Something’s Fishy In Denmark (and here too)

I received a record number of emails alerting me to Denmark’s new tax on fatty foods.  In case you haven’t heard about it, here are some quotes from one of the many news articles:

Denmark is to impose the world’s first “fat tax” in a drive to slim its population and cut heart disease.  The move may increase pressure for a similar tax in the UK, which suffers from the highest levels of obesity in Europe.

Starting from this Saturday, Danes will pay an extra 30p on each pack of butter, 8p on a pack of crisps, and an extra 13p on a pound of mince, as a result of the tax.

If the U.S. government ever starts taxing my mince, I’m going to start a revolution.

The tax is expected to raise about 2.2bn Danish Krone (£140m), and cut consumption of saturated fat by close to 10 percent, and butter consumption by 15 percent.

Which means it will raise the consumption of crappy industrial food products by around 25 percent.

“It’s the first ever fat-tax,” said Mike Rayner, Director of Oxford University’s Health Promotion Research Group, who has long campaigned for taxes on unhealthy foods.

Unhealthy foods?  I thought the tax was on saturated fat and butter.

“It’s very interesting. We haven’t had any practical examples before. Now we will be able to see the effects for real.”

So let me get this straight:  you have no practical examples – which means you have no evidence that taxing fatty foods is a good idea – but you favor imposing those taxes anyway?  Mr. Rayner, are you by any chance related to The Guy From CSPI?

I read some rah-rah comments by journalists who love the nanny state, but at least one news article raised an important issue:

Butter, milk, cheese, pizza, meat, oil and processed food are now subject to the tax if they contain more than 2.3% saturated fat.  Danish officials say they hope the new tax will help limit the population’s intake of fatty foods.

However, some scientists think saturated fat may be the wrong target. They say salt, sugar and refined carbohydrates are more detrimental to health and should be tackled instead.

Those scientists are two-thirds right:  sugar and refined carbohydrates are more detrimental to health.  But as for “should be tackled first” – ummm … why?  Why should governments be tackling any of our food choices?  Or as Jacob Sullum (who appeared in Fat Head) aptly put it in one of his essays, When the did the size of your butt become the government’s business?

Whenever the nanny-statists set out to provide another real-life example of the punchline We’re from the government, and we’re here to help, they never pause to ask themselves two crucial questions:

  • Is this an appropriate task for government, and therefore an appropriate application of government force?
  • Do government officials have the knowledge and expertise to make the correct decisions on this matter and therefore apply force in a beneficial way?

One of the many reasons I love living in Tennessee is that a surprising number of politicians here actually ask themselves question #1 before acting.  I stood up and cheered when I heard that our mayor warned an alderman that he would veto the alderman’s proposed bill to outlaw hurricane fences.  The alderman insisted hurricane fences are ugly.  The mayor agreed … but said telling property owners what kind of fence they can install on their own land isn’t a proper function of government.  What a concept.

Nanny-statists, of course, believe that restricting our freedom in order to bring about whatever benefits they imagine will follow is just fine and dandy.  New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg recently spoke at a WHO conference dedicated to creating new policies to battle obesity, diabetes and other “non-communicable” diseases – in other words, diseases you can’t transmit to anyone else. We’re not talking about stopping someone from spreading polio to unwitting victims here; we’re talking about governments attempting to protect people from their own free choices.  Here’s part of what Bloomberg had to say:

While government action is not sufficient alone, it is nevertheless absolutely essential.  There are powers only governments can exercise.

True … only government can legally threaten to commit violence against you and toss you in jail if you don’t do what you’re told.

Policies only governments can mandate and enforce.  And results only government can achieve.

True again … I don’t think private organizations alone could have foisted so much bad dietary advice on us that we’d end up with record numbers of adolescents developing type 2 diabetes.

I’ve been watching (in small chunks) the excellent Ken Burns documentary on Prohibition – the most famous example of our government trying to protect people from themselves.  In one of the opening sequences, several historians wondered how Prohibition ever could’ve passed in America.  As one of them noted, the Constitution was designed to guarantee individual freedom  – but then we passed a constitutional amendment that specifically restricted individual freedom.  It was, one of them noted, quite un-American, quite contrary to our national character.

Yes, it was … or at least it used to be.  Have you ever wondered why Prohibition required a constitutional amendment to become law?  If Congress wanted to ban the sale and manufacture of alcohol, why didn’t they pass a federal law and start enforcing it?

The answer is that Congress knew the law would be struck down as unconstitutional faster than you can open a bottle of beer.  It would’ve clearly violated the Constitution’s limits on federal power, and back in those days most judges had this wild notion that the Constitution actually means what it says.

(Warning:  sidebar political rant …)

Then along came a bull@#$% theory promoted by “progressives” that the Constitution is a “living, breathing document” – which means judges can just interpret it pretty much any ol’ way they choose.  A “living, breathing” Constitution is nearly worthless.  Any part of it can be lived and breathed out of existence by some nanny-state judge, as we’ve seen countless times now.

