Friday, August 31, 2007

Stop! Nanny's anti-obesity red light's on.

Nanny's anti-obesity campaigners have unveiled a new way to get in our face: forcing food producers to put "traffic lights" on their food packaging. In a topical TV appearance, Harry Binswanger from the Ayn Rand Institute makes a fundamental point that needs to be tattoed upon the shrivelled souls of every one of nanny's groupies. Says Harry:
It's not the responsibility of the state to pass laws to fix people's personal problems...
And that's the whole argument right there, isn't it. Debating a woman championing government regulation of business advertising to "help fight child obesity" (a woman who's a US version of Sue Kedgley), Binswanger makes another obvious point:
Parents should show … some backbone, and not give in to whiny kids, and not expect the government to send the police force into the advertising studios to substitute for their own lack of will power...

Advertisers have a right to broadcast whatever message they choose, as long as it isn’t fraudulent…It’s up to parents to decide what their children can watch and what they can eat.
He's right, isn't he. Police in the advertising studios. Police in the packaging plants. It's time to just say "Sod off!" If we're going to see traffic lights applied anywhere, then it should be a red light to nannying busybodies.

See: FTC Subpoenas - Harry Binswanger on CNBC.

UPDATE: But the 'traffic light' system proposed is "voluntary," you say? Nanny's camp follower Jordan Carter makes plain just how "voluntary" all such schemes are:
The health of New Zealanders is more important than ... ideological hatred of regulation. If companies won't cooperate voluntarily with making our food safer, then they must be forced to do so.
Jawohl, Herr Carter!!

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10 Comments:

Anonymous spam said...

For me, the money quote was:

Health committee chairwoman and Green MP Sue Kedgley said the strategy was aimed at children first, but would have health benefits for all.

"Basically, we have created an environment where people are encouraged to eat unhealthy food at almost every turn," she said.

Food advertising and marketing were targeted because of their strong influence on children's food preferences, she said. "They normalise unhealthy food and undermine parental authority."


So.... she is worried by advertisers 'undermining' parental authority, but has no problem with governments regulating it away?

8/31/2007 10:08:00 am  
Blogger Matt B said...

This obesity epidemic is a classic case of the wastefulness of a collectivised response to what is an individuals' problem. Some people are born with genes for bigness, some people have a taste for high calorie food, and some people like sedentary lifestyles. The result of these can be obesity, which affects a minority of the population.

How stupid, then, to insist that nobody can have a pie for lunch at school, or everyone should pay extra tax for a Big Mac. Its stupid for many reasons.

One, most of the people buying that stuff aren't obese.

Two, the obese don't impose large costs on the health system. Obesity, unless extreme, doesn't really affect health.

Three, even if it does, the fact that there is socialized medicine is not an excuse to ban things that increase the likelihood of a hospital visit. On that basis, skiing would be gone tomorrow. So would parachuting. So would rugby.

Four, if you think socialised medicine is an excuse for public action, then target the obese. Such measures need not catch the majority of people who don't have a weight problem. Obesity is observable. So tax obesity. Charge 10 cents more for a big mac for anyone with BMI over x. Have the scales and height measure by the counter.

Yes, of course that's heartless, but the upshot is that very quickly you'd have targeted people saying 'mind your own fucking business'.

Exactly.

Banning or taxing things wholesale is a hugely expensive and deeply inefficient exercise in pussyfooting around the issue.

Gary Becker once wrote in his blog:

Sometimes I wonder whether much of the public outcry over the gain in weight of teenagers and adults stems mainly from the revulsion that many educated people experience when seeing very fat people. Surely, though, this should hardly be the ground for interventionist policies!

8/31/2007 02:37:00 pm  
Anonymous Fatboy said...

The result of these can be obesity, which affects a minority of the population.

Adult obesity (BMI>30) sits at around 20-25% of the NZ population. Yes that is a minority, but that is a fuck of a lot of people. Also, if you look at distribution for BMI, it is quite clearly shifting towards the right (increasing) both within generations over time, and between generations.

most of the people buying that stuff aren't obese.

