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?

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

  1. Raina

    Excellent post. I seem to be in the minority (what else is new??) when it comes to the “hands off” approach I prefer governments to take as I hear so many people happy when the government takes a freedom away from us. Naturally it’s not worded like that, but that’s exactly what it is.

    As we have socialized medicine (in Canada), I’m really surprised this suggestion hasn’t come up, especially with our provincial premier convinced that the only way the people of Ontario can survive is if he tells us exactly what to do (We call him Daddy McGuinty). He’s banned dog breeds, banned talking on cell phones in cars, making smoking illegal pretty much everywhere but streets and in your own house, and even blocked the availability of live UFC until he finally could no longer keep the fans quiet (THAT’S what they got all riled up about). There are lots of other things he’s made either illegal or very difficult to get, but a list of them would take far too long.

    Unfortunately I don’t think it’ll be long before the discussion will come up here. It’s just too tempting for a politician to dictate rules to their “subjects”, especially if they can get extra tax money for it and can claim that it’s for our own good.

    Easiest way to get a nanny-state politician to buy into a theory is propose a new tax to go along with it.

    Reply
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. Patricia

    I’m feeling like a bit of a dunce. It occurred to me that I had no idea what mince is, so I looked it up. It’s just ground meat, like hamburger. Why would it be included in that stupid fat tax? Does it have a higher fat content in Denmark?

    It must. Same for butter in Denmark.

    Reply
  5. A Subject

    One of my definitions of government is:

    “An organization that creates or significantly worsens a problem and then uses the existence of that problem to seize more money and freedom from the citizens.”

    Their health initiatives are a prime example of this.

    Exactly.

    Reply
  6. 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.

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  7. lauren

    *bang head on desk*

    What’s next? Are they going to take away my kids because I give them whole milk?

    No, but if you live in England, they’ll take your kids away if the kids get too fat.

    Reply
  8. 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
  9. Spork

    Ok this is off topic… but related to your rant… Didn’t you know that free speech isn’t really a right, it’s only a privilege? (I suspect the living/breathing constitution meant to call it a “Bill of Privileges”… they just forgot). Take a gander at this gem:
    http://www.dailytech.com/New+York+Democrats+Argue+Free+Speech+is+a+Privilege+That+Can+be+Revoked/article22929.htm

    Oh, no … I’ve cruelly and intentionally excluded three trolls from this group.

    Reply
  10. 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
  11. Lori

    Doing a bit of looking around the internet, it seems that Denmark has one of the lowest rates of obesity–around 10%. And according to the WHO, it doesn’t seem very afflicted by diabetes or heart disease.

    http://www.who.int/cardiovascular_diseases/en/cvd_atlas_29_world_data_table.pdf

    Even if the sat-fat tax were a solution, it would be one in need of a problem. Something fishy is going on, indeed. I’d like the hear the explanation of how traditional Scandinavian foods are suddenly making (a few) Scandinavians fat and sick. Dwarf mutant cows, maybe?

    Bingo. What are they trying to solve?

    Reply
  12. alex

    I think it comes down to not what they are taxing but why , unless you can prove that fatty foods will make me specifically, obese or ill why am I being taxed if these foods don’t have this affect on me.

    Reply
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. Barbara

    Couldn’t agree with you more, Tom!

    As a nurse, it is so painfully obvious to see that when the food pyramid came out, huh…so did adolescent diabetes! But sadly, an alarming amount of folks don’t make the connection.

    Take for example, my friend who is training to become a personal nutrition coach. She, surprisingly, has correlated the aforementioned timeline, however, she still promotes not only a vegan diet, but juice fasts once each quarter!

    I wonder if she will be able to correlate her waist size and cholesterol levels the same way…

    Keep speaking up Tom! My husband and I love reading your stuff, and continue to seriously offend people by simply telling them that salt and oil aren’t the culprits to blame.

    Glad to know there are some rebel nurses out there.

    Reply
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. Elenor

    “When the did the size of your butt become the government’s business?”

    When the govt began providing, paying for, and mandating health insurance — forcing some folks to pay for other folks’ health care!! And, as always, if the govt breaks something, they have to pile on MORE govt rather than backing out of the mistake they made… {sigh}

    Even if we do pay for other people’s health care, the theory is wrong. People who live a long time cost society money through extra Social Security payments.