A couple of you have commented previously that you support the idea of a “living, breathing” Constitution because you don’t believe today’s government should be restricted by words written on a piece of paper more than 200 years ago.  Before you swoop in to repeat those comments now, I want you to answer a question:

Suppose as part of the “war on terror,” Congress made it a crime to publicly criticize the commander-in-chief or the military … you know, because the founders couldn’t have anticipated world-wide terror networks, ya see, so they couldn’t possibly have understood that someday an American citizen’s anti-war comments could show up the next day on YouTube or Al Jazeera and provide comfort and inspiration to people who want to kill American soldiers, so we have to re-interpret the Constitution to fit today’s circumstances.

Now … are you okay with that law?  Do you buy the “living, breathing” Constitution theory in this example?  Or would you still expect the First Amendment to protect your freedom of speech?  If so, why?  Why should the Constitution be interpreted literally when it places limits on government that you hold sacred, but become all fuzzy and living and breathing when it places limits on government that I hold sacred?  You can’t have it both ways.

(End of sidebar political rant … sort of.)

Obviously, since I believe the legitimate purpose of government is to protect our freedom, I don’t believe mandating health habits is a proper function of government.  I don’t believe governments should be telling us what to eat, where to eat, how much we should pay for what we eat, or how much salt can be included in the packaged foods we buy.  I don’t believe governments have any business requiring restaurants to post calorie counts on menus or to serve low-fat or low-sugar foods.

And I certainly don’t believe governments have any business telling citizens that they can’t buy raw milk, as happened recently in Wisconsin. (That judge explained to the citizen that we have no right to consume the foods we prefer, because we only have the rights the government grants us … which means the judge is a @#$%ing nanny-state idiot who would benefit from having a copy of the Declaration of Independence forcibly inserted in his colon – raw and un-pasteurized, of course.)

On to question #2 – If government is going mandate health habits, does government have the knowledge and expertise to make the correct decisions?

Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!

Thanks, after the political rant, I needed a good laugh.  Bloomberg is the genius who thinks government should force food manufacturers to reduce the salt content in their products, despite no evidence whatsoever that restricting salt would do diddly for our health.  Meanwhile, here’s what the World Health Organization is proposing:

Among the items included in the declaration are having governments intervene with the advertising of foods deemed unhealthy to “Promote the implementation of the WHO (World Health Organization) set of recommendations on the marketing of foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children, including foods that are high in saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, free sugars, or salt,” according to the document.

See the problem here?  You and I may agree that trans fats and sugar are bad for us, but some people still insist they’re harmless.  I believe saturated fat is good for us and grains are bad for us.  Other people believe it’s exactly the opposite.  You can cite evidence either way if you’re clever about it.  The difference is that I’m not interested in forcing my beliefs and my food choices on anyone else.  The nanny-statists are very interested in doing exactly that — and they don’t have the expertise to know for sure their choices are the best choices.

Governments should back off and leave us alone.  Our government has been telling us what to eat for 40 years now and subsidizing the foods it insists are good for us.  Does anyone believe we’ve gotten healthier as a result?

Share

196 thoughts on “Something’s Fishy In Denmark (and here too)

  1. Becky

    Another excellent post. I love your libertarian take on things. Yahoos like that Wisconsin judge (and a good deal of the general public and politicians) don’t understand that our system is designed for maximum freedom and rights, and our freedoms are NOT granted by the government, the government exists to serve us, not the other way around. As for Denmark and others, I would go out on a limb here and say that when the public funds medical care for all, then the public has a vested interest in what other people eat (as much as it impacts their health and subsequent health care costs). If we want the security of the nanny state taking care of our health care, we must submit to the nanny state’s mandates and resulting loss of freedom. Be careful what you wish for, people.

    (Check the typo in the first reference to a ‘leaving’ and breathing Constitution. By the way, are hurricane fences a regionally different name for chain link fences?)

    Yes, chain-link fences. See this post on the idea that government has a vested interest in telling us what to eat:

    http://www.fathead-movie.com/index.php/2010/02/18/meme-roth-a-burden-on-us-all/

    Reply
  2. Underground

    Pssst! Hey, buddy, want to buy some of the good stuff? Just fell off a truck from the government impound cooler. Fresh cream butter baby, only the best.

    Tom you’re just being silly now. Suggesting that the almighty government shouldn’t be making all our choices for us. I’m sure if such a tax makes its way to Britain some of our anglophilic politicians will try to jump on it.

    I still hold the belief that a bureaucracy of any maturity is most accurately viewed as a parasitic organism. Constantly seeking to expand its numbers while sucking ever greater resources from the host who receives nothing in return.

