Bernie Goldberg zings the food police in San Franscisco in an amusing piece for AOL news. Writing about the great “happy meal toy” debate currently raging in San Francisco, Goldberg warns that when the government starts regulating the little things–like your food choices–the bigger things are likely to follow. Goldberg writes:
But let’s be fair: Childhood obesity is a serious problem. And yes, eating fruits and vegetables is better than eating stuff that will turn kids into little fat slobs. And yes, for a lot of kids, the prospect of getting a colorful, dopey, plastic toy can be enticing. But this raises a few questions.
If government can ban toys from Happy Meals, what else can it do for our own good? Can politicians pass laws that actually require us to eat fruit and vegetables every day? Can they tax Ding Dongs to the point where nobody but Bill Gates can afford to buy them? How about Twinkies? Can they force us to wear helmets when driving our cars?
Before you say, “That’s crazy, of course they can’t do any of that” — ask yourself this: Why not?
Why can’t a nanny state that is convinced it knows what’s best for all of us do all of those things? The answer is it can — if we’re dumb enough to allow it. As an editorial in the (far-from-San Francisco) Augusta (Georgia) Chronicle put it: “There’s a difference between regulating and micromanaging. A government does the former under capitalism, the latter under communism.”
Goldberg’s right. While many people may view these types of measures (and similar measures such as soda taxes, sugar bans, school lunch reform) as the proper role of government or even a necessary evil (I don’t want to pay for these people’s healthcare bills down the road), the government has absolutely no business rooting around in your most personal decisions. Hmmm….personal decisions. I seem to recall that as a rallying cry for many liberal women’s groups. Goldberg touches on this too, saying:
But aren’t these the same people who worship at the alter of “choice” — at least when it comes to abortion? Shouldn’t parents have a choice if they want to let their kids eat hamburgers and fries without some green veggie and a piece of fruit?
Liberals seem to pick and choose which things fall under the category of “personal choice.” McDonald’s Happy Meals clearly don’t.