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As Long as We Remember...

March 18, 2013

Defending Your Right To Be Stupid

Steven R. Berryman

It is counter-intuitive to view a 7-Eleven Super Big Gulp Coke and to believe that its consumption is in the best interest of its drinker. But then again, who’d have thunk that the mayor of New York City himself would ever interject himself as the “food police?”


A vision of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin at the CPAC conference, raising up the Big Gulp, as if she were the Statue of Liberty, and that were her torch is now in my head…


Of course, last week’s big news was that the courts struck down Mayor Bloomburg’s law limiting beverage containers to but 16 oz, maximum. What was he thinking in his original presumption that free men and citizens had to be saved from themselves?


It’s one thing to mandate a poster food-pyramid for all elementary schools in America, attempting to fight calorie pollution, while simultaneously supporting the American farmer, but to make an essential food group like corn syrup based carbonic drink and attach legally enforceable limits! Harrumph.


I’m for full-figured women; they seem more content.


“We’re doing this for your own good” seems to be what government is feeding us at multiple levels more and more every day; does that remind you of parenting 101, though? The influence that Ms. Nanny State seems to be reaching for really is an elitist, condescending, brazen attempt at theft of your human rights.


Trying to steal away your “Right to be Stupid,” methinks. And you know it’s right, right there in our Bill of Rights.


It doesn’t exactly say, “You have a right to poor health choices,” but it does say that you may ignore your unwieldy body mass index (BMI). You have a right to your life; your liberty, and your pursuit of happiness – with the limitation that this right may not interfere with somebody else’s rights.


Okay! So others should have the right to not be left holding your medical bills when you become sick and financially indigent, but…


Along these lines, various states have taken different paths on motorcycle helmet laws. Maryland has gone both ways on this one over time, and even flipped. Today you do not have the right to let your head crack open like an egg upon impact. Some would say this was good law. Presumably, the Blue Oyster Cult guys would not!


Gaining a firsthand appreciation for personal liberty and freedom can require some trial and error, some experimentation, and some defiance. Parents know this; of course, some mistakes can be made but once.


So, we craft sensible law, and we insulate our children in bubble-wrap; afterwards, upon some maturation, even the conservative Mennonite kids go through amok times despite this. Hence the phrase, “running amok.” Most come back.


So, we know that eventually human nature will have its way when it comes to personal choices and the exercise of personal freedoms, plus the illusion of liberty.


It matters not so much what those that attempt to legislate behaviors enact; we tend to balance back against the extremes of ‘left’ and of ‘right.’


Observe in our founding documents that there is not a specific right to a house, or right to health, or a right to be saved from yourself. You do not have a right to never be hungry or a right to never be homeless.


You are expected to be hardened in order to stay motivated in self-interest; a part of being capitalist.


Obamacare will have the impact of saying “we expect you to be healthy,” and will have penalties for you if you are not. No proof of healthcare insurance? That’s an IRS thing now.


Just wait till they finish encoding your medical records in digital format; when they discover that your doctor asked you to drop a few pounds over 10 years ago, and you did not, the FBI will begin to check your Visa card transaction history for corn syrup based carbonic beverages.


Conversely, had you been the doctor of said high BMI patient, and there is no conversation documented about calories (or of household weapons, for that matter)…better practice up on the real estate license.


Because it’s against the financial best-interests of “Big (high BMI?) Brother” that you not actually use your single payer health coverage.


So, they legislate against “stupid.”


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