    Time to flush the system.

    We have plenty of politicians who would happily impose such a tax today if they could.

    Reply
  3. Slade

    Why don’t they just prohibit fatty food and cigarettes together? If there’s a risk of certain foods being prohibited, why not prohibit other bad stuff too? …but that could be too logical for a politician.

    Government needs to butt out of my choices! …and how about getting rid of cigarette taxes too. I don’t smoke, but it’s still a legal choice like alcohol.

    Reply
  4. ben

    This is one of the biggest issues with universal healthcare, it legitimises the nanny state because the state has to pick up the pieces for your dumb decisions. Here in Australia cigarettes have had their tax doubled and are going to be in plain packaging, alcohol is next. I’m envisaging a future where everything that isn’t part of a state approved lifestyle will be taxed to the fringes and then we’ll get taxed even more as a black market for meat comes out and a ‘war on fat’ is declared. We’ll have the Fat Enforcement Administration.

    That’s one of the many reasons I’m against a government takeover of healthcare. Then every new nanny-state initiative will be rationalized as being a healthcare issue.

    Reply
  5. Craig

    It is also insightful to look back on prohibition as our government wastes money and lives in its “war” on marijuana. If it took an amendment to the constitution to ban a chemical that has to be fermented, brewed or distilled, how can the government have the right to ban a plant by statute?

    Please note that I am not promoting the use of marijuana by anyone. I’m just giving another example of the government deciding it needs to tell adults what they can and can’t do in their own homes. Meanwhile, the government subsidizes the production of whiskey and soda, since both are made from subsidized grains. Anyone who understands the separate effects of alcohol and fructose on the liver should understand that a glass of whiskey and soda is a concentrated combination of two toxins that primarily attack the same organ while also doing plenty of damage to other parts of the body.

    If you want to drink a Jack and Coke when you get home from work that is your business and no bureaucrat should be trying to stop you. But it shows just how absurd our government is when it is subsidizing a fairly toxic intoxicant while imprisoning people for possession of a far less harmful one.

    Bingo. There’s no consistency in the policies.

    Reply
  6. Robert

    “Which means it will raise the consumption of crappy industrial food products by around 25 percent.”

    Sorry Tom, but I gotta correct your math here. Clearly it will cause it to go up by like 100%. Less good fat in their diets will just make them more hungry, and lead to an even greater consumption of crap than needed to just to replace lost calories. But I think you know this. 🙂

    This law is a travesty. 🙁

    Good point. I was being a bit too literal with the math.

    Reply
  7. Michael

    I am so torn on this issue (hear me out!!!).

    On one hand I am horrified that any nation would legitimize the unfounded belief that saturated fats are bad for you to the extent that they create incentives to avoid them. And to be clear, I would fight tooth and nail any similar legislation in THIS country, which brings me to my conflict.

    In Denmark having universal health care means that all tax paying citizens share the burden of each other’s health decisions equally. While I vehemently disagree that saturated fats are unhealthy in any way, I feel it is well within the rights of the people of Denmark to decide, through their legislators, to have those that knowingly choose irresponsible health behaviors bear more of the financial burden.

    Again, not saying I agree that saturated fats are unhealthy. Can’t say that enough as I am afraid many who read this will miss what I am getting at.

    Here in the US, as long as I pay for a good chunk of what it costs to keep me healthy, I would just as soon lawmakers mind their own business.

    As a matter of fact, when I think about the very extensive, costly health benefits we pay for congress to have, I think the citizens should be making their health choices, not the other way around. But I digress.

    See this rather long post I wrote about the idea that it’s okay to tell individuals what to eat if we’re “all paying” for their health care:

    http://www.fathead-movie.com/index.php/2010/02/18/meme-roth-a-burden-on-us-all/

    Reply
  8. Jesrad

    “I believe the legitimate purpose of government is to protect our freedom”
    I don’t, mainly because millions of people have aptly taken care of protecting their freedom for many centuries all around the world at all eras. And just because they lately lost the habit from being domesticized by te state, doesn’t mean the couldn’t start doing it again.

    I’m certainly not suggesting individuals shouldn’t protect their freedom as well. But unfortunately, the history of conquest and slavery around the world shows that individuals and unorganized clans are sitting ducks for conquest.

    Reply
  9. Tanny O'Haley

    France has also instituted a fat tax, though I believe that it is on “sugary drinks”. And in the UK:

    “A fat tax could be the answer to Britain’s obesity time-bomb, David Cameron suggested yesterday.

    The Prime Minister revealed He was looking at following Denmark”.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2045263/David-Cameron-backs-fat-tax-unhealthy-food-battle-obesity.html

    I can only shake my head in sadness.

    You’d think they would at least want to wait and see the results in Denmark.

    Reply
  10. Vinny

    “If the U.S. government ever starts taxing my mince, I’m going to start a revolution.”
    The day it happens(heaven forbid), I’ll be right there with you.

