” the above reflects the mentality that the nanny state is a given and a necessity. But is Anki Eie so stupid and undisciplined that she can’t be healthy without big-gov “parenting”? Or is that just what she thinks of others?
It’s also hard to imagine that people (leftists) who accept prenatal infanticide — sometimes up to the point of birth — and often trumpet euthanasia, really care about human life ended prematurely via slow suicide with cigarettes, alcohol, or politically incorrect foods. Do they really want to preserve your life or just control it?
This is no minor question. While the common tendency to project one’s own mindset onto others makes it a little-understood motivation, in just the way that many people crave money or sex (drives everyone understands), there are those who crave power and control. Sometimes these individuals are impelled, entirely or in part, by an intolerant attitude that can’t abide defiance of their own will — especially by those whose behavior they deem “stupid.”
Of course, this where statists may respond, “But, wait, people living unhealthful lifestyles cost society money because they’re a drain on the healthcare system.” Yet this isn’t a problem of societies with proper liberty.
It’s a problem of statism that arises when you make people responsible for the consequences of others’ bad decisions.
Second, however, it’s also based on a falsehood. It’s not those who smoke like chimneys, drink like fish, or dig graves with a fork and knife who bust the healthcare budget; they’re more likely to suffer an untimely, sudden death and often aren’t around to drain the system.
It’s the people who live to a ripe old age and experience a long, lingering decline who use up tremendous resources because an inordinate percentage of healthcare costs appear to be attributable to caring for the elderly and end-of-life care.
So if all that concerned you was the bottom line, you should encourage smoking, drinking, and bad eating — and discourage big government, one of the worst addictions of all.
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