Monday, April 11, 2011

beer for my horses, water for my kids...

So, the Boston mayor is deciding to nanny his citizens by banning soft drink sales on city property.

Here's the quote that makes me irritated: “I want to make this a healthier choice, the easier choice in people’s daily lives, whether it’s the schools, the work sites or other places in the community,”

Dude: it's not a CHOICE if people are FORCED to do it. The last time I went to a baseball game (not in Boston, but still), they checked our bags going in. I don't know if they disallow "outside" beverages brought in in bottles or cans (I'd guess yes, less likely for fans to throw crap onto the field). But if all you can buy is beer or water (which means, for under-21s, water), you don't have a "choice" to make to be "healthy": you are being forced to do so.

Also - what about the concept of moderation? I know people who never, ever eat a hot dog OTHER than at their yearly-or-so outing to the ballpark. I rarely drink soda myself (I am not that crazy about it and yes, it is calories I don't need and can easily forgo), but once in a while - like if I'm out with friends getting a pizza, or AT THE BALLPARK or somewhere like that, a soda tastes kind of good.

I also note that some of the "grudgingly permissible" drinks (other than water, unsweet tea, unsweet soy milk, lowfat milk, which are considered "OK"), most of them are artificially sweetened.

Um, mayor: just as some of us don't tolerate milk well - or tolerate soy well - there are some of us who shouldn't have artificial sweeteners. (And not to go all conspiracy-theory, but I would not be at all surprised if aspartame were declared unsafe for human consumption in the next 10 years or so).

I have issues with the idea of making some foods "good" and some foods "bad." I've already seen the effects of nutrition-scaring on some of the girls in the Youth Group - skinny, athletic kids who wouldn't eat a lot of the food served because they were afraid it would make them "fat," who would only take something to drink if it was diet soda (and they didn't seem to want water, which was what I drank - though I drank water mainly because it was late in the evening and I knew the caffeine in the soda would keep me awake).

And some people, making foods "forbidden" makes them all that more appealing!

Of course, this is all presented as a "it's for your own good" sort of thing.


C. S. Lewis said it better than I could have, from "God in the Dock":

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.

1 comment:

Kate P said...

Yeah, I wonder about the long-term effects of artificial sweetener consumption--or excessive soy consumption, for that matter. Thyroid problems run in my family and we're told to cut back on soy. (That said, I confess that my one guilty pleasure is soda, once or twice a week. I tend to mix it at the fountain, half-diet, half-regular.)

But the choice is mine to make and I'm gonna enjoy it while I can. Similarly, it was proposed in Philadelphia to impose an additional tax on soft drinks. The proposal has yet to go through.