    Reply
  11. Becky

    Another excellent post. I love your libertarian take on things. Yahoos like that Wisconsin judge (and a good deal of the general public and politicians) don’t understand that our system is designed for maximum freedom and rights, and our freedoms are NOT granted by the government, the government exists to serve us, not the other way around. As for Denmark and others, I would go out on a limb here and say that when the public funds medical care for all, then the public has a vested interest in what other people eat (as much as it impacts their health and subsequent health care costs). If we want the security of the nanny state taking care of our health care, we must submit to the nanny state’s mandates and resulting loss of freedom. Be careful what you wish for, people.

    (Check the typo in the first reference to a ‘leaving’ and breathing Constitution. By the way, are hurricane fences a regionally different name for chain link fences?)

    Yes, chain-link fences. See this post on the idea that government has a vested interest in telling us what to eat:

    http://www.fathead-movie.com/index.php/2010/02/18/meme-roth-a-burden-on-us-all/

    Reply
  12. Underground

    Pssst! Hey, buddy, want to buy some of the good stuff? Just fell off a truck from the government impound cooler. Fresh cream butter baby, only the best.

    Tom you’re just being silly now. Suggesting that the almighty government shouldn’t be making all our choices for us. I’m sure if such a tax makes its way to Britain some of our anglophilic politicians will try to jump on it.

    I still hold the belief that a bureaucracy of any maturity is most accurately viewed as a parasitic organism. Constantly seeking to expand its numbers while sucking ever greater resources from the host who receives nothing in return.

    Time to flush the system.

    We have plenty of politicians who would happily impose such a tax today if they could.

    Reply
  13. Slade

    Why don’t they just prohibit fatty food and cigarettes together? If there’s a risk of certain foods being prohibited, why not prohibit other bad stuff too? …but that could be too logical for a politician.

    Government needs to butt out of my choices! …and how about getting rid of cigarette taxes too. I don’t smoke, but it’s still a legal choice like alcohol.

    Reply
  14. ben

    This is one of the biggest issues with universal healthcare, it legitimises the nanny state because the state has to pick up the pieces for your dumb decisions. Here in Australia cigarettes have had their tax doubled and are going to be in plain packaging, alcohol is next. I’m envisaging a future where everything that isn’t part of a state approved lifestyle will be taxed to the fringes and then we’ll get taxed even more as a black market for meat comes out and a ‘war on fat’ is declared. We’ll have the Fat Enforcement Administration.

    That’s one of the many reasons I’m against a government takeover of healthcare. Then every new nanny-state initiative will be rationalized as being a healthcare issue.

    Reply
  15. Craig

    It is also insightful to look back on prohibition as our government wastes money and lives in its “war” on marijuana. If it took an amendment to the constitution to ban a chemical that has to be fermented, brewed or distilled, how can the government have the right to ban a plant by statute?

    Please note that I am not promoting the use of marijuana by anyone. I’m just giving another example of the government deciding it needs to tell adults what they can and can’t do in their own homes. Meanwhile, the government subsidizes the production of whiskey and soda, since both are made from subsidized grains. Anyone who understands the separate effects of alcohol and fructose on the liver should understand that a glass of whiskey and soda is a concentrated combination of two toxins that primarily attack the same organ while also doing plenty of damage to other parts of the body.

    If you want to drink a Jack and Coke when you get home from work that is your business and no bureaucrat should be trying to stop you. But it shows just how absurd our government is when it is subsidizing a fairly toxic intoxicant while imprisoning people for possession of a far less harmful one.

    Bingo. There’s no consistency in the policies.

    Reply
  16. Ruth

    I was ranting on this subject recently to an unfortunate family member who thought it was a great idea. I pointed out I wouldn’t leave our government in charge of my pet rock so why would I want them to make decisions about my family’s health?! So far I have yet to meet someone who has been able to counter that argument…. ;0)

    I have a friend who believes government should be in charge of everything. I’ll see what he has to say about fat taxes.

    Reply
  17. Isabelle

    Damn, you’re is good.

    As a Swedish resident (and low-carber) I’ve been following the saturated fat-debate in Denmark and witnessed how they passed the higher-tax-on-saturated-fat law, wich, frankly, is quite scary to me. It seems we’re just getting closer to 1984 (I have my foil hat all ready) with governments feeling they can tell us exactly how to live our lives.
    Some people in Sweden (mostly “diet professors” who are convinced that starvation+exercise+no fats is the way to healthily lose weight) are convinced it’s a fantastic initiative and wants us to follow suit, but hopefully that will never happen here.

    Well written anyway.

    Given the HFLC revolution in Sweden, I would think a fat-tax there would cause riots in the streets.

    Reply
  18. Robert

    “Which means it will raise the consumption of crappy industrial food products by around 25 percent.”

