The Magazine

The New Global Warming?

Here’s an issue governments can get fat on.

Sep 19, 2011, Vol. 17, No. 01 • By WESLEY J. SMITH
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With the coming anti-obesity campaign so similar to the global-warming juggernaut, it seems clear that modern liberalism has devised a new strategy for imposing policies that it can’t attain through ordinary politicking. First, identify a crisis ostensibly caused by modern lifestyles and/or capitalism. Next, launch a multifaceted international response to prevent allegedly looming catastrophe. Third, act as if the desired policies are objective, scientific solutions. Fund it all by imposing onerous taxes on an expanding list of villainous enterprises, et voilà: Liberalism rides to the rescue. And if the strategy fails on one front, as it appears to have with global warming, find another crisis and start again. 

Let me be clear: No one denies that obesity is a serious problem. Anyone who is overweight should eat less, eat better, and exercise more. We can argue about government’s proper role in promoting good nutrition. But there is a genuine crisis to consider as well—the obesity of government. We should not allow the need to encourage good health to be an excuse for empowering yet another economically enervating, bossy, bureaucratic behemoth dedicated to promoting political agendas more than to helping people control their weight.

Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.

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