A week ago, the Ontario Medical Association (OMA) launched a campaign against junk food. According to the CBC, this is what the OMA has in mind:
“Unhealthy foods should be taxed the same way tobacco is as part of an effort to battle childhood obesity, Ontario doctors say.
The recommendation is part of an Ontario Medical Association (OMA) campaign launched Tuesday.”
“The group suggests that the province introduce policies including:
Increasing taxes on junk food and decreasing taxes on healthy foods.
Restricting marketing of fatty and sugary foods to children.
Placing graphic warning labels on pop and other high-calorie foods with little to no nutritional value.
Adding retail displays for high-sugar, high-fat foods that prominently advise consumers of the health risks.
Restricting the availability of sugary, low-nutritional value foods in sports and other recreational facilities frequented by young people.
Just as graphic images are required on cigarette packages, the doctors said, junk food such as french fries should come in packaging illustrating the toll obesity takes on the body. Potential images include a foot with an open wound meant to reflect on a problem that people with diabetes may suffer, or a liver riddled with fatty liver disease.”
Around 10 years ago, the far sighted among us warned the rest of us that as the anti-smoking campaign wound down (because of victory), the anti-smoking Nazi’s next target would be fast food. Most people tittered: surely, they wouldn’t attack Big Macs like cancer sticks?
We were wrong.
Speaking of the war on smoking, I have to say that even though I have never smoked a cigarette in my life, I increasingly find the whole exercise contemptible. It becomes more and more clear that it is not about public health at all, but is just a handy excuse for busy bodies to satisfy their inner petty tyrant.
If you think I am unfair by calling anti-smoking activists Nazis, let me remind you that the first anti-smoking Nazi was none other than Adolph Hitler himself; who made his generals stand outside the door of his East Prussian Wolf’s Lair bunker when they wanted to have a cigarette: a scene very familiar around the entrances and exits of 21st century office buildings.
While the motivations of the individual participants are low, at an institutional level, the OMA’s motives can be summed up by one phrase: ‘mission creep’. If we had serious disease epidemics, the OMA wouldn’t have time for this nonsense, but we no longer have epidemics like we used to. People are no longer dropping by the thousands from TB and the Spanish flu; and hunger, a constant companion not that long ago, is history. As a result, human life expectancy statistics are breaking records every year (by seniors who all used to smoked), and public health officials have increasingly less to do.
As our lot in life improves, these people - anti-smoking Nazis, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, HR Department harpies, PC commissars at our Human Right’s Commissions, and now Ronald MacDonald haters - work ever more feverishly on ever more marginal threats to our well-being. The casualty? Liberty: one of the most precious gifts a political system can bestow on its citizens.
P.S. “A society of children cannot survive, no matter how all-embracing the government nanny.” Steyn, Mark.