    Sorry Tom, but I gotta correct your math here. Clearly it will cause it to go up by like 100%. Less good fat in their diets will just make them more hungry, and lead to an even greater consumption of crap than needed to just to replace lost calories. But I think you know this. 🙂

    This law is a travesty. 🙁

    Good point. I was being a bit too literal with the math.

    Reply
  19. Michael

    I am so torn on this issue (hear me out!!!).

    On one hand I am horrified that any nation would legitimize the unfounded belief that saturated fats are bad for you to the extent that they create incentives to avoid them. And to be clear, I would fight tooth and nail any similar legislation in THIS country, which brings me to my conflict.

    In Denmark having universal health care means that all tax paying citizens share the burden of each other’s health decisions equally. While I vehemently disagree that saturated fats are unhealthy in any way, I feel it is well within the rights of the people of Denmark to decide, through their legislators, to have those that knowingly choose irresponsible health behaviors bear more of the financial burden.

    Again, not saying I agree that saturated fats are unhealthy. Can’t say that enough as I am afraid many who read this will miss what I am getting at.

    Here in the US, as long as I pay for a good chunk of what it costs to keep me healthy, I would just as soon lawmakers mind their own business.

    As a matter of fact, when I think about the very extensive, costly health benefits we pay for congress to have, I think the citizens should be making their health choices, not the other way around. But I digress.

    See this rather long post I wrote about the idea that it’s okay to tell individuals what to eat if we’re “all paying” for their health care:

    http://www.fathead-movie.com/index.php/2010/02/18/meme-roth-a-burden-on-us-all/

    Reply
  20. Jesrad

    “I believe the legitimate purpose of government is to protect our freedom”
    I don’t, mainly because millions of people have aptly taken care of protecting their freedom for many centuries all around the world at all eras. And just because they lately lost the habit from being domesticized by te state, doesn’t mean the couldn’t start doing it again.

    I’m certainly not suggesting individuals shouldn’t protect their freedom as well. But unfortunately, the history of conquest and slavery around the world shows that individuals and unorganized clans are sitting ducks for conquest.

    Reply
  21. James - The Wheat-Free Wandere

    Agreed. Government should not tell us what to eat. But if there were no Medicare or Medicaid, I don’t think the government would be that interested.

    Until I read “Wheat Belly,” I would have laughed at anyone who told me whole wheat wasn’t a miracle food. Now I blog exclusively about the cool changes a grain-free life can generate. I’m a little part in a growing awareness people like you have been talking about all along. I get it.

    Using tax dollars to pay doctors to treat illnesses caused by the substances the government is lobbied to recommend is the ultimate stab in the back. Or the pancreas, maybe.

    Medicare bills are part of it, but I think our grain-subsidizing government would be telling us to eat no matter what.

    Reply
  22. Howard

    You have been neglecting your other blog lately, Tom. You remember… the one on politics. Last entry was in July. You ought to at least do a summary of this one over there. For instance, “Since politicians and bureaucrats as a group know less than nothing about nutrition, they should stay completely out of it.” Or something to that effect. Then a link over to this one.

    Another problem, though… you could replace “politicians and bureaucrats” with “MDs and nutritionists” without affecting the validity of that sentence.

    Off-topic: Thanks for having me on the round-table discussion with Dr. Su, Kati, and yourself. It was fun, and I learned a few things. I hope Dr. Su joins us on the May cruise.

    I added a 40-hour-per-week job to my life, so writing on the other blog had to go back-burner for now. I’ll get back to it eventually.

    Reply
  23. Tanny O'Haley

    France has also instituted a fat tax, though I believe that it is on “sugary drinks”. And in the UK:

    “A fat tax could be the answer to Britain’s obesity time-bomb, David Cameron suggested yesterday.

    The Prime Minister revealed He was looking at following Denmark”.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2045263/David-Cameron-backs-fat-tax-unhealthy-food-battle-obesity.html

    I can only shake my head in sadness.

    You’d think they would at least want to wait and see the results in Denmark.

    Reply
  24. Vinny

    “If the U.S. government ever starts taxing my mince, I’m going to start a revolution.”
    The day it happens(heaven forbid), I’ll be right there with you.

    Reply
  25. Liz

    Excellent points, as usual. I simply kick myself when I think about how unhealthy I was as a low-fat vegetarian. I want my 20’s back! As a sidenote, whenever we look back on Prohibition, it makes me wonder when this country is going to legalize cannabis use. The government won’t even allow even non-psychoactive strain of hemp production, which makes excellent clothing, paper, etc. Is it to protect us from ourselves, or is it to protect the wood pulp, cotton, and chemical industries?