    Reply
  20. Mike

    It is silly. So darn silly.

    You positively get what you ask for in life, and if you vote in fools, you get foolish in return.

    People talk about ‘nanny states’ and ‘big government’ or whatever. But if that is what you got, it is ONLY because that is what was asked for, signed for and delivered as designed.

    I don’t want to be negative, but the truth of the matter is that the real problems come from the man in the mirror.

    (BTW – taxing fat?? Good grief, things must be good in Denmark to have time waste time on that!)

    That’s why the Constitution matters. It was never the intention of the Founders that individual rights could be canceled simply because a majority of fools decides they like the idea. We don’t need protection from minority will; we need protection from majority will.

    Or as Churchill aptly put it, democracy isn’t supposed to be two wolves and chicken voting on what to have for dinner.

    Reply
  21. Joe Dokes

    Tom,

    I think you missed the entire point of my post. In 1800 when the Alien and Sedition Act was enforced the Supreme Court had not asserted its power of Judicial Review. If you read The Constitution you’ll find no mention of Judicial Review. The Court interpreted the meaning of the Constitution in a way that gave The Court the power of Judicial Review.

    The very act of declaring laws unconstitutional is a form of judicial activism. My point is that while we may wish that the law is clear, immutable, and self enforcing; nothing could be further from the truth. The cold harsh reality is that Amendments like the First, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” appear to be clear they are anything but clear.

    For example, in 1791 when the Bill of Rights was adopted freedom of speech only meant freedom from prior restraint. Would you like to go back to a time like that? Today, freedom of speech covers a vast array of speech and conduct not envisioned by James Madison and the rest of the Founding Fathers.

    Your statement, “The alien and sedition act and all the other examples you cited should have been struck down immediately as unconstitutional.” clearly shows that you have a revised or modern interpretation of The Constitution that is wholly inconsistent with you’re assertion that the Constitution is not a living document. I agree with you by the way the examples I listed were violations of free speech.

    Regards,

    Joe Dokes

    Ahh, sorry I misinterpreted your earlier comment. Yes, the court declared itself the arbiter of what’s constitutional and what isn’t, and as a result, unconstitutional laws were often struck down in later years, as they should have been. I don’t agree that most of the Constitution is vague, however, or that the Founders didn’t explain themselves. They did, in the Federalist Papers. My real beef is with judges who apparently have never read the Constitution are are capable of suffering massive hallucinations when they do.

    Many, many laws passed in modern times are vague and contradictory. As (if memory serves) was pointed out on a John Stossel special, most Americans routinely break laws without even being aware of it — because we have too many frickin’ laws.

    Reply
  22. 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
  23. Bex

    I remember another foreign chap who wanted more govenrment control and policy for the greater good and health of his country. He ended up murdering 6 million people but I’d bet those in power now can get more if they really try. It might not get as much attention and the deaths might not be as gruesome but the end results will be the same…

    The foreign chap as also a big promoter of what he considered a healthy diet.

    Reply
  24. 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
  25. Joe Dokes

    Spork,

    The article you sight is a bill before the NY State Legislature, it is not yet law. Remember a bill is a PROPOSED law. For me personally I too also see the law as a direct assault on freedom of speech and feel the bill would be a horrible law and hope that it will die in committee.

    That being said, it is quite clear to me that the current Court supports freedom of speech to a great extent. Even the conservatives on the Court routinely over-turn legislation that they perceive is an attack on Free Speech.

    So while some members of a State Legislature may believe freedom of speech is a privilege, rest assured the Supreme Court doesn’t.

    Regards,

    Joe Dokes

    Reply
  26. Andrea Lynnette

    This is maddening. Absolutely maddening. This kind of creeping tyranny is NOT going to get better. It’s like when you have a misbehaving kid. The kid’s going to misbehave until he finds the limits of what he’s allowed to do. It is, as Bill Whittle would say, torch and pitchfork time.

    Or at least tar and feather time.

