Food rules eat away liberty

Food rules eat away liberty

August 23rd, 2012 in Opinion Free Press

In the United States and other (relatively) free societies, the personal liberty we enjoy is based on one single notion: Self-ownership. You own your body and, so long as you don't harm someone else, you can do with it pretty much as you damn well please.

If that's the case why do so many people think they have the right to regulate and dictate the food you can put in your body?

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has become a chief offender. He has decided that it's not enough to worry about the public safety, education, transportation and economy of America's largest city. He's also has to be everyone's mother, too.

Next month, the city Board of Health votes on - and is expected to approve - Bloomberg's proposal to ban selling sodas in cups or bottles larger than 16 ounces in city restaurants, stadiums and movie theaters.

Not surprisingly, New Yorkers are decidedly against their mayor regulating how much soda they're allowed to buy.

A poll conducted earlier this month by the New York Times found, "Six in 10 residents said the mayor's soda plan was a bad idea, compared with 36 percent who called it a good idea."

The resistance to the soda ban is an indication that Americans have had enough of government telling us what we can and cannot eat and drink.

But there's one person who obviously has yet to get the message: Michelle Obama.

After the first lady noticed that her daughter, Malia, "was getting a little chubby," she decided to launch a War on Childhood Obesity. Now, when she's not going on extravagant vacations at taxpayers' expense, Mrs. Obama is busy running around playing general in her delusional little war. She's even managed to declare martial law on school cafeterias across America.

Largely as a result of the first lady's pressure, the USDA was forced to alter its school lunch requirements to include more costly fruits, vegetables and whole grains. That price increase is passed on to the students and, in the case of free and reduced lunch recipients, to taxpayers.

In total, the Michelle Obama-inspired new school lunch requirements are expected to cost taxpayers $3.2 billion over the next five years, according (coincidentally) to Bloomberg.

The first lady is also the force behind recently enacted federal school vending machine regulations and limits on how often schools can have bake sales. The two rules cost schools millions of dollars of revenue each year and, of course, taxpayers will end up filling the void.

After waging her food fight in schools, Mrs. Obama trained her sights on her own front yard. In 2010, during the White House's annual Easter Egg Roll, the first lady refused to give out the traditional gift bag filled with Easter candy. Instead, she gave out fruit and set up hand washing stations.

The geniuses that run Horace Mann School in Newton, Mass, thought the first lady was really on to something by doing everything she could to prevent kids from enjoying a little candy on a holiday. So this year, they followed Mrs. Obama's lead and banned Valentine's Day candy. Instead of candy hearts, the school's principal recommended the kids give each other origami. After all, nothing says "be mine," quite like a paper swan.

But children are just the first battle in the first lady's war. Not happy with just determining what our kids are allowed to eat, Mrs. Obama and her advisors are now in meetings with the National Restaurant Association to dictate how much food restaurants are permitted to serve to adults. She has also gotten some candy makers to stop producing king-size candy bars.

The number of rules and regulations on what people are allowed to eat and drink is absurd - and growing by the day, thanks to food dictators like Michael Bloomberg and Michelle Obama.

If you're an adult, you own your body and should be able to decide what goes in it. If you're a parent, you - not government - should have the authority to decide what your child gets to eat. It's as simple as that.