    An old family friend treats her arthritis using a transdermal method; I checked with a doctor knowledgeable about such things, and he says it does in fact work! I have friends with HIV, some with cancer, and guess what…Marinol doesn’t really work. Could it be the drug companies panic about a natural plant that grows freely, that attracts few pests, that is more sustainable, etc.?

    Sorry to ramble about a non-food (though non-active hemp seeds are pretty tasty), but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown more disgusted at the “We Know What’s Best For You” bureaucrats, who really only have an interest in one thing: greed. While sitting around stoned or drunk all day isn’t exactly enticing to me, I certainly don’t think we should limit all responsible recreational and medical use, considering such tactics seem to do more harm than good. Just look at our prison industrial complex: who really makes up that population?

    Food for thought.
    Long live bacon and eggs,
    liz

    We’re filling our prisons with people who’ve broken anti-drug laws. That’s a waste in so many ways.

    Reply
  26. John U.K

    Why don`t they Tax the Actual fat?
    send each of you for a BMI assessment, and Tax the bloaters (those needing belly wheels).
    Then (and probably Only Then) will they wake up to the Real causation.

    as an aside, it`s interesting how they don`t just simply Lower the tax on the “Healthy” foods, OH NO!!! heaven forbid that we actually Lose money! let`s jump all over those that have it Right!

    I live in a Nanny state (called England) where there is one CCTV cam for each person (that we KNOW about), and as you correctly said (and we don`t have a constitution (Pity!)), it is NOT the .Govs remit to protect us from ourselves (or run us off the nearest cliff blindly as the case may be).
    I so Seriously Could rant here, but I`ll remain with the near silent minority, content in the fact that WE (non-wheat-bellies) have it Right, and just sit back calmly and watch with utter demusement as the rest engorge themselves to death on compressed sugars and alien DNA, drowning in Insulin and Cortisol, with that surprised look on their rotund faces, saying “WTF??? I was doing Exactly as I was told!”.

    //rant.

    Of course they’ll choose influence behavior by adding taxes instead of removing them. Governments love taxes.

    Reply
  27. Bill

    You are right on about the constitution, the courts just use it anyway they see fit, doesn’t matter what is written in it. It all started when they somehow made Bush president even though Gore had more votes. They make decisions based on politics instead of freedom. The America we knew is gone.

    I’m afraid it started waaaaay before the 2000 elections.

    The Constitution doesn’t state that presidents are elected by popular vote. It states that presidents are elected by the electoral college. That’s what lead to the battle over Florida’s electoral votes.

    Reply
  28. Ruth

    I was ranting on this subject recently to an unfortunate family member who thought it was a great idea. I pointed out I wouldn’t leave our government in charge of my pet rock so why would I want them to make decisions about my family’s health?! So far I have yet to meet someone who has been able to counter that argument…. ;0)

    I have a friend who believes government should be in charge of everything. I’ll see what he has to say about fat taxes.

    Reply
  29. Beowulf

    [From a US standpoint] Personally, I wish the government would quite subsidizing corn, wheat, and soy. I would prefer my tax dollars to NOT help make sugar cheaper.

    IF anything should actually be done with government funds to promote different food choices [and that’s a big “if”], how about tax breaks or incentives to get grocery stores into food deserts, those areas where citizens have little access to anything other than convenience stores for their food?

    Even that last suggestion would fail. If the demand was there, the stores selling fruits and vegetables would be there.

    Reply
  30. Isabelle

    Damn, you’re is good.

    As a Swedish resident (and low-carber) I’ve been following the saturated fat-debate in Denmark and witnessed how they passed the higher-tax-on-saturated-fat law, wich, frankly, is quite scary to me. It seems we’re just getting closer to 1984 (I have my foil hat all ready) with governments feeling they can tell us exactly how to live our lives.
    Some people in Sweden (mostly “diet professors” who are convinced that starvation+exercise+no fats is the way to healthily lose weight) are convinced it’s a fantastic initiative and wants us to follow suit, but hopefully that will never happen here.

    Well written anyway.

    Given the HFLC revolution in Sweden, I would think a fat-tax there would cause riots in the streets.

    Reply
  31. Ron_Mocci

    Tom, As always another good one (: saturated fat is the best fat the we can eat it dose more for us than people think ! More and more doctors are coming out of the wood work. Re: http://www.lewrockwell.com/miller/miller38.1.html This is a good read ! If you allow a link , if not you know what to do (: About out government they are taking our rights away every day !
    Ron*

    Reply
  32. John

    Since Craig brought up the war on Marijuana, I thought you might enjoy this article. As you probably know, the Federal Government’s policies state that sale or possession of Marijuana is a felony, whether it’s for recreational use or medical use, even if state laws say otherwise. And this is true for everyone… except for these four Americans…

    http://www.chron.com/news/article/4-Americans-get-pot-from-US-government-2192294.php

    Yep, four Americans buy their Marijuana from the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. Clearly, this shows two things-

    1. The Federal Government doesn’t even fully believe in all their own policies.

    2. The Federal Government could find a way to make any business unprofitable.

    Reply
  33. bullinachinashop

    Reminds me of the time PEI (Canadian province) decided to outlaw canned sodas, claiming they were bad for the environment. The result? Lots and lots of people driving to the mainland to get cans anyway (burning gas which apparently is killing our planet).