    Reply
  27. 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
  28. 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
  29. Lynnanne

    Government actions like the Danish fat tax let the wheat eaters think they have ammunition against us stupid meat eaters. Yesterday against my better judgment I very gently tried to tell an overweight coworker (who initiated a health discussion with me) about losing weight the low carb way. Her: 100 pounds overweight with uncontrolled asthma, whose equally overweight boyfriend has diabetes, several bypasses, is on disability and has kidney failure. Me: Not thin, but my size XL clothes are hanging off me and I’ve got to get to the mall to buy smaller clothes. The conversation ended with her forbidding me to send her any information on wheat or my crazy diet, because I’m killing myself, she’s a health expert, and she and her boyfriend could NEVER give up carbs. Even though carbs make her boyfriend so sick he has to “be careful” and cover his bread with tons of peanut butter before he can eat it without getting immediate stomach pains. There’s a HUGE dent in my desk where I’ve been banging my head. I’m sure she’d tell me that my headache was caused by my deadly meat consumption.

    Walk away. You can’t convince some people. When you die at age 90, they’ll say the meat killed you.

    Reply
  30. 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
  31. Galina L

    I can’t help but think about another experiment – at the beginning of 20 century In Russia people started to test ideas of Marks and Engels about how to build a fair and just society and spend 70 years checking it out. So much harm from the people whose desire is to build a better world! At least the Denmark is small. I feel sorry for the people, but anticipate to see the results. It is quite possible, of course, that the future raise in the obesity would be explain by not following the low-fat diet strictly enough. People have trouble to see beyond their prejudgments. Just yesterday my husband had trouble believing me that Steve Jobs was a vegetarian because before his illness SJ looked quite round in a face. My husband can’t believe that there are some fat vegetarians around. He thinks if somebody says he or she is vegetarian but not thin – means that person is lying about strictness of his or her diet. I know what you think about it, but some people are hard to convince.
    I bet you are thinking about how fortunate you are to have your land now. In case butter became unavailable, your wife would have an option to house some Jersey cow on the property.

    I was a fat vegetarian. I’ve met other fat vegetarians. I knew a woman at Disney who looks awesome now but told me she gave up being a vegetarian several years ago because she started gaining too much weight.

    Reply
  32. johnny

    The tax to protect your health is an excuse to justify additional taxes.

    As these European welfare states come closer to bankruptcy, they have to come up with new taxes to delay the inevitable.

    But the welfare state is a glutton of expenditures, thus the day will come when new taxes will not be enough and it will just collapse, as it’s already happening in some European countries.

    The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.

    Reply
  33. 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.

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  34. Captain ChiliDog

    Yet another great post Tom.
    This is just further proof that government run health agencies are not at all concerned with the health of the people. If they were honestly worried about our health they’d look at the lowering taxes on, or even give away, the foods they call “healthy” instead of figuring out how to make more money on the “unhealthy food”. Why tax “fatty foods”? As you pointed out in the FatHead movie “Follow the money”. Since the marijuana issue was mentioned, it’s a great example. How long have we been told that it’s a horrible drug that ruins lives and kills puppies? But then someone tells a congressman “you could tax it” and suddenly “gosh maybe we should legalize it”.

    I‘m in the middle of an ongoing email debate with one of my socialist friends from (of course) California who wants the government to take over the healthcare system. As I pointed out to him, our government promotes a diet that is making people sick to benefit the grain industry. I don’t believe for a second that if the government were in charge of the entire healthcare system, they’d make decisions based on what’s best for patients. Medical protocols would be determined by political influence, just as dietary policy is now. If Senator Blowhard wanted treatment for heart disease to include drugs or devices manufactured by one of his big contributors, that’s what we’d get.

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  35. Raina

    Excellent post. I seem to be in the minority (what else is new??) when it comes to the “hands off” approach I prefer governments to take as I hear so many people happy when the government takes a freedom away from us. Naturally it’s not worded like that, but that’s exactly what it is.

    As we have socialized medicine (in Canada), I’m really surprised this suggestion hasn’t come up, especially with our provincial premier convinced that the only way the people of Ontario can survive is if he tells us exactly what to do (We call him Daddy McGuinty). He’s banned dog breeds, banned talking on cell phones in cars, making smoking illegal pretty much everywhere but streets and in your own house, and even blocked the availability of live UFC until he finally could no longer keep the fans quiet (THAT’S what they got all riled up about). There are lots of other things he’s made either illegal or very difficult to get, but a list of them would take far too long.

    Unfortunately I don’t think it’ll be long before the discussion will come up here. It’s just too tempting for a politician to dictate rules to their “subjects”, especially if they can get extra tax money for it and can claim that it’s for our own good.