No, of course not, because most people arn't obese. And obese people only eat carrot sticks, celery and bean sprouts.

Obesity, unless extreme, doesn't really affect health.

Actually, yes it does, but don't let facts stand in the way off your opinion. It is actually overweight (BMI between 25 and 30) that doesn't really affect health.

the fact that there is socialized medicine is not an excuse to ban things that increase the likelihood of a hospital visit.

Nothing is being banned.

8/31/2007 04:05:00 pm  
Anonymous LGM said...

An apologist for commisars everywhere wrote: "Nothing is being banned." He should have added the word "yet" to his sentence.

Not yet, but having conceded the principe it is only a matter of when.

LGM

8/31/2007 05:51:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Nothing is being banned"

If the final comment PC put up was accurate, this trafic light system seems pretty compulsury. And making somthing compulsury is just the backwards way of saying that the oppisite is being banned.

8/31/2007 06:30:00 pm  
Blogger KG said...

And what about skinny people? We need to put on weight sometimes for health reasons.
But that's not an argument I'd make to these oleaginous smug zealot bastards.
My argument is far simpler--fuck off and leave us alone!

8/31/2007 11:44:00 pm  
Anonymous Fat Girl said...

I love my Big Mac, so Sue Kedgley should fuck off and leave people's free choices alone. BTW Fatboy, I only bonk skinny boys, since they seem to have bigger tools than fatboys.

9/01/2007 10:58:00 am  
Anonymous Fat boy said...

If the final comment PC put up was accurate, this trafic light system seems pretty compulsury. And making somthing compulsury is just the backwards way of saying that the oppisite is being banned.

No it isn't.

This is about providing simple guidelines for people to use when choosing food. Now I know some of you already know what is good and what is bad for you, but others don't. HEAPS of people don't realise that muesli-bars for example (sound healthy), are chock for of empty calories. Most of these will get a red light. You can still eat them though.

How many of you have a problem with the compulsory list of ingredients?
I like the fact that products have to have a list of ingredients. It allows me to make an informed choice.

Take a break from the usual hysteria and tell me what is being banned with this traffic-light approach? How does this impact on your freedom of choice? All it does is provide you with information.

NotPC keeps ranting on and on about the global warming alarmists, but he is no better with his own alarmist approach to this.

Nothing is being banned, so calm down.

KG, if you need to put on weight, you can choose the products with the red light. Simple.

BTW Fat girl, I am a skinny boy, but I seriously doubt I'd want to bonk you.

9/01/2007 01:22:00 pm  
Blogger KG said...

"KG, if you need to put on weight, you can choose the products with the red light. Simple."
No it bloody isn't--half the stuff on sale is advertised as "low fat" or "fat free" etc thanks to the food nazis.
there's a simple answer to the so-called obesity epidemic: eat less, exercise more.
Energy consumed should roughly equal energy expended.
Not so hard, is it?
All the whining about people needing to know what the nutirtional value of various foods are in order to stay within a healthy size range is pure bollocks.
Our forbears ate pretty much whatever they felt like without turning into zeppelin look-alikes. The difference was, they burned off what they consumed.
Less lazy bastards, less food=less obesity.
And it bothers me greatly when people work so hard to justify the government's interference in their lives. What's the problem, can't work it out for yourself?

9/01/2007 07:29:00 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

How many of you have a problem with the compulsory list of ingredients?

I do. So does any libertarian. It should be entirely up to the manufacturer whether or not to list the ingredients.

I like the fact that products have to have a list of ingredients.

If you mean you like the fact that manufacturers list their products' ingredients (as opposed to liking coercion for its own sake) then you have just illustrated how we can get along fine without compulsory ingredient listing. There are lots of people (such as you and me) who like to know what's in their food, and manufacturers will cater to this market by putting ingredient lists on their food products.

Take a break from the usual hysteria and tell me what is being banned with this traffic-light approach? How does this impact on your freedom of choice? All it does is provide you with information.

The traffic-light approach forces manufacturers to provide you with that information.

Nothing is being banned, so calm down.

Thus, manufacturers are banned from producing food products without that information on the packaging.

9/02/2007 03:04:00 am  

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