    You are right to be wary of people who want to treat your constitution like a flexible document. The Canadian constitution is treated like an expensive piece of toilet paper as they added a “notwithstanding” clause. If the government makes a law that’s unconstitutional, no one can fight it because politicians just need to stand up in parliament and say “notwithstanding, we’re doing this anyway”.

    In our country, they should just name it the “we don’t give a @#$% about liberty” clause.

    Reply
  34. Kati

    I’m making extra salty greibenes and eggs cooked in plenty of butter as my personal revolt against what the government of my ancestors is doing. They are going to further wreck the health of their people. I wish government would leave peoples food supplies alone.

    Reply
  35. Mike

    Haha! Just read the first comment… I was thinking a ‘hurricane fence’ was some sort of fence to keep hurricanes out of the back yard!

    Any who, I’m right there with you Tom on keeping government limited and powers segregated between the feds, state, and local governments.

    The government’s job is to protect our freedoms, not take them away.

    Hurricane fences obviously work. No one in Tennessee has had a house destroyed by a hurricane.

    Reply
  36. fredt

    We now have two large free living “test populations”, Sweden LCHF, and Denmark LF. In about one maybe two years the world will know the better diet.

    We could not have conceived a better test. I hope someone is collecting the data.

    Reply
  37. Mke

    Love the new post – I went crazy after reading the article last week – as an EX life long fatty – I KNOW what works to get lean and healthy – 46 and just finished my first PIkes Peak marathon…. I know generally how my body reacts when I eat bacon and when I eat ice cream (not any more)

    I am not for government control of dieting on any level for obvious reasons but there is an argument to be made – if the government is controlling health care ( which I am not for) the government has a right to control costs – meaning controlling our health

    Again I am against all of this – but even I look around when I’m at Walmart and I think “I’m paying for her health care – while she eats terribly”

    Isn’t this where we are headed……

    See this post:
    http://www.fathead-movie.com/index.php/2010/02/18/meme-roth-a-burden-on-us-all/

    Reply
  38. ReduceCrapohydrates

    “Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it”

    I can’t believe they aren’t looking at the swedish low carb revolution.Any fathead fans out there speak danish/live in denmark?A campaign could be launched on facebook to tell people about low carb and tom’s movie.

    That’s what makes it all the more surprising. Are they totally unaware of what’s happening in Sweden?

    Reply
  39. James - The Wheat-Free Wanderer

    Agreed. Government should not tell us what to eat. But if there were no Medicare or Medicaid, I don’t think the government would be that interested.

    Until I read “Wheat Belly,” I would have laughed at anyone who told me whole wheat wasn’t a miracle food. Now I blog exclusively about the cool changes a grain-free life can generate. I’m a little part in a growing awareness people like you have been talking about all along. I get it.

    Using tax dollars to pay doctors to treat illnesses caused by the substances the government is lobbied to recommend is the ultimate stab in the back. Or the pancreas, maybe.

    Medicare bills are part of it, but I think our grain-subsidizing government would be telling us to eat no matter what.

    Reply
  40. Howard

    You have been neglecting your other blog lately, Tom. You remember… the one on politics. Last entry was in July. You ought to at least do a summary of this one over there. For instance, “Since politicians and bureaucrats as a group know less than nothing about nutrition, they should stay completely out of it.” Or something to that effect. Then a link over to this one.

    Another problem, though… you could replace “politicians and bureaucrats” with “MDs and nutritionists” without affecting the validity of that sentence.

    Off-topic: Thanks for having me on the round-table discussion with Dr. Su, Kati, and yourself. It was fun, and I learned a few things. I hope Dr. Su joins us on the May cruise.

    I added a 40-hour-per-week job to my life, so writing on the other blog had to go back-burner for now. I’ll get back to it eventually.

    Reply
  41. Nina

    Thank you for your robust response to the news.

    In the UK we’re most at risk of copycat legislation from our government.

    Nina

    Reply
  42. Brandon

    What bugs me about the living breathing argument about the Founders could never had predicted blah blah blah, is that they knew they couldn’t tell the future. That is why they included an amendment process. They intentionally made it hard so we didn’t make drastic changes only to regret them later (kind of like the Wiemar Republik did). The founders were geniuses, if we would only listen to them.

    Exactly. The “living, breathing” document theory was promoted by those who simply don’t like having limits placed on government power.

    Reply
  43. Joe Dokes

    While studying Constitutional Law I was introduced to a funny story. One Constitutional scholar asks another Constitutional scholar if he has his students read The Constitution to which he replied, “No, it will just confuse them.”

