Sometimes laughter isn’t just the best medicine, it’s the only medicine:
Bringing cake into the office should be seen as harmful to your colleagues in the same way as passive smoking, the chairwoman of Britain’s top food watchdog has said.
Professor Susan Jebb, of the Food Standards Agency, speaking personally and not on behalf of the agency, also expressed frustration with ministers’ decision to delay a television watershed for junk food advertising, which she said led to a “complete market failure” that marginalised healthy products….
Jebb, professor of diet and population health at the University of Oxford and a member of The Times Health Commission, said it was not enough to rely on the “extraordinary efforts” of personal willpower needed to avoid overeating in a society that is constantly plying people with food.
She said: “We all like to think we’re rational, intelligent, educated people who make informed choices the whole time and we undervalue the impact of the environment,” she said. “If nobody brought in cakes into the office, I would not eat cakes in the day, but because people do bring cakes in, I eat them. Now, OK, I have made a choice, but people were making a choice to go into a smoky pub.”
While saying the two issues were not identical, Jebb argued that passive smoking inflicted harm on others “and exactly the same is true of food”.
The killjoys are pestering us everywhere, but this seems a new front. What do you suppose this…person would say if asked “Are you recommending that I bring a bag of broccoli florets, a liver and kidney bean casserole, or nothing at all?” Does she imagine that those of us who are carrying a few extra pounds are unaware of our condition or what brought it on? Or is she hinting that individuals’ moral agency is unequal to the task, and that it must be nationalized – whoops! Excuse me, British cousins: nationalised — and placed under her supervision in the name of the “public good?”
This is one of the inevitable consequences of giving The State a say about anything other than protecting the border and keeping peace in the streets. Britain has a National Health Service that barely functions at all, being overloaded with administrators and bureaucratically mandated overheads (cf. Parkinson’s Law again). Its grandees ceaselessly seek ways to “reduce the burden” – translated from the Circumlocuitive, that’s “keep those pesky subjects waiting in line to see a doctor or dentist from questioning our budget allotments” – and one method is to tell those who seek medical care that their problem is “your own fault.”
It happens here, too. It’s less visible, but it does happen here. Consider some of the recent scandals in our VA hospitals. Consider also the recent attempts to empower Medicare and Medicaid to deny coverage to persons who smoke or drink.
It’s always “high-minded.” It’s always for “the public good.” Who would dare to raise his voice to say otherwise? That’s the trap. It was used to create the FDA. It was used to license medical practitioners. It was used to ban all manner of drugs, supplements, and additives. And sooner or later it will be used to force certain medical procedures upon every living human – perhaps at birth and thereafter.
This is tyranny with a smiling face. This is the tactic by which the power-lusters have advanced most handily for a century and more. We must beat it back at the instant it raises its head, or submit to it forevermore.
See also this Baseline Essay.