    Easiest way to get a nanny-state politician to buy into a theory is propose a new tax to go along with it.

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  36. Anne Robertson

    Tom, if you’re so opposed to universal health care, what would you do about the people whose health problems are not related to nutrition? I’m totally blind due to injury in early childhood, and needed a liver and kidney transplant due to a congenital liver problem and poor kidney function after surviving acute nephritis at the age of two. As a blind person, my earning capacity is limited and was made more so by my reduced energy levels due to poor kidney function. Would I be expected to pay for my own health care, or do you think that people like me should just be allowed to die? For the record, I eat more or less the way you do and have rescued my health from the unfortunate consequences of having to take immunosuppressant drugs for the rest of my life. I agree that government should not interfere with our food choices, neither should it subsidize any business of any kind.

    I believe people have every right to ask for help. I don’t believe anyone has the right to compel others to provide help. Universal health care is a method of compelling others to buy your health care for you.

    That doesn’t mean you’d simply be allowed to die.

    Reply
  37. Patricia

    I’m feeling like a bit of a dunce. It occurred to me that I had no idea what mince is, so I looked it up. It’s just ground meat, like hamburger. Why would it be included in that stupid fat tax? Does it have a higher fat content in Denmark?

    It must. Same for butter in Denmark.

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  38. lauren

    You know, I’m not a very conspiratorial person, but I’m starting to wonder if the government wants us to be fat and sluggish. How else could you explain them pushing fattening/disease causing grains and taxing the food that keeps us healthy?

    I don’t think they want us to be sick so much as they want us to keep buying grains.

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  39. A Subject

    One of my definitions of government is:

    “An organization that creates or significantly worsens a problem and then uses the existence of that problem to seize more money and freedom from the citizens.”

    Their health initiatives are a prime example of this.

    Exactly.

    Reply
  40. Big Daddy

    I am a political centrist. I float from leaning right to leaning left depending on what policies are being offered. The 2 question test is good.

    Interpreting the constitution is a bit trickier. Like Joe Dokes said often our feelings about the level of activism depends on whether the decision agrees with our beliefs.

    The Alien and Sedition Acts were a set of 4 laws passed in 1798. All of the laws expired without being overridden by any court. Jefferson pardoned folks and the congress game back some fines. One of the laws expired the first day of the next presidential term. Yes, our founding fathers made stupid political moves too. People were arrested for violating the Alien Enemies Act in the War of 1812.

    Jefferson — one of my heroes — understood it was a stupid law.

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  41. lauren

    *bang head on desk*

    What’s next? Are they going to take away my kids because I give them whole milk?

    No, but if you live in England, they’ll take your kids away if the kids get too fat.

    Reply
  42. Spork

    Ok this is off topic… but related to your rant… Didn’t you know that free speech isn’t really a right, it’s only a privilege? (I suspect the living/breathing constitution meant to call it a “Bill of Privileges”… they just forgot). Take a gander at this gem:
    http://www.dailytech.com/New+York+Democrats+Argue+Free+Speech+is+a+Privilege+That+Can+be+Revoked/article22929.htm

    Oh, no … I’ve cruelly and intentionally excluded three trolls from this group.

    Reply
  43. Gina

    “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'” – Ronald Reagan

    Reply
  44. Lori

    Doing a bit of looking around the internet, it seems that Denmark has one of the lowest rates of obesity–around 10%. And according to the WHO, it doesn’t seem very afflicted by diabetes or heart disease.

    http://www.who.int/cardiovascular_diseases/en/cvd_atlas_29_world_data_table.pdf

    Even if the sat-fat tax were a solution, it would be one in need of a problem. Something fishy is going on, indeed. I’d like the hear the explanation of how traditional Scandinavian foods are suddenly making (a few) Scandinavians fat and sick. Dwarf mutant cows, maybe?

    Bingo. What are they trying to solve?

    Reply
  45. Marielize Goldie

    This is so scary, that a law like fat-tax can actually happen.

    There are talks about fat tax it in NZ every so often, that leads to loud protest. Not so much about fat but as in “don’t you dare tell me what to do!” bull headed bunch these Kiwis

    In the mean time, butchers cut fat to the minimum on meat although its mainly grass fed omega 3 rich fat. Thats good for me I generally pop in to the back, and ask for the lamb fat they cut of – so it’s fat with thin strips of meat. They gladly give it for free or charge a dollar or two for a kilo. I use this in so many vegetable meat dishes to up the fat. Therefore eating much smaller portions of protein – saving the world and staying full for ages!