    Although this is clearly a joke it shows a key problem with The Constitution. The Constitutions plain language and its brevity, actually make it difficult to interpret. The Constitution creates the illusion of simplicity and clarity, yet many aspects of both the Constitution and Constitutional Law are anything but clear.

    Take this paragraph from Tom:

    “Suppose as part of the “war on terror,” Congress made it a crime to publicly criticize the commander-in-chief or the military … you know, because the founders couldn’t have anticipated world-wide terror networks, ya see, so they couldn’t possibly have understood that someday an American citizen’s anti-war comments could show up the next day on YouTube or Al Jazeera and provide comfort and inspiration to people who want to kill American soldiers, so we have to re-interpret the Constitution to fit today’s circumstances.”

    This is a great paragraph for two reasons. First it shows that most Americans today have a healthy respect for dissent speech. Americans are highly tolerant of speech they don’t like. Second, Tom unwittingly makes an argument for a “living” Constitution. Huh. WTF.

    This history of the first Amendment is one in which our currently accepted freedom of speech is a relatively recent creation by the Supreme Court. For example, during an undeclared naval war with France between 1798 and 1800 the Congress of the US passed the Alien and Sedition Acts which effectively banned criticism of the President and US government. As a result several newspaper editors were jailed.

    Gee, that sounds an awful lot like the above hypothetical that Tom presented.

    Americans were jailed for dissent during the Civil War, World War I, and World War II. It was only during the later half of the twentieth century that the Court began to expand and define the First Amendment in any meaningful way. For example, the government routinely jailed communists until the 50s and it wasn’t until the Viet Nam War, that a clear right of dissent was incorporated into the First Amendment. Under today’s interpretation of First Amendment when MoveOn.org called General Petraeus, General BetrayUs we may have been offended, we may have been upset, but no one from MoveOn.org was arrested or jailed for their anti-war stance. This would not have been the case during many other wars. Today, for speech to be banned it has to present a clear and IMMINENT threat to public safety. Thus, communists (personally I think they are idiots) can freely spout the need to overthrow the democratically elected government of the US, it is only when these threats become real and immediate threat that the speech can be banned.

    The real issue with the Court is that when it makes a decision we agree with we view it as a victory for freedom. For example, when the Court over-turned the Communications Decency Act, I hailed it as a victory for the First Amendment and freedom of speech. When the Court ruled in favor of eminent domain in Kelo, I was infuriated as I saw this as an assault on property rights. Yet, I try really hard not to use the issue of “activist court.”

    Regards,

    Joe Dokes

    The alien and sedition act and all the other examples you cited should have been struck down immediately as unconstitutional.

    Reply
  44. LissaKay

    Love. This.

    And just a note, I am insanely jealous that you live in Franklin. I just love that little town. We’ve been out there a couple times for a conference at a church in Leiper’s Fork (Grace Chapel is awesome, in case you’re looking) and I am simply enchanted each time. (We live in Sevierville)

    Keep up the good work!

    Thank you. I love Franklin too.

    Reply
  45. David

    Excellent article!!! While I don’t agree with your diet advice ( I eat a diet high in unrefined carbs) its none of the Gov.s damn business. If I want to sit down and eat a bowl of hydrogenated oil covered in high fructose corn syrup, it’s no one else’s business!

    Well said. I would never, ever try to slap taxes on your carbs, even if I choose to avoid them.

    Reply
  46. Liz

    Excellent points, as usual. I simply kick myself when I think about how unhealthy I was as a low-fat vegetarian. I want my 20’s back! As a sidenote, whenever we look back on Prohibition, it makes me wonder when this country is going to legalize cannabis use. The government won’t even allow even non-psychoactive strain of hemp production, which makes excellent clothing, paper, etc. Is it to protect us from ourselves, or is it to protect the wood pulp, cotton, and chemical industries?

    An old family friend treats her arthritis using a transdermal method; I checked with a doctor knowledgeable about such things, and he says it does in fact work! I have friends with HIV, some with cancer, and guess what…Marinol doesn’t really work. Could it be the drug companies panic about a natural plant that grows freely, that attracts few pests, that is more sustainable, etc.?

    Sorry to ramble about a non-food (though non-active hemp seeds are pretty tasty), but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown more disgusted at the “We Know What’s Best For You” bureaucrats, who really only have an interest in one thing: greed. While sitting around stoned or drunk all day isn’t exactly enticing to me, I certainly don’t think we should limit all responsible recreational and medical use, considering such tactics seem to do more harm than good. Just look at our prison industrial complex: who really makes up that population?

    Food for thought.
    Long live bacon and eggs,
    liz

    We’re filling our prisons with people who’ve broken anti-drug laws. That’s a waste in so many ways.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.