Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Nanny Progressive example of the day

Remember my post about the regulation of salt?  At one point I said:

Now I'm not asking for people to get outraged and stay outraged over salt, but I want people to recognize the fence for a fence and not just some new addition to the landscape that means nothing.  Too many people will say "Well salt is bad for you anyways, so what's the big deal?" and simply let it slide.  But once you use that logic you'll be forced to use it again and again until you find yourself domesticated and in a pin.  Maybe tomorrow it's a push to ban trans-fats or make feeding your children certain foods child abuse.

I made a point to emphasize how gradual these things are.  Rather than just forcing regulations on us, they adapt us to it slowly.  Warning us of the dangers, starting task forces, and eventually deciding that drastic measures are necessary.

I specifically mentioned children and food as one possible area of future regulation.  Guess what story got released today?

A White House report warns "The childhood obesity epidemic in America is a national health crisis."

The review by the Task Force on Childhood Obesity says one out of every three children is overweight or obese. The task force is a key part of First Lady Michelle Obama's campaign to solve the problem of obesity within a generation.

Innocent enough, even with my warnings.  Really nothing to get too upset about until you read further down:

The task force wants junk food makers and marketers to go on what amounts to an advertising diet. It says media characters that are often popular with kids should only be used to promote healthy products. If voluntary efforts fail to limit marketing of less healthy products to young viewers, the task force suggests the FCC should consider new rules on commercials in children's programming. It also challenges food retailers to stop using in-store displays to sell unhealthy food items to children.

But Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz said, "A regulatory approach is certainly not where we want to start." He told a briefing, "You start by pushing self-regulation, by pushing your bully pulpit; sometimes shaming companies that don't do enough."

Exactly the point I was making.  This also follows on the heels of a Californian town banning toys in happy meals for fear that it promotes child obesity.

If going through a long process to regulate one particular industry seems rather absurd to you, that's because it should.  Regulating salt, for example, merely sets a precedent to regulate something else a little later.  And it also preforms the role of getting the people used to the idea of things being regulated.  The same tactic used, just on a larger scale then before.

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