    Because it is free I add this lovely high quality fat to my dogs home cooked meals, making my dogs agile, strong without any of the signs that ail our modern pets.

    Ha … so you’ve made the anti-fat hysteria work in your favor.

    Reply
  46. alex

    I think it comes down to not what they are taxing but why , unless you can prove that fatty foods will make me specifically, obese or ill why am I being taxed if these foods don’t have this affect on me.

    Reply
  47. Barbara

    Couldn’t agree with you more, Tom!

    As a nurse, it is so painfully obvious to see that when the food pyramid came out, huh…so did adolescent diabetes! But sadly, an alarming amount of folks don’t make the connection.

    Take for example, my friend who is training to become a personal nutrition coach. She, surprisingly, has correlated the aforementioned timeline, however, she still promotes not only a vegan diet, but juice fasts once each quarter!

    I wonder if she will be able to correlate her waist size and cholesterol levels the same way…

    Keep speaking up Tom! My husband and I love reading your stuff, and continue to seriously offend people by simply telling them that salt and oil aren’t the culprits to blame.

    Glad to know there are some rebel nurses out there.

    Reply
  48. Mike

    It is silly. So darn silly.

    You positively get what you ask for in life, and if you vote in fools, you get foolish in return.

    People talk about ‘nanny states’ and ‘big government’ or whatever. But if that is what you got, it is ONLY because that is what was asked for, signed for and delivered as designed.

    I don’t want to be negative, but the truth of the matter is that the real problems come from the man in the mirror.

    (BTW – taxing fat?? Good grief, things must be good in Denmark to have time waste time on that!)

    That’s why the Constitution matters. It was never the intention of the Founders that individual rights could be canceled simply because a majority of fools decides they like the idea. We don’t need protection from minority will; we need protection from majority will.

    Or as Churchill aptly put it, democracy isn’t supposed to be two wolves and chicken voting on what to have for dinner.

    Reply
  49. Joe Dokes

    Tom,

    I think you missed the entire point of my post. In 1800 when the Alien and Sedition Act was enforced the Supreme Court had not asserted its power of Judicial Review. If you read The Constitution you’ll find no mention of Judicial Review. The Court interpreted the meaning of the Constitution in a way that gave The Court the power of Judicial Review.

    The very act of declaring laws unconstitutional is a form of judicial activism. My point is that while we may wish that the law is clear, immutable, and self enforcing; nothing could be further from the truth. The cold harsh reality is that Amendments like the First, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” appear to be clear they are anything but clear.

    For example, in 1791 when the Bill of Rights was adopted freedom of speech only meant freedom from prior restraint. Would you like to go back to a time like that? Today, freedom of speech covers a vast array of speech and conduct not envisioned by James Madison and the rest of the Founding Fathers.

    Your statement, “The alien and sedition act and all the other examples you cited should have been struck down immediately as unconstitutional.” clearly shows that you have a revised or modern interpretation of The Constitution that is wholly inconsistent with you’re assertion that the Constitution is not a living document. I agree with you by the way the examples I listed were violations of free speech.

    Regards,

    Joe Dokes

    Ahh, sorry I misinterpreted your earlier comment. Yes, the court declared itself the arbiter of what’s constitutional and what isn’t, and as a result, unconstitutional laws were often struck down in later years, as they should have been. I don’t agree that most of the Constitution is vague, however, or that the Founders didn’t explain themselves. They did, in the Federalist Papers. My real beef is with judges who apparently have never read the Constitution are are capable of suffering massive hallucinations when they do.

    Many, many laws passed in modern times are vague and contradictory. As (if memory serves) was pointed out on a John Stossel special, most Americans routinely break laws without even being aware of it — because we have too many frickin’ laws.

    Reply
  50. Bex

    I remember another foreign chap who wanted more govenrment control and policy for the greater good and health of his country. He ended up murdering 6 million people but I’d bet those in power now can get more if they really try. It might not get as much attention and the deaths might not be as gruesome but the end results will be the same…

    The foreign chap as also a big promoter of what he considered a healthy diet.